In an earlier article I mention the many health benefits that were to be gained from reducing the amount of carbohydrates in the typical diet. Unfortunately a lot of people worry that if they reduce the amount of carbohydrates that they eat, then very often their consumption of protein and fat increases along with the resultant worry about cholesterol.

I must make it clear from the start that as a practitioner of complementary health techniques I am not in favour of “statin” drugs to reduce cholesterol and I am especially concerned about their use in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and dementia as the results are extremely mixed.

A study published in the Journals of Gerontology showed that the use of statins is associated with a lower prevalence of dementia and has a positive impact on the progression of cognitive impairment. Whilst another study in The Lancet showed that patients given statin medication whether or not they had high cholesterol had a substantially lowered risk of developing dementia.

However, other studies have shown that there is no improvement in dementia when taking statins or a reduced risk of developing the condition and other studies have shown that certain statin medications can actually make dementia conditions worse and have even shown that a low good cholesterol level is a risk factor for developing dementia and memory deterioration.

Unfortunately, an estimated 1 in 8-10 people on statin medication will experience side effects that include muscle pain, memory lapses, depression, mood swings, sexual dysfunction, damage to the liver and kidneys and strokes. So much so that one leading doctor has warned that patients should be told that “the reduced cardiovascular risk will be replaced by other serious illnesses”.

With that it mind I wonder if any perceived benefits are actually worth it.

I would like to stress that a diet high in saturated fats and trans fats i.e. chips, crisps, burgers, biscuits, cakes, ice cream, pastry and anything deep-fried may result in these fats being absorbed into your cell membranes and into your red blood cells. This results in reduced blood flow and a hardening of the artery walls thereby decreasing the circulation to the vital organs of the body (and it is my belief that they are all vital otherwise you wouldn't have them!). This reduces the amount of oxygen and other nutrients that may get to your brain, for example, seriously affecting the way that it works.

One way to counteract this is to increase the amount of polyunsaturated oils that you consume which have been shown to increase red blood cell flexibility and activity and improve the mental functioning of those patients with Alzheimer’s.

My recommendation is that you should avoid trans fats and saturated fats as much as possible (as these have been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease especially amongst those with a genetic predisposition to the condition) and use olive oil where ever possible. The “Mediterranean” style diet (The Mediterranean diet is abundant in virgin olive oil, high quantities of fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, fish and wholegrain pulses and cereals) as it is known has been shown to be of benefit in reducing the risk of Alzheimer's and dementia in general.

The only drawback to this type of diet is for those people that may suffer from a gluten sensitivity (gluten is found in most cereals especially wheat, barley, oats and rye). A recent study in the journal Neurology that early-stage dementia may be linked with sensitivity to gluten and that these symptoms improved in nine out of the ten patients when they were given a gluten-free diet – which in effect is another reason to reduce the carbs!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Steffan H. Abel D.C. has been involved in Chiropractic and healthcare research for over 20 years. He has run his own successful practice in the north of England for the last 19 years. During which time he has treated over 10,000 patients and given over 100,000 treatments. He has lectured and taught extensively in both Europe and America to students, chiropractors and medical doctors.

He has studied Hypnotherapy, N.L.P. and qualified as a Life Coach. He has also studied various Chiropractic-based treatments (gaining a M.Sc. in post graduate Clinical Chiropractic in 2003) as well as energy therapies such as Seichem and Reiki. In 2001 he became a Fellow of the College of Chiropractors and a Fellow of the Association of Osteomyology and in 2007 became a Fellow of the European Academy of Chiropractic.

In his spare time he spends between 15 and 25 hours per week researching all areas of “alternative” and allopathic healthcare in order to bring the best advice to his patients through his practice and writing and has just finished his latest book The Alzheimer's Alternative ( When not working he is to be found enjoying life with Sue, his partner, – whom he loves tremendously!