Here’s What Cholesterol Can Do To the Brain: Although, Cholesterol itself isn’t bad for you, the point is that its excess is, because up-to some extent, it is required by the body for the making of some hormones, Vitamin-D, and digestive liquids. High cholesterol has become a common problem in adults these days.
There are many a causes of elevated cholesterol levels as in obesity, eating fatty/oily foods, lack of physical exercise, age factors and genetics. It is a dangerous problem as in the long run, it may end up becoming a reason for strokes and heart attacks, which are downright fatal. One must always keep the levels in their body in check. It can be done by eating healthy food and exercising on a daily basis.
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Most of the body’s organs get the cholesterol they need from the blood. Similarly, when the body breaks down cholesterol, its components return to the liver for reprocessing. Some of the statin drugs’ benefits depend on their ability to trick the liver into removing it from the blood.
The brain has a higher cholesterol content than any other organ. In fact, about 25% of the body’s cholesterol is found in this small organ, which accounts for less than 2% of the body’s weight. Most of the cholesterol is in the myelin sheaths that surround the axons of nerve cells, protecting the cells and facilitating the speedy transmission of the electrical impulses that govern thought, movement, and sensation.
The brain is highly dependent on cholesterol, but its metabolism is unique. Because the blood-brain barrier prevents brain cells from taking up cholesterol from the blood, the brain must produce its own. Like the liver, brain cells depend on HMG-CoA reductase to produce it. The brain’s cholesterol is much more stable than the cholesterol in other organs, but when it breaks down, it is recycled into new cholesterol right in the brain.
Because of the blood-brain barrier, changes in blood cholesterol levels are not necessarily reflected in the brain itself. In addition, the barrier keeps many chemicals, including medications as well as toxins, away from the brain. Among the cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, some are largely excluded because they are water-soluble, while others that are fat-soluble can enter, at least to some degree.
Whatever the reason, the changes in LDL are worth studying further, since cell studies found that such fluctuations can influence how unstable plaques in the heart and brain are—and those in turn can contribute to heart attacks or stroke.