Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is produced in the liver. It has developed a poor reputation recently due to its ability, when consumed in excess, to lead to arterial plaque build-up and heart disease. While high cholesterol levels are dangerous, some amount of cholesterol is essential for health. It is a necessary component of every cell in the body, is a building block for reproductive hormones and bile salts, protects nerve cells from toxins and heavy metals, and converts vitamin D into its usable form, to name a few of its essential uses. However, when cholesterol levels rise too high the body cannot rid it at a sufficient rate, and the cholesterol hardens and settles in the walls of blood vessels, causing arteriosclerosis and eventually heart disease. Herbal and natural therapies help optimize fat digestion and metabolism, support and strengthen cardiovascular function, and balance hormones and stress levels.