Vitamin E is an essential nutrient, that protects cells from oxidative stress, and which cannot be made by the body. Oxidative stress results from the overproduction of free radicals, which cause oxidative damage to cells, and con-tributes to the development of chronic disease. The term vitamin E refers to a family of eight closely related compounds: four tocotrienols (alpha-, beta-, delta-, and gamma-tocotrienol) and four tocopherols (alpha-, beta-, delta-, and gamma-tocopherol). Figure 1 shows the molecular structures for tocotrienol and tocopherol, which are quite similar in that they both consist of a chromanol ring and a phytyl side chain. The
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Cholesterol, an animal sterol, is a waxy substance found in every cell in our body. Cholesterol
That’s why there are so many side-effects of taking these drugs. Nearly 10-12% of patients on statin drugs will experience statin-induced muscle pain. Other potential adverse reactions to statin drugs include elevated liver enzymes, lung disease, and in a small subset of patients can even increase risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus.
The majority of cholesterol is synthesized, recycled, and degraded in the liver. But how does the cholesterol you eat get to the liver from the gut? And, how is cholesterol transported from the liver to every cell in the body?
Figure 1 (below) shows the processes underpinning the absorption, transportation,
After dietary fat and cholesterol enters the small intestine chylomicrons formed in the intestine are transported, via lymphatics, to the blood vessels of the circulatory system. An enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, present on blood vessel walls, breaks up (hydrolyses) fats (triacyglycerols) contained in chylomicrons, transferring glycerol and fatty acids to tissues to be used as energy. Chylomicron remnants are taken up and processed by the liver, which synthesises vHDL particles and releases them into circulation. Lipoprotein lipase breaks up (hydrolyses) fats (triacyglycerols) contained in vHDL particles (trans- ferring glycerol and fatty acids to tissues to be used as energy). This process forms LDL particles, which are taken up by tissues through a process called endocytosis. Excess LDL
A person may be at risk of developing ‘fatty streaks’ in blood vessels due to the
It is useful to think of lipoprotein complexes as cholesterol ‘carriages’ that transport cholesterol around the body via the blood stream. There are several different types of lipoprotein complex, which are classified based on the ratio of proteins-to-lipid/ cholesterol that they contain. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) contains a low proportion of protein (or a high proportion of lipid/ cholesterol); the main function of LDL is to transport cholesterol to tissues where it is utilized for energy. In contrast, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) contains a high proportion of protein (or a low proportion of cholesterol); its main function is to collect excess cholesterol from tissues and transport it back to the liver for processing and excretion. Chylomicrons, LDL, and a further class of lipoprotein called very low density lipoproteins (vLDL), all have very high fat and cholesterol content as compared with protein-rich HDL.
The net effect of this lipoprotein system is that chylomicrons absorbed from the gut, transport cholesterol to the liver which synthesizes and secretes vLDL and LDL particles. vLDL and LDL particles circulating in the blood are taken up by blood vessels and tissues which use their lipid/cholesterol content as energy. Excess LDL particles in circulation return to the liver where they are taken up by liver cells via LDL receptors. Liver cells also release HDL particles into circulation that scavenge excess cholesterol deposited in blood vessels and tissues. LDL and HDL cholesterol returning to the liver via circulation can be stored or eliminated from the body (excreted) as bile acid.
Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health
High levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, and trans-fats are linked to increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. The build-up (deposition) of cholesterol in blood vessels and tissues can be due to increased cholesterol synthesis, decreased cholesterol
Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol in circulation due to genetic effects can lead to an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events, irrespective of diet and lifestyle in these patients. However,
Indeed, increased consumption of cholesterol-rich foods can result in increased levels of LDL cholesterol in circulation, which can cause atherosclerosis.
The formation of an atherosclerotic plaque results in the recruitment of more and more immune cells, which initiate an inflammatory process that contributes to the narrowing of the blood vessel. As the plaque continues to grow it may begin to disrupt blood flow and even completely block (occlude) the hollow tube (lumen) of the blood vessel. Narrowing of a blood vessel is called stenosis, and atherosclerotic plaques weaken blood vessels, which can lead to potentially fatal ruptures.
The ‘arthrogenic triad’ is an important set of parameters to be aware of and are known to increase a person’s risk for developing atherosclerosis. The triad includes 1) high blood LDL levels, 2) low blood HDL levels, and 3) high blood triglyceride levels. The risk of atherosclerosis is further increased by the consumption of a low fiber diet – as this reduces the excretion of cholesterol – and an inactive lifestyle – which may increase the likelihood of the LDL cholesterol adhering to blood vessels.
Managing Cholesterol with Bergamot Extract
In order to promote healthy cholesterol levels, it is helpful to think of HDL cholesterol as ‘good’ cholesterol and LDL
HDL cholesterol may also be improved by eating the citrus fruit Bergamot (often added to Earl Grey tea), which contains relatively high levels of flavonoids (i.e.
In summary, understanding how cholesterol is processed in the body is key to managing healthy cholesterol levels. Natural supplements, such as Bergamot extract, may contribute to reducing total cholesterol and LDL
Total cholesterol The total amount of cholesterol present in a
LDL cholesterol Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol refers to lipoprotein particles synthesised and secreted into circulation by the liver. This type of lipoprotein particle is low-density because it contains a low ratio of protein-to-lipid.
LDL particles are also called ‘bad’ cholesterol because they are relatively rich in cholesterol, and deposit excess cholesterol in blood vessels and tissues. Reduction of LDL cholesterol is a key strategy for the management of healthy cholesterol levels.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) has a high
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