What Is the Connection between the Liver and Cholesterol?

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  • Written By: Helena Reimer
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2018
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One of the connections between the liver and cholesterol is that the liver helps with cholesterol level regulation. The liver is responsible for releasing cholesterol into the bloodstream as well as for the elimination of excess cholesterol. Although cholesterol is good for the body, excess amounts can build up within the bloodstream and reduce the flow of blood coming to and from the liver. Over time, this reduced blood flow can result in permanent damage to the liver. A healthy diet and lifestyle can help prevent damage to the liver and cholesterol buildup.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that can be obtained from the diet, namely meats, eggs, and other animal products. It is also produced in moderate amounts by the liver. Dietary cholesterol gets absorbed into the liver from where it is emitted into the bloodstream along with the cholesterol produced by the liver.

There are two types of cholesterol, known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). The LDL is responsible for delivering sufficient amounts of cholesterol to all the cells in the body. Any extra cholesterol emitted from the liver remains in the bloodstream and becomes known as "bad cholesterol." The HDL is known as "good cholesterol," and its job is to gather up any excess LDL and transport it back to the liver for elimination. If the HDL levels are low, it increases the risk of high LDL levels.


High amounts of LDL floating around in the bloodstream eventually causes it to build up along the walls of the blood vessels. When this happens, it reduces the amount of blood able to pass through the liver and the rest of the body. Too much cholesterol can also result in excess cholesterol storage in the liver, known as fatty liver. Although there usually are not any severe symptoms associated with this condition, it can nonetheless result in a serious condition known as cirrhosis. Another connection between the liver and cholesterol is that the liver uses cholesterol to create bile acids, which in turn reduce the amount of excess cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Taking drugs when not needed or consuming excess amounts of alcohol should be avoided, as they can have a negative effect on the liver and cholesterol levels. A healthy diet that is low in saturated fats, on the other hand, has been shown to be beneficial. Another factor that benefits the liver and cholesterol levels is a moderate amount of exercise on a regular basis.



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