Cholesterol has been demonized by mainstream doctors for decades. They urge us to keep our total cholesterol numbers low. And if we don’t, they tell us we need a statin drug.
But studies show that statins do not help seniors with moderately high cholesterol avoid heart attacks. And statins have troubling cognitive side effects in seniors. They can increase the risk of memory loss and Alzheimer’s.1 2
Now, new research shows that statins’ brain side effects might be a byproduct of lower cholesterol. The study found that higher cholesterol may actually help keep you sharp in old age. When you lower your cholesterol with drugs, you may be removing cholesterol’s protective effect on your brain.
Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City analyzed data on 1,897 people.3
The study checked the cholesterol levels of the study subjects. And they compared them to the subjects’ rate of cognitive decline as they got older.
The researchers found that high cholesterol actually lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s by 32% in people over 85.
The lead researcher for the study was Dr. Jeremy Silverman. He’s a professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine.
For older folks, “rising cholesterol was associated with a better outcome,” he said.
Statins Lead to ‘Increased Mortality’ in Seniors
The new study confirms findings last year by researchers at New York University School of Medicine showing that seniors should be cautious about taking statins.
It looked at 2,867 people 65 and older. About half were prescribed pravastatin (Pravachol). It’s a common statin drug. The other half received no medication.
After eight years, researchers found there were no significant differences between the groups when it came to heart health. They both had about the same number of heart attacks and heart deaths. But the statin group actually suffered more deaths from all causes.4
The researchers believe that statins may have made users more frail, which led to life-threatening falls.
The study concluded: “Statin therapy in older adults may be associated with an increased mortality rate.”
If you’re over 65 and taking a statin drug, show this study to your doctor and discuss discontinuing the medication. New research clearly shows that statins can do more harm than good in seniors.