Fat intake not linked to dementia risk

January 21, 2003 in Nutrition Topics in the News

Fat intake not linked to dementia risk

Despite some hints that fat intake may affect the risk of dementia, a new Dutch study has failed to show a link between fats--both the "good" and "bad" types--and mental decline.

But the its authors say it would be "premature" to conclude that cholesterol and fats that affect cholesterol are not related to the risk of dementia.

Several pieces of evidence suggest that fat and cholesterol may influence the risk Alzheimer disease and other forms of dementia.

Animal studies have shown that a high-cholesterol diet increases the build-up of Alzheimer’s-related brain proteins. In addition, some evidence suggests that cholesterol-lowering medications may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.

Also, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) has been shown to battle inflammation. Since inflammation may increase the risk of dementia, these fatty acids, which are found in fish and fish oils, could conceivably cut dementia risk.

Despite these suggestions of a relationship, the current study of more than 5,000 people published in the journal Neurology did not find a link between fat intake and dementia risk.

In the six-year study, which followed elderly participants who did not have dementia, people who ate high levels of total fat, saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol were not more likely to develop dementia than people who ate less fat.

Similarly, people who ate low levels of the type of fatty acids found in fish were not more likely to develop Alzheimer disease or other types of dementia.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.