1

votes

Is dietary cholesterol a necessary nutrient?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 15, 2013 at 6:47 PM

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Understanding_Cholesterol.htm

Cholesterol is so important to the body that it makes it itself???Mother Nature doesn't leave it up to humans to get whatever they need from diet alone. So even if you ate a completely cholesterol-free diet, your body would make the approximately 1,000 mg it needs to function properly. Your body has the ability to regulate the amount of cholesterol in the blood, producing more when your diet doesn't provide adequate amounts. The regulation of cholesterol synthesis is an elegant process that is tightly controlled.

Your blood cholesterol level is determined by the sum of how much cholesterol your body makes and how much you take in from food, minus how much your body uses up or excretes. High cholesterol can result from a problem in any of the variables in that equation???your body may produce more cholesterol than it needs due to a genetic predisposition, you may be getting too much from your diet, or you may not excrete cholesterol in your bile efficiently. The fact that Americans have higher blood cholesterol levels than citizens of the Far East or Africa could be due to differences in genetic factors, but most evidence suggests that our higher cholesterol levels are largely a product of our high-fat, high-cholesterol diet.

Your body does need food to fuel the cholesterol production process, but it can be virtually any kind of food, even the cholesterol-free kind. As long as the food contains carbon???which carbohydrates, fats, and proteins all do???it provides the body with the building blocks to make its own cholesterol. Cholesterol is made out of the carbon that is recycled from the food you eat. Saturated fats, however, raise blood cholesterol levels more than other types of food, which is why people watching their cholesterol are told to avoid them. This is true even if saturated fat (which doesn't have any cholesterol in itself but is often found in foods with high cholesterol) is eaten in a cholesterol-free food. Why saturated fat does this is still something of a biological mystery.

SO - the question is doe we REALLY need dietary sources of cholesterol and if we do why does it need to come from saturated fat??

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on June 16, 2013
at 04:17 PM

This is a useful answer. A lot of authors seem to respond to the cholesterol panic by writing overflowing praise about how awesome and wonderful and necessary cholesterol is, but that can lead to confusion about whether reducing dietary cholesterol is *harmful* or merely *unnecessary*.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on June 15, 2013
at 10:13 PM

Looking at your previous questions it seems you were concerned about your cholesterol numbers. That's probably why your asking this. I thought this question sounded trollish.........My bad, voted you back up.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on June 15, 2013
at 10:04 PM

Animal sources of cholesterol are so great because of all the co factors that come along with them. Choline, Phosphatidylserine, creatine, B12 all help the brain function properly. So whenever you talk about a low cholesterol diet your generally removing other important nutrients as well.

336c383a3c4d28652d7ab888c79108a3

(614)

on June 15, 2013
at 08:32 PM

That's not an answer to my question - My question is simply this - if we produce all or most of the cholesterol we need AND if the rest can be produced by consuming ANY food that contains carbon - like CARBOHYDRATES - the why do we need to consume a high saturated fat meat based diet??

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3 Answers

2
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 16, 2013
at 12:29 AM

The definition of essential is nutrients we do not produce on our own. On this account neither carbs (glucose) nor cholesterol would be essential. As far as necessary I don't believe that it is necessary. Taking a "pure" cholesterol supplement would be wasteful.

However, many essential nutrients are found in food sources that contain cholesterol. So as a practical matter, limiting your cholesterol intake may lead you down a path to malnutrition.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on June 16, 2013
at 04:17 PM

This is a useful answer. A lot of authors seem to respond to the cholesterol panic by writing overflowing praise about how awesome and wonderful and necessary cholesterol is, but that can lead to confusion about whether reducing dietary cholesterol is *harmful* or merely *unnecessary*.

1
5dd50f78f47b8848d93724d6eb38d4c1

on June 15, 2013
at 11:08 PM

I think it's pretty obvious that you don't need to eat dietary cholesterol. Why saturated fat tends to raise cholesterol isn't a mystery, it's been known for a long time that saturated fat decreases LDL receptor activity. There is some individual variation with this though

-1
7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on June 15, 2013
at 07:52 PM

http://www.intechopen.com/books/lipid-metabolism/the-role-of-copper-as-a-modifier-of-lipid-metabolism

I downvoted. Your assuming high cholesterol is causing the problem. If you want to eat that way go ahead no one is stopping you.

336c383a3c4d28652d7ab888c79108a3

(614)

on June 15, 2013
at 08:32 PM

That's not an answer to my question - My question is simply this - if we produce all or most of the cholesterol we need AND if the rest can be produced by consuming ANY food that contains carbon - like CARBOHYDRATES - the why do we need to consume a high saturated fat meat based diet??

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on June 15, 2013
at 10:13 PM

Looking at your previous questions it seems you were concerned about your cholesterol numbers. That's probably why your asking this. I thought this question sounded trollish.........My bad, voted you back up.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on June 15, 2013
at 10:04 PM

Animal sources of cholesterol are so great because of all the co factors that come along with them. Choline, Phosphatidylserine, creatine, B12 all help the brain function properly. So whenever you talk about a low cholesterol diet your generally removing other important nutrients as well.

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