Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Access
  • Cited by 20
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Alphonse, Peter A. S. and Jones, Peter J. H. 2016. Revisiting Human Cholesterol Synthesis and Absorption: The Reciprocity Paradigm and its Key Regulators. Lipids, Vol. 51, Issue. 5, p. 519.

    Miremadi, Fatemeh Sherkat, Frank and Stojanovska, Lily 2016. Hypocholesterolaemic effect and anti-hypertensive properties of probiotics and prebiotics: A review. Journal of Functional Foods, Vol. 25, p. 497.

    Pallebage-Gamarallage, Menuka Takechi, Ryusuke Lam, Virginie Elahy, Mina and Mamo, John 2016. Pharmacological modulation of dietary lipid-induced cerebral capillary dysfunction: Considerations for reducing risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Vol. 53, Issue. 3, p. 166.

    Rhee, Eun-Jung 2016. Dietary Cholesterol Intake and Serum Cholesterol Concentration: Can We Eat Eggs without Limitation?. The Journal of Korean Diabetes, Vol. 17, Issue. 2, p. 73.

    Younossi, Zobair M. Stepanova, Maria Estep, Michael Negro, Francesco Clark, Paul J. Hunt, Sharon Song, Qinghua Paulson, Matthew Stamm, Luisa M. Brainard, Diana M. Subramanian, G. Mani McHutchison, John G. and Patel, Keyur 2016. Dysregulation of distal cholesterol biosynthesis in association with relapse and advanced disease in CHC genotype 2 and 3 treated with sofosbuvir and ribavirin. Journal of Hepatology, Vol. 64, Issue. 1, p. 29.

    Kieffer, A.J. and Walzem, R.L. 2015. Handbook of eggs in human function.

    Lim, Whasun Bae, Hyocheol Sohn, Ji Yang Jeong, Wooyoung Kim, Sae Hun and Song, Gwonhwa 2015. Dietary cholesterol affects expression of prostatic acid phosphatase in reproductive organs of male rats. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol. 456, Issue. 1, p. 421.

    Martin, Jean-Charles and Aidoud, Nacima 2015. Faut-il enrichir les laits infantiles avec du cholestérol ?. Cahiers de Nutrition et de Diététique, Vol. 50, Issue. 4, p. 215.

    Mc Auley, Mark T. and Mooney, Kathleen M. 2015. Computationally Modeling Lipid Metabolism and Aging: A Mini-review. Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal, Vol. 13, p. 38.

    Paalvast, Yared Kuivenhoven, Jan Albert and Groen, Albert K. 2015. Evaluating computational models of cholesterol metabolism. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids, Vol. 1851, Issue. 10, p. 1360.

    Miremadi, Fatemeh Ayyash, Mutamed Sherkat, Frank and Stojanovska, Lily 2014. Cholesterol reduction mechanisms and fatty acid composition of cellular membranes of probiotic Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Journal of Functional Foods, Vol. 9, p. 295.

    2014. Lipids.

    2014. Molecules That Amaze Us.

    Amir, Dorsa and Fessler, Daniel M. T. 2013. Boots for Achilles: Progesterone's Reduction of Cholesterol Is a Second-Order Adaptation. The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 88, Issue. 2, p. 97.

    Giangreco, Francesco Yamamoto, Eiji Hirano, Yoshinori Hodoscek, Milan Knecht, Volker di Giosia, Matteo Calvaresi, Matteo Zerbetto, Francesco Yasuoka, Kenji Narumi, Tetsu and Yasui, Masato 2013. Common Force Field Thermodynamics of Cholesterol. The Scientific World Journal, Vol. 2013, p. 1.

    Griffin, John D. and Lichtenstein, Alice H. 2013. Dietary Cholesterol and Plasma Lipoprotein Profiles: Randomized Controlled Trials. Current Nutrition Reports, Vol. 2, Issue. 4, p. 274.

    Hagenbuch, Bruno and Stieger, Bruno 2013. The SLCO (former SLC21) superfamily of transporters. Molecular Aspects of Medicine, Vol. 34, Issue. 2-3, p. 396.

    Lahti, Leo Salonen, Anne Kekkonen, Riina A. Salojärvi, Jarkko Jalanka-Tuovinen, Jonna Palva, Airi Orešič, Matej and de Vos, Willem M. 2013. Associations between the human intestinal microbiota,Lactobacillus rhamnosusGG and serum lipids indicated by integrated analysis of high-throughput profiling data. PeerJ, Vol. 1, p. e32.

    Roopchand, Diana Rojo, Leonel Ribnicky, David and Raskin, Ilya 2013. Anthocyanins in Health and Disease.

    Gershkovich, Pavel Sivak, Olena Contreras-Whitney, Susana Darlington, Jerald W. and Wasan, Kishor M. 2012. Assessment of Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors Nanostructured Aluminosilicate and Cholestyramine Using In Vitro Lipolysis Model. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol. 101, Issue. 1, p. 291.


Dietary cholesterol: from physiology to cardiovascular risk

  • Jean-Michel Lecerf (a1) and Michel de Lorgeril (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 09 March 2011

Dietary cholesterol comes exclusively from animal sources, thus it is naturally present in our diet and tissues. It is an important component of cell membranes and a precursor of bile acids, steroid hormones and vitamin D. Contrary to phytosterols (originated from plants), cholesterol is synthesised in the human body in order to maintain a stable pool when dietary intake is low. Given the necessity for cholesterol, very effective intestinal uptake mechanisms and enterohepatic bile acid and cholesterol reabsorption cycles exist; conversely, phytosterols are poorly absorbed and, indeed, rapidly excreted. Dietary cholesterol content does not significantly influence plasma cholesterol values, which are regulated by different genetic and nutritional factors that influence cholesterol absorption or synthesis. Some subjects are hyper-absorbers and others are hyper-responders, which implies new therapeutic issues. Epidemiological data do not support a link between dietary cholesterol and CVD. Recent biological data concerning the effect of dietary cholesterol on LDL receptor-related protein may explain the complexity of the effect of cholesterol on CVD risk.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Dietary cholesterol: from physiology to cardiovascular risk
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Dietary cholesterol: from physiology to cardiovascular risk
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Dietary cholesterol: from physiology to cardiovascular risk
      Available formats
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Dr J.-M. Lecerf, fax +33 3 20 87 72 96, email
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

2 TP Carr & FD Jesch (2006) Food components that reduce cholesterol absorption. Adv Food Nutr Res 51, 165204.

3JK Kruit , J Ploscht , R Havinga , (2005) Increased fecal neutral sterol loss upon liver X receptor activation is independant of biliary sterol secretion in mice. Gastroenterology 128, 147156.

6 PA Dawson & LL Rudel (1999) Intestinal cholesterol absorption. Curr Opin Lipidol 10, 315320.

7 H Hauser , JH Dyer , A Nandy , (1998) Identification of a receptor mediating absorption of dietary cholesterol in the intestine. Biochemistry 37, 1784317850.

8 DQ Wang & MC Carey (2002) Susceptibility to murine cholesterol gallstone formation is not affected by partial disruption of the HDL receptor SR-B1. Biochim Biophys Acta 1583, 141150.

9SW Altmann , HR Davis , LJ Zhu , (2004) Niemman-Pick C1 like protein is critical for intestinal cholesterol absorption. Science 303, 12011204.

10 EJ Smart , RA Derose & SA Farber (2004) Annexin 2 caveolin 1 complex is a target of ezetimibe and regulates intestinal cholesterol transport. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101, 34503455.

11 RE Ostlund (2007) Phytosterols, cholesterol absorption and healthy diets. Lipids 42, 4145.

12J Plat & RP Mensink (2005) Plant stanol and sterol esters in the control of blood cholesterol levels: mechanism and safety aspects. Am J Cardiol 96, Suppl., 15D22D.

13T Plōsch , T Kok , VW Bloks , (2002) Increased hepato-biliary and fecal cholesterol excretion upon activation of the liver X receptor is independent of ABCA1. J Biol Chem 277, 3387033877.

16 J Pedro-Botet , EJ Schaefer , RG Bakker-Arrema , (2001) Apolipoprotein E genotype affects plasma lipid response to atorvastatin in a gender specific manner. Atherosclerosis 158, 183193.

17 F Lammert & DQ Wang (2005) New insights into the genetic regulation on intestinal cholesterol absorption. Gastroenterology 129, 718734.

19T Sudhop , D Lütjohann , A Kodal , (2002) Inhibition of intestinal absorption by ezetimibe in humans. Circulation 106, 19431948.

20 JJ Clarenbach , M Reber , D Lütjohann , (2006) The lipid lowering effect of ezetimibe in pure vegetarians. J Lipid Res 47, 28202824.

21 DQH Wang (2002) Aging per se is an independant risk factor for gallstone formation in gallstone susceptible mice. J Lipid Res 43, 19501959.

32F Kern (1991) Normal plasma cholesterol of an 88 year old man who eats 25 eggs a day. Mechanisms of adaptation. N Engl J Med 324, 896897.

34 J Edington , R Geekie , R Carter , (1987) Effect of dietary cholesterol on plasma cholesterol concentration in subjects following reduced fat, high fibre diet. Br Med J 294, 333336.

35 CJ Fielding , RJ Havel , KM Todd , (1995) Effects of dietary cholesterol and fat saturation on plasma lipoproteins in an ethnically diverse population of healthy young men. J Clin Invest 95, 6168.

38HN Ginsberg , W Karmally , M Siddiqui , (1995) Increases in dietary cholesterol are associated with modest increases in both LDL and HDL cholesterol in healthy young women. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 15, 169178.

41 WHF Sutherland , MJ Ball & H Walker (1997) The effect of increased egg consumption on plasma cholesteryl ester transfer activity in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr 51, 172176.

42 DJ Rader (2007) Illuminating HDL – is it still a viable therapeutic target? N Engl J Med 357, 21802183.

43JM Ordovas & EJ Schaeffer (1999) Genes, variation of cholesterol and fat intake and serum lipids. Curr Opin Lipidol 10, 1522.

45 H Gylling , T Strandberg & R Tilvis (1994) Regulation of serum cholesterol level in middle-aged and elderly men. Relation of cholesterol absorption and synthesis to lipoprotein metabolism. Arterioscler Thromb 14, 694700.

48PJH Jones , AS Pappu , L Hatcher , (1996) Dietary cholesterol feeding suppresses human cholesterol synthesis measured by deuterium incorporation and urinary mevalonic acid levels. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Dis 16, 12221228.

50 H Gylling & TA Miettinen (2002) Inheritance of cholesterol metabolism of probands with high or low cholesterol absorption. J Lipid Res 43, 14721476.

54 WAE Aitken , WAH Chisolma , AW Duncan , (2006) Variation in the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) gene does not influence individual plasma cholesterol response to changes in the nature of dietary fat. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 16, 353363.

56 SA Ritchie & JMC Connell (2007) The link between abdominal obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 17, 319326.

57H Gylling & TA Miettinen (2005) Cholesterol absorption: influence of body weight and the role of plant sterols. Curr Atherosclerosis Rep 7, 466467.

58 S Lamon-Fava , MR Diffenderfer , PH Barrett , (2007) Effects of different doses of atovastatin on human apolipoprotein B-100, B48, and A1 metabolism. J Lipid Res 48, 17481753.

60M Hedman , TA Miettinen , H Gylling , (2006) Serum noncholesterol sterols in children with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia undergoing pravastatin therapy. J Pediatr 148, 241246.

61TA Miettinen & H Gylling (2002) Ineffective decrease cholesterol by simvastatin in a subgroup of hypercholesterolemic coronary patients. Atherosclerosis 164, 147152.

62TA Miettinen , TE Strandberg & H Gylling (2000) Noncholesterol sterols and cholesterol lowering by long-term simvastatin treatment in coronary patients: relation to basal serum cholestanol. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 20, 13401346.

63 TA Miettinen , H Gylling , T Strandberg , (1998) Baseline serum cholestanol as predictor of recurrent coronary events in subgroup of Scandinavian simvastatin survival study. BMJ 316, 11271130.

64K Kajinami , ME Brousseau , C Nartsupha , (2004) ATP binding cassette transporter G5 and G8 genotypes and plasma lipoprotein levels before and after treatment with atorvastatin. J Lipid Res 45, 653656.

65 JM Lecerf (2007) Phytosterols and cardiovascular risk. Nutr Clin Metab 21, 1727.

66SG Lakoski , F Xu , GL Vega , (2010) Indices of cholesterol metabolism and relative responsiveness to ezetimibe and simvastatin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 95, 800809.

67 P Boucher , M de Lorgeril , P Salen , (1998) Effect of dietary cholesterol on LDL-receptor, HMGCoA reductase and LRP mRNA expression in healthy humans. Lipids 33, 11771186.

68RB Shekelle , A Mac Millan Shryock , O Paul , (1981) Diet, serum cholesterol and death from CHD – The Western Electric Study. N Engl J Med 304, 6570.

72 FB Hu , MJ Stampfer , EB Rimm , (1999) A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. JAMA 281, 13871394.

75GH Gyllin , DE Laaksonen , M Atalay , (2007) Markers of absorption and synthesis of cholesterol in men with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Metab Res Rev 23, 372377.

76TA Miettinen , H Gylling , J Tuominen , (2004) Low synthesis and high absorption of cholesterol characterize type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care 27, 5358.

79 U Ravnskov , PJ Rosch , MC Sutter , (2006) Should we lower cholesterol as much as possible? BMJ 332, 13301332.

81 P Boucher , M Gotthardt , WP Li , (2003) LRP: role in vascular wall integrity and protection from atherosclerosis. Science 300, 329332.

82SM Espirito Santo , NM Pires , LS Boesten , (2004) Hepatic LRP deficiency in mice increases atherosclerosis independent of plasma cholesterol. Blood 103, 37773782.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *