Wednesday, 16 December 2009

does taking statins cause alzheimers? - i cant remember

from Tom Naughton at the 'fat head' blog:

"Researchers are only recently discovering that both fat and cholesterol are severely deficient in the Alzheimer’s brain. It turns out that fat and cholesterol are both vital nutrients in the brain. The brain contains only 2% of the body’s mass, but 25% of the total cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential both in transmitting nerve signals and in fighting off infections.

High cholesterol is positively correlated with longevity in people over 85 years old, and has been shown to be associated with better memory function and reduced dementia. The converse is also true: a correlation between falling cholesterol levels and Alzheimer’s.

Put yourself on Lipitor, and we can pretty much guarantee that your cholesterol will fall. That’s the supposed benefit. But …

Yeon-Kyun Shin is an expert on the physical mechanism of cholesterol in the synapse to promote transmission of neural messages. In an interview by a Science Daily reporter, Shin said: “If you deprive cholesterol from the brain, then you directly affect the machinery that triggers the release of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters affect the data-processing and memory functions. In other words — how smart you are and how well you remember things.”

A second way (besides their direct impact on cholesterol) in which statins likely impact Alzheimer’s is in their indirect negative effect on the supply of fatty acids and antioxidants to the brain. It is a given that statins drastically reduce the level of LDL in the blood serum. This is their claim to fame. It is interesting, however, that they succeed in reducing not just the amount of cholesterol contained in the LDL particles, but rather the actual number of LDL particles altogether. This means that, in addition to depleting cholesterol, they reduce the available supply to the brain of both fatty acids and antixodiants, which are also carried in the LDL particles. As we’ve seen, all three of these substances are essential to proper brain functioning.

The bottom line: your body makes cholesterol for a reason. Beat down your cholesterol with a drug, and you’re messing with your biochemistry at the cellular level. Not a good idea."

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