A new study suggests that cholesterol and blood sugar levels at age 35 help predict Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have recently studied the link between cardiovascular measures and Alzheimer’s disease. They found that low high-density lipoprotein (HDL or ‘good’) cholesterol, high triglycerides and high blood sugar from the age of 35 are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The authors conclude that early intervention to maintain healthy HDL, triglyceride and glucose levels can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies show that if the burden of vascular risk from the age of 55 predicts Alzheimer’s disease, it is not known whether or not this link exists in younger people. Knowing how early this link is could help researchers better understand AD as a life-course disease. Recently, researchers at Boston University investigated the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and vascular measures using longitudinal data. They found that low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides and high blood glucose from age 35 are linked to AD later in life.

The study is published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and other health problems. But now it also appears to be a risk factor for dementia.
The best evidence for keeping the brain healthy as you age is eating a balanced diet, not smoking, drinking within recommendations, exercising regularly, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.

Data analysis

For the study, researchers included data from 4,932 people who were part of the Framingham Heart Study. Participants had an average age of 37 at enrollment and underwent nine examinations every 4 years until age 70.

During each examination, the researchers measured the following parameters in the participants:

– HDL cholesterol and low density lipoproteins (LDL or “good” cholesterol)
– the level of glucose in the blood
– body mass index (BMI)
– systolic and diastolic blood pressure
– the number of cigarettes smoked per day

Beginning with the second exam, participants also underwent cognitive assessments to track the progression of cognitive decline. After analyzing the data, the researchers found an inverse relationship between AD and HDL measured during the first, second, sixth and seventh exams. The study also links AD to higher triglyceride levels on the first, second, fifth, sixth, and seventh exams, independent of medication.

At the same time, hyperglycemia is significantly linked to the development of AD at every examination. The researchers found no association between AD and LDL, BMI, smoking, or blood pressure on any test.

Underlying mechanisms

The brain is full of cholesterol and needs cholesterol to grow and produce nerve cells. The balance and transport of cholesterol in the brain is carefully controlled, and lipids are very important in brain function. The most important of the lipid-related proteins in the brain is ApoE, a protein that transports lipids within the brain and elsewhere. Some HDL particles contain ApoE (apoE-rich HDL), and this type of apoE-rich HDL is most concentrated in the brain. The quality and quantity of apoE-rich HDL may partly explain the link between Alzheimer’s disease and HDL.

HDL could increase transport and thus reduce the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques, which are protein accumulations characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.

Asked about the link between AD and glucose levels, the lead researcher said higher blood glucose levels are linked to higher brain glucose concentrations and more severe plaques in AD brains. “We know the brain depends on glucose for energy, but excess glucose in the brain can undergo chemical reactions that make it harmful and induce inflammation. When glucose levels are high for long periods of time, chronic neuroinflammation can result. »

Another problem with high blood sugar is that it prompts the release of insulin to bring down glucose, which can lead to wild swings in sugar levels in the brain, which is very bad for nerve cells. The researchers conclude that early intervention aimed at maintaining healthy levels of HDL, triglycerides and glucose can reduce the risk of AD.

Conclusions of the study to protect against Alzheimer’s disease

Eating less sugar and processed foods and exercising regularly is good for all organs, especially the brain and heart. Checking blood sugar and lipid profile and monitoring HDL are excellent preventative measures. At the moment, we do not have drugs that can increase HDL without causing many side effects, and if the HDL is not of good quality, increasing it is useless. For now, the best way to support HDL levels is through exercise and physical activity.


Midlife lipid and glucose levels are associated with Alzheimer’s disease

Associations Between Midlife (but Not Late-Life) Elevated Coronary Heart Disease Risk and Lower Cognitive Performance: Results From the Framingham Offspring Study

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.