Multiple factors like lack of sleep, electromagnetic fields, aluminum (found in anti-acids, water, foil wrap, deodorants, cookware) interact with our genes to produce diseases like Alzheimer’s. In addition, inflammation is always present in most diseases and Alzheimer’s is not an exception. Inflammatory-promoting factors include trans fats, saturated fat, stress, infections, lack of exercise, autoimmune diseases, vitamin deficiencies, celiac disease, colitis, sugar, and diabetes, all of which increase the risk of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Scientists had linked sugar and its ability to create insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease. This news item highlights exactly this:
Diabetes Increases Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
April 02, 2009
New research confirms that diabetics have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Stockholm Gerontology Research Center reported that people with diabetes are 70 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to those with normal blood sugar levels.
Type II diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance, a condition where chronic high blood sugar levels have caused an overproduction of insulin. Along with many other side effects, high insulin levels produce inflammation in the body. This inflammation can cause damage in the brain.
Another study, led by Rachel A. Whitmer of the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente in California, looked at the history of more than 22,000 patients with Type II diabetes whose records had been followed for eight years. The study revealed that higher blood sugar counts correlated with an increased risk of developing dementia. Those with very high blood sugar levels showed a dramatically increased risk of dementia.
“With the whole diabetes epidemic we’re seeing much more Type II, so are we going to see even more Alzheimer’s than we thought we would see? If we continue in this direction, it’s a little bit frightening,” says Dr. Whitmer.
For someone with type II diabetes, when blood sugar rises, brain function begins to slow. This occurs even before a diabetic may notice symptoms of blood sugar swings, which is why it is so important for diabetics to develop lifestyle habits that help them control their blood sugar.
The link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s goes even deeper. In both diseases, there is a buildup of the protein amyloid–in the brain in Alzheimer’s patients, and in the pancreas in those with diabetes. Too much insulin, a condition common in diabetics, can contribute to the buildup of amyloid in the brain.
While there may be no reason to panic, there is strong urging for both diabetics and pre-diabetics to take every measure possible to properly manage blood sugar levels. And since diabetes is a disease which develops because of years of high blood sugar, even people who are not yet at risk for diabetes should do what they can to stay that way.
Managing your blood sugar is not at all complicated. Exercising and maintaining a healthy weight are two simple ways to combat diabetes. It’s also important to consider how your eating habits affect your blood sugar. Refined carbohydrates and sugar are especially known for causing high blood sugar. Eating carbohydrates alone can cause blood sugar to spike, so try eating whole carbohydrates with some protein and healthy fat to prevent this. Making permanent healthy lifestyle habits is your best chance at preventing disease.
People with prediabetes have a higher risk of cognitive decline, poor memory, and loss of brain function. Sugar is a key factor that increases inflammation and stress hormones which then affects our bodies and brain. Type 2 diabetics do have a much higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s, specially in those genetically predisposed. In fact, some scientists are now calling Alzheimer’s disease the “type 3 diabetes”.
Griffin, W.S. 2006. Inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases. Am J Clin Nutr 83 (2): 470S-474S. Review
Selkoe, D.J., American College of Physicians; American Physiological Society. 2004. Alzheimer’s disease: mechanistic understanding predicts novel therapies. Ann Intern Med 140 (8): 627-638. Review.