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Is Your Brain Made Of Cholesterol

Five Measures Of Total Cholesterol Over Time

Is Your Brain Really Made of FAT?

For their analysis, the researchers examined data on 1,897 participants from the Framingham Heart Study, all of whom had healthy cognitive function when they entered the study.

They investigated associations between total cholesterol levels and incidences of marked cognitive decline that emerged during the decades of follow-up as the participants progressed through their middle and later years of life.

The researchers used five time-dependent measures of total cholesterol. These were:

  • average at age 40
  • average at age 77
  • average since age 40
  • whether the level went up or down
  • whether any change in level slowed down or sped up

The results showed that some of the measures were predictive of a higher risk of marked cognitive decline.

However, the study authors also found that ome associations of cholesterol with cognition diminish as outcome age increases, and that n the oldest-old, some relationships reverse from younger elderly samples.

More specifically, they found that among the cognitively healthy members of the group aged 8594, having had a high total cholesterol level in midlife was linked to a reduced risk of marked cognitive decline.

Why Cholesterol Matters For Women

Reviewed By:

Erin Donnelly Michos, M.D., M.H.S.

Ah, cholesterol and triglycerides. We hear about them all the time. Even foods that might seem good for you on the surface, like fruit-filled yogurt or bran muffins, can contribute to abnormal levels if they contain too much saturated fat or refined sugar, says Erin Michos, M.D., associate director of preventive cardiology at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease.

Whats more, many women are at risk for high cholesterol and dont realize it. Approximately 45 percent of women over the age of 20 have a total cholesterol of 200 mg/dl and above, which is considered elevated but a survey by the American Heart Association found that 76 percent of women say they dont even know what their cholesterol values are, Michos says.

Scarier still: Triglycerides, a type of blood fat typically measured alongside cholesterol, are even more risky in women compared with men. This is a problem because womens cholesterol levels can fluctuate quite a bit after menopause and tend to increase with age, putting us at greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Knowing your cholesterol numbers and how to control them is a big step toward staying healthy.

Only About 20% Of The Cholesterol In Your Bloodstream Comes From The Food You Eat Your Body Makes The Rest

Cholesterol has a bad reputation, thanks to its well-known role in promoting heart disease. Excess cholesterol in the bloodstream is a key contributor to artery-clogging plaque, which can accumulate and set the stage for a heart attack. However, the role of cholesterol in your body is not all negative.

To fully explain cholesterol, you need to realize that it’s also vital to your health and well-being. Although we measure cholesterol production in the blood, it’s found in every cell in the body. The;Harvard Special Health Report;Managing Your Cholesterol;explains cholesterol as a waxy, whitish-yellow fat and a crucial building block in cell membranes. Cholesterol also is needed to make vitamin D, hormones , and fat-dissolving bile acids. In fact, cholesterol production is so important that your liver and intestines make about 80% of the cholesterol you need to stay healthy. Only about 20% comes from the foods you eat.;

If you eat only 200 to 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day , your liver will produce an additional 800 milligrams per day from raw materials such as fat, sugars, and proteins.

Since cholesterol is a fat, it can’t travel alone in the bloodstream. It would end up as useless globs . To get around this problem, the body packages cholesterol and other lipids into minuscule protein-covered particles that mix easily with blood. These tiny particles, called lipoproteins , move cholesterol and other fats throughout the body.

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Your Brain Needs Cholesterol

Cholesterol is vitally important for brain function. While your brain represents about 2-3 percent of your total body weight, 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body is found in your brain.

It plays important roles in such things as membrane function, acts as an antioxidant, and serves as the raw material from which we are able to make things like progesterone, estrogen, cortisol, testosterone and even vitamin D.

In fact, in a recent;study;available on the NIH Public Access site, researchers showed that in the elderly, the best memory function was observed in those with the;highest;levels of cholesterol.

Low cholesterol is associated with an increased risk for depression and even death.

This understanding of the important role of cholesterol in brain function raises concern as we now see changes in recommendations for prescribing statin medication.

Some estimates indicate that moving forward, the number of individuals taking statins to lower cholesterol in America may actually double!

This presents a worrisome proposition for brain health.

See more here:

How Cholesterol Moves Around The Body

Can High Cholesterol Be Good for Your Brain?

Cholesterol is a white, insoluble and waxy substance. It is carried around the body by two key transport systems in the blood, which include:

  • Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol carries most of the cholesterol that is delivered to cells. It is called the bad cholesterol because when its level in the bloodstream is high, it can clog up your arteries.
  • High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is called the good cholesterol, because it helps remove excess cholesterol out of the cells, including cells in the arteries.

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Cholesterol In Peripheral Nerve Injury

Peripheral nerve injury can have a potentially devastating impact on a patientâs quality of life, resulting in severe disability with substantial social and personal cost . The requirement of cholesterol is increased in the case of nerve regeneration as it is an important modulator of axon regeneration following nerve injury . Cholesterol plays a crucial role in the regeneration of nerve after injuries both in CNS and PNS. Local availability of cholesterol at nerve damage is necessary for nerve regeneration . It is met by the increased supply of cholesterol in the form of lipoproteins from macrophages that recycle the cholesterol of degenerating neurons. It has been found that injured nerve responds to the elevated supply of exogenously provided cholesterol. The cholesterol contents of plasma membrane play a key role in synaptophysin-synaptobrevin complex formation that regulates the synaptic vesicle recycling for neurotransmitters release . In this context, the regulation of lipids particularly cholesterol may provide a relief against neurodegenerative diseases or other disorders pertaining to nerve problems. Interestingly, some studies have also demonstrated that partial recovery is possible following a nerve damage.

Alterations Of Cholesterol Metabolism In Human Studies

The association of cholesterol biosynthesis with the pathogenesis of PD has been rarely studied. It has been reported that cholesterol biosynthesis is decreased in fibroblasts from patients with PD owing to reduced -Hydroxy -methylglutaryl-CoA reductase activity . In addition, isopentenyl diphosphate isomerase, a cholesterol-synthesizing enzyme, is localized in Lewy bodies, proposing that cholesterol metabolites may play a role in the aggregation of -synuclein, enhancing Lewy body formation .

Given that cholesterol metabolism in the CNS is independent on that in the periphery, measurement of cholesterol in the brain may be more important. Nevertheless, no studies measuring cholesterol level in the brain with PD have been reported. Instead, it has been reported that the level of 24-HC, which possibly reflects brain cholesterol metabolism, is decreased in the plasma of patients with PD . In contrast, one study showed that 24-HC level is increased in the CSF of patient with PD, whereas there is no difference in plasma 24-HC level between the control and patients with PD . In addition, there was a significant correlation between the level of 24-HC in the CSF and the duration of the disease, which may reflect the release of 24-HC from dying neuronal cells .

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How Is It Broken Down

Once in the blood stream, some cholesterol will be returned to the liver and broken down. Its used to make bile acids which are released into the intestines to help with digestion; bile acids break down the fats in food.

A small amount of bile acids will be removed from the body as a waste product in your poo. But most will be absorbed back into the blood, returned to the liver and used again for digestion.

Some treatments for high cholesterol work by stopping bile from being absorbed back into the blood. The liver has to take more cholesterol out of the blood to make more bile, lowering your cholesterol levels.

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The Role Of Cholesterol

Optimizing Brain Health: How Fat and Cholesterol Affect the Brain

Researchers don’t know exactly what causes Alzheimer’s disease. But substances found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, called amyloid plaques, may be part of it.

Amyloid plaques form in the brain when a protein called beta-amyloid builds up. That’s where cholesterol may come in.

In a recent study, Charles DeCarli, MD, director of the University of California, Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and colleagues looked at levels of amyloid in the brains of 74 older adults.

They found that higher levels of LDL cholesterol and lower levels of HDL cholesterol both were linked to having more amyloid in the brain.

“Unhealthy patterns of cholesterol could be directly causing the higher levels of amyloid known to contribute to Alzheimer’s, in the same way that such patterns promote heart disease,” says Bruce Reed, MD, a study researcher and a co-director of the UC-Davis Alzheimer’s Center.

The study, the first to link cholesterol to amyloid plaques in the brain, doesn’t directly say whether or not cholesterol is a risk for dementia, DeCarli says.

“We primarily looked at people who did not have dementia. There are still a lot of questions. But now that we have this amyloid imaging tool, we can actually ask those questions and identify relationships we couldn’t see before.”

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Effects Of High Cholesterol Levels

The liver is the main processing centre for cholesterol and dietary fat. When we eat animal fats, the liver transports the fat, together with cholesterol in the form of lipoproteins, into our bloodstream.

Too much cholesterol circulating within LDL in our bloodstream leads to fatty deposits developing in the arteries. This causes the vessels to narrow and they can eventually become blocked. This can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Why Do We Need Cholesterol

Cholesterol plays a vital role in how your body works. There is cholesterol in every cell in your body, and it’s especially important in your brain, nerves and skin.

Cholesterol has three main jobs:

  • Its part of the outer layer, or membrane, of all your bodys cells
  • Its used to make vitamin D and steroid hormones which keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy
  • Its used to make bile, which helps to digest the fats you eat

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Why Does Your Body Need Cholesterol

Our bodies are made out of cholesterol and fats to quite a large degree, and cholesterol is essential for many functions. Cholesterol is such an essential part of our human physiology that the body has very efficient mechanisms to keep blood cholesterol at a certain level at any given moment of your life. However, cholesterol – lowering drugs are a completely different matter! They interfere with the body’s ability to produce cholesterol and hence they do reduce the amount of cholesterol available for the body to use. Let us see just how dangerous that is.

What Are The Types Of Cholesterol


Cholesterol in the blood doesn’t move through the body on its own. It combines with proteins to travel through the bloodstream. Cholesterol and protein traveling together are called lipoproteins .

The two main types of cholesterol are:

LDL cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol,” carries cholesterol from the liver into the bloodstream, where it can stick to the blood vessels.

HDL cholesterol, or “good cholesterol,” carries the cholesterol in the blood back to the liver, where it is broken down.

Here’s a way to remember the difference: the LDL cholesterol is the bad kind, so call it “lousy” cholesterol “L” for lousy. The HDL is the good cholesterol, so remember it as “healthy” cholesterol “H” for healthy.

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This Is Your Brain On Cholesterol

Too much cholesterol can be bad for your heart. But could it be good for your brain? Nutrition Diva dives into the new research on the potential benefits of cholesterol

We spend most of our adult lives monitoring our cholesterol levels, making sure that they dont get too high. If they get above a certain number, our doctors are likely to want to put us on cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. ;These drugs have a long track record of;reducing deaths from heart disease.

Statin use also appears to;reduce the risk of dementia later in lifealthough its not clear how much of this is due to its cholesterol-lowering effects. Statins also reduce;inflammation;in the body, for example, which might protect the brain.

In fact,;some recent studies;suggest that, while high cholesterol levels at 50 maybe be bad news, high cholesterol levels at 80 may be just what the doctor ordered. Specifically, researchers have observed that elderly people with high LDL cholesterol levels are less likely to have dementia than those with low cholesterol levels.

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How Can I Prevent High Cholesterol

Here are a few things you can do to keep your cholesterol under control:

  • Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Limit drinks and foods that have a lot of fat or sugar, like sugary drinks, treats, and fried foods.
  • Get plenty of exercise. Experts recommend at least 60 minutes every day!

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Connecting The Dots: Cholesterol And Your Brain

So what does all this mean for you?

Well, it means if you want to maintain a healthy brain and prevent diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinsons you need to provide your brain with a steady supply of cholesterol. To keep cholesterol levels healthy in your body and brain, you should follow the advice of Dr. Mark Wiley and focus on eating plenty of foods that increase your good cholesterol, like:

  • Olive oil
  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, sardines, and rainbow trout.
  • Flax and chia seeds
  • Nuts like Brazil nuts, almonds, pistachios and walnuts
  • Avocado
  • High-fiber fruits like apples, blackberries, raspberries and pears
  • Red, blue and purple produce like plums, grapes, cherries, raspberries, pomegranates, beets and eggplant.

And if youre looking for another way to boost your brain health and protect yourself from diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers, dont forget to take your B-vitamins.Editors note: Scientists discovered that glial cells in your brain actually make;cholesterol to help your neurons create connections with one another. Your ability to think, form memories and learn and yes, ALL of your mental functions are dependent on this process happening smoothly. However, statin drugs harm your glial cells and hinder cholesterol production. To learn more about the statin danger to your brain,;

  • Cholesterol and heart disease: Prepare to be mind-blown. Easy Health Options. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  • Cholesterol Is Essential For Babies And Children

    Cholesterol Meds DOUBLE Your Dementia Risk (Protect Your Brain!) 2021

    The proponents of the diet-heart hypothesis and the public policy makers tell us that our children from the age of two should follow a programme for reducing their blood cholesterol by avoiding natural fats and replacing them with margarine. The pharmaceutical giants are working hard on creating cholesterol-lowering drugs for children. These dangerous guidelines are given out “just in case”, without any scientific data to support them. The consequences of this policy can be very serious indeed for our children: aggressive behaviour, learning difficulties, poor memory, poor immunity, poor physical health combined with the future risk of developing cancer, heart disease, stroke and infertility. Children’s bodies are generally not able to produce enough cholesterol for growth and development, so eating cholesterol-rich foods is essential for children! That is why human breast milk is very rich in cholesterol!

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    Solving The Mystery Of Cholesterol And Memory Loss

    How does cholesterol affect memory and cognitive function? The precise answer to that question remains a mystery. Researchers speculate that HDL may improve memory in a number of ways. HDL has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may improve brain function. HDL may also prevent the formation of beta-amyloid, associated with the plaques that form in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients.

    Other researchers, like William Connor, M.D., professor of medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon, believe that cholesterol affects brain functioning primarily through the link between LDL and strokes, which are caused by;plaque formation in the blood vessels of the brain.

    “High cholesterol levels in the blood can predispose the deposition of plaque in the blood vessels,” says Connor, a specialist in atherosclerosis . And, he adds, “stroke can result in memory loss.”

    A review of studies in 2011 noted that “cholesterol seems to be intimately linked with the generation of amyloid plaques,” which develop in Alzheimer’s disease. The majority of the studies they looked at found an association between cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease.

    Until Recent Years Cholesterol Had One Of The Worst Reputations In The Food Industry Cholesterol And Fat In General Were Thought To Clog Arteries And Increase The Risk Of Heart Disease

    We now know that low-fat and low-cholesterol diets are a mainstream nutrition myth. Cholesterol is a component of every cell in the body and plays a role in how our cells signal to one another

    Without cholesterol, our cell membranes would be too fluid and too permeable, and function improperly.

    It is also the structural precursor of steroidal hormones in the body, like testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and vitamin D. In essence, it is a fundamental nutrient for human health.

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