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 Hormones That Need Cholesterol


Cholesterol has a bad reputation as being a main contributor to heart disease, but in reality, cholesterol is essential to bodily function. Virtually every cell membrane is made partly of cholesterol. Cholesterol is integral to hormones and their production. Treating imbalanced cholesterol levels with statin drugs potentially diminishes the body's ability to synthesize steroidal hormones like testosterone, estrogen, cortisol and Vitamin D. This results in fatigue, decreased libido, mood swings, liver dysfunction, memory loss and other health issues. A well-balanced diet alleviates aberrations in serum cholesterol and hormone levels in most cases.



The myth of good and bad cholesterol


There are two main measurements that assess cholesterol levels in an individual's blood the levels of low-density lipoproteins and high-density lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins have a bad reputation because of their role in blood vessel irritation when oxidized. Take antioxidants, especially vitamins C and E, to prevent this. High-density lipoproteins, or good cholesterol, take cholesterol from the blood into the liver to produce hormones. These distinctions are ultimately misleading, however, because optimum health is the result of a balance between the two lipoproteins.


The liver


The liver is responsible for producing cholesterol. Different glands throughout the body use cholesterol to produce the steroid family of hormones. Each hormone is named after the receptor to which it binds glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, androgens, estrogens and progestogens. Steroid hormones control recovery from injury and illness, metabolism, inflammation, immune function, libido and other critical bodily functions.


Hormones and disease


Hormone imbalance is a key factor to many diseases, including diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, cystic ovaries and weight maintenance issues. Many hormone issues stem from nutritional deficiencies. Consult a medical professional if you suspect that your hormone levels are imbalanced.


The role of hormones in bodily function


There are several steroid hormones made in the glands of the endocrine system from cholesterol. They include testosterone, which regulates bone density as well as sexual development and drive in both men and women; estrogen and progesterone, which also play vital roles in sexual reproduction; DHEA, an androgen with positive effects on bone density and the aging process; and cortisol, a blood-sugar regulator, anti-inflammatory agent and infection fighter; and aldosterone, which is responsible for balancing the ratios of potassium, sodium and water in the body. Vitamin D, while not technically a hormone, functions as one and strengthens bones and teeth.


Cholesterol is extremely important to maintaining health. Cholesterol and hormones that regulate bodily functions are closely linked. Monitor your relationship to cholesterol if you feel less than optimal.

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