It is essential to the formation of:
Bile acids (which aid in the digestion of fats) Vitamin D Progesterone Estrogens (estradiol, estrone, estriol) Androgens (androsterone, testosterone) Mineralocorticoid hormones (aldosterone, corticosterone) and Glucocorticoid hormones (cortisol). Cholesterol is also necessary to the normal permeability and function of cell membranes, the membranes that surround cells.
Cholesterol is carried in the bloodstream as lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol because elevated LDL levels are associated with an increased risk of coronary artery (heart) disease. Conversely, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol since high HDL levels are associated with less coronary disease.
After the age of 20, cholesterol testing is recommended every 5 years.