- Mental Health
Can You Avoid Alzheimer's Disease?
Type 3 Diabetes: Sugar's Drastic Effects on the Brain
Need more of an incentive to cut out your morning donut? Alzheimer's disease, sometimes called type 3 diabetes, is strongly associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
According to Alzheimer's Disease Research, a person with Alzheimer's disease has a buildup of beta amyloid plaques and abnormal tangles in the brain. Up until now, what causes these abnormalities has been a mystery.
But recent research shows that insulin resistance may play a pivotal role in the development of the disease, demonstrating that diabetes can go on to affect the brain. As a result, Alzheimer's disease has earned the title of type 3 diabetes. As Dr. Suzanne DeLaMonte, Neuropathologist from Brown University states,
"In many respects, Alzheimer’s is a brain form of diabetes. Even in the earliest stages of disease, the brain’s ability to metabolize sugar is reduced."
High-Carb Diets Are Bad For the Brain
The average American consumes about 150 pounds of sugar each year, and that isn't counting the copious amounts of easily digestible, high-carbohydrate foods that spike blood sugar (glucose) levels.
Breakfast cereals (oatmeal, granola: we're talking to you!), crackers, and bread are several examples of the incredible number of processed food items that send blood sugar levels into dangerous territory.
Insulin is a hormone. One of its jobs is to bring those elevated blood sugar levels down to normal. When this system is working properly, all of the body's cells receive the glucose they need for energy. But a high-sugar/carb addiction throws a wrench in the system.
As carb consumption continues, the pancreas is pushed to produce more and more insulin. Pancreatic cells that distribute insulin become taxed and overburdened. They can't take in anymore glucose. This is called insulin resistance. It leads to elevated insulin levels in the bloodstream, which can damage blood vessels and interrupt brain circulation.
For years, nutritionists and doctors have been attacking saturated fats as the culprit for disease, even though the diet-heart hypothesis has never proven to be true. Meanwhile, fat-free processed foods that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates add fat to waistlines, lead to heart disease, and set the stage for dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Animal foods like grass-fed beef and egg yolks support a healthy brain, but they've been replaced with damaging foods that lack vital nutrients, all in the name of health.
The Brain Benefits of Saturated Fat
Insulin Resistance Starves Brain Cells
Your body uses insulin to produce neurotransmitters. Neurons use these neurotransmitters to communicate with each other and send messages throughout the body. In this way, insulin supports brain function, helping it to generate new memories and learn new things.
Like other cells, brain cells can also become insulin resistant. This leads to what is now known as type 3 diabetes. When brain cells resist insulin, they aren't stimulated to take in glucose and essentially starve themselves to death. This leads to memory loss and cognitive decline, and can even alter a person's character.
Evidence of a Diabetes-Alzheimer's Connection
The Hisayama Study was a long-term research program that began in 1988. Japanese researchers followed over 1,000 adults to measure stroke and heart disease rates. They also administered glucose tolerance tests to determine the effects of sugar on the participants' bodies. Over the course of 15 years, 232 study subjects developed dementia.
Those who were diagnosed with diabetes were found to have a 74 percent higher risk of developing some form of dementia. Those who weren't diabetic, but had pre-diabetic conditions, had a 35 percent higher risk of dementia.
Those who had diabetes were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease compared to those who weren't diabetic. Participants who were pre-diabetic with impaired glucose tolerance had a 60 percent greater risk of developing the disease.
Solving the Riddle of Alzheimer's Disease
The association between diabetes and dementia shows that Alzheimer's disease isn't merely a genetic condition. Research reveals that what you put on your plate today can affect the health of your brain in the future. Cut packaged food products and replace them with nutrient-dense foods to keep your mind sharp and avoid the effects of type 3 diabetes.
More on Health and Wellness
- Food and Depression | How the Gut-Brain Connection Impacts Your Mood
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- Paleo Eating | A Traditional Diet for Sustained Health
The basics of the Paleo diet are simple: just eat real food and leave the toxins behind.
© Liz Davis 2013 | Alzheimer's Disease - Type 3 Diabetes