Medically Reviewed by Vincenta Faulkner, RD, CNSC, CCTD
Blood lipids is a general term used to indicate various lipid molecules transported through the bloodstream. You can think of a blood lipid as a fatty substance that travels in your blood, and a good amount of these fatty substances are taken in through your diet.
When your blood contains high cholesterol or fat levels, it could pose some health risks down the road.
Have you ever felt like you didn’t know enough about your health to make an informed decision on your own? If you answered yes, then you aren’t alone. When we know that something isn’t right with our bodies, it can cause us to feel many emotions like fear, insecurity, and anxiety, and sometimes (okay, a lot of times) this can be overwhelming.
Blood lipids are one of the most important elements of your physiology that can help you understand how to keep your cholesterol in check and practice preventive health care. If you are concerned about your blood lipid levels, you may want to talk to a healthcare provider.
Preventative health care is a powerful and impactful field of health care that puts the power of your health back in your hands. One of the pillars of preventive health care is knowledge.
Knowing about your body, how it functions, what it needs, will help you make decisions that will keep you out of a disease pathway rather than in it.
Your health shouldn’t always be dependent on taking a few prescriptions, and when it comes to pursuing your best heart health, you have options that will help support your health without the Rx.
Let’s find out how to support a healthier cardiovascular system by investing in diet, exercise, and supplements that promote healthy blood lipids.
Why Does Your Blood Contain Lipids?
Your blood is the number one method of transporting substances throughout your body. Your blood is constantly working to transport nutrients and waste throughout your system, whether it’s proteins, lipids, oxygen, or waste.
This is the main reason why these lipids will be found here, as it’s the necessary pathway for them to reach the different parts of the body to either be used or stored.
What Kinds of Lipids Does Your Blood Carry?
Most of the fats and lipids that you use are taken in through your diet, and our bodies use lipids for several vital reasons. Fats, in general, are some of the most important molecules that we need. They help us absorb and digest vitamins, are integral to the membranes of our body cells, and provide the most efficient form of energy storage.
There are three main kinds of blood lipids; sterols, which include low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein, phospholipids, and triglycerides.
Because cholesterol is a lipid we take in through our diet, we actually can help regulate and control how our health is affected by our intake.
What Are Carrier Proteins?
Cholesterol itself is not transportable on its own in the bloodstream, which is why specialized proteins are synthesized in the liver and used to help transport this important molecule throughout the body.
Almost every kind of tissue in the body uses cholesterol since it’s an important part of cellular structure. Thus, special proteins house cholesterol molecules and transport them into our tissues. These proteins are called lipoproteins, and there are two main kinds of lipoproteins that are produced in the liver for transporting cholesterol.
Low-densty lipoprotein, or LDL for short, carries cholesterol through the bloodstream that otherwise would not be able to travel on its own. LDL is often referred to as bad cholesterol, and it works on a one-way track of taking cholesterol to the tissue where it is deposited.
LDL isn’t called “bad cholesterol” necessarily because there is anything wrong with the cholesterol, but because these proteins do not help regulate cholesterol intake in the tissue. High levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, can lead to health complications like heart attacks or stroke because the cholesterol just keeps accumulating and accumulating as LDL transports it around your body and deposits it in your tissues.
The second kind of carrier protein responsible for moving cholesterol through the body is HDL, or high-density lipoproteins. These proteins are similarly synthesized in the liver like LDLs, and they function to help move cholesterol through the bloodstream.
High-density lipoproteins are unique from LDL in that instead of depositing cholesterol in tissues without any scrutiny, it actually picks up excess cholesterol and returns it to the liver to be metabolized and excreted.
HDL is considered “good” cholesterol primarily because it functions to help regulate cholesterol levels in the body.
The liver is not only a place of synthesis for HDL and LDL, but it is also the site of cholesterol processing. When our bodies have too much cholesterol, the liver functions to help break extra cholesterol down so it can be flushed by the body.
What Happens When We Have Too Much Cholesterol?
Blood lipids are essential for our health; however, they can also have negative effects when they are present in excess. Maybe you have heard of how important it is to regulate your cholesterol, but are not sure exactly why it’s important.
When our bodies end up with too much cholesterol, we can have trouble using this molecule, meaning our bodies store it instead.
Cholesterol is a waxy fat that can cause trouble when it builds up in the body. When tissues are over-saturated with too much cholesterol, it can cause the cholesterol to build into a substance known as plaque. One of the main places plaque will build up is in your arteries.
Our arteries serve as the vessels that transport oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. These vessels can constrict or expand as needed to help maintain the flow and pressure of oxygenated blood throughout the system.
When plaque builds up in your arteries, it can cause a condition known as atherosclerosis. This is a condition where your arteries lose their natural elasticity due to plaque build-up from cholesterol. This loss of elasticity can cause a host of problems, the gravest of which leads to an occlusion, which is a term used for when an artery can no longer pass blood.
What Are the Health Risks of High Cholesterol?
High cholesterol can be responsible for a host of different health issues, but primarily it can cause issues with the cardiovascular system. When there is an excessive build-up of plaque, it can affect the arteries of your heart and prevent your heart from doing its job.
In severe cases, this can cause life-threatening conditions like a heart attack. It can even affect arteries that supply blood to the brain and impact a person’s chances of a stroke.
How Zizi Can Help With Lipid Levels
The good news is that when it comes to cholesterol, you have plenty of power. Cholesterol can enter our system through our diet and become a big problem down the line, but certain lifestyle changes can help mitigate your risks.
What’s more is that taking control of your heart health and getting healthy cholesterol levels doesn’t have to mean living to an impossible standard of health and wellness.
Heart health can start right at home. Zizi can provide you with simple guidance to help you make changes to your diet, incorporate light exercise routines throughout your week, and take heart-healthy supplements that help regulate your body’s blood lipids.
Healthcare doesn’t have to be something that feels like it’s out of your reach, and it doesn’t have to be something that intimidates you. Heart health is made easy with Zizi — explore our Heart Health Reset program here.
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