Specialists say the link between blood sugar and the brain is so strong they're calling the disease 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.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?