The Link Between Statins and Memory Loss

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Cholesterol, Q&As, Mood & Memory, Q&As
Last Reviewed 02/20/2014

The Link Between Statins and Memory Loss

Are you aware of dementia and memory loss being associated with drugs that lower cholesterol levels, specifically the link between statins and memory loss?

I know this problem too well. Statin drugs suppress cholesterol production in the liver and may also do so in the brain, which could be causes of memory loss and more.

Cholesterol is vital for efficient brain function. According to Yeon Kyun Shin, a biophysics expert at Iowa State University, “If you deprive cholesterol from the brain, then you directly affect the machinery that triggers the release of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters affect the data processing and memory functions. In other words—how smart you are and how well you remember things.”

Dr. Shin’s comments were published by the university in connection with a study that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Other studies have also linked the potential for dementia with a decline in total cholesterol, which explains the link between statins and memory loss.

In addition to their role as possible causes of memory loss, statin drugs can cause many other side effects, which is why I never prescribe a cholesterol-lowering drug to people who have no evidence of heart disease. Cholesterol-reducing lifestyle adjustments are just as effective and far healthier. Read more about the dietary changesnutritional supplements and exercise strategies I recommend to lower your cholesterol levels without medication.

WATCH: Is Taking a Statin Drug the Right Choice for You?

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