Differences Between Triglycerides and Cholesterol
Triglycerides vs Cholesterol
Triglycerides and cholesterol are two terms that are dreaded by health buffs. They have been portrayed as detrimental to the human body, and having high levels of these can lead to coronary heart disease. It’s common nowadays for people to check out the contents of the food that they buy in the supermarket for indications that it has a high cholesterol content. The ironic thing is that food in which it is present, especially meats that taste really good, like pork and beef, contain high levels of cholesterol. A lot of people have difficulty swearing off cholesterol. It certainly enjoys more exposure than its counterpart, the triglycerides. However, both of them are classified as lipids, and though they may be harmful when ingested in high amounts for a long period of time, they still contribute to the overall makeup of the human body. In fact, lipids have a lot of uses, including cell production, energy storing, and energy consumption. Unknown to most people, the cholesterol that they’ve come to hate, along with triglycerides, play important roles in body development.
Let’s start by exploring the similarities between triglycerides and cholesterol. As mentioned earlier, they are both lipids. They flow along the bloodstream and are guided by lipoproteins for distribution in various blood vessels. They can be either derived from ingested food, or produced inside the body. You heard that correctly, the human body produces its own cholesterol and triglycerides. While the cholesterol amount produced by the body is usually sufficient, more triglycerides are needed, and the body derives this mainly from ingested food.
With regards to body function, the triglycerides and cholesterol differ in their role as lipids. Cholesterol serves as the building blocks of cells and is an important component of sex hormones, namely progesterone and estrogen in women, and testosterone in men. Additionally, cholesterol manufactures cortisol, the stress hormone present in both women and men. The most important function of cholesterol involves the formation of bile. It is a substance present in the liver which holds the special role of digesting fats and absorbing vitamins D, E, A, and E.
On the other hand, the body consumes triglycerides in order to generate energy. This process is like when coal is fed to the furnace of a steam engine to make it run faster. Initially, triglycerides are stored inside the liver, then afterwards they are distributed throughout the body to be stored in muscles. Once the body is in short supply of energy, triglycerides start a process that breaks down fatty acids, resulting in the production of glucose. The broken-down fatty acids and glucose then seep into the mitochondria in the muscles, giving them the necessary energy boost. Fatty acids that remain unused by the energy-giving processes flow back into the bloodstream towards the liver where they are re-integrated as triglycerides once again.
The unique roles of both triglycerides and cholesterol allow the body to keep functioning at tip-top condition, especially when it’s under a lot of stress. People should learn more about these lipids before writing them off generally as harmful and unwanted. The only time that these lipids become detrimental is when they’re consumed in large quantities. When taken in acceptable quantities, however, they contribute to optimal body function. As the old saying goes: Nothing should be taken in excess.
Both triglycerides and cholesterol are classified as lipids that are either ingested or manufactured by the human body.
They serve different functions. Triglycerides are involved in energy production, while cholesterol is a key player in cell manufacturing and hormone development.
Triglycerides provide energy as they are broken down by the human body, producing fatty acids and glucose that are absorbed by the muscles.
On the other hand, cholesterol moderates the development of sex hormones in both males and females, as well as the production of bile in the liver.
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