Nutrient Information: Cholesterol

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Nutrient Key Information 
Nutrient Name: Cholesterol
Nutrient Category: Fats and Fatty Acids (Lipids)
Unit Name: mg
Nutrient Summary: Cholesterol is a type of sterols which are extremely important body compounds. Cholesterol is a structural component of cell membranes.
Our body produces most of cholesterol, we also get some cholesterol from food (mainly animal foods).
The excessive cholesterol may buildup plaque inside of our artery walls which increases the risk of developing heart diseases.
Nutrient Function: Cholesterol is a structural component of cell membranes. It is used for making some hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and aldosterone as well as adrenal hormones. Cholesterol is also used to make bile acids which are needed for fat digestion in the small intestine.

Our body (liver) produces enough of the cholesterol we need. We intake some cholesterol from foods.

Cholesterol may accumulate in the artery walls and contributes to the formation of plaque which may cause atherosclerosis, a disease that causes heart attacks and strokes.

Very-Low-Density Lipoproteins (VLDL): VLDL is made by liver and circulated in the bloodstream, it consists of triglyceride (~50%), phospholipid, cholesterol, and protein. Body cells remove triglycerides in VLDL, then cholesterol becomes the predominant lipid and VLDL becomes LDL.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): LDL circulates throughout the body to deliver its contents (triglycerides, cholesterol, and phospholipids) for body to use. Half of the LDL contents are cholesterol, the buildup of the LDL inside of artery walls contributes to the formation of plaque which can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. So that, sometimes, people call it "Bad" cholesterol. LDL can be further classified based on the particles sizes and densities, such as large buoyant (lb) LDLs and intermediate and small dense (sd) LDLs. sdLDL has a greater potential for atherogenic and cardiovascular diseases than others.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL): liver makes HDL. Its job is to remove cholesterol from the cells and carry it back to the liver for recycling or disposal. Higher levels of HDL in the blood can help prevent cholesterol buildup in arteries. So that, sometimes, people call it "Good" cholesterol.

Observational studies have shown that increased dietary cholesterol intake leads to a net increase in plasma LDL cholesterol concentrations.

Dr. Robert Lustig, an American pediatric endocrinologist and professor at University of California, San Francisco, explains very clearly about how to Understand the CHOLESTEROL PANEL & Metabolic Health tests in his YouTube video.


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Food Sources

Animal origin foods:
• High amount cholesterol in: liver and egg yolks
• Some seafoods: such as shellfish (lobster and shrimp) and some fish (salmon and sardines)
• Beef fat (tallow and suet), chicken fat, and pork fat (lard)
• Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt)
• Meats and poultry
• Processed meat and poultry products (such as bacon, hot dogs, jerky, some luncheon meats, and sausages)
• Spreads (such as butter, cream cheese, and sour cream)

Sample Foods High in: Cholesterol
View Additional Food Sources
Food Description Nutrient Amount1 Daily Value%2
Egg, duck, whole, fresh, raw
Category: Dairy and Egg Products
884 mg 294.67%
Chicken, liver, all classes, cooked, pan-fried
Category: Poultry Products
564 mg 188.00%
Egg, whole, cooked, fried
Category: Dairy and Egg Products
401 mg 133.67%
Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, braised
Category: Beef Products
396 mg 132.00%
Butter, stick, salted
Category: Dairy and Egg Products
235 mg 78.33%
1 Nutrient amount is in 100 gram food
2 Use FDA 2000 calorie diet as Daily Value reference



Additional Nutrient Information
Nutrient Summary Cholesterol is a type of sterols which are extremely important body compounds. Cholesterol is a structural component of cell membranes.
Our body produces most of cholesterol, we also get some cholesterol from food (mainly animal foods).
The excessive cholesterol may buildup plaque inside of our artery walls which increases the risk of developing heart diseases.
Deficiency Health Effects All tissues (primarily liver) are capable of synthesizing enough cholesterol to meet body's metabolic and cell structural needs. So there is no "Required Adequate Intake" amount. Experts recommend that the lower the dietary cholesterol intake, the better.
Effects if Above Upper Limit Much evidence indicates a positive linear trend between cholesterol intake and LDL cholesterol concentration. So there is no Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) was set for cholesterol because any incremental increase in cholesterol intake can potentially increase the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
External References • The National Academies of Science, Engineering, Medicine publication: Dietary Reference Intakes
• Nutrition Science Book: Understanding Nutrition by Ellie Whitney and Sharon Rady Rolfes
• US FDA Website: FDA Interactive Nutrition Facts Label - Cholesterol
Additional Information In general, the higher intake of saturated fat, the more LDL cholesterol in the blood. Also trans fat impacts blood cholesterol in the similar way as saturated fat. So try to limit or eliminate saturated fat and trans fat in your diet.



Daily Value Age Group Recommended Daily Values Daily Value Upper Limits
Toddler 1 to 3 years old: 150 mg 150 mg
Child 4 to 8 years old: 210 mg 210 mg
Male 9 to 13 years old: 270 mg 270 mg
Male 14 to 18 years old: 300 mg 300 mg
Male 19 to 30 years old: 300 mg 300 mg
Male 31 to 50 years old: 300 mg 300 mg
Male 51 to 70 years old: 300 mg 300 mg
Male Senior 71 or older: 300 mg 300 mg
Female 9 to 13 years old: 270 mg 270 mg
Female 14 to 18 years old: 300 mg 300 mg
Female 19 to 30 years old: 300 mg 300 mg
Female 31 to 50 years old: 300 mg 300 mg
Female 51 to 70 years old: 300 mg 300 mg
Female Senior 71 or older: 300 mg 300 mg
Female Pregnancy (>18): 300 mg 300 mg
Female Lactation (>18): 300 mg 300 mg
FDA (Based on 2000 calorie daily diet): 300 mg 300 mg


Dietary Reference Intakes The nutrient Dietary Reference Intakes and nutrition facts is from Institute of Medicine of National Academies 2006. Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11537
US FDA Nutrition Education Nutrition facts knowledge are based on U.S. FOOD & DRUG Administration Nutrition Education Resources & Materials. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/interactivenutritionfactslabel/
National Institutes of Health Nutrition facts knowledge are based on National Institutes of Health Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all
Disclaimer The nutrient information provided here should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (such as your doctor) about your dietary requirements which are best for your overall health. We also recommend you to read organization or professional reference documents or articles mentioned, but not limited to, in this page. Any mentions and reference links in this page don't represent our endorsement of their services and advice.


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