Treating High Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Diabetes May Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Treating High Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Diabetes May Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2011) — Treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and other vascular risk factors may help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in people who already show signs of declining thinking skills or memory problems. The research is published in the April 13, 2011, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers followed 837 people with mild cognitive impairment, the stage of memory loss that often leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Of the group, 414 had at least one vascular risk factor. Participants were given blood tests and a medical history questionnaire and also underwent other tests that measured blood pressure, body mass, memory and thinking skills.

Participants who had vascular risk factors were placed into three groups: those with no risk factors treated, those with some risk factors treated and those with all risk factors treated. Treatment of risk factors included using high blood pressure medicines, insulin, cholesterol-lowering drugs and diet control. Smoking and drinking were considered treated if the person stopped smoking or drinking at the start of the study.

After five years, 298 people developed Alzheimer’s disease. The others still had mild cognitive impairment. People with risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cerebrovascular disease and high cholesterol were two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those without vascular risk factors. A total of 52 percent of those with risk factors developed Alzheimer’s disease, compared to 36 percent of those with no risk factors.

Of those with vascular risk factors, people who were receiving full treatment were 39 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those receiving no treatment. Those receiving some treatments were 26 percent less likely to develop the disease compared to people who did not receive any treatment.

“Although this was not a controlled trial, patients who were treated for their high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes had less progression of their memory or thinking impairment and were less likely to develop dementia,” said study author Yan-Jiang Wang, MD, PhD, with the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China.

The study was supported by a grant from the Science and Technology Committee of Chongqing, China.

Olive oil compound shows heart health potential: Human study

Olive oil compound shows heart health potential: Human study

By Stephen Daniells, 14-Dec-2010

Related topics: Research, Antioxidants, carotenoids, Phytochemicals, plant extracts, Cardiovascular health

An olive extract rich in hydroxytyrosol may be effective for reducing levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol, suggests a new study from Spain that extends the heart health potential of hydroxytyrosol.

Supplementing the diet with hydroxytyrosol-enriched sunflower oil was associated with higher activity levels of the enzyme arylesterase, said to be an antioxidant biomarker, as well as lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol, believed to be a major player in terms of promoting atherosclerosis, the build up of fatty plaques in the arteries, and in cardiovascular disease in general.

Researchers from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid report their results in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Hydroxytyrosol is thought to be the main antioxidant compound in olives, and believed to play a significant role in the many health benefits attributed to olive oil. Previous research has linked the compound to cardiovascular benefits, with reductions in LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol. Data has also suggested the compound may boost eye health and reduce the risk of against macular degeneration.

Study details


The Madrid based researchers recruited 22 healthy volunteers aged between 20 and 45 years and with a BMI between 18 and 33 kg/m2. Volunteers were randomly assigned to received the 10 to 15 grams per day of hydroxytyrosol-enriched sunflower oil or non-enriched sunflower oil for three weeks. The former provided a daily hydroxytyrosol dose of between 45 and 50 mg. After the initial three weeks, the volunteers had two weeks of no intervention before crossing over to receive the other intervention.


Results showed no changes in total, LDL-, and HDL-cholesterol between the groups. However, consumption of the hydroxytyrosol-enriched sunflower oil produced significant reductions in oxidised LDL from 79.8 units per liter at the start of the study to 64.1 U/l after three weeks, compared to an increase from 72.7 to 86.4 U/l during the control phase. 

Furthermore, the activity of arylesterase increased from 235.2 to 448.9 U/l during the hydroxytyrosol phase, compared with an increase from 204.1 to 310.3 U/l during the control phase 

“Although hydroxytyrosol-enriched sunflower oil was unable to reduce LDL-cholesterol or increase HDL-cholesterol, it acts as a functional food by increasing arylesterase activity and reducing oxidised LDL,” report the researchers. “This oil can therefore be used as a dietary complement to reduce CVD risk


“Further studies are needed to understand the mechanisms by which hydroxytyrosol affects arylesterase activity and influences the arylesterase activity:HDL-cholesterol ratio,” they concluded.


Source: British Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, FirstView Articles, doi:10.1017/S0007114510005015
“Effects of hydroxytyrosol-enriched sunflower oil consumption on CVD risk factors”
Authors: M. Vazquez-Velasco, L. Esperanza Diaz, R. Lucas, S. Gomez-Martínez, S. Bastida, A. Marcos, F.J. Sanchez-Muniz