Bile Acid Synthesis

The enterohepatic circulation of bile acids is essential for fat and cholesterol digestion and absorption. Each day, the bile acid pool (approximately 3-5 g) cycles through the intestine 6-10 times. The absorption of bile acids by the ileum is very effective and 98 or 99% of bile acids secreted in the bile are returned to the liver via the portal vein. The small amount of bile acids lost each day as fecal acidic steroids are replaced through the conversion of hepatic cholesterol to the primary bile acids, cholic acid and chenodeoxycholic acid. This catabolism of cholesterol can be as little as 250 mg per day up to 500 mg per day depending on the diet. The bile acids represent the only major cata-bolic product of cholesterol metabolism and in humans account for approximately 25-30% of the daily loss of cholesterol from the body.

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