Merolla Chiropractic

100 Bedford Street
New Bedford, MA 02740


Posts for tag: New Bedford chiropractor

By Dr. Mike Merolla - Merolla Chiropractic
June 21, 2013
Category: cholesterol

Chiropractor New Bedford reviews the brain and cholesterol

Your brain on cholesterol, it can be the right thing to do!

Recently, a conversation I had with one of my chiropractic patient’s lead her to become one of my function medicine patients.

The topic of the conversation was so typical to what I see in the clinic, I decided to post the meat and potatoes of the topic. 

Actually, potatoes are too high in crabs and too low in vitamins for this post, so let’s try meat and something nutrient dense / much more tasty…kale!

The conversation began with my patient whom I will call Lisa for this post, worrying that she has become more forgetful in recent months.  Things like her keys, what did I come into this room for, forgetting the grocery list at home, those types of things.

While this might not worry most people and tends to be typical behavior for many of us who are frazzled with work and children; she was concerned.  First, it was something she normally did not do and second, her mother had a history of senile dementia.  Lisa was worried her recent forgetfulness might be a sign of things to come.

But if you looked closer a Lisa you would also notice that she becoming overweight, exercised on and off but not consistently, and in recent months had been feeling mildly depressed.  She blamed her depression on feeling tired and she felt her fatigue began about a year before after starting a cholesterol lowering medication.

When I asked Lisa what her definition of eating “well” was, she offered up the standard American diet (or SAD diet).  Even better, she skipped breakfast, drank coffee with an artificial sweetener instead, and “ate a lot of fruit” for lunch.

Following this brief discussion, I knew immediately what Lisa needed in order to improve her health and avoid all of these symptoms that were threatening to become a full blown diagnosis of a chronic condition with little attached CPT codes for the insurance companies.

While we ultimately worked on several things that would jump start her health, I want to focus right now one of the biggest myths she was holding onto:  that cholesterol was bad.

I know, obviously taking a medication that lowers your cholesterol as low as possible makes you physician happy, but what about your brain?  And do you really like taking that pill every day?

Here is an interesting factoid, your brain is largely made up of cholesterol, as is the myelin sheaths, which insulate nerve cells, and the synapses that transmit nerve impulses. Some research studies theorize that lowering cholesterol may lead to a slowing down of connections involved with thought and memory.  Furthermore, the statin drugs might also lead to the formation of abnormal proteins seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

In fact, neurobiologists in recent studies have discovered that a molecule derived from cholesterol sends a signal to stem cells.  And that signal caused the cells to become dopamine producing neurons.

Why is this important?

Because dopamine is very important with regard to cognition, your memory, your mood, sleeping, and even voluntary movement (low dopamine is involved in Parkinson’s disease). 

Here’s a quote right from some of the research “Cholesterol is extremely important for the body, and in particular for the development and function of the brain.”

In Lisa’s case it was easy to connect the dots:  normal memory > years of “eating well” which led to cholesterol lowering medications > poor memory.

So guess what happened to Lisa.  She stopped “eating well”, her energy returned as did her memory, she felt like exercising, the weight came off, and with all those lifestyle choices in place, no longer needs cholesterol lowering medication!