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High cholesterol raises Alzheimer’s risk, study says

August 25, 2009 by  

High cholesterol raises Alzheimer's risk, study says According to new research, those who neglect elevated cholesterol levels during midlife significantly increase their risk of developing neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia.

Scientists from Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research and the University of Kuopio in Finland analyzed data on 10,000 individuals spanning a period of 40 years. They found those with cholesterol levels higher than 240 milligrams per deciliter of blood had a 66 percent greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Even those with only slightly elevated cholesterol (200 – 239 mg/dL) increased their risk by 52 percent.

The study’s senior author Dr. Rachel Whitmer calls it an early risk factor for dementia and says it can be modified through lifestyle changes.

She adds that almost 100 million Americans have either high or borderline cholesterol levels.

In addition to regular exercise, proper diet can lead to lower cholesterol. Specifically, health practitioners have recommended eliminating processed and red meats from the diet and replacing them with fish high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon or mackerel.

Fish oil is also available in the form of nutritional supplements.

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  • Tom Petrie

    A sufficient intake of vitamin C reduces the synthesis of cholesterol by the liver and, thereby, reduces serum cholesterol levels. This ability of ascorbic acid to reduce cholesterol levels was reported in 1971 by C.R. Spittle, R.O. Mumma and coworkers. Spittle found that blood cholesterol levels would vary as the intake of ascorbic acid varied. When intake of ascorbic acid levels increased, cholesterol went down and visa versa. She suggested “that atherosclerosis is a long-term deficiency (or negative balance) of vitamin C which permits cholesterol levels to build up in the arterial system and results in changes in other fractions of the fats.”
    Another study, reported in 1986 by Dr. J. Harwood and associates, showed that as vitamin C intake increased, so too did cholesterol production decrease. In other words, vitamin C is a natural statin. However, unlike statin drugs, vitamin C produces no side effects and is, for less than $10.00 per month, inexpensive.

    In other words, looking at the cholesterol level is like looking at the SYMPTOM! The more important question—that these researchers did NOT ask is this: WHY was the cholesterol high in the first place? Insufficient vitamin C has long been linked with heart disease and elevated cholesterol. The fact that researchers have ignored this ridiculously SIMPLE fact, doesn’t change it! In his groundbreaking book, “Nutrition Against Disease”, Dr. Irwin Stone essentially stated that heart disease is a “vitamin C deficiency disease.” Too bad there’s no money in it, or we’d not be just looking at correlations of high cholesterol and A.D. So what if someone’s cholesterol is high? I want to know WHY it’s high and it’s most certainly related to insufficient intake of anti-oxidants (like vitamin C and vitamin E) AND too high an intake of oxidative agents. It is THESE problems that cause the increased production of cholesterol! Remember, the body spends some 38 molecules of ATP to make one molecule of cholesterol—it’s THAT important! We don’t spend that much energy making a molecule unless it’s serving a useful purpose! “Patching” the damage to the arteries caused by a low vitamin C diet—well, that’s one purpose of the extra cholesterol. Too bad the researchers didn’t know of the early work of vitamin C (and also vitamin E), going back over 50 years.

    Tom, Nutritionist, Spring Valley, NY

    (See: Spittle, C, Atherosclerosis and Vitamin C, Lancet, (1971) 11:1280-1281; See also: HJ Harwood Jr, YJ Greene and PW Stacpoole; Inhibition of human leukocyte 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase activity by ascorbic acid. An effect mediated by the free radical monodehydroascorbate.; J. Biol. Chem., Vol. 261, Issue 16, 7127-7135, 06, 1986)


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