Cholesterol is Found in These Foods
Top Gene Interactions
Cholesterol Health Effects
- Metabolism: Cholesterol is not readily biodegradable and is primarily eliminated in the feces as bile acids. Only the liver possesses the enzymes to degrade significant amounts. Cholesterol and its oxidized metabolites (oxysterols) are transferred back from peripheral tissues in lipoprotein complexes to the liver for catabolism by conversion to oxysterols and bile acids. The latter are exported into the intestines to aid digestion. Until recently, it was believed that approximately 90% of cholesterol elimination from the body occurred via bile acids in humans. However, experiments with animal models now suggest that a significant amount is secreted directly into the intestines by a process known as trans-intestinal cholesterol efflux.
- Uses/Sources: Found in many foods (meats, eggs, milk, cheese, fish, shellfish) derived from animal products. Essential for membrane integrity. Used in steroid hormone synthesis.
- Health Effects: High plasma levels lead to hyperlipidemia or hypercholesterolemia which over a long period of time can lead to athersoclerosis, heart disease, stroke, poor kidney function. Extremely low levels of cholesterol (hypocholesterolemia) can lead to depression, cancer and cerebral hemorrhage. Chronically high levels of cholesterol are associated with at least 5 inborn errors of metabolism including: Cerebrotendinous Xanthomatosis, Cholesteryl ester storage disease, Congenital Lipoid Adrenal Hyperplasia, Hypercholesterolemia and Zellweger syndrome.
- Symptoms: There are no visible symptoms of high serum cholesterol. The following are symptoms of cardiovascular diseases: shortness of breath, chest pain, pain or weakness in legs or arms, pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen, poor exercise tolerance, atherosclerotic plaques.
- Treatment: Cardiologists recommend that individuals 20 or older should be screened for high cholesterol at least once every five years, with more frequent screenings for anyone deemed to be at high risk for heart disease. The USDA recommends that those wishing to reduce their cholesterol through a change in diet should aim to consume less than 7% of their daily energy needs from saturated fat and fewer than 200 mg of cholesterol per day. Statin drugs (which are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) are effective at reducing the amount of cholesterol produced in the liver. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends statin treatment for adults with an estimated 10-year risk of developing cardiovascular disease that is greater than 20%. Several types of cholesterol-lowering medication are available, including niacin, bile acid resins, dietary fiber, psyllium and fibrates. But statins are the treatment of choice for most individuals.
- Route of Exposure: Ingestion, endogenous production.
Mechanism of Action
|Target Name||Mechanism of Action||References|
Low-density lipoprotein receptor
Lanosterol 14-alpha demethylase
Sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2
Sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1
Oxysterols receptor LXR-alpha
Nuclear receptor ROR-alpha
DNA polymerase alpha catalytic subunit
Multidrug resistance protein 1