Cholesterol is a vitally important component of the blood, having numerous functions. It is a constituent element of the membrane of all cells, and of the myelin coating which covers the nerves. It is essential for the formation of bile salts, vitamin D and many hormones. It is mainly produced by the liver (2/3) and can be introduced with food (1/3).
As far back as the late ‘70s, it had already been concluded that a high concentration of cholesterol in the blood was one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In subsequent years, this risk was differentiated based on the ratio between the fractions of ‘good’ cholesterol, bound to HDL proteins (High Density Lipoproteins), and ‘bad’ cholesterol, transported by LDL proteins (Low Density Lipoproteins). High levels of HDL do in fact play a protective role for the heart and blood vessels, while high LDL levels carry a direct risk of cardiovascular disease.
According to the European Society of Atherosclerosis, the ideal average blood cholesterol levels are less than 200 mg/100 mL for adults and less than 160 mg/100 mL for children.
Lipid profile: recommended values
- Total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dL
- HDL cholesterol greater than 40 mg/dL (m) greater than 50 mg/dL (f)
- LDL cholesterol less than 130 mg/dL
- Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dL
Excess cholesterol accumulates in adipose tissue, lipomas, biliary stones and atherosclerosis plaques in the vascular walls of the arteries, also known as atheromas.
Supplements based on Monacolin K, present in Fermented red rice, Bergamot and fibre contribute to maintaining physiological cholesterol values.