What is cholesterol

What is cholesterol

Cholesterol is a lipid substance, an essential component of our cell membranes and a precursor of certain molecules essential to the proper functioning of our metabolism, such as steroid hormones (cortisol, oestrogens, progesterone, etc.), vitamin D, coenzyme Q10 and bile acids. It is mainly found in the liver, brain and spinal cord. 20% of it comes from food of animal origin: mainly meat (especially red meat), cold cuts, eggs and dairy products. Foods of plant origin do not contain cholesterol. This is exogenous cholesterol. 80% of it comes from our body through its synthesis in the liver. This is endogenous cholesterol. The liver maintains a stable level of cholesterol in the blood by adapting its daily production to the amount of cholesterol provided by the diet. However, liver production is influenced by the quality of our diet: the more saturated fatty acids we eat, the more cholesterol the liver produces.

Triglycerides are a form of lipid, just like cholesterol: they are composed of glycerol molecules and fatty acids and are stored in fatty tissue. They are produced by our body in the small intestine from fats in the food we eat, but especially from sugar and alcohol. They constitute an energy reserve for our body. Their production is increased by the secretion of insulin. They also transport vitamins A, D, E and K.


In the blood, cholesterol and triglycerides are carried by transporters, the lipoproteins. There are three types of lipoproteins: HDL, LDL and VLDL. The liver, when redistributing cholesterol and especially triglycerides to the organs, produces VLDL which is transformed into LDL in the circulation. The notion of good or bad cholesterol is linked to the role of these transport lipoproteins. HDL lipoproteins have a protective power over the vessels: they collect excess cholesterol from the arteries and organs and transport it to the liver, thus "cleaning" the blood vessels and limiting lipid deposits. HDL cholesterol is therefore the "good" cholesterol. Conversely, LDL lipoproteins transport cholesterol from the liver to the body's cells and may deposit it on the artery walls (all the more easily as the cholesterol is in oxidised form), thus promoting the formation of lipid plaques on the artery walls (atheromas). VLDL lipoproteins, which turn into LDL, increase with the production of triglycerides.

Solutions in phytotherapy

Bitter orange contains two main antioxidants, naringin and naringenin. These antioxidants can help prevent liver damage by reducing inflammation and protecting liver cells. These molecules give us lipid-lowering properties and modulate plasma lipids by enzymatic inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase (the same action as statins, but less and without side effects). Naringenin acts on targets identical to those of fibrates, which lower blood fat levels by regulating the transcription of genes involved in lipoprotein metabolism. They have a preferential action on hypertriglyceridemia and increase HDL-cholesterol.

The olive tree is a powerful protector of the cardiovascular system. It contains one of the most powerful antioxidants, hydroxytyrosol. This helps to prevent and fight against the oxidation of cholesterol leading to the formation of atheromatous plaques. The problem is in fact the fragility of lipoproteins, which oxidise and attach themselves to the vascular walls when in contact with tobacco, sugar and other polluting factors. The olive tree maintains them by calming inflammation and "cleaning" the cholesterol, thus increasing the flexibility and elasticity of the vessels. It also regulates hypertension, is hypoglycaemic (thus reducing triglycerides and LDL), and participates in renal and urinary elimination.

Chrysantellum is a liver protector. It contains saponins and flavonoids that maintain the liver cells, strongly reduce circulating triglycerides and LDL. It promotes the rapid elimination of alcohol, up to 5 times more than normal, and promotes the regeneration of the liver damaged by alcoholism, poisoning, or pathologies such as hepatitis or cirrhosis. It is advisable to combine it with desmodium, to improve the capacity to regenerate tissues. It is also used in the treatment of biliary and renal lithiasis. Chrysantellum also improves peripheral circulation, solidifies and strengthens the capillaries, and is therefore particularly indicated for circulation in the lower limbs.

Flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, more than 50% alpha-linolenic acid. W3 have anti-inflammatory properties, improve blood fluidity and promote the dilation of blood vessels. They rebalance the proportion between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, which is necessary to lower cholesterol levels. The improvement of the quality of the vascular walls and the exchanges reduces the possibility of fatty deposits in the arteries.

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