Earlier studies have linked Alzheimer’s disease to metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance in what is being called Type 3 Diabetes. It has been shown that the brain produces and uses insulin, which very closely mirrors the way that the pancreas makes it..
The way the brain makes insulin, or lack of, can result in the formation of this plaque, which resembles that which is found in Diabetes Type 1 and Diabetes Type 2 sufferers. The attack of the brain’s functions is the result with Type 3 Diabetes, and memory loss and improper memory creation and formation are the result. This is why Alzheimer’s is sometimes referred to at Type 3 diabetes.
A new study in mice, shows that elevated glucose (the precursor to insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes) in the blood can rapidly increase levels of amyloid beta, a key component of brain plaques in Alzheimer’s patients. The buildup of plaques is thought to be an early driver of the complex set of changes that Alzheimer’s causes in the brain.
Is It The Chicken Or The Egg…Or Both?
The research is published May 4 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation is showing us that not only can elevated blood glucose exacerbate current amyloid plaques, but lead to growth when previously not present. One might also surmise that physical changes and signs of Alzheimer’s can be seen even before an official diagnosis of insulin resistance or diabetes.
In this study, to understand how elevated blood sugar might affect Alzheimer’s disease risk, the researchers infused glucose into the bloodstreams of mice bred to develop an Alzheimer’s-like condition.
- In young mice without amyloid plaques in their brains, doubling glucose levels in the blood increased amyloid beta levels in the brain by 20 percent.
- When the scientists repeated the experiment in older mice that already had developed brain plaques, amyloid beta levels rose by 40 percent.
Looking more closely, the researchers showed that spikes in blood glucose increased the activity of neurons in the brain, which promoted production of amyloid beta. One way the firing of such neurons is influenced is through openings called KATP channels on the surface of brain cells. In the brain, elevated glucose causes these channels to close, which excites the brain cells, making them more likely to fire.
Normal firing is how a brain cell encodes and transmits information. But excessive firing in particular parts of the brain can increase amyloid beta production, which ultimately can lead to more amyloid plaques and foster the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Where insulin resistance is often the spark that ignites the fires of metabolic syndrome and all the downstream issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimers, cancer, etc. the majority of cases can be avoided by diet and lifestyle measures alone. Here some simple dietary and lifestyle recommendations which have proven to be successful in decreasing risk factors of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
- Promoting regular physical activities appropriate for the individual’s state of health.
- Eating wholefoods, avoiding preservatives, artificial colors and artificial flavorings in foods.
- Eliminate refined sugars and carbohydrates from diet.
- Reduce or eliminate liquid calories.
- Incorporating healthy fats and proteins at each meal.
- Understand the importance of not skipping breakfast.