Low HDL cholesterol linked to memory loss

July 2, 2008 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News

Low HDL cholesterol linked to memory loss

Middle-aged adults with low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol may be at higher risk for memory loss that could lead to Alzheimer's disease, say researchers from London, England.

In this new study, approximately 3,700 healthy adults had their blood levels of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats) measured at age 55 and age 60.

Short-term memory was assessed using a 20-word recall test where, after being shown a list of 20 words, the participants had to write down as many as they could remember.

At age 55, people with low blood levels of HDL cholesterol had a 27 percent higher risk of memory loss when compared to those with higher blood levels of HDL cholesterol.

By age 60, risk of memory loss in people with low HDL cholesterol rose to be 53 percent higher than the risk of memory loss in those with high level of the "good" cholesterol.  

The study author says these findings draw attention to the possible role of HDL cholesterol in protecting against memory loss.

High-density lipoprotein, or HDL cholesterol, is called "good" cholesterol because it takes extra cholesterol from the blood to the liver for removal. The higher the HDL cholesterol level, the lower the risk of heart disease.

You can increase your HDL cholesterol by eating fewer saturated fats (red meat, butter and lard) and more mono- and polyunsaturated fats (olive oil, avocado, fish and nuts).

For more tips on how to add foods that increase HDL cholesterol to your diet, check out Leslie Beck's Foods That Fight Disease.

This study was published in the June 30 issue of Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

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.