While cholesterol is abundant throughout the body most of it is bound.
Cholesterol is active only when it is free, unbound.
The right amount of free active cholesterol is necessary at four sites:
1. In cell membranes, the brains of cells, where free cholesterol is crucial to every cell function; cell membranes include the outer and nuclear membranes, as well as those around and within organelles, such as mitochondria and lysosomes.
2. In the adrenals, ovaries and testes where hormones are made from free cholesterol.
3. The brain, which contains about 25% of the body’s free cholesterol, is where low cholesterol is associated with memory loss, declining cognitive function and Alzheimer’s.
4. Wherever there is pathology, be it a splinter, flu, heart attack or cancer; where the right amount of cholesterol activity can reverse the pathology and restore health.
Ideally we could measure free active cholesterol at these four sites where the right amount is of critical importance.
While that is not possible, we can extrapolate an estimate of cell cholesterol from blood cholesterol measurements.
Cholesterol in the blood is bound in carriers. The LDL carrier delivers cholesterol to cells while the HDL carrier removes cholesterol from cells.
The calculation of Cell Cholesterol:
Low Density Lipoprotein…LDL delivers cholesterol to the tissues.
High Density Lipoprotein…HDL removes cholesterol from the tissues.
The amount of cholesterol in cells is a function of LDL/HDL x Total Cholesterol.
Working range for tissue cholesterol: 293 - 505
If you have low cholesterol in your cells, eat lots of cholesterol. Although it is unclear how much dietary cholesterol will do for membranes, brain function and pathology, it is terrific for your hormones. Since eighty percent of sex hormones are made from dietary cholesterol, it is likely dietary cholesterol also benefits these other sites in need of unbound cholesterol.See Do Not Artificially Lower Cholesterol With Statins! >
Cholesterol is an anti-inflammatory. Low cell cholesterol, unless inherited, is likely a result of too much inflammation. There is exhaustion of this critical defense, against virulent inflammatory fatty acids; and/or, there is waning ability of the liver to keep up with the demands for cholesterol.
High cell cholesterol, unless inherited, usually indicates there’s inflammation afoot. It may be the only indicator of inflammation on routine blood tests.