We all know that eating all those holiday goodies can have a detrimental effect to our waistline, our cholesterol and our blood sugar. But did you know that it can affect your brain too?
A strong link is being developed by researchers who link Alzheimer’s to diabetes. The diabetes they are linking it to is being called Type 3 diabetes (although this is not an official term), which is different from Type 1 diabetes (the autoimmune diabetes which affects 10% of diabetics) and Type 2 diabetes (which now impacts about one-third of adults and is epidemic in children due to the amount of sugar we consume in this country).
Type 3 diabetes as a concept has existed since 2005, but has becoming more convincing as the connection between poor diet and Alzheimer’s is validated with very persuasive studies linking Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia and other cognitive impairments to impaired sugar metabolism.
Our bodies need insulin to help cells use sugar (glucose) for energy. Once cells have all the sugar they need the excess sugar is first stored in the liver and when the liver is full of sugar, we store it as fat. Blood sugar comes from sugar and carbohydrates.
Insulin not only helps cells obtain sugar but also keeps blood vessels, (including those to the brain) healthy. Low insulin levels mean reduced brain function because sugar in the form of glucose can’t get into the neurons.
Chronically high insulin levels, either destroy the pancreas, reducing insulin levels, or leave the pancreas overproducing insulin. When insulin is high for long periods of times, cells desensitize to the insulin and ignore it, leaving them unable to absorb blood sugar. So both high and low insulin over time result in neurons being starved of energy.
When brain cells become insulin resistant, memory loss, disorientation, and personality changes may occur. With chronic insulin resistance, proteins called beta amyloid plaques, develop in the brain, impairing brain function.
The Key to Good Memory May Reside in your Food Choices!
Researchers have already established that people with diabetes are at least twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s and that obesity alone increases the risk of impaired brain function. Although diabetes doesn’t “cause” Alzheimer’s, they both require the overconsumption of foods that impair insulin’s many roles.
If you smoke and have high blood pressure, chronic inflammation and are prediabetic or diabetic you increase your risk of Alzheimer’s.
The link between diet and Alzheimer’s should have you raising the bar on those New Year’s resolutions about diet! Seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, lean meats, complex carbohydrates and very little processed or packaged food is a SANE diet. The standard American diet (the SAD diet) will leave you SAD when your physical or cognitive health fails.
How can you modify your diet for 2014?
Use xylitol or stevia as a sweetener.
Exercise to support healthy blood sugar and enhance brain function.
Use supplements such as chromium picolinate, cinnamon and gymnema sylvestre to support blood sugar.
Chromium reduces glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C), which is a measure of blood sugar control, as well as fasting blood glucose levels.
Gymnema sylvestre reduces HbA1C levels.
Cinnamon improves fasting blood glucose.
It’s more important than ever to eat a low-glycemic load diet, exercise and to supplement with nutraceuticals that balance blood sugar.
We offer several programs for reducing blood sugar levels at our office. Contact us at (636)928-5588 to set up a consultation time with our doctors. Or schedule an appointment today.
Order these supplements from our online store using this code JC287.