Pronunciation: kō′lik as′id
Definition: A family of steroids comprising the bile acids (or salts), generally in conjugated form (glycocholic and taurocholic acids). Chemically, cholic acids are cholan-24-oic (cholanic) acids (the terminal C24 of cholane becoming a —COOH group); biologically, cholic acids are derived from cholesterol (a cholestane derivative) and display varying degrees of oxidation (OH groups) and orientation at positions 3, 7, and 12. It is these oxidations and orientations that distinguish the several cholic acid; cholic acid is 3α,7α,12α-trihydroxy-5β-cholan-24-oic acid, and deoxycholic acid is 3α,12α-dihydroxy-5β-cholanic acid. Cholic acid is a naturally occurring detergent in mammals that aids in the digestion of fats.