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Cholesterol Formula

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  • Last Updated : 30 Sep, 2022
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Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is also known as cholesterin or cholesteryl alcohol. It is an organic compound that belongs to the steroid family and is a type of lipid. It is found in blood plasma and all animal tissues and can be found in large concentrations within the liver, spinal cord, and brain. It is a white or faintly yellow and almost odourless crystalline solid that has a molecular formula of C27H46O. It is an important part of the cell membrane and also a component of bile salt. To maintain a person’s health, the body needs cholesterol in limited amounts. The term “cholesterol” is derived from ancient Greek words “chole” and “stereos” which means “bile” and “solid” respectively and -ol for alcohol. Around 80% of the cholesterol required for the body is naturally produced by the liver and intestines, we can also consume it from different foods like poultry, eggs, dairy products, fish, and meat.

Types of Cholesterol

Cholesterol is classified into two types, namely, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Consuming too much LDL cholesterol may lead to an increase in the chance of heart disease, so it is regarded as “bad” cholesterol. On the other hand, having high amounts of HDL cholesterol is advantageous for the body, so it is regarded as “good” cholesterol.

High-density Lipoprotein (HDL)

The level of HDL cholesterol should be above 40 mg/dL. HDL brings down the level of cholesterol in the blood by transporting cholesterol back to the liver, which helps prevent the cholesterol from being deposited in arteries. So, having higher levels of HDL cholesterol reduces the risk of heart attack and heart disease.

Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL)

The majority of the cholesterol in the body is LDL. An increase in the quantity of LDL in the blood leads to an increase in the risk of heart attack or stroke as LDL builds up in the walls of the blood vessels, causing them to narrow and stiffen, thus blocking blood flow. The level of LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dL.

Structure of Cholesterol

The molecular formula of cholesterol is C27H46O, i.e., it consists of 27 carbon atoms, 46 hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom. It is a cholestanoid with cholestane, which has a double bond at the 5,6-position as well as a 3-beta-hydroxy group. It has a unique bulky steroid structure made up of four linked hydrocarbon rings, a hydrocarbon tail, and a hydroxyl group, where the four hydrocarbon rings are joined together in the middle of the compound with a hydrocarbon tail attached to one end and the hydroxyl group attached to the other end.

Cholesterol structure

Cholesterol structure

Properties of Cholesterol

Chemical formula  C27H46
IUPAC name  Cholest-5-en-3β-ol  
Molecular mass  386.65 g/mol 
Appearance White crystalline powder 
Odour Nearly odourless
Density 1.052 g/cm3
Melting point 148 to 150 °C 
Boiling point  360 °C
Flash point  209.3 ±12.4 °C
Solubility in water   0.095 mg/L (at 30 °C)
Solubility soluble in acetone, benzene, chloroform, ethanol, ether, hexane, isopropyl myristate, methanol 
Hydrogen Bond Donor Count 1
Hydrogen Bond Acceptor Count 1
Rotatable Bond Count  5

Functions of Cholesterol

  • About 30% of all animal cell membranes are made of cholesterol. It is necessary for building and maintaining membranes. It changes the fluid in the membrane, which may impact the internal cell environment and is necessary for building and maintaining membranes. It also promotes transportation inside the cell.
  • Cholesterol is a major precursor for the synthesis of various steroid hormones and also adrenal gland hormones like cortisol and aldosterone, vitamin D in the calcium metabolism, and sex hormones such as progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone.
  • It also plays an important role in the immune system and brain synapses.
  • Cholesterol is a component of bile salt and is oxidized by the liver into a variety of bile acids. It also helps the digestive system absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

FAQs on Cholesterol Formula

Question 1: What is meant by cholesterol and what is its molecular formula?

Answer:

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is also known as cholesterin or cholesteryl alcohol. It is an organic compound that belongs to the steroid family and is a type of lipid. It is a white or faintly yellow and almost odorless solid that has a molecular formula of C27H46O.

Question 2: What are the different types of Cholesterol?

Answer:

Cholesterol is classified into two types, namely, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Consuming too much LDL cholesterol may lead to an increase in the chance of heart disease, so it is regarded as “bad” cholesterol. On the other hand, having high amounts of HDL cholesterol is advantageous for the body, so it is regarded as “good” cholesterol.

Question 3: Where does cholesterol come from?

Answer:

To maintain a person’s health, the body needs cholesterol in limited amounts. Around 80% of the cholesterol required for the body is naturally produced by the liver and intestines, we can also consume it from different foods like poultry, eggs, dairy products, fish, and meat.

Question 4: Mention some functions of cholesterol.

Answer:

Cholesterol is a major precursor for the synthesis of various steroid hormones like cortisol and cortisone, vitamin D, and also reproductive system hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. It also plays an important role in the immune system and brain synapses.

Question 5: Explain the structure of cholesterol.

Answer:

The molecular formula of cholesterol is C27H46O, i.e., it consists of 27 carbon atoms, 46 hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom. It is a cholestanoid with cholestane, which has a double bond at the 5,6-position as well as a 3-beta-hydroxy group. It has a unique bulky steroid structure made up of four linked hydrocarbon rings, a hydrocarbon tail, and a hydroxyl group, where the four hydrocarbon rings are joined together in the middle of the compound with a hydrocarbon tail attached to one end and the hydroxyl group attached to the other end.

Question 6: Mention some properties of cholesterol.

Answer:

Cholesterol is a white or faintly yellow and almost odorless solid that has a molecular formula of C27H46O. Its molar mass is 386.65 g/mol, while its density is 1.052 g/cm3. It is soluble in acetone, benzene, chloroform, ethanol, ether, hexane, isopropyl myristate, and methanol. Its melting point ranges from 148 to 150 °C, and its boiling point is 360 °C.

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