Normally, when we talk about cholesterol we always refer to the damage that excess of this substance can cause to health . However, cholesterol is a substance of great importance for the body , since among other things it intervenes in the correct metabolism of vitamin D .
That is, cholesterol is not bad just because. It is part of the cell membrane, acts in digestion through bile, is involved in the production of different hormones and participates in the metabolism of vitamin D , among other issues of great value for the functioning of the organism.
To learn more about HDL (good) cholesterol , Dr. Antonio Álvarez-Vieitez, member of the Spanish Society of Arteriosclerosis and the Spanish Society of Cardiology, offers some keys in an interview for ' Infosalus '.
In this regard, he explains that «there are lipoproteins that carry cholesterol through the blood. One, the so-called 'bad', low density or 'LDL', which is like a taxi, takes it and distributes it to all the cells of the body. If it is elevated, there is a part that is not distributed and sticks in the arteries ».
Although, there is also HDL (good) cholesterol. In this case, it is the taxi that collects the excess cholesterol that is found and transfers them to the liver for later elimination or expelling them through the bile.
Correct levels of cholesterol and vitamin D
The relationship of vitamin D with cholesterol is that HDL (good) cholesterol participates in metabolism of this vitamin in the body. That is, thanks to cholesterol, it is possible to increase vitamin D levels by exposing the skin to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Dr. Álvarez-Vieitez reminds that the correct levels of cholesterol in the body are always under review. Currently, total levels should be below 200 and LDL (bad) below 100.
In addition, it explains that “in patients who have suffered a vascular pathology (heart attack, stroke), the LDL should be below 55 ».
Thus, it is essential to carry out a lifestyle that allows controlling cholesterol levels and maintaining them at healthy levels that allow the body to perform all its functions properly, such as participating in the metabolism of vitamin D.
«The other important factors are hypertension, tobacco and diabetes. These are the ones that can be changed. Those that cannot be changed are age, sex, and heredity (male, older, and if there is a family history). Stress, sedentary lifestyle and being overweight are also influencing factors “, indicates the specialist.
How to control cholesterol levels
It is necessary to know that to keep cholesterol levels under control, only one 20 % of this substance is related to food; while the 80 remaining% is generated by the liver.
In this sense, Dr. Álvarez-Vieitez argues that «a diet low in animal fats, rich in fruits, vegetables and fish is important. Also do sports, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle and being overweight. That is to say, opt for polyunsaturated fats, olive oil or nuts and completely move away from fast food or industrial pastries “.
In addition, the doctor indicates that drugs known as statins are safe for the body and to reduce cholesterol levels. The use of this type of medication helps restore cholesterol levels and save lives.
«If your cholesterol is always somewhat high , in addition to watching your diet or exercising, you should take statins, which reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, of cardiovascular accidents », Concludes the expert.
Thus, having optimal cholesterol levels is essential for the functioning of the body and also to promote the metabolic process that allows adequate levels of vitamin D .