The Good and The Bad
The word cholesterol can be quite a scary one, quite often it’s because we don’t fully understand what cholesterol actually is and only tend to hear about it in a negative way. In fact, did you know that there are both good and bad cholesterol? If you didn’t, that’s totally ok, there’re plenty of people out there who thought that same way you did. We’re going to take you right to the beginning to give you a better understanding of where cholesterol comes from, how it makes its way into our blood stream and how it can be harmful to our body if we abuse it.
Once we consume any food containing fat, the body needs to digest it and it does so by breaking down Triglycerides into fatty acids and Glycerol and these are shipped out into the bloodstream once they’ve been assorted in numerous ways.
You might remember the process that Carbohydrates go through when they travel through the system and the next phase of the Fatty Acids journey is no different as they make their way into the pancreas and are broken down by Pancreatic Lipase (An enzyme that breaks down fatty acids from their glycerol backbone).
It can take quite some time for the body to break down fat and thus it may take 3-4 hours before the fat makes its way into our blood stream.
The Triglycerides found floating within the blood stream are then broken down once again into fatty acids and glycerol with the help of another enzyme known as Lipoprotein Lipase (most enzymes end in ase) so that they can begin the journey into the tissues of our body. This is where it gets interesting and where all the information above will start to make more sense.
Once they pass through the cell membrane the Fatty Acids and Triglycerides are either oxidised where they’re used to transfer energy into either muscle or other tissues. If not they are converted back to Triglycerides where they’re stored in fat tis