Cholesterol in the body

I measured my cholesterol.  It’s a bit high at 5.5mmol/L.  But I was wondering what that means…

So I figured I would run the numbers.

I weigh 73.2kg today.  If you make the assumption that humans are a homogeneous blob and have uniform cholesterol through the body… (which is wrong because we are made up of lots of bones and organs and bits that really don’t have cholesterol) BUT.  If you make that assumption.

And assume that we can just multiply 5.5*73.2 = 402.6mmol of cholesterol in my body.

A quick google, and making some assumptions about the uniformity of the cholesterol molecules in my body; the molecular weight of cholesterol is 386.65 g/mol

A mmol is a millimol or a thousandth of a mol.  So I have 0.4026mols of cholesterol, and simply:

386.65grams per 1 mol, and we have 0.4026 mols, we do some simple rearranging and

386.65/1= X/0.4026  —->  386.65/1  * 0.4026 = X

X = 155.66529g of cholesterol in my body.

The density of cholesterol is 1.05g/cm^3 which means that this amount of cholesterol could fit into…  (155.6529/1.05 = 148.24cm^3)

5^3 = 125 so a 5cm cube, or say – two eggs in size, or maybe a bar of soap.

This also means that if my cholesterol were an ordinary (and probably more healthy) 3mmol/L

3*73.2 = 219.600mmol/1000=0.2196mol *386.65 = 84.908g of cholesterol, or probably a bit closer to one large chicken egg instead of two.

It’s interesting to keep this in mind, in wanting to make progress on chipping away at the bar of soap until I am carrying around a healthy amount of cholesterol.

This also means that an unhealthily high cholesterol.  Of say 13.9mmol/L and a chance of more than 1/5 of a heart attack over the next 10 years, is equivalent to (depending on your body weight – for me – (13.9*73.2 = 1017.48mmol/1000 = 1.01745*386.65 = 393.39g of cholesterol, or the equivalent of a not tiny but also not large sized bible.  Or maybe a large steak.  Maybe two sticks or one tub of butter (depending on the brand).  more than a can of soft drink but less than two cans.

Meta: this took 1.5 hours to write.  I didn’t realise how hard heuristics for certain weights are to find.  No one has ever written a table of them up.  I might get on that shortly.


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