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What's Good About Good Cholesterol?

Recently, high HDL cholesterol has been touted as a benefit in the fight against Alzheimer's Disease. A recent study found that high levels of HDL, the good cholesterol, appear to help preserve mental function in older people. The long-term research project, Whitehall II, was initiated in 1985. At this time, 3,673 study participants were targeted, to analyze the effect of HDL on memory function as the participants reached middle age, based on the view that mid-life memory impairment is a strong indicator of the development of dementia as we age. Performance on memory tests and blood-fat content for the study group were conducted in 1995, when participants' average age was 55, and again in 2002 when the the average age was 61. The study indicated that at the average 55 years old participant with low levels of HDL had a 53% higher risk of impaired memory than those with high levels of HDL. Additionally, no association between memory loss and the level of total cholesterol or triglycerides was indicated. Finally, statin drugs, prescribed to raise HDL while lowering LDL, produced no effect on memory loss. No significant difference was discerned between men and women. It is just the opposite if you have high levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol. Scientists learned that some damage from Alzheimer's comes from deposits of sticky protein in vital areas of the brain. They found people with high levels of LDL or bad cholesterol have more of these proteins and have an increased risk of developing Alzheimers. To keep your cholesterol in check you should avoid saturated and trans fat foods. Fill your plate with lean meats, fruits and vegetables.

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