A study in the journal Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders reported that people with even moderately elevated cholesterol in their 40s have twice the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in their 60s, 70s and 80s. This adds further proof that cholesterol is a risk factor for developing the disorder – along with other factors...

High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking and high-fat diets have all been associated with increasing one's risk. A paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that people eating a so-called Mediterranean diet and exercising regularly were at lower risk - by as much as 50%.

The recent cholesterol study was large and long (almost 10,000 Californians were followed for three decades) and the data are striking. People with high cholesterol - 240 or higher - were 57%
more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. Those with borderline range cholesterol - 200 to 239 - were 23% more likely.

One possible reason for this is that high cholesterol in the blood may trigger more of the brain-clogging substance beta-amyloid protein.

Scientists generally agree that keeping cardiovascular risk factors in check is good for the brain as well as the heart. “The damage that those factors cause on the vessels of the heart, for instance, are exactly the same kind of damage that's caused in the brain,” says Lenore Launer, chief of neuroepidemiology at the National Institute on Ageing in Bethesda, Md. “The vasculature is impaired in some way and then the neurons may die.”

The diet and exercise study found exercise alone was linked to as much as a 50% reduced risk, diet alone by as much as 40%. Certain naturally occurring nerve protecting substances are stimulated by physical activity - so there are direct biological effects of exercise that go beyond just better blood flow.

These are not the first studies to suggest that diet and physical activity may be protective. The Mediterranean-type diet combines several foods and nutrients potentially protective against
cognitive dysfunction or dementia, such as fish, monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins B12 and folate, antioxidants (vitamin E, carotenoids, flavonoids), and moderate amounts of alcohol - all of
which singularly and combined are shown to be beneficial.

Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research at UCLA says he often fields questions from families of his patients about what they can do to prevent the disease from happening to them. He recommends supplements of vitamins C and E and omega-3 fatty acids, exercise three times per week for 30 minutes and taking care of one's cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

Even in people with genetic predisposition for developing Alzheimer's lifestyle changes can make a difference, Cummings says. “My experience is that people who know that they're at genetic risk take the environmental interventions much more seriously.”

So eat right and exercise and you are halfway there... For more information on how diet and supplementation can help you in the fight against Alzheimer's disease sign up for the free newsletter at http://www.alzheimersalternative.com

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Steffan H. Abel D.C. has been involved in Chiropractic and healthcare research for over 20 years. He has run his own successful practice in the north of England for the last 19 years. During which time he has treated over 10,000 patients and given over 100,000 treatments. He has lectured and taught extensively in both Europe and America to students, chiropractors and medical doctors.

He has studied Hypnotherapy, N.L.P. and qualified as a Life Coach. He has also studied various Chiropractic-based treatments (gaining a M.Sc. in post graduate Clinical Chiropractic in 2003) as well as energy therapies such as Seichem and Reiki. In 2001 he became a Fellow of the College of Chiropractors and a Fellow of the Association of Osteomyology and in 2007 became a Fellow of the European Academy of Chiropractic.

In his spare time he spends between 15 and 25 hours per week researching all areas of “alternative” and allopathic healthcare in order to bring the best advice to his patients through his practice and writing and has just finished his latest book The Alzheimer's Alternative (www.alzheimersalternative.com). When not working he is to be found enjoying life with Sue, his partner, – whom he loves tremendously!

Additional Resources covering Alzheimers can be found at:

Website Directory for Alzheimers
Articles on Alzheimers
Products for Alzheimers
Discussion Board
Dr. Steffan H. Abel, the Official Guide to Alzheimers