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Cholesterol

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Cholesterol was first described near the end of the 18th century by a French chemist, Antoine Francois de Fourcroy, and then named ‘cholesteroline’ by Michel Eugene Chevreul in 1815. Cholesterol is an insoluble constituent of animal fats found among the lipids in the bloodstream and in all cells of the human body. As an essential component of cell membranes and serum lipoproteins, cholesterol enables transmembrane transport and the transport of triglycerides. As a precursor of bile acids, cholesterol aids in the absorption of fat in the intestine. And as a precursor to adrenal steroids and sex hormones, cholesterol aids in endocrine regulation. When regulated properly by the body, cholesterol ensures survival. When regulated improperly, cholesterol threatens good health. Elevated serum cholesterol levels often lead to ...

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