The saying “you are what you eat” continues to prove itself true. We know that diet is an important factor in the fight against Alzheimer’s, but research is showing that the disease might actually be a third type of diabetes.
The Two Types of Diabetes
There are currently two well known types of diabetes, type 1 which people have at birth and type 2 which people develop over time, mostly due to a poor diet. The correlation between diabetes and Alzheimer’s is well known, with diabetics twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s later in life. But since 2005, researchers have been looking into Alzheimer’s as a type of diabetes. Now, the evidence is becoming more convincing.
Sugar Can Be Dangerous
Diabetes is a disorder in which the body does not use insulin correctly so that sugar is not being used for energy. The result is a dangerous amount of sugar that damages organs. Dr. Suzanne M. de la Monte from Brown Medical School noted that insulin levels in the brain were 80% lower in people with advanced Alzheimer’s than in a normal functioning brain. This lack of insulin in the brain means that brain cells are not getting the sugar or energy they need to function and are literally starving brain cells, resulting in Alzheimer’s.
In response to these studies, a new and experimental drug called (Val8)GLP-1 has been created which essentially controls the brain’s response to blood sugar. So far, the drug has had a positive response in mice by promoting new brain cells to grow with no side effects. The research team at Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, who developed the drug, are encouraged but have a long way to go before the drug is made available to Alzheimer’s patients.
What This Means for You
For now, we know enough that the effects of a poor diet on your health are catastrophic. There is enough evidence to suggest putting down the soda, throwing out that candy bar, and picking up some green leafy vegetables or other memory boosting superfoods.
Could Alzheimer’s be another form of diabetes? What are your favorite healthy, brain boosting foods?