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Is your daily bread setting you up for Alzheimer’s?

Woman Breaking Bread
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Specialists say the link between blood sugar and the brain is so strong they're calling the disease Type 3 diabetes.

Well, this is something new. According to Big Think, the research linking Alzheimer’s and diabetes is now so strong that some Alzheimer’s specialists have proposed calling Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Insulin doesn’t merely signal the body’s somatic cells to take up glucose; it also governs the brain’s uptake of glucose. And glucose is what powers the brain. It’s the brain’s primary energy molecule.

Apparently the link between diabetes and cognitive decline was first observed hundreds of years ago by physician Thomas Willis, but the 2011 publication of the Hiyasama study cemented the link in medical research. This study established an irrefutable link between diabetes and all-cause dementia, finding the incidence of dementia among 1,017 initially disease-free patients to occur at significantly higher rates in those patients with diabetes.

Given the spiking rates of juvenile diabetes and type II diabetes in the U.S., I find this particularly alarming. If dementia is indeed a manifestation of insulin resistance, it follows that we would begin to see the same spike in dementia symptoms at younger ages that we’ve seen in diabetes symptoms.

However, this link does point to a potential treatment avenue for Alzheimer’s — treating the insulin resistance. In fact, some doctors are confident that dietary changes (including drastically reducing carbohydrate and sugar intake and increasing fat and cholesterol consumption)  can reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s in the same way they have proven to reverse the effects of diabetes.

That would be a pretty spectacular development, actually. A treatment that doesn’t require expensive pharmaceuticals and can be accomplished relatively easily at home is something most Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers never expected, so hopefully we’ll see some successful clinical trials.

In the meantime, though, this highlights once again how detrimental sugar is to our health, and how important it is to restrict sugar intake — particularly in our children.

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