What is serum cholesterol?

Information about cholesterol can sometimes come hand in hand with baffling terminology. Believe it or not, most of these terms actually have a pretty simple explanation. So what about ‘serum cholesterol levels’? To help you understand this term a little better, we’ve collected answers to the key questions below.

What does serum mean?

‘Serum’ is simply a medical term for one component of blood. In medicine, many different bodily markers are measured in terms of how much is in the serum portion of the blood. So when you hear ‘serum’ anything, it just means how much is in that part of the blood.

So, what is serum cholesterol?

The total serum cholesterol level is the amount of cholesterol in the blood. So when people talk about getting their cholesterol checked or finding out their cholesterol levels, they are usually referring to serum cholesterol levels.

What should your normal serum cholesterol levels be?

So what should total serum cholesterol actually be? The NHS recommendation is 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults, or 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk of developing heart disease*.

Within total serum cholesterol, there are a few measurements that give a more detailed view of whether your cholesterol levels are okay.

How to reduce serum cholesterol levels

There are simple changes you can make to reduce your serum cholesterol levels:

  • Replace saturated fat in the diet with unsaturated fat**.
  • Eat foods with added plant sterols, like those in the ProActiv range***.

In addition to this, it’s important to have a healthy diet and lifestyle overall:

  • Have a balanced diet, with plenty of variety and sufficient fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoid unhealthy habits, like smoking and drinking in excess.
  • Have an active lifestyle.

Like some help? Sign up for our cholesterol lowering starter kit! It’s completely free, and is a great way to get started on your cholesterol lowering journey. Good luck!



* High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. As coronary heart disease has many risk factors, more than one may need to be improved to reduce overall risk, and individual results may vary.

** Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in the diet has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. There are many risk factors for coronary heart disease and it is important to take care of all of them to reduce the overall risk of it.

***A daily intake of 1.5 – 2.4g sterols can lower cholesterol by 7 – 10% in 2 – 3 weeks as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle including plenty of fruits and vegetables. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. As coronary heart disease has many risk factors, more than one may need to be improved to reduce overall risk, and individual results may vary.

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