High LDL-Cholesterol Shown to be an Independent Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s Disease: Large Meta-analysis Study
Source: Brain Science Journal (June 2020)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (August 3, 2022)
As reported in Science on July 21, 2022, drugs created thus far to block the formation of beta-amyloid plaque have proven to be very unsuccessful in preventing or treating Alzheimer’s disease. After commenting on the failed clinical trials using these drugs in the publication Neuroscience News (on August 1, 2022), Dr. Henry Paulson MD, PhD., a professor of neurology who directs the Michigan Alzheimer’s Center stated, “there’s plenty of evidence that middle-aged and older adults who want to reduce their risk of dementia or slow its onset, should focus on healthy habits like sleep, nutrition, exercise, social engagement, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.
The role of lifelong education and learning—whether informal or formal—is also clear”. He was making the point that we are caught up in trying to find a drug to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s, which still looks like it is many years down the road, and we often neglect the clearcut evidence showing that a person’s day-to-day diet and lifestyle are critically important in determining risk for Alzheimer’s disease in many cases. To that end, a large 2020 meta-analysis study, published in the journal Brain Science, showed that when you combine all the available evidence you see that people who have high total cholesterol and especially high LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) blood levels are at much higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. As they indicated, high LDL cholesterol should be considered an independent risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease development. Presumably, high LDL cholesterol increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease by clogging arteries in the brain, as well as the carotid arteries, and may have brain inflammatory properties.
In their concluding remarks the researchers stated, “cholesterol is a modifiable risk factor, so if (health) professionals know the relationship between cholesterol and AD (Alzheimer’s disease), they could try to modify cholesterol levels to help to reduce AD risk. This study provides empirical evidence for the reduction of LDL-C levels through the promotion of healthy lifestyles (such as diet, weight control or physical activity) and/or the prescription of different medical treatments.” My recommendation is first to know your blood LDL-cholesterol level. If it is above 2.0 mmol/L (77 mg/dl) then you should work harder to keep cholesterol-raising foods out of your diet, which are foods high in saturated fat, trans-fats, deep-fried foods, and breaded foods, for the most part. In fact, even if your cholesterol levels are good, avoiding these foods has other benefits to your health, such that everyone should strive to avoid or minimize their intake.
I have included the scientific references for this information in the text below.
1. Science: https://www.science.org/content/article/potential-fabrication-research-images-threatens-key-theory-alzheimers-disease
2. Neuroscience News: https://neurosciencenews.com/alzheimers-wrong-ab-21156/
3. Saiz-Vazquez O, et al. Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease risk: A Meta-Meta-Analysis. Brain Sci. 2020; 10(6). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7349210/
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.