Difference Between Sterol and Steroid

Sterol and Steroid are among the organic compounds of biochemistry, which enable the human body to withstand the changes of external and internal climates and ultimately survive and produce offspring for the propagation of the species. As the naming convention suggests there are common links between the two groups and these will be described in some detail in the following paragraphs. The similarities and the dissimilarities will be discussed in respect to the biochemical structure, the presence and the function in organs and systems, as well as the final outcome of these structures.


Steroid is present in animal and plant life alike, and the commonest presentation of steroids are the, dietary fat cholesterols, sex hormones, corticosteroids secreted by the adrenal glands, and the drugs like dexamethasone, predisolone, etc. Finally these compounds are secreted through the billiary system after being metabolized by the liver. Hormones derived from steroids are known as steroid hormones, and these include the sex hormones, which control the sexual maturation, secondary sexual characteristics, ovulation, and maintenance of pregnant state, hormones controlling the water and ion levels of the body, or the mineralocorticoids and hormones controlling the bio rhythm, and the energy levels of the body or the glucocorticoids. Also, in the category of steroids are the infamous anabolic steroids, which contribute in building muscle mass. But, the use of exogenous steroids come at a price of some times irreversible side effect, and lead to morbid life events.


Sterols are a subgroup of steroids and an important form of bio molecule. They are present in all kinds of life forms, from plants, to animals to fungi. The most familiar form of animal sterol is cholesterol, and this is important in cellular functions, as a precursor to fat soluble vitamins, and as the building component of steroids. So, being a base component of steroids, it is also responsible for the same outcome as the steroids in its metabolic functions, outcome, and the probable adverse effects, if used excessively. Sterols are also important as it forms component needed for maintaining the fluidity of the cellular membrane, and also act as a second messenger to communication intracellularly.

Difference Between Sterol and Steroid

As sterols are a precursor for steroids, both can be considered to have similar outcomes and effects on the human body. These include from the cholesterol molecule to the sex hormones to the glucocorticoids to the anti inflammatory drugs like dexamethasone. Also the anabolic steroids are of the same category as well. Sterols are different in the sense that they are required to keep the fluidity of cells and secondary signaling, which the steroids are not a part of.

So the similarities between these two outweigh the dissimilarities, and we should consider sterols as a component of steroid thus providing us with the effects of steroids that we normally see.