Can Drugs to Lower Cholesterol Ward Off Alzheimer’s?
© 2005 - Frank Mangano
There has been some news and much controversy lately about the effectiveness of cholesterol lowering drugs in also delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. There are currently about 4.5 million American’s with Alzheimer’s disease and occurrences are expected to rise as baby boomers reach 65. The choice to lower cholesterol or keep certain cholesterol levels high in order to nourish brain cells is where a delicate balancing act and careful thought about the use of prescription drugs is needed.
The biggest clarification that must be made is that some cholesterol is necessary for protecting nerve cells and aides in communication and memory – two factors affected by Alzheimer’s. This is different than blood cholesterol, which in excess clogs the arteries with the waxy substance and can ultimately lead to arteriosclerosis and heart disease. Cholesterol produced by the liver is important in protecting every cell in the body. The cholesterol obtained though diet is what needs to be controlled and reduced if too high.
Statin drugs such as those that make up popular brands like Lipitor, Crestor, or Zocor are often prescribed to lower cholesterol. Some research has shown that by blocking the production of cholesterol with statin drugs or because of their anti-inflammatory effect, the statin drugs used to lower cholesterol may also help reduce dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
More research delved further into the cholesterol Alzheimer’s connection. It indicted that high cholesterol levels could be linked to the late onset of Alzheimer’s. People who carry a variant of the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene referred to as ApoE4 were more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
Genetics aside, high cholesterol’s role in bringing about Alzheimer’s is still in question. Recently, 2,800 healthy people were given statin drugs and monitored for 5 years. Of the group 480 developed dementia and 245 of these developed Alzheimer’s. This is no lower than the number who would normally get Alzheimer’s. The study concluded that either statin drugs do not help or that the treatment must start younger to be effective. Clearly, more research is needed to be conclusive.
To avoid lifelong use of drug therapies and to lower cholesterol naturally, a diet that is low in fat and cholesterol and an exercise program are what is needed to keep both mind and body healthy. Learn about a proven, healthy plan in The 60-Day Prescription Free Cholesterol Cure.
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