Doctor's Note

I first addressed the concerns over the cognitive effects of cholesterol lowering statin drugs years ago in my video Statin Muscle Toxicity. I’ve since discussed the associated breast cancer risks (Statin Cholesterol Drugs and Invasive Breast Cancer) and the surprisingly low level of effectiveness (The Actual Benefit of Diet vs. Drugs).

Thankfully, the same diet that can protect the heart may protect the brain:

Wait a second, though, what about "Grain Brain"? Check out The Problem With David Perlmutter, the Grain Brain Doctor.

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  • Wade Patton

    Systematic implication won’t happen until the stranglehold of the companies over gov’t is broken.

    It has to come from us, the people-shame so many more will to die prematurely and demented.

    I think I saw some numbers this morning where USC voted overwhelmingly to REMOVE country of origin information from Meat products. This will pave the way for high-intensity meat manufacturing to find the absolute lowest costs in labor and in overhead, kicking the SUPER BUG disease making capacity of that system into overdrive.

    I am not excited.

    • Donna Reeves

      A good reason to stop eating meat.

      • lilyroza

        Yes, another good reason.

  • Julie

    Amazing connection between high blood cholesterol and amyloid plaques in the brain! I wonder where Dr. Perlmutter is getting his opposing data that Alzheimer’s is associated with low cholesterol?

    • Veganrunner
    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Agree about the amazing connection it seems so simple yet so hard for many to grasp! And then the whole debate on coconut oil, which Dr. Greger addresses in his video Does Coconut Oil Cure Alzheimer’s?

      • elsie blanche

        If there was one oil you think is maybe safe (or least harmful) to sauté veggies with, what would it be? Organic canola oil or organic first pressed and cold pressed extra virgin olive oil? I know what Dr. G says as far as avoiding oils, as well as Mcdougall and camp. But sometimes some sautéed veggies in oil is a nice treat. I hear so much negative stuff about canola, as far as being unhealthy when heated above certain temps.

        • Daniel Hunter

          The safest oil to use for cooking, IMO, is Spectrum organic high heat high oleic Sunflower oil. I use it for low heat baking veggies, tossed in a bit of the oil.

          • David Johnson

            Why’s that better than organic high heat canola?

          • Daniel Hunter

            Huge difference. The canola is labeled high heat, but it’s not. The PUFAs are not heat stable and should be kept in the dark, refrigerated and should not be used for cooking. The canola oil is 29% PUFA, whereas the sunflower oil I use is 4% PUFA. But, I wouldn’t even use the canola for salad dressing because I keep my TOTAL omega-6 intake below 6g per day and using canola would make that impossible.

          • David Johnson

            Thanks. That’s very interesting. I’ll switch.

          • Mary

            Almost all Canola is GMO. Enough reason to avoid it completely. Is your body Roundup ready? Mine isn’t.

          • Daniel Hunter

            Hi Mary, I know there’s GMO problem with Canola oil, but I thought David and I were talking about the Spectrum organic canola vs their organic high-oleic sunflower, so the reason I didn’t mention it is that according to Spectrum, “Spectrum uses no GE canola whatsoever.” (GE = genetically engineered”) –

            That said, I also didn’t mention it because whether or not GMOs are safe is still controversial. But the case is against PUFAs in cooking is iron-clad. So there is no need to even bring up the GMO issue.

            This is not to deny your point: I personally avoid GMOs for the health of myself and my family, as well as the health of the biosphere. Genes will never stay put. According to wiki, these genes have already escaped our control: “Roundup canola has also emerged as a weed in other crops due to its glyphosate resistance”

            – Dan (

        • Wade Patton

          This doesn’t answer your questions regarding oils, but it may be of interest to those who feel like they cannot cook without oil.

          Many veggies can be sauteed without oil at all. Those that come to mind are mushrooms, peppers, onions, and the like. You have to pay attention and maybe change your heat/learn to add a splash of water now and then for steam. But it’s not difficult. When i use oil (because I prefer to cook with cast iron), I only wet the skillet and wipe most of the oil away. I can make hash browns every day for a week and keep my oil consumption under a teaspoon-for the week. At that level of consumption, I don’t find any reason to concern myself with the “features” of the oils.

    • Craig

      Watching the video I was thinking about the same thing as you do. Don’t the “Grain Brain” crowd and the “Wheat Belly” crowd believe in the opposite, that Alzheimer’s is caused by cholesterol efficiency? Where do they get their data from?

      • John

        I think their belief is that grains, especially milled into flour, and sugar, are highly glycemic. This puts a strain onto the diabetes issue. They have some data linking high glycemic problems with cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s. Wheat Belly is pretty out there. I think the main problem with Grain Brain is that Perlmutter actually tells people to have more vegetables on their plate than meat or fat and they should only eat free range organic animal products. They are more expensive so people eat the cheap CAFO meat and fat and forego the vegetables. Presto! You have Atkins all over again. Unfortunately people can delude themselves into pretending to be healthy. John S

      • Daniel Hunter

        The contention is that beyond the people who have outright celiac disease, many more a low level gluten intolerance. The idea is that this then sets the stage for chronic disease. This may or may not be true. However, what really sets me off about Perlmutter is his claim that the healthiest diet is 85% fat. I’ve been checking his references on that and as far as I’ve been able to determine, he pulled that number out of someone’s @ss, because he has absolutely no support for it in the references he cites.

    • VegGuy

      “High total cholesterol levels in late life associated with a reduced risk of dementia” is one research article that Dr. Perlmutter uses to support his views. Anyone care to comment?

    • Daniel Hunter

      Julie, I’ve been reading the Perlmutter Grain Brain book and checking his references and I am simply astounded by the number of times he has broken links and/or misrepresents or misinterprets the studies. My feeling at the moment towards him is anger. I had intended to do it to the whole book, but at only 1/3 of the way thru, it seems pointless because I have yet to find a single convincing study to back him up.

      • Julie

        Yes Daniel, I have run across the same problem. Although I haven’t checked as many studies as you have, I’ve noticed that the references Dr. Perlmutter uses tend to have little resemblance to the point he’s making.

        • Daniel Hunter

          yep! exactly.

      • Veganrunner

        Daniel read the article above that I linked. It puts it all into prospective. That doesn’t happen with Dr Greger. This is a true non-profit supported by us.

        • Daniel Hunter

          I had found that article back in September — after becoming frustrated with trying to verify Perlmutter’s claims.

          But, you say, “That doesn’t happen with Dr Greger.”, and I can only partially agree. Although Greger is far, far more trustworthy than Perlmutter (to even mention them in the same sentence seems ludicrous), he is by no means perfect. I find claims in his videos for which citations cannot be found and when I ask for them, I’ve yet to see them produced. Also, far too often, I find Greger exaggerating the significance of results or otherwise not reporting studies with complete honesty.

          That said, make no mistake, Greger (along with Plant Positive) are my favorite internet sources for nutrition information!

          • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

            Daniel, in regards to “I find claims in his videos for which citations cannot be found”. This does occur sometimes, I know of a few instances. This is only because the study was not added to the sources cited section on accident. A helpful tip I recommend when this happens is to put in the quoted text into google with quotation marks around it. The study will usually pull up. If you find this problem please let us know, we will make the necessary changes to the sources cited section.

          • Daniel Hunter

            Thank you! Yes, I do that. Problem is, I was looking for the source of some graphs.

            In the Oct 9 video, “Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s Disease”, at 3:10, there’s a graph displaying log odds of AD vs serum cholesterol for e4 and non-e4 alleles of APOE. Source citation, please?

            Also, in the May 12, 2014 video, “Debunking Egg Industry Myths”, at 1:05 a graph is presented showing a year in the life of a study subject, on and off eggs. I have been unable to find the source for that one either.

            I appreciate your help! :)

    • Veganrunner

      He makes it up. Did you read the article? When “snake salesmen” are mentioned as legitimate experts it makes my skin crawl!

    • mikemarkham

      Neurosurgeons who treat patients successfully for movement disorders and brain issues may know a thing or two about how to prevent and treat. Amyloid plaques seem to appear from inflammatory response and other metabolic disorders.

    • Gaia

      Dr Perlmutter tells us where he gets some of his data, for instance:

      Psychosomatic Medicine:

      January/February 2005 – Volume 67 – Issue 1 – pp 24-30

      Serum Cholesterol and Cognitive Performance in the Framingham Heart Study I wonder ‘s opinion on this study. a quick perusal and I had 2 thoughts, 1) I believe that they controlled for weight, this may have distorted the data, 2) we know that cholesterol tends to go down with co-morbidities. so maybe cause and effect are reversed.

  • Leslie

    Does a single meal of high cholesterol food instantly cause the damage, or are you referring only to a steady high level of cholesterol in the blood, day by day? I am wondering if cholesterol blood levels can drastically spike up within hours of eating, say, an egg and cheese omelette, but by later in the day the blood levels are brought back down, same with levels in the brain? Sort of like how blood sugar works…..rising after eating some carbs/food but blood sugar comes down to base level within hours.

    Maybe people who do not digest high cholesterol foods well are having it enter into the brain, damaging blood brain barrier?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Yes, even one single fatty meal can be unhealthful! But the steady high blood cholesterol is likely worse. This is a great video fatty meals and heart health. Here is an example of what happens after consuming a high fat meal.

      • MikeOnRaw

        I think that is the scary thing in general. While inflammation can be reduced through eating a bunch of berries after eating that high meat based meal that doesn’t remove the cholesterol that will be hurting you. The risk added is just crazy, especially since the risks are just not talked about enough.

      • charles grashow

        If this is true then why was my recent EndoPat test so good? The studies that people refer to use really bad high fat meals. For example

        “Isocaloric LF and HF meals (726 kcal) were given to the subjects at the study site in the morning after an overnight fast. The HF meal (50.1 g fat, 14 g saturated fat, 443 mg cholesterol, 22.3 g protein, 43.8 g carbohydrates) consisted of two eggs, hash browns with cheddar cheese, dry toast, margarine, and tomato ketchup. The isocaloric LF meal (5.1 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 31.3 g protein, 135.8 g carbohydrates) consisted of buttermilk pancakes, cherry topping, egg substitute, tomato ketchup, and commercial fruit juice.”
        Acute Effect of High-Fat Meal on Endothelial Function in Moderately Dyslipidemic Subjects

        ” In all subjects, the protocol was repeated on the same day, 6 hours after they had consumed an OFL consisting of 680 kcal/m2 of body surface with 83% fat, 5%proteins, 12% carbohydrates, and 600 mg cholesterol over a 20-
        minute time interval”
        A High-Fat Meal Increases Cardiovascular Reactivity to Psychological Stress in Healthy Young Adults

        “The high-fat meal consisted of a McDonald’s breakfast: 2 hash brown patties, a Sausage McMuffin and an Egg McMuffin [820 kcal (3433 kJ), 42 g of fat, 17 g of saturated fat, and 270 mg of cholesterol]. The isocaloric low-fat meal consisted of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, skim milk, Source fat-free yogurt, a Kellogg’s Fruit Loops fruit bar, and Sunny Delight orange juice [830 kcal (3475 kJ), 1g of fat and 15 mg of cholesterol]. The low-fat meal included a 1000 mg sodium supplement to balance sodium intake between the 2 meals.”

        Might the quality of the food eaten have an effect?

        Your thoughts

      • Leslie

        I think what I am getting at is that I am wondering if one high cholesterol meal could be a causative factor in some people w/ alzhemimers. A meal can be high in cholesterol but not high in fat, Joseph. This is what I was referring to. You have mentioned a link regarding high fat meals. I can see the high fat issue as it regards to the link, but I do wonder about low fat meals that still contain cholesterol as a causative factor in alzh. It seems to be that there is likely another component in the people who fall victim to this as a causative factor. Do we see sky high rates of serum cholesterol readings in the cultures (long lived) who still included animal products? No. But when they ate/eat animal products they likely were also eating it with nutritious foods from the plant family. And history has shown they had great health, and I do not see any big time cholesterol issues. Maybe including junk food SAD (often high in plant-based saturated fats) diet with the animal products is a larger causative factor?

        • Daniel Hunter

          Hi Leslie, I think I know enough about this to take a stab at answering.

          Back in 2014, on my birthday, I celebrated with a New York steak and hot fudge sundae for dessert. Now, what you have to know about me to understand this is that I have the e4 allele of APOE, so that put’s me at substantially higher Alzheimer’s and my ability to clear cholesterol is compromised relative to those with the e3 and e2 alleles. Additionally, I have not eaten prudently for most of my life and so, I am a third generation diabetic. I have been tracking my lipids and my blood sugars for years. That because I control my serum cholesterol and blood sugar entirely by diet, exercise and other lifestyle adjustments.

          So, in the three months prior to that one meal, my fasting blood sugars had been very well controlled, all below 95, averaging about 85. Likewise, my one-hour after meal blood sugars were so good, I thought I could have that one meal and the fat in it would control my blood sugar and I’d be fine. Well, I was right about the after-meal blood sugar; it was fine. But the meal did something that elevated my fasting blood sugar the next morning to 107. And it was still high the next day, not returning to normal for an entire week.

          I don’t do that anymore. High fats, esp sat fat, are known to induce insulin resistance and high free fatty acids will damage your pancreatic beta cells, just as much as does high serum glucose. And damage to your beta cells means they can’t produce insulin when you need it. The Alzheimer’s connection is that high blood sugar levels are just as damaging to the brain as they are to the body.

          I used to eat a paleo diet. But I stopped that because it was allowing my fasting glucose to creep up. I switched to a very high fiber WFPB diet and voila! for the first time in my life, my blood sugars and cholesterol numbers are perfect. BTW, I’m 71.

          • Leslie

            Hey, thank you for that reply and your explanation. I am wondering if you feel that the main problem was with the high amount of saturated fat in your paleo diet, rather than the high amount of cholesterol in some paleo diets. – one can eat low saturated fat and still eat a decent amount of shellfish, therefore ingesting a large amount of cholesterol but not so on the saturated fat.

            Something I find interesting is that when I eat avocados, my fasting blood sugars are higher the next day, and when I then eat carbs my blood sugar goes up higher, and faster, than it had been.

          • Daniel Hunter

            > I am wondering if you feel that the main problem was with the high amount of saturated fat in your paleo diet, rather than the high amount of cholesterol

            When I was doing paleo, I found that when I went above 50% fat, due to being an apoe4, my TC shot up over 300. So at that point, I tried cutting back on sat fat. I never did have a very high cholesterol intake, because when I eat it, my body can’t seem to get rid of it, so I always kept my cholesterol intake at or below about 125 mg/day. The more I cut back on sat fat (from 22g / day to under 10), the better my serum cholesterol and fasting glucose numbers got.

            I never did risk shellfish. I can tell you that once I did eliminate all cholesterol from my diet except a little bit of fish and got my sat fat down under 9 is when my serum lipids, FBG and PP BG numbers came completely down and have been getting better with each lab report, now at:

            av FBG: 75
            PP BG: never more than 130
            TC: 165
            HDL: 71

            LDL: 84

            TG: 49

            The trick is that when you eat a very high fiber diet, your gut microbiome converts fiber to very short chain fatty acids and so you can get extra calories into your diet without paying a metabolic price for them.

            > when I eat avocados, my fasting blood sugars are higher the next day, and when I then eat carbs my blood sugar goes up higher, and faster

            yep. happens to me too. I limit my avocado intake

        • Daniel Hunter

          > Do we see sky high rates of serum cholesterol readings in the cultures (long lived) who still included animal products?

          Leslie, you’re missing a number of important factors. Serum cholesterol levels are multifactorial. Other factors – to mention a few – include:
          1) the garbage and antibiotics that are pumped into factory farmed animals
          2) primitive cultures did not and continue to not engage in chronic overnutrition
          3) ancestral diets don’t always include plant based foods – for instance the Maasai
          4) ancestral lifestyles often included massive exercise – something like 20km/day for the Maasai
          5) now just emerging, ancestral populations have radically different microbiomes
          6) parasite load among ancestral populations helped reduce cholesterol
          7) ubiquitous exposure to endocrine disruptors in the industrialized world

          If you want to consider the possibility of long life in this modern day world, you would do well to look to the blue zones where they eat low fat plant based diets.

          – Dan (

    • Becky Hansen Carlin

      Interesting !

    • arleen

      and what about people who do not have a high cholesterol diet but do have high blood cholesterol levels(considered to be genetic/metabolic issue)

  • Noe Marcial

    when we talk to keep cholesterol under 150 we mean total cholesterol right? so what is the minimum total cholesterol recommendation? i know person that have 30 of total cholesterol and they were advised to eat eggs..
    witch is the write amount of good cholesterol?

    • Joe Caner

      Hyporcholesterolemia is a rather rare condition where the body produces an abnormally low amount of cholesterol. Perhaps egg consumption would be advisable for that condition. Perhaps not.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      This video is maybe the best to describe optimal cholesterol.

      • Noe Marcial

        LDL as lower as 30 and with a safe level until 70

    • Steven

      While the general impression I get from the doctors here is that there is no minimal level, there are nunerous problems with liw cholesterol. My total dropped below 100 as a result of a very rare drug side effect. Virtually the entire drop was in LDL. As your sex hormones use LDL cholesterol as a raw material, my testosterone plummeted from high for my age to below “normal” (ha!) range at one point. I partially recovered after getting off the drug and adding coconut oil to my diet. I seldom see anyone discussing a low cholesterol number also getting hormone tests but it seems prudent.

  • Noe Marcial

    the body do his own fundamental cholesterol, so it is no need for the consumption of dietary cholesterol at all? o some times can be recommended, or saturated fat etc..

    • Joe Caner

      I believe the current consensus is that the human body make all the cholesterol it requires, and no dietary cholesterol is needed for healthy function. There is no minimum RDA for cholesterol, only a maximum. As far as SF is concerned, all whole foods have some SF, although it does concentrate as one goes up the food chain so if you eat animal products, you are also getting the accumulated SF that they did not burn off as energy or use to create hormones. There is not RDA for saturated fats, and the best way to minimize the consumption of SF’s is by eating a WFPB diet.

    • Indeed! According to the Institute of Medicine, no need for any cholesterol in our diet. See: Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.

      • Noe Marcial

        thank you! but these are the studies that confuse me about cholesterol

      • Noe Marcial

        also i wonder in people that have a dysfunction to produce their own cholesterol people that the total cholesterol for some reason drop until 30
        do they still not have to eat any dietary cholesterol or saturate fat?

        i agree that the general guidelines is to avoid cholesterol it is the best for 9o% of the population for many many health reason but what about this small group of people with a very low cholesterol levels

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Good question have you seen the video on if cholesterol levels can be too low?

          • Noe Marcial

   this is the study thats confuse me about Low dld and high stroke risk

          • Noe Marcial

            by the video the recomendation it will be have the LDL as lower as 30 and with a safe level until 70

          • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

            Hey Noe are you referring to this video about low cholesterol? I see the confusion it looks like those studies are using prospective studies and not clinical intervention studies to measure the associated risk. I would also suggest finding the sources cited and reading the studies Dr. Greger has it may help a bit. If you remember this video he talks about how saturated fat studies are set up to fail.

          • Noe Marcial

            no doubt that can be made up this kind of prospective study, but it will be good to read the actual studies use in this compilation and confirm of not that they are made up . if we just don’t believe or believe one study or other according to ones own thought it will be good to confirm that low levels of cholesterol does nos increase the risk of stroke with the best science available as you do every day here.

        • Thea

          Noe: In addition to the great responses you have received already, I thought you might appreciate the following response which Rami wrote to someone else some time ago, addressing a similar question:

          “Cholesterol can be as low as the 10 range and you will still live a perfectly healthy life. This is evident in those who have genetic disorders resulting in extremely low cholesterol, thus, the argument that below 150 is too low is simply untrue. I would see this video for the evidence.

          • mbglife

            I looked at Chris Kresser’s site and work years ago when he was working to get his certificate in some form health counselor. I feel he’s sincere but misguided and misinformed. I would not go by anything he says.

  • Noe Marcial

    and last question.. most of my family it have obesity but they have low levels of total cholesterol like 130.. i wonder if the Lipids of their overweight may affect or arrive to the brain in the old age and impair cognitive functions as cholesterol LDL seems to do.

    • Becky Hansen Carlin

      I know many who are catagorized as obese, and it has been in the family for generations. Insulin resistance and diabetes follows.
      The incredible thing is that the don’t eat much for processed foods! Nobody wants to believe that, though I believe it to be true.
      One family member is now almost starving themselves (which never helps) with no results.
      Ive seem others who have had to get extreme cardio workouts and no processed foods along with the reduction of fruits and veggies. Counterintuitive.
      Diane Kress has great information in her books on how all of that works out.
      Meanwhile…they keep pushing the high meat and fat consumption here at the local gym!

      • Noe Marcial

        yes they eat process food and they are sedentary apart that they have gain the weight eating a lot of cheese eggs some of the meat etc

      • Thule

        “Meanwhile…they keep pushing the high meat and fat consumption here at the local gym!”

        Guidelines lovingly sponsored by the local Funerary… As learned in the manual “How to get customers aplenty.. Non-Stop!”

    • Tom Goff

      Quite possibly but I don’t think there is any definitive answer to your question. What causes the obesity might also cause the increased dementia risk, for example. However, several mechanisms have been hypothesised to explain how obesity might increase dementia risk:
      “Mechanistic pathways such as adipocyte secreted proteins and hormones, and inflammatory cytokines could explain the association between obesity and increased risk of dementia.”

      It is also believed that obesity in and of itself changes our metabolic system and this might well have consequential effects on both cardiovascular and brain health…
      “Multiple mechanisms likely contribute to the altered plasma lipid responses to dietary changes in individuals with excess adiposity. The greater rate of hepatic cholesterol synthesis in obese individuals suppresses the expression of hepatic LDL receptors (LDLR), thereby reducing hepatic LDL uptake. Insulin resistance develops as a result of adipose-tissue induced inflammation, causing significant changes in enzymes necessary for normal lipid metabolism. In addition, the LDLR-mediated uptake in obesity is attenuated by alterations in neuroendocrine regulation of hormonal secretions (e.g. growth hormone, thyroid hormone, and cortisol) as well as the unique gut microbiota, the latter of which appears to affect lipid absorption”

  • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

    Thank you so much for your work! You do such an amazing job of pulling all the research together which helps me so much as a physician. We in the medical community can never thank you enough please don’t ever stop what you’re doing. You are undoubtedly one of the most valuable physicians in the medicalCommunity and world for educating us on the healthiest of lifestyles. Keep up the great work!

    • Three cheers for Dr. Greger and the team that creates this site!

    • Veganrunner

      And you too Dr Hemo! Your patients are sooooo lucky.

      • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

        Thank you for your kind words. ;-) I can assure you, however, that not every patient feels that way but that is OK. I try to help everyone, but the ones that appreciate me the most are the ones that understand I am a patient advocate first and I have their best interest at heart. Dr. Greger and his team at make that a much easier endeavor.

        Just so you know I will be speaking at Healthy lifestyle Expo in Valencia this next weekend, Sat. the 16th, thanks to Jeff Novick and Jeff Nelson and my talk is how I try to implement Plant Based lifestyles changes in my real world medical practice. Maybe you can make it? If not as always thank you for your support! You are an invaluable resource here as well!

        • Veganrunner

          I can’t make it! Darn it. I am off to San Diego that weekend. But thanks for letting me know. That is an amazing group of speakers–I am sorry I have to miss it.

  • Very nicely done. I am wondering what you might think about the latest prion theory of Alzheimers.

  • Mary

    Joseph. It doesn’t seem that everybody agrees that very low cholesterol level is always the way to go. Here is just one example of many that I have come across:

    “Dr. David L. Tirschwell reported to the American Heart Association in 1999 that people with cholesterol under 180 had twice the risk of strokes caused by bleeding into the brain as those with cholesterol counts around 230. The idea that low cholesterol levels could increase the hazard of a devastating hemorrhagic stroke doubtless came as a shock to many cardiologists and neurologists who believe you can’t have too low a golf score or cholesterol level.” I believe this is taken from a book called: Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      I may agree about the low golf score ;-) Yes, you’re right not everyone agrees but we have to look at the totality of the evidence, which Dr. Greger does! Noe has posted studies below that claim the same thing, that high cholesterol isn’t a problem and I explain a bit why that may be incorrect. For example, check out this video on why saturated fat studies are set up to fail.

    • Tom Goff

      Yes, this is a recognised association. Just like the association between low cholesterol and cancer, and low cholesterol and total mortality in older people. Similar associations have been found with low weight and mortality etc in older people. Hence the claims that high cholesterol and overweight may be “protective” in older people.

      In these latter cases, though, it is believed that the low weight and low cholesterol in older people associated with higher mortality is best explained by “reverse causation”. That is, certain long latency diseases like cancer, some respiratory diseases, viral infections etc cause lower cholesterol. Alzheimer’s Disease is another example of such associations. In these cases, unexplained declining cholesterol levels and weight loss which are not the result of dietary changes (or statins) are most likely early pre-clinical symptoms of disease. People who have stable low weight or low cholesterol throughout life do not have higher mortality or cancer or Alzheimer’s incidence. Ditto for people who have cholesterol lowered by statins.

      The fact that people who have lowered cholesterol as a result of statin usage do not have higher stroke risk suggests that this association with stroke may also be an example of reverse causation. This 2009 editorial from “Circulation” offers an interesting discussion of the subject:

      • Thea

        Tom: One of the best explanations I’ve seen for this common (and understandable) question. Great job.

  • Tasos Papapetrou

    What about stress?If you need stress hormones the boby must raise cholesterol levels especially ldl otherwise you can t deal with it.If you lower cholesterol while being stressed the danger will be grater.Vegans dont have high cholestrol not becaue they don t eat it but because they are not so biochemically stressed.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Interesting thoughts! We do cover videos on stress so maybe it’s not just diet we need to focus on, but complete lifestyle as stress management is an important lifestyle factor that may also help avoid Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, we know keeping the mind active and busy helps, too.

  • VegeMarian

    It appears that one graph in this video (presented at 3:10), from Alzheimer’s & Dementia 7 (2011) 436-444, shows that those with ApoE4 had a slightly DECREASED risk of disease with rising cholesterol, whereas those without ApoE4 had a big increase in disease. But then the conclusion presented doesn’t mention this. Am I reading it wrong? Can anyone elucidate further? Now that we can have our genome analyzed, this kind of information is valuable.

  • holyforge

    Thank you for this. I lost both of my parents to Alzheimer’s, and they both ate a very high fat diet their entire lives, and even smoked. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them eat a vegetable. I wish I knew then what I know now, maybe they would’ve been around a few years longer.

  • Christine

    I can’t help but wonder if an extremely low cholesterol level (not from diet, but from cholesterol lowering drugs) also causes Alzheimer’s symptoms. I witnessed this firsthand with my Mother-in-Law who was prescribed Cholestramine 10 years ago and died recently due to Alzheimer’s like illness, yet ate an incredibly healthy diet. Any research on this U-Shaped relationship of cholesterol levels and dementia prevalence? Thank you!

    • Tom Goff

      I understand that there is no evidence that statin drugs increase risk for Alzheimer’s. Most studies show no effect and some appear to show a protective effect.
      Cholestyramine is less often used for cholesterol lowering nowadays, however, and I’m not aware of any association between this drug and Alzheimer’s risk.

      As for cholesterol and dementia risk, the article below on the U-curve phenomenon generally (it discusses cholesterol among other factors) might be helpful. It notes:
      “In a study of 331 very old patients, mean (SD) age 85 (7) years, low BMI, low diastolic blood pressure, low total and HDL cholesterol and high insulin sensitivity predicted total mortality, indicating a “reverse metabolic syndrome” that is probably attributable to malnutrition and/or chronic disorders which have a negative impact on survival [1].”

      and concludes:
      “The predictive value of the traditional cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes and impaired renal function in middle age seems to be reversed in later life describing a U-shaped relationship with survival outcomes. It is likely that the association of malnutrition, inflammation, comorbidities and frailty are the underlying mechanisms of this reverse metabolism in old age (Figure 1).”

  • Harvey

    So where do beta and channel blockers fit in to help equation. Ace inhibitors too don’t help. One site states 5-15yrs to onset alzheimers and dementia ? High blood pressure is damage control ???

  • So now we are restricking high fat low carb meals??? Really?

  • Hmm… this is very interesting. Makes sense to me why that MD cured her husband’s alzheimer’s disease with coconut oil. When you apply a finer oil to a thicker fat/grease, it acts as a solvent. Makes sense to me that coconut oil would act as a solvent to cholesterol.

    • 2tsaybow

      But coconut oil is solid at room temperature. Here’s some information that Joseph Gonzales R.D. has found on coconut oil:
      If you want more info, then Ask the Dietitian!

      • Is YOUR body at or below “room temperature”? Mine isn’t. Mine is 98 degrees F. So coconut oil is liquid in my body – as soon as it hits my mouth. And it’s liquid even on my skin. I’m saying it has to act as a solvent for an animal fat because the molecules in coconut oil are far smaller than the molecules in cholesterol… It’s a simple, mechanical action. Smaller dissolves larger. A solvent phenomenon can occur. Gonzales is a dietician? From what I understand, dietitians are not that well versed in real nutrition – don’t they design the meals that are served in hospitals? No thanks, I won’t be asking a dietitian.

        • 2tsaybow

          Joseph Gonzales worked for before coming to Nutrition Facts. He has a pretty good grasp of the current science in nutrition. It is up to you whether or not you want to read the article he wrote.

          Here is Dr. Greger’s take on the subject:

  • BB

    Please help me understand the following.

    On one hand, this video states “Vascular risk factors, such as high cholesterol, can be thought of as a ticking time bomb to Alzheimer’s Disease”, and also “excess dietary cholesterol could, in principle, contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease”.

    On the other hand, some professional bodies (in this case, the OPDQ – Quebec’s dietitians association), states that cholesterol is no longer considered a preoccupation for people’s health (that’s my translation from the very last paragraph of the following Written observations dated September 2014 filed by the Association in relation to the federal government’s proposed modifications to nutritional labels). At the last paragraph of page 12 of the following document dated August 2015, the Association reiterates the same point of view, stating that cholesterol should be removed from nutrition labels because it is obsolete information according to the present state of knowledge on lipids that have an impact on blood lipids and cardiovascular risks. To support this point of view, the document provides two sources (footnotes 16 and 17).

    I find the Association’s assertion very hard to believe, but maybe there is something I’m not getting.

    Thanks very much for your help.

  • Mr Salubrious

    In the last two years I’ve progressed to a plant based whole food diet and I still have quite high cholesterol although the HDL/LDL equation is not too bad. Hypercholesterolemia seems to passed on from my mother who’s taken statins for years. I am trying to avoid taking a statin for the reasons outlined in this video. Any thoughts on managing familial hypercholesterolemia?

    • dewdroppings

      3 apples a day lowers cholesterol 20%. Also try the fast diet and buy the inexpensive book. Exercise. If everything fails go 80% raw and blog! Visit my blog furious curious cancer survivor on wordpress!

    • Donna Reeves

      I have familial high cholesterol. I noticed a 20% drop when I ate oatmeal daily. That said…
      I figure since 100% of my cholesterol is being made by my body I should not worry about it. These numbers are just ways for Doctors to tell us that we need to take prescription drugs. People die from heart disease with great numbers. The numbers are not protective. Eating plant based whole foods without oil is protective. I trust that.
      My familial high cholesterol has not resulted in any of my relatives having Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Daniel Hunter

    Another great video! I have 2 questions:

    At 3:10, there’s a graph displaying log odds of AD vs serum cholesterol for e4 and non-e4 alleles of APOE.
    1. Do I interpret this right that for APOE-e4 only, higher serum cholesterol is protective?
    2. What is the source citation for this graphic?

    Thank you!

    • brec

      In the video the graph is overlaid on this paper, for which there is a link in Sources Cited:
      AE Roher, S L Tyas, C L Maarouf, I D Daugs, T A Kokjohn M R Emmerling, Z Garami, M Belohlavek, M N Sabbagh, L I Sue, T G Beach. Intracranial atherosclerosis as a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s disease dementia. Alzheimers Dement. 2011 Jul;7(4):436-44.

      • Daniel Hunter

        Hi brec, Thank you for the reply!

        Yes, I read that paper very carefully. There are 9 mentions of APOE in that paper, but zero stats on cholesterol levels. That paper is not the source of that graphic even though the graph is overlaid on that paper’s abstract.

        – Dan (

  • Psych MD

    Here is a link to a fascinating study showing that our old friend, curcumin, binds to amyloid plaques in the retina, such that the plaques fluoresce and are readily visible upon in vivo examination. Several points which I think are interesting: for the in vivo experiment they injected mice intravenously with curcumin since it had already been established that sufficient blood levels could not be achieved with oral turmeric. They also found that plaque formation occurred in the retina earlier in the course of the disease than in the brain. Hence this could serve as a valuable preclinical screening procedure for AD. Probably of greatest significance is the fact if enough curcumin crosses the BBB, it has been shown to remove the plaques.

    • Julie

      From this article it appears that there’s only 1 form of curcumin shown to reduce amyloid plaques in the brain.

      • Psych MD

        That info is interesting but three years old and outdated. Here is the abstract from a study published earlier this year using Curqfen. I can’t post a link to the complete study because it is copyrighted.

        “The delivery of significant concentrations of biologically active free curcuminoids (curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin) at the target tissues has always been regarded as a major limitation for the efficacy of curcumin.Herein we report the blood–brainbarrier permeability, tissue distribution and enhanced bioavailability of free curcuminoids following the oral administration of a food grade curcumin formulation in comparison with the standardized native curcumin, for the first time. UPLC-ESI-MS/MS analyses of postadministrationtissuesamplesofWistarrats(200mg/kgbodyweight)demonstratedsignificant (p < 0.001) enhancement in plasma bioavailability (25-fold),in vivo stability and blood–brainbarrier permeability as evidenced from the tissue distribution of free curcuminoids at, (ng/ g),brain (343 ± 64.7),heart (391.7 ± 102.5),liver (445.52 ± 83),kidney (240.1 ± 47.2),and spleen (229.72 ± 42.2), with extended elimination half-life of 3 to 4 h. Standard curcumin, on the other hand, detected only 1.4 ± 0.8 ng/g of curcumin in the brain tissues."
        In essence there was a 300-fold increase in brain levels vs. plain curcumin.

        • HaltheVegan

          It appears that there are numerous companies that are claiming their formulation of curcumin has the best bioavailability. They all seem to have “studies” to back up their claims. It would be nice if the NutritionFacts team could review the evidence/studies and let us know if the claims are really substantiated. I would really like to know which brand has the “true” best bioavailability.

          • Psych MD

            The study to which I referred is available at There are 8192 PubMed citations for curcumin, Obviously there is enormous interest in this compound. Of those 8000+, 656 have to do with bioavailability.

        • Julie

          Thanks, Psych MD. It’s good to know that there’s a new curcumin, Curqfen, that can absorb at high concentrations into many tissues, including the brain.

  • Matthew Smith

    Many Vegans have Iron levels in their diets comparable to that of meat eaters. Iron is known to be good for the brain. Many women have anemia, an Iron deficiency. Pernicious anemia was once a serious problem in the world. Perhaps it still is in the form of Alzheimer’s, with Iron running out of the brain into the blood and the brain using Phosphorus (Amyaloid plaque) to prop up the brain. That is my opinion, and is not based on the literature. Some have done studies linking dementia to anemia and others have found Iron deposits around brain damage from Alzheimer’s. Is that because the body is putting the Iron there to stop the progression of the disease, or because Iron causes dementia? You can decide. Jeff Bowles wrote a book on how there are some treatments for Alzheimer’s that are effective in extremely small trials or innuendo that will never be funded because they are profitless. These include Melatonin and Lupron (for women). In Dr. Greger’s video, “40 Year Vegan Dies From A Heart Attack,” he states that Vegetarians are 6 times as likely to get Alzheimer’s. Is this not true? Is this because of the B12 deficiency issue? Here we see that low Cholesterol can prevent the disease. Lysine and Niacin can remove Cholesterol from the blood. Niacin can defend against Alzheimer’s, possibly because Niacin can remove Cholesterol from the blood. I would love to know if the Vegetarian diet can defend against Alzheimer’s, perhaps given a good supply of Iron rich foods like Pumpkin seeds.

  • Charzie

    Yep, lets drop that silly cholesterol concern from the dietary guidelines! We all know it’s only those vegetarians with their radical plant based agenda who believe eating the animal products containing it is an issue anyway! No “normal” person would even consider that the animals you eat will eat you in the end…in an equally horrific way!

  • Off topic: Last night we saw Dr. Roizen on his latest PBS special. This led us to look up some of his videos, not having seen him since he and Dr. Oz were on Oprah. We watched a video on purified Omega 7, something he takes daily. Omega 7?? Some of his comments on the TV special were apparently behind the times (saying to avoid all artificial sweeteners —blue, yellow or pink packages– that led us to think he did not know about erythritol nor did he comment on Stevia. So! has anyone an educated overview of the importance of Omega 7?

    • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

      I assume he means palmitoleic acid, which is a non essential monounsaturated fat. I did have to look it up though. I cannot provide much more than that, I really don’t know. I am highly doubtful there is any health benefit from its consumption.

  • Emily in MT

    Why is it that the medical community is so clueless about the value of eating a plant-based whole foods diet? Yearly I talk with my MD, dentist, eye doc, etc. and they just smile, like I’m 8 years old or senile. They seem to ignore all of the information that’s now available. I try to be a walking billboard for our movement, one in great heath, on no meds, and with excellent blood results at age 66.

    • SeedyCharacter

      Unless one goes to functional/integrative medical practitioners, a person can pretty much count on their physicians knowing next-to-nothing about nutritional research and acting condescendingly, just as you described, Emily in MT. When I turned up with osteopenia, I had to ask my GP to test my vitamin D levels. He complied but I had to initiate getting the test. Sure enough, I was in the low 20’s. When my levels weren’t rising, even with supplementation, I had to be the one to do the research as to why: the literature from Vitamin D Council and quickly informed me that my doctor’s recommended supplementation level was way too low; I wasn’t taking the pill with a meal; I am overweight and thus needed a higher dose; at my city’s latitude, absorption via skin exposure is limited. Repeat performance when I suffered a leg fracture: the orthopedist made no dietary recommendations, did not recommend a vitamin D test, etc. I went into high drive and figured out what I needed to do to maximize my bone healing. Fortunately, my osteopenic bone healed very well and I attribute that to my intensive research and self-prescribed treatments. (Sadly, there is not a single functional/integrative physician on my big HMO plan.)

    • Charzie

      I wonder too, and also experience the “yes, that’s nice dearie” disbelief/denial reaction regularly. Infuriating! My doctor (who I had to see monthly when I was on a slew of her medications and diabetic) has taken to having her staff call to remind me I “need” to come in for an appointment! (Because apparently my WFPB diet, that she dismissed, worked TOO well?) LOL

    • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

      The medical community is not well versed in preventative nutrition. They do understand how to analyze studies though. It may be helpful to present several to them.

  • Donna Reeves

    I have multiple sclerosis and familial hypercholesterolemia. This video made me think of my LDL causing the plaques in my brain that indicate MS. Is that connection being looked at? I had pretty severe short term memory problems which have resolved. The problems were when I was on Lipitor, a popular statin, and have resolved quite a bit now, when I am no longer taking Lipitor. I did not know the connection and do not know if the problem is that straight forward.

    • Matthew Smith

      I am so sorry to hear that you have Multiple Sclerosis.

      Are you aware that several doctors have concluded that MS is just a vitamin D deficiency and can be treated with high dose D3?

      Why Is There No Multiple Sclerosis At The Equator? How Brazilian Doctors Are Curing Ms With High-Dose D3 by Jeff T. Bowles.

      What Really Causes MS

      You can visit Peter’s Promise, a website about a man with MS who said he was cured by 10,000 IU of D3

      Good luck to you. You have my most sincere prayers.

      • Donna Reeves

        Thank you, I did not hear that it was only a Vitamin D deficiency. Dr Swank who is one of Dr John McDougall’s mentors says it is caused by our fatty diet. At least he says it is activated by more than 19 grams of fat in one day. I keep my fat intake to %10 or less by eating whole foods, starch based and vegan. I also avoid things like cocoanut, avocados nuts, seeds and tofu which are high fat foods. Once I lose my excess weight I will add some of those foods back, keeping the fat grams per day in check to avoid activating my MS.
        MS is more common the farther a population is from the equator, probably because as one goes farther from the equator, plant food is less available. My MS is well controlled on this diet. I still have heat intolerance but most of my symptoms are minor on a truly low fat diet.

        • Matthew Smith

          Dr. Swank had patients who had MS who had few or no symptoms 30 years on based on your diet.

          Congratulations on your successful diet. MS can be managed by a Vegan diet, according to this site.

          Dr. Klenner of North Carolina had success treating MS with vitamins. You can read about his protocol here:

          He had patients who got up from wheel chairs after only two weeks on his program, according to “Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone.”

          “Recently I (A.H.) witnessed the full recovery of a man with MS after one year of Orthomolecular nutritional treatment, which included 12,000 IU per day of Vitamin D3. The MS lesions in his brain cleared completely and he remains well.”

          Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone. Hoffer and Saul (2008).

          A cure for MS in D3 is real. Doctors who recommend D3 for MS are shunned and ignored. D3 is a curative factor in almost all non-injurious diseases.

          Multiple sclerosis: decreased relapse rate through dietary supplementation with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D.

          “A group of young patients having multiple sclerosis was treated with dietary supplements containing calcium, magnesium and vitamin D for a period of one to two years. The experimental design employed self-pairing: the response of each patient was compared with his/her own case history as control. The number of exacerbations observed during the program was less than one half the number expected from case histories. No side effects were apparent. The dietary regimen may offer a new means of controlling the exacerbation rate in MS, at least for younger patients. The results tend to support a theory of MS which states that calcium and magnesium are important in the development, structure and stability of myelin.”
          I take 30,000 IU of D3 daily. Are you taking your D3 supplement? Any danger from D3 is greatly exaggerated.

      • Donna Reeves

        I just read the linked article about the Cause of MS. Very interesting. I took Thyroxin when I was a teenager. The mention of lack of iodine and subsequent thyroid disfunction was new information. I did not know low thyroid function and MS were associated. I do have low levels of Vitamin D too so this article is linking to my personal history well. I also have not heard of Roger MacDougall and his MS diet. Thank you for the link.

        • Matthew Smith

          Be very careful when you take Iodine. One of the side effects of too much Iodine is a “weak pulse.” I took some Iodine and can no longer feel my heartbeat. It’s a thrill. It’s like Joy all day. Make sure you watch your stomach, you can see your pulse there, because taking any amount of Iodine can cause you to no longer feel your heartbeat. It’s still there though. After taking some Iodine within twenty minutes you might not feel your heart beating in your chest. I hope that you are in good hands. Choosing to take Iodine is the beginning of a big journey for you. You have my best wishes. Iodine can profoundly normalize your heartbeat. I have had two EKGs since I took Iodine, both of which show I have a very normal heartbeat. I believe in you. I know you are loved. You are the best.

          • Donna Reeves

            Thanks Matthew. I don’t use much salt but what I do use at the table is iodised.

  • John Parson

    Very interesting read on this board. I thought I was in a fairly tale land what without the uninformed people trying to act intelligent and spending most of the time deriding what someone else said. Who knew there was actually a civilized forum on the net? Thanks guys for the read, I’ll be back…John

    • HaltheVegan

      Yes, you have stumbled across the best Nutrition website on the Internet :-)

  • Rodrigo Cardoso

    Legendado em Português / Subtitled into Portuguese:

  • Bruce Cropley

    Off topic: I just created a petition for insurance companies to give an appropriate discount to vegans/whole food plant based people, since they live longer, healthier lives. Please sign and share if you agree. :)

  • GodBlessAmerica

    Side effects to statins are common, and dementia is only one!!! DB,
    muscle damage, etc. Statins do not prolong life, in women they shorted
    life span……. They are however, most profitable for big pharma. You
    can not believe the drug company sponsored studies sited in this video
    and I am so disappointed and disgusted that they are used here….Dr G
    should know better…… They are designed with predetermined
    conclusions and created to sell drugs.
    There are plenty of
    independent studies that show that cholesterol does NOT cause heart
    disease. Why do the French have low levels of heart disease (and smoke)
    and higher cholesterol levels??? eat butter, cream, etc? Because
    ……it is extremely important for your bones and arteries to get
    adequate fat soluble vitamins to assure that calcium goes into bone and
    NOT your arteries. These FAT soluble vitamins, which need fat for
    proper absorption, are Vitamin K2, D, A and E. The most important one
    we are missing K2, is found in ANIMAL products like grass fed
    butter and eggs, goose liver pate, , gouda and brie cheeses, or natto
    fermented soybeans…good luck finding natto here in the USA!
    Dr G
    needs to take a break from his anti cholesterol rants and wake up to
    what is really going on in our arteries. VITAMIN K2 and fat soluble
    vitamin deficiency. See the book Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by
    Kate Rheaumen-Bleue, the article on Dr. Mercola’s website and do a
    little googling to find out more about K2, discovered by Dr Weston Price.

  • Sebastian Tristan

    We know that saturated fat automatically increased cholesterol in our bodies. But what about those reports that dietary cholesterol raises cholesterol in only one third of people? I am curious.

    • largelytrue

      Greger comments some on this kind of topic here:

      Search the site from time to time when you have questions. You may find that material is present to help answer the question precisely because the questions are of great interest to the site’s audience in general, and NF has been in operation for a considerable period of time.

    • Tom Goff

      The Hopkins meta analysis referred to in Dr Greger’s video cited by largelytrue also notes that:
      “Serum cholesterol concentration is clearly increased by added dietary cholesterol but the magnitude of predicted change is
      modulated by baseline dietary cholesterol. The greatest response is expected when baseline dietary cholesterol is near zero, while
      little, if any, measurable change would be expected once baseline dietary cholesterol was > 400-500 mg/d.”

      In other words, if like most Westerners your baseline cholesterol is already high, added dietary cholesterol will have little if any effect.

      • Sebastian Tristan


  • Anette

    Very interesting! The Alzheimer risk for a person with familial hypercholesterolemia seems quite unfavourable then. A plant based whole food diet is not bringing the cholesterol levels enough down to get a favourable ratio, and one is thus dependent on statin drugs for the rest of ones life – vegan or not. Do you know if any studies have examined this link, i.e. familial hypercholesterolemia + vegan diet vs. familial hypercholesterolemia + statins, on Alzheimer risk?

  • Christine

    Hi Dr. Greger, Per your request I am posting this question here: Earlier this year I lost my dear Dad to ALS (motor neuron disease) and I keep wondering if it may have had something to do with his high cholesterol (he was sadly ‘sold’ on the benefits of coconut oil, despite my warnings). The above video on high cholesterol and dementia/Alzheimers, makes me wonder if you have ever seen any research linking high cholesterol to ALS/MND. I also saw the videos linking BMAA to some instances of ALS but wondered if there had been any other research on high cholesterol, plaque formation, and motor neuron function. Thanks again for your amazing work!

  • Christine

    Earlier this year I lost my dear Dad to ALS (motor neuron disease) and I keep wondering if it may have had something to do with his high cholesterol (he was sadly ‘sold’ on the benefits of coconut oil, despite my warnings). I recall your videos on high cholesterol and dementia/Alzheimers, and wondered if you have ever seen any research linking high cholesterol to ALS/MND. I also saw the videos linking BMAA to some instances of ALS but wondered if there had been any other research on high cholesterol, plaque formation, and motor neuron function. Thanks again for your amazing work!

  • Chris Hartley

    Interesting article on the BBC website “Blocking brain inflammation ‘halts Alzheimer’s disease'”

    referring to
    “Pharmacological targeting of CSF1R inhibits microglial proliferation and prevents the progression of Alzheimer’s-like pathology”

    So a plant based diet may help by lowering inflammation ?

  • Kirk Hamilton PA-C

    While I hope that much of AD is a vascular based disease because that makes the solution simple and immediately treatable, two podcasts I just conducted indicate strongly that we can prevent AD with a MIND Diet approach (Martha Clare Morris, PHD, Rush Medical College) and we can reverse (shown for the first time) early AD with a multi-systems integrated approach (Dale Bredesen, MD, Dept. Neuro. UCLA & Buck Institute). These podcasts are a perfect adjunct to this excellent video.

  • Janet

    Could you comment on the Finnish study discussed in the NY Times on 2/23/16 that followed healthy men for 21 years and found no association between cardiovascular disease and total cholesterol or egg consumption?

  • Meghan

    Since I eat a fair amount of saturated fat from coconut oil and organic palm shortening, and I usually mix both with nuts (raw nuts but I bake with palm shortening so they aren’t raw anymore :-), am I risking creating Alzheimers by mixing sat fat and high copper foods? Are you just referring to sat fats from meats (as they metabolize differently and trigger unfavorable prostaglandins) or are my plant fats a problem when mixed with copper rich nuts?

  • Nicole Urdahl

    I just watched the video on the YouTube page about Alzheimer’s disease and copper. My father wears a copper bracelet that he has worn for many years to help with joint pain. Do you think this could contribute to Alzheimer’s disease? Thank you!

  • Anonymus

    I know this has nothing to do with Alzheimer’s but there was no post about it…
    My brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. As a big believer of a low fat (high raw) vegan diet, I was wondering if there are studies that show the connection of food and schizophrenia. Is a healthier diet and lifestyle helping with schizophrenia? I know that drug addictions do take an important role in the therapy of schizophrenia, so I thought food could too? Thank you

    • Cathleen

      I’m sorry to hear about your brother’s condition. Unfortunately, there is very little high quality research on the effects of diet on the development and treatment of schizophrenia. However, given a WFPB diet is known to be good for the brain (as this video and others on this site demonstrate) I would speculate that such a diet would at least maximize the degree of health someone with this condition can have.

      What is very well known is that those that suffer from schizophrenia and other mental illnesses are at higher risk than the general population for cardiometabolic diseases, such as high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, etc. This is likely due to multiple risk factors, such as a higher rate of smoking, medication side effects and poor diet, among others. We know a WFPB diet will help prevent cardiovascular disease. Therefore, even if this diet doesn’t prevent schizophrenia, it can certainly help minimize the negative health consequences.

      Good luck to you and your brother!

  • incaseyouwondered

    Having eaten an almost exclusively plant-based (5-10 meals with wild venison/year) diet for 5 years, my total cholesterol still runs around 230-240 with a mediocre LDL/HDL ratio. I eat sugar, though not massive amounts and enjoy our local IPA beers, a cocktail and wine regularly, though not to excess (about 1-2 drinks/day average.) I don’t want to use statins as my doctor suggests. Have any of you had similar experience with blood profiles and made significant improvements? Love to hear from you.

    • Thea

      incaseyouwondered: Most people who switch to a plant based diet experience a great lowering of cholesterol. However, some people’s bodies are stubborn. I answered a similar question some time ago with some speculation/ideas to consider. Maybe it will help you too. I’m not an expert, so consider that when reviewing the ideas below.
      1) Is your weight ideal? Someone who is overweight may have cholesterol problems just from that situation. I first learned this from Tom Goff who wrote: “There is an interesting article on being overweight and its effects on lipids like cholesterol. It is quite technical but it concludes: “diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol are less effective in the obese. The most effective way for obese people to normalize their blood lipids is to lose weight”. . It is therefore possible that your system and metabolic response to eating a healthy diet won’t result in optimal cholesterol numbers until you are in a healthy weight range.”
      A lot of people lose weight switching to a vegan diet, but not everyone losses any or all of the excess weight. I can give you some great advice for lowering your weight the healthy way if you are interested.
      2) Do you have genes that just keep you with extra high cholesterol? I believe it is called familial hypercholesterolemia. If you do have this situation and if your diet is mostly whole, low fat plant foods, then maybe you don’t need to worry about your cholesterol levels? I don’t know that we have any data on people who have been eating a low fat whole plant food diet for many years an yet their cholesterol is still too high. But I heard Dr. Klaper once say to not worry about it. He thinks that if you are eating the right diet, then you cholesterol won’t oxidize and you won’t get a heart attack. (Assuming I understood him correctly.) I don’t know if Dr. Klaper has hard data on this assertion, but it makes sense to me. I believe you can do tests to figure out what your genes are regarding familial hypercholesterolemia??
      3) Do you eat a lot of fatty plant food? I was listening to a lecture recently from Dr. Jim Bennie and he told a story about a patient who was vegan for a while, but who still had high cholesterol. It turns out that that person was eating multiple avocados a day. To be optimally healthy, I think you need to go low-fat, not just whole plant foods. So, moderate your intake of avocados and nuts and skip the oils (olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, Natural Balance etc.)
      4) Were you eating a less than ideal diet for many years before becoming vegan? It seems (to my lay person’s brain), that some people’s bodies are all messed up after eating a bad diet for decades. So, my theory is that just switching to a vegan diet is not necessarily going to get your body to stop producing massive amounts of cholesterol. Or maybe your body produces more for a bit to compensate for the change in diet?
      Whether my theory is correct or not, it may be necessary to adopt a diet especially dedicated to lowering cholesterol. This would mean not only following the general basic Whole Plant Food Based diet that applies to most everyone, but also includes incorporating those foods which have been specifically shown to lower cholesterol. The last paragraph on the topic page for cholesterol on NutritionFacts includes this list of foods along with links to the details: (This page is well worth checking out anyway as a great summary of the information about cholesterol in general.)
      And then, if that doesn’t help, I like to refer people to Joseph’s excellent advice on what to do if you have tried everything and you still can’t lower your cholesterol: (Joseph was an RD who used to be part of the NutritionFacts staff) “What can I do to lower my cholesterol? It seems I’ve tried everything!”
      Hopefully some of those ideas will help.

  • kewlgeek

    I have high cholesterol that I can’t get below 250 (total cholesterol) despite the healthy plant-based diet that I have been on for over 2 years, and daily exercise consistently every day. My doctor says that it is hereditary and being produced by my body and is not due to my diet, and recommends that I take a statin drug. I am very resistant due to all the side-effects that I’ve read about and he has even threatened to no longer be my doctor if I don’t follow his advise. I am 66 and take no prescription medications at all. What should I do?

    • Thea

      kewlgeek: I’m sorry to hear about your dilemma. In the end, it is your decision. It is your doctor’s place to tell you all the options, including their risks and benefits. And then it is up to you to make a decision based on your values. It sounds like your doctor does not understand his/her basic duties. How much do you think this doctor is worth staying with? Does this doctor provide more value than harm?
      One option is to do a phone consultation with Dr. Michael Klaper. Dr. Klaper is a plant-based doctor who has a lot of experience in the area of heart disease. You could at least get a second opinion with him. You could ask him hard questions and see what you think of the answers. He may also have recommendations for other doctors in your area if you feel that you need someone who understands his duties better.
      Good luck.

      • Thea

        kewlgeek: Dr. McDougall has an article that discusses criteria he uses to decide whether someone needs medications or not when diet does not work. Maybe this article will help: (Thank you Dr. Forrester for bringing this to my attention.)

  • Mimi

    What about stopping the progressing of Alzh.? I am caring for a 87y old woman who is suffering from it. It would be doable to change her diet – if that makes any sense.