Hello my readers…sorry for the delay in writing…summer beckoned and I took a little hiatus. I am back though and I’ll start off with a post that I promised to write in this entry.
As I had mentioned before, one of the major catalysts that kicked off my interest in the link between health and diet was experiencing the shocking effect of my sharp-as-a-tack mother’s memory loss.
I found that there was a link between the statins she was prescribed and memory loss.
Complaints from patients who take statins, as per Dr Beatrice Golomb in this NYtimes article, include:
Being unable to remember the name of a grandchild, walking into a room and forgetting why you are there, or starting a sentence and being unable to finish. Some complain of personality changes or irritability.
My mother experienced some of these symptoms, including forgetting entire conversations and not knowing why she entered a room.
Our brains loves cholesterol (25% of our body’s cholesterol is found in the brain), and since statins inhibit cholesterol production there is a very strong link between Alzheimer’s and low cholesterol.
Who are the people at high risk for developing Alzheimer’s?
Dr Emily Deans wrote a passage that encapsulates the reason perfectly.
(Diabetics) are at higher risk for heart disease, and in the US at least they are very aggressively statinized, especially in the last 10 years. It would be considered malpractice for a primary care doc or cardiologist not to encourage statin use in a diabetic with a whiff of high cholesterol. But it
seems quite plausible that drastically reducing cholesterol in combination with the hyperglycemia of diabetes is the perfect storm for developing Alzheimer’s.
This scenario fit my mother to a tee. She is diabetic and was strongly encouraged to take statins, which she did. At her lowest cholesterol levels (and highest A1C1 readings) she started to deteriorated cognitively, i.e. she started to forget things.
So in order to prevent further deterioration of her cognitive functions, she stopped taking the hated statins.
As she can be somewhat acerbic sometimes, she said: “I’d rather die of a heart-attack than lose my mind…at least the heart-attack will be quick”.
At that point, although she was willing to do what I recommended, she wasn’t quite fully convinced that I knew what I was talking about regarding diet. It was too much of a paradigm shift for her that meat and fats were good for you and things like bland “oatmeal”, which her doctor recommended as part of a “heart healthy breakfast”, was bad – that same oatmeal which would drive up her blood sugar sky-high every day by the way.
It is a testament to her love and faith in me that, despite her skepticism, she put her life in my hands and we got to work.
P.S. Earlier this year, the FDA finally put warnings on statins, advising that they could raise blood sugar levels and cause memory loss. About time.