Cholesterol, was once called cholesterin and that word comes from ancient Greek - chole means bile, stereo hard, and ol is a suffix for alcohol. Cholesterol is a sterol and lipid that is contained in the cell membranes of every tissue in our body and is transported in the blood plasma of every animal.
Cholesterol is also found in very small amounts in plant membranes. In appearance, cholesterol is a white and oily substance, that does not dissolve in water, but dissolves in most organic solvents.
In industrial production, cholesterol is obtained from beef spinal cord or from lanolin.
Cholesterol was first found in gallstones way back in 1769 by a Frenchman named Francois de la Salle. Due to the fact that he did not publish this discovery, another Frenchman named Michel Eugene Chevrolet patented it and gave it his name.
Cholesterol is needed for many processes in the human body:
- Cholesterol is needed for the production of the hormones found in the adrenal gland - cortisone, corticosterone, aldosterone;
- It is needed for the synthesis of male sex hormones - testosterone, androsterone;
- It is necessary for the synthesis of female sex hormones - estrone, estradiol, progesterone;
- It is needed for vitamin D synthesis.