Overview of Cholesterol and the Gut

Fascinating paper about how a bacterium converts cholesterol to a different chemical that isn’t reabsorbed by the body.

Cholesterol-to-Coprostanol Conversion by the Gut Microbiota: What We Know, Suspect, and Ignore



Every day, up to 1 g of cholesterol, composed of the unabsorbed dietary cholesterol, the biliary cholesterol secretion, and cholesterol of cells sloughed from the intestinal epithelium, enters the colon. All cholesterol arriving in the large intestine can be metabolized by the colonic bacteria. Cholesterol is mainly converted into coprostanol, a non-absorbable sterol that is excreted in the feces. Interestingly, cholesterol-to-coprostanol conversion in human populations is variable, with a majority of high converters and a minority of low or inefficient converters. Two major pathways have been proposed, one involving the direct stereospecific reduction of the Δ5 double bond direct while the indirect pathway involves the intermediate formation of 4-cholelesten-3-one and coprostanone. Despite the fact that intestinal cholesterol conversion was discovered more than a century ago, only a few cholesterol-to-coprostanol-converting bacterial strains have been isolated and characterized. Moreover, the responsible genes were mainly unknown until recently. Interestingly, cholesterol-to-coprostanol conversion is highly regulated by the diet. Finally, this gut bacterial metabolism has been linked to health and disease, and recent evidence suggests it could contribute to lower blood cholesterol and cardiovascular risks.

Keywords: cholesterol, coprostanol, gut microbiome, intestine, bile acids, feces

Diet Update:

I have been failing to use the pre-meal measurement technique. It’s just hard to implement, for some reason. However, my measurements are dropping a bit because I’ve cut carbs down, and I am doing some metering.

I’ve also restarted using Poundaweek. Not so much actually using it, but staring at the icon on my phone.

My weight stabilized and fluctuates around 200 lbs.