What is Cholesterol Synthesis ?
49 out of the 50 states in the United States are affected by obesity. Two-thirds of Americans are over-weight.
Heart disease remains the primary cause of death in this country. Half of the country’s population suffers from high
level. There goes the word. The main culprit behind all these horrifying statistics. How much do we know about this word ? This article tries to understand about the why, how and when of cholesterol synthesis or its production in our body.
Why Cholesterol Synthesis is Needed ?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced primarily by the organ liver. It is an integral part of the cells in our body and also found in blood. Its presence is required to be always within a pre-defined range. Only when its level crosses the range, cholesterol poses threat to our body. Well within the pre-defined range, this substance is helpful to the body in the following ways:
- It builds and maintains the external surface of the cells called the membrane.
- It plays a vital role in the manufacture of bile acids.
- In a cell, it helps in processes like passage of signals to and from the brain, transportation of substances within the cells from one part to another and communication between cells using signals.
- It is also the initiator of many important reactions within the cells.
- It initiates the production of Vitamin D and several hormones in the body.
- Some research studies also claim that this substance is an antioxidant.
How Cholesterol Synthesis Happens in the body ?
Two scientists Konrad Bloch and Feodor Lynen were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1964 for explaining the production of this substance.
20-25 percent of total cholesterol production takes place in the liver.
Other areas of production are intestines and reproductive organs. Two molecules namely acetyl CoA and acetoacetyl-CoA are required for the initiation of the cholesterol production.
When Cholesterol Synthesis is Required ?
There is an inherent balance between the production and usage of cholesterol in the body. Though details about how this balance mechanism works are not understood yet, cholesterol is produced in the body only when its level is low in the body. Generally the food we eat provides ample quantity of this substance.
Whenever the level of cholesterol is high in the body, the process of its synthesis can be switched off as well. It is a part of cholesterol regulation process in the body. Only when the body fails to regulate cholesterol synthesis, the risk of heart diseases and other associated complications arise.