You have probably heard many things about cholesterol. Many people say that this compound is all bad because it clogs up the blood vessels of the body and leads to things such as heart attacks and strokes. However, not all cholesterol is bad; in fact, our cells contain it in its outer layer. Cholesterol is a type of fat being produced by the liver and some of it is necessary for body functioning. However, in some cases, cholesterol levels can be higher, especially low density lipoproteins, also known as bad cholesterol.
Cholesterol is an important substance in the body. It functions to strengthen and maintain cell membranes and can affect the way molecules enter in and out of the cell. Cholesterol is involved in the production of sex hormones and of hormones from the adrenal glands such as aldosterone, cortisol and corticosterone. It is also involved in the production of bile and is said to aid in the conversion of sunshine to Vitamin D, a vitamin that has certain cardiovascular benefits and can strengthen the immune response. Cholesterol can even aid in the metabolism of fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamins E, K, D and A.
When there is an excess of low density lipoproteins (LDL), this can lead to atherosclerosis or the narrowing of blood vessels, high risks for heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, liver disease and other problems. People who are at high risk for elevation of LDL levels include diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, liver disease, kidney disease, and thyroid diseases. Risk factors which cannot be modified include family history, your sex, your age, early menopause, and you race.
Cholesterol can kill a person. This is why in the next few years researchers have been vigilant in researching about new treatments in high cholesterol levels. Danish researchers have a new finding in this regard. These researchers have found out that a new receptor system which is located in all cells of the body can deal with LDL cholesterol. This receptor is called sortilin and can influence a type of protein called PCSK9 which can modulate LDL levels. Studies before had pointed out that if there is inhibition to PCSK9 there would be lowering of LDL cholesterol levels. Thus many experts have focused on developing drugs that have the capabilities of inhibiting PCSK9. However, in the past, only a few researchers have focused on determining how the body regulates PCSK9.
Cholesterol Levels and Sortilin
In this new study, the researchers have attempted to identify PCSK9’s biology and they have found out how this protein can move into the cell. The researchers then studied the important mechanism of how PCSK9 is released into the blood and how it increases LDL cholesterol levels.
This study, done by researchers from Aarhus University has discovered an important element in the mechanism of LDL cholesterol elevation in the form of sortilin. Sortilin is said to increase the activity of PCSK9. The researchers found out that if they inhibit sortilin, they can also inhibit the elevation of LDL cholesterol levels, such as what happens when they inhibit PCSK9 activity.
Thus the researchers theorized that sortilin inhibitors can actually be considered as alterative to statins in the treatment of elevated cholesterol levels especially in elevated levels of LDL cholesterol. Statins are currently considered as first-line medications to elevated cholesterol levels, however not many people can tolerate this class of drugs because of their unwanted side effects, especially those with liver problems.
Aside from statins and other cholesterol lowering medications, you can also lower cholesterol levels the natural way. You should refrain from eating foods rich in saturated fat such as red meat and other fatty foods. Focus on fruits and vegetables instead because they are rich in fiber, which also helps lower elevated cholesterol levels. You can learn more about lowering cholesterol levels by reading our other articles on this site.