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Triglycerides, the most common type of fat in the body, serve as a vital energy source and aid in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. However, elevated levels of triglycerides, often associated with unhealthy dietary habits and certain metabolic conditions, have been linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and other metabolic disorders. Now, findings from a recent study suggest that higher triglyceride levels reduce the risk of dementia by as much as 18 percent.

Researchers drew on data from more than 86,000 healthy older adults enrolled in the UK Biobank and ASPREE studies. They measured the participants' triglyceride levels and assessed different aspects of their cognition, such as memory, language, and reasoning. Then, they determined the effects of triglyceride levels on these cognitive measures.

They found that participants with higher triglyceride levels (normal to high-normal) were 18 percent less likely to develop dementia and experienced a slower decline in their overall cognitive abilities over time than those with lower triglyceride levels. Those with the highest levels of triglycerides were 36 percent less likely to develop dementia than those with the lowest levels. These results were consistent even after considering other factors that could affect the outcomes.

These findings suggest that higher triglyceride levels protect against dementia, counter to current thinking about triglycerides. They also highlight the need for further investigation to understand whether this link is causal and whether components of triglycerides benefit cognitive function.

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