What is the relationship between liver function and cholesterol?

19 July 2021
 What is the relationship between liver function and cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of lipid that circulates freely in the blood or is involved in the construction of cell walls. The human body needs certain amounts of cholesterol to maintain important functions and processes, as well as for the synthesis of hormones, vitamin D, and digestive enzymes. However, when cholesterol levels go beyond normal, health problems begin.


That is why it is extremely important to maintain optimal cholesterol levels and to avoid harmful practices that can lead to their rise. But a healthy diet and lifestyle alone are not enough. The liver also plays a key role here, as this organ is responsible for the metabolism and regulation of cholesterol in the body. In other words, if your liver is overloaded or in poor health, it is very likely that your cholesterol levels are also abnormal.

What causes cholesterol to rise?


Although high cholesterol can be inherited, in most cases, it is the result of an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and some supplements can help reduce high cholesterol. But above all, you need to take care of the health of your liver.


The liver is the largest internal organ in the body, located in the upper right part of the abdomen. It is the main detoxifier of foreign substances in the body, as well as a major regulator of many metabolic processes, including the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. But that's not all - it also serves as a storehouse for glycogen, fat-soluble vitamins, and other important nutrients. Another very important function of the liver is the production and metabolism of cholesterol. Therefore, when normal liver function is impaired, whether due to an unhealthy diet, improper lifestyle, illness, or excessive medication, cholesterol levels also begin to deteriorate.

What does high cholesterol lead to?


Cholesterol in the body is divided into two main types - "good", also known as HD L (High-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol, and "bad", also known as LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol. The two types of cholesterol, taken together, form the total cholesterol in the body, which should not exceed 5 mmol / L. For best results, strive to maintain relatively low levels of LDL cholesterol (below 4 mmol / L) and higher levels of HDL cholesterol (above 1 mmol / L). Experts recommend an LDL: HDL ratio of the order of 4: 1.

High levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of fatty deposits in the blood vessels that transport blood to the heart muscle. On the other hand, too low levels of HDL cholesterol suggest that the body may not be able to clear plaque and other fatty deposits in the arteries. Both conditions (high LDL and low HDL cholesterol) lead to an increased risk of heart disease.


High levels of total cholesterol may be a prerequisite for the development of:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke


What is the relationship between liver function and cholesterol?


Complications with the liver can interfere with its ability to produce or metabolize cholesterol. Both conditions can lead to an increase in "bad" LDL cholesterol and negatively affect your health.


The following pathological conditions of the liver can affect in a way that leads to abnormal cholesterol levels.


  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease - the most common form of liver failure is a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). It affects approximately 25% of the world's population. It is common in people who are overweight or have diabetes 2. The disease is associated with dyslipidemia and unusually high cholesterol levels.
  • Microvesicular steatosis - accumulation of fat in the liver cells due to excessive intake of certain medications or other diseases, such as Ray syndrome, Alpers syndrome or Wallman's disease.
  • Hepatitis - an inflammation of the liver that is often caused by a virus. It is divided into 2 main types - acute hepatitis (lasting less than 6 months) and chronic hepatitis (lasting more than 6 months). There are 5 different hepatitis viruses - A, B, C, D, and E, and only forms B and C can turn into a chronic disease.
  • Cirrhosis - Cirrhosis can prevent the liver from performing its main metabolic functions. The condition is a reaction to a long-term injury to the organ. After hepatitis C, long-term alcohol abuse is the most common cause of cirrhosis.

How to improve the health of your liver?


The liver plays a key role in the digestive system. Everything you consume or drink, including medications and alcohol, goes through it. This organ contributes to the purification of the blood and is responsible for the production of bile, which helps to break down fats.


That is why you should take the necessary care and strive to maintain healthy liver function. Here are some of the best tips for a healthy liver:

  • Limit alcohol intake, as the liver makes great efforts to deal with the toxins found in alcoholic beverages;
  • Stick to a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, and nuts. Drink at least 2 liters of water a day;
  • Reduce consumption of processed and fatty foods, fried foods, sugary and salty foods, and carbonated beverages;
  • Always consult a doctor if you have been prescribed medication about how it would affect your liver;
  • Use protective equipment during intercourse;
  • Never share personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, razors, combs, and more;
  • Be careful with blood collection procedures - make sure you have good hygiene;
  • Wash your hands often and use disinfectant when appropriate;
  • When handling hazardous chemicals such as insecticides, fungicides, paints, and other preparations, always wear a protective mask, gloves, pants, and long-sleeved blouses, as chemicals and toxins can enter your body through the skin;
  • Be physically active and maintain healthy body weight;

Final words


The liver is the body's processing plant. It performs a number of important functions, ranging from the production of protein, bile, and glucose, to the storage of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and cholesterol metabolism. Also, this important organ breaks down toxins, drugs, and natural by-products of metabolism. Keeping the liver in good shape is of paramount importance for the overall health of the body.


To enjoy a healthy liver and optimal cholesterol levels, be physically active, striving to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day; eat healthy, emphasizing vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, and nuts, and avoid fried foods, confectionery, processed meats, and fizzy drinks; maintain a healthy weight with a body mass index between 18.5 - 24.9 kg / m2 and a waist circumference of less than 88 cm if you are a woman and no more than 102 cm if you are a man; drink at least 2 liters of water a day; get a good night's sleep, striving to get at least 8 hours of sleep a day; avoid unnecessary stress and maintain good personal hygiene.


You can see the nutritional supplements we offer for a healthy liver here.

Sources used


Arguello, G., Balboa, E., Arresea, M. and Zanlungo, S., (2015). Recent insights on the role of cholesterol in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Katriina Nemes, at al. (2016). Cholesterol metabolism in cholestatic liver disease and liver transplantation: From molecular mechanisms to clinical implications.

Goldberg, AC (2015). Dyslipidemia.

Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia).


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