Alzheimer's Disease and Blood Sugar Levels
I came across three interesting articles today that pertain to Alzheimer’s research. I decided to share parts of what I discovered while reading these articles, and then share some additional personal thoughts on the issue and how I think they might tie together.
The first article stated that three common household foods – coffee, broccoli and cinnamon – contain components that have preliminarily shown promise in combating the effects that Alzheimer’s has on the brain.
A synergistic interaction between a mystery component of coffee and the caffeine present in coffee causes a positive increase in GCSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor) which is known to boost memory potential in animals. It is also known that people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have low levels of GCSF.
Additionally, two reports generated by researchers in Scandinavia and France showed that individuals drinking 3-5 cups per day of caffeinated coffee scored higher on evaluations measuring thinking and memory skills.
Researchers in Scotland are studying a chemical found in broccoli and other vegetables that may discourage the development of dementia in old age.
A substance found in cinnamon, more specifically cinnamon bark, has shown to impede the accumulation of the toxic proteins that cause obstructions in the brain of those with AD. It has even been shown to be successful in breaking down toxic proteins that have already formed in the brain. Unfortunately, however, the amounts necessary to achieve these benefits would be toxic to humans.
Currently there are no available drugs to stop the downhill spiral of AD, but research like the above offers a glimmer of hope as researchers continue to analyze hundreds of possible substances in search of the cure. One thing that does become apparent is that a varied and healthy diet certainly can’t hurt anyone in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
Just a Little Squirt
The second article I read stated that a squirt of insulin, a nasal drug prescribed for persons with diabetes, deep in the nose actually relieved symptoms of early AD. Again these results are preliminary. In diabetics the insulin is used to keep blood sugar levels under control, but it also helped persons with mild cognitive impairment. Medication administered in this way allows high levels of the insulin to enter the brain without having adverse effects on the rest of the body. This delivery method is available only in study settings.
The parts of the brain responsible for memory contain many receptors for insulin, leading to the belief that insulin may be very important for the health of the brain. After receiving daily doses for four months, persons receiving the insulin performed better on memory and thinking evaluations. Studies at scheduled to continue in this area.
Diabetes and Dementia
Two recent studies have indicated a possible connection between diabetes and dementia. The first group of studies indicates that diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The second group of studies indicates that once someone already has diabetes the benefits of intense therapy are negligible.
Diabetes affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Unregulated blood sugar levels causing wide swings in those levels may cause damage to brain cells.
These three studies brought me to a very interesting conclusion, blood sugar levels might play an even bigger role in Alzheimer’s than we realize. Remember, in the first article, cinnamon was mentioned as having a beneficial effect on and against the toxic proteins that are prevalent in those with AD. I know because of personal studies that cinnamon is also considered to be a natural remedy in the control of blood sugar levels. Insulin and cinnamon which control blood sugar levels are common denominators to all of these studies.
I also know from personal experience, having low blood sugar, that when glucose levels which are controlled by insulin are low, it is impossible to think clearly and respond appropriately. In fact, I don’t always remember everything that occurs when my blood sugar levels are inadequate. It is quite obvious to me that glucose levels have a definite impact on brain functioning.
Do these studies mean that we are coming closer to a treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s? I don’t know if it does or not, but I would think there is a possibility . . . and a hope . . . that we might be closer than we know.
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Copyright © 2012 Cindy Murdoch (homesteadbound)