Cholesterol, the good, the bad and the ugly!
Lipids are a forgotten and unreferenced building block in the human body. Why is it when we talk about healthy lifestyles, that lipid’s and the major functions it provides for us is not mentioned. Sure some of its lower members are recounted daily like proteins and fats, but there is so much more to learn and understand. In the next developing paragraphs I will be discussing and explaining the functionality of lipids, fats, cholesterol, and how it all comes together to provide the body with the energy and strength to perform its daily functions.
First, we must learn what lipids are. Lipids are an organic compound in the body that make up about 18-25% of body mass in a lean built adult. Lipids have similar qualities like carbohydrates, Tortora, G. & Derrickson, B. (2014) explain that “like carbohydrates, lipids contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Unlike carbohydrates, they do not have a 2:1 ratio of hydrogen to oxygen.” (pg. 45) With the slight differences than carbohydrates this makes lipids usually smaller, and so fewer polar covalent bonds. Making most lipids unsolvable in solvents like water or plasma, they are called hydrophobic. Tortora & Derrickson (2014) manage to articulate that Because they are hydrophobic, only the smallest lipids (some fatty acids) can dissolve in watery blood plasma. To become more soluble in blood plasma, other lipid molecules join with hydrophilic protein molecules. The resulting lipid–protein complexes are termed lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are soluble because the proteins are on the outside and the lipids are on the inside. (pg.45) The result of this makes it possible for lipids to cross plasma membranes as the now soluble lipoprotein; this is also how they transport vitamins. In all accounts though, lipids hold the most important function and that is the storage of energy. Energy is obtained by the oxidization of the lipids in the body. Where are the lipids coming from though, how are our energy levels sustained throughout the days. Essential fatty acids or known as EFA’s, are needed for human health given the name essential. However the body cannot produce EFA’s on its own, we must nourish the body with food and supplements. Now there are many types of fatty acids and some are more good than bad. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are polyunsaturated fats that are the most important and beneficial fatty acids in our body. Dr. Frank Sacks (2014) of the Harvard School of Public Health has studied and written many articles on omega fatty acids. In a Nutrition Source article, he states that There are two major types of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets: One type is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in some vegetable oils, such as soybean, rapeseed (canola), and flaxseed, and in walnuts. ALA is also found in some green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens. The other type, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is found in fatty fish. The body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA. (pg. 1) Omega-6 fatty acids are found in corn, safflower, eggs, breads, and soybean oils. They are also found in meats, especially organ meats like liver. The benefits of keeping a well-balanced nutrition of Omega-3’s and Omega-6 fatty acids are to help protect the heart from a heart disease or stroke by lowering cholesterol. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are believed to promote health in a few different ways. By raising good cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoproteins) and lowering bad cholesterol, LDL (lower-density lipoproteins) the moderate balance of these lipids can maintain a healthy stance of inflammation and plaque in the body. Additionally these fatty acids have been known to decrease bone loss, reduce symptoms of arthritis, and improve mental functions. (Tortora & Derrickson 2014) This constant balance of lipids in the body is more frequently associated with our cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is a...
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