The War On Cholesterol

The War On Cholesterol

The war on cholesterol has been waged for
the past couple of decades, because cholesterol is obvisouly something very terrible. We’ve
got to eliminate cholesterol in our foods and lower our blood levels of cholesterol
to the lowest possible levels because if we don’t something terrible is going to happen. Well, that’s not exactly true. It turns out
that lower cholesterol levels are strongly associated with increased risk for becoming
demented. Again, the lower the cholesterol, the higher the risk for becoming a demented
person. Let’s have a look at some science. This is a study from the Journal of Neurology
that correlates the levels of cholesterol with the risk of becoming demented. Entitled,
“High total cholesterol levels in late life associated with reduced risk of dementia,”
meaning that cholesterol is very protective over the brain. It’s a study of close to 400
individuals, aged 70 years or older, who were not on cholesterol treatment. They were examined
over an 18 year period of time, and they had 6 different evaluations. They looked at these
individuals after they had measured their cholesterol levels at the very first visit.
So in other words, 6 times during the 18 year period they had measurements of their brain
function, and they correlated this to their level of cholesterol at the beginning. What you’ll notice here in this graph is that
those individuals with the highest cholesterol at age 70 years had a 69% reduction for being
demented. At age 76 years, those individuals with the highest cholesterol were at an 80%
reduced risk for becoming demented. Those individuals by age 79 years who had
the highest levels of cholesterol had a 55% reduced risk for becoming demented. This is
very powerful information. We’ve got to understand that cholesterol is our friend. If you look
at this slide you’ll realize that cholesterol is the precursor to our steroid hormones,
things like cortisol, estrogen, testosterone and even vitamin D. That cholesterol provides
structural integrity and fluidity to the cell membranes, including brain cells, the neurons.
That cholesterol is important for neurotransmission, basically how the brain works, and it’s actually
a neuronal antioxidant, meaning it protects the brain. Now we often hear about so called bad cholesterol,
or LDL. And it’s intestesting to note that studies have demonstrated that in Parkinson’s
disease, risk of Parkinson’s disease is actually much increased in those individuals who have
the lowest levels of so called bad LDL, or bad cholesterol. And finally, I’d like just to look at the
risk of death—the risk of becoming a dead person—and in this study from the Lancet entitled,
“Total cholesterol and risk of mortality in the oldest old,” meaning annualized risk of
death in these individuals 85 years or older who were followed for 5 years. Looking at
the lowest, meaning less than 193 in cholesterol, compared to the highest meaning 248. And just
look at this graph. In terms of who dies basically. Those individuals with the highest cholesterol
have a 48% reduced risk of dying during the course of this study. So I think it’s very important that we reframe
our understanding of cholesterol, and understand that it plays a vital roll in health and longevity,
especially as it relates to brain and brain function. It’s really important that we take
a step back and stop castigating cholesterol. It’s actually very, very important for health. I’m Doctor David Perlmutter.

4 Replies to “The War On Cholesterol

  1. This is amazing news, I am passing it around to all I know.  If one looks up cholesterol medications, one side effect is memory loss.

  2. How low is too low. My overall rate is 189  with no medication, but my husband's rate is only 97 and he is on statin drugs. Isn't that dangerously low? His doctors don't seem to realize it.

  3. Great to see he was right, and now the Gov't is going to take eggs off the "most unwanted" list… Along with other foods higher in cholesterol.   Now if they would only change their thinking on saturated fats.

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