Ask any mainstream doctor what they think about cholesterol, and you’ll probably get the same old tired answer… “It’ll give you heart disease.”
But here’s what they won’t tell you…
There’s a certain type of cholesterol that can have a positive impact on your health and aging.
In fact, new research from the Keck School of Medicine at USC shows that having HIGHER levels of this cholesterol can help you stop Alzheimer’s before it starts.
Here’s everything you need to know…
By now you’re well aware that your body contains two main types of cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). You may recall that LDL or “bad” cholesterol is the kind your mainstream doctor is typically worried about. That’s because it can stiffen and clog your arteries and lead to a deadly heart attack or stroke.
You’ve also heard how HDL or “good” cholesterol can shield you from these terrible heart problems. It does this by pushing LDL away from your arteries—sort of like a snowplow pushes snow away to clear the roadways.1
Well, this “good” HDL cholesterol is the one that researchers examined in this latest study on brain health.
HDL Cholesterol Beat Back Alzheimer’s
Scientists analyzed the blood plasma and cerebrospinal fluid of 180 seniors. The researchers also used ion mobility – a technique that measures and counts the size of HDL particles. Then the team administered cognitive tests to some of the participants.
At the end, they uncovered some fantastic results…
Folks with more HDL particles in their spinal fluid performed better on cognitive tests regardless of outside factors, including age, gender, and genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s.
Researchers also reported that these HDL cholesterol particles in the brain are different from the HDL cholesterol particles in the bloodstream. They’re smaller in size and work with a protein called apolipoprotein E (APOE).
You may recall hearing about the gene APOE4. It’s a gene that scientists have linked to a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s and is widely considered a negative in the fight against dementia. However, a specific mutation of this gene appears to be a good thing and can help cholesterol clear toxins from your brain.
And here’s where the story gets even more interesting…
In the study, the folks with higher levels of small HDL particles also had increased levels of amyloid-beta 42 in their cerebrospinal fluid.
You’re aware that amyloid-beta is the sticky plaque that can accumulate in the brain and create the misfold in neurons that triggers the development of Alzheimer’s disease. But the new research shows that having more of these small HDL particles circulating around your brain and spine can lower your disease risk.2 Here’s why…
Lubrication for Your Brain?
Researchers believe that HDL cholesterol protects against Alzheimer’s disease for two reasons: First, because it can clear away the plaques and tangles that cause cognitive issues (which, may be why people with higher levels of small HDL particles also have an increase in amyloid-beta plaque particles in their blood stream). Second, because this HDL can build a barrier around your brain and nerve cells. This powerful insulation helps brain cells send signals to one another for repair and growth.
Additionally, HDL cholesterol can lower inflammation in and around your brain, which as you know, is a well-known trigger for Alzheimer’s disease.
Take all these actions together and researchers liken HDL cholesterol to a lubricant for brain cells that tunes-up your cognitive function.
“What we’re finding here is that before the onset of cognitive impairment, these oils — these small HDL particles — are lubricating the system and keeping it healthy,” says Hussein Yassine, M.D., an associate professor of medicine and neurology at the Keck School of Medicine.3
How to Boost Your HDL
There’s no doubt conventional medicine will one day suggest that you take a prescription pill to increase your levels of HDL cholesterol. But the truth is, you don’t need to. Several simple diet and lifestyle changes can boost your “good” HDL cholesterol and the health of your brain simultaneously. These include:
- Eating omega-3 rich foods like cold-water fish or nuts
- Eating purple foods like red cabbage, eggplant, and berries
- Cooking with and eating antioxidant-rich olive oil4
- Getting regular exercise can also increase your HDL levels. But this doesn’t mean you need to train for a marathon. Instead, you can simply walk around the neighborhood, do a few laps in the pool, or attend a community yoga class.5
What’s more, increasing your HDL cholesterol levels by following these diet and lifestyle changes will no doubt give you a wealth of other health benefits and improve your overall well-being. And that’s something no pill can provide!