Sugar and Your Brain: Is Alzheimer’s Disease Actually Type 3 Diabetes?
It starves your brain, tangles and twists vital cells, and for decades it has been misrepresented as an untreatable, genetically determined disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in North America1. The truth, however, is that this devastating illness shares a strong link with another sickness that wreaks havoc on millions of individuals in North America — Diabetes.
We all know that individuals affected by Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes have a notable resistance to insulin. Type 1 is caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin, and Type 2 is caused by the deterioration of the body’s insulin receptors and associated with the consumption of too much refined carbohydrate like processed grains and sugar. But when studies began to appear in 2005 that revealed a shocking correlation between insulin and brain cell deterioration, major breaks were made around Alzheimer’s prevention. Health practitioners became curious about a critical question — could Alzheimer’s disease simply be Type 3 Diabetes?
Alzheimer’s disease has long been perceived as mysterious and inevitable. 5.3 million individuals suffer every year from the disease that appears to be untreatable[ii]. But, if this illness is associated with insulin resistance, this simply isn’t the case.
We already know that diabetics are at least twice as likely to experience dementia[iii]. The cells of your brain can become insulin-resistant just like other cells in the body. What was once considered a mysterious accumulation of beta amyloid plaques characteristic in the Alzheimer brain is now associated with the same lack of insulin that negatively affects cognition[iv].
Where there is knowledge about underlying causes there is the opportunity for prevention. Research that surfaced around problems with insulin and brain cell death offered health practitioners a way to identify useful prevention tactics that help restore the brain’s cell function[v].
Your Brain on Carbohydrates
Most people know that a diet high in carbohydrates indicates a relationship to serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. What we haven’t always known is the serious affect sugar has on our brain health. When you eat carbohydrates, which break down into sugar in the body, your blood sugar levels sky-rocket[vi]. High blood sugar levels also create inflammation, further causing your brain’s health to weaken. Over time, a diet high in sugar translates into the accelerated death of supple, healthy brain cells[vii].
Studies have shown that brain cells shrink and become tangled from high blood sugar levels over time[viii]. This means that your sugar intake could be drastically affecting long-term brain health, inherently increasing the likelihood of developing lesions in the brain, which are linked to the deadly disease process we call Alzheimer’s.
The good news is that the brain is very resilient. A handful of well-researched, holistic prevention tools have been shown to restore damaged brain cells, and return a dying brain to its fully functioning state[ix].
How do I decrease my risk for Type 3 Diabetes?
Many think it an unusual treatment, but it’s the leading preventative tool in cognitive health. It doesn’t take years or even months — coconut oil takes action on the brain after just one 40 ml dose[x]. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are the primary fat found in coconut oil, and they are powerful in rapidly helping to boost brain metabolism and thereby increasing cognitive functioning. Recent, insightful research has shown that patients experienced significant neurological healing after 4-6 weeks of using the oil in their nutritional plans[xi].
Coconut oil is also a valuable source of fuel for the brain. When brain cells have undergone metabolic deterioration associated with insulin resistance, they can no longer accept glucose, the brain’s main fuel source. However, coconut oil is rich in the medium chain fatty acids that break down into ketones in the liver, an alternative fuel for the brain that is as efficient as glucose.
Using coconut oil has been shown to control or even reverse the progression of what has been recently reported as Type 3 diabetes[xii]. Try using extra virgin coconut oil in your cooking, baking, or your morning smoothies to receive exceptional cognitive benefits.
A Maximized Diet
Compelling reports have shown that the nutrition plan offered to individuals seeking Type 2 Diabetes prevention is one of the same plans offered to those looking to decrease their risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This dietary prevention plan includes foods that are low in sugar and high in healthy fats, which creates a rich, healing environment for the brain. Your brain will thrive when you load up on friendly fats and decrease your carbohydrate intake[xiii]. Fats that are optimal for the promotion of plasticity in your brain include olive oil, avocados, salmon, and almonds. Even small increments of good fats can make a lasting difference on your brain’s health, so implement them into your diet today – and every day!
The Best Carbs – Fruits and Veggies
Modern day Western culture has consumes voluminous quantities of processed carbohydrates and so-called ‘whole grains.’ As a result, health practitioners are finding strong links between these foods we eat and suboptimal brain health, which makes it imperative for you to adjust your carbohydrate intake. Fruits and vegetables that promote cell growth, are less inflammatory and acidic than are starchy carbs, and, with the exception of a few higher-sugar fruits, they are lower in sugar are ideal for preventing Type III diabetes[xiv]. Maximize your dishes with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, kale, spinach, avocados, and other dark colored fruits and vegetables for peak cognitive functioning[xv].
Beta Carotene and Vitamin C
Of course a diet low in sugar, plentiful in good fats, and rich in dark colored vegetables is ideal for the health of your brain[xvi]. Increasing your intake of antioxidants has also proven to be beneficial in nurturing and optimizing neural functioning. Research has shown that Vitamin C and Beta Carotene, found in foods like lemons, grapefruits, kale, and bell peppers, aids in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases[xvii]. Excessive free radical production can create a dangerous atmosphere in the brain (making it rancid!), and antioxidants are a strong combatant against these brain-damaging agents. Increase your intake of antioxidants through fresh fruits and vegetables, or organic health supplements.
Chiropractic research has shown that over time, the body’s resistance to outflow from the brain can cause normal pressure hydrocephalus and toxic metabolic edema, which in turn causes the brain to break down[xviii]. This means that a decrease in normal fluid functioning without an increase in brain volume causes the brain to stop functioning. Naturally, in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease (and any other cognitive disorder), schedule regular chiropractic appointments, and maintain a body system that is functioning at its highest potential.
Knowledge is Power
Recent research around neural deterioration and insulin resistance has been groundbreaking. The most notable, and curious, point is evidence that the disease could in fact, be preventable[xix]. Alzheimer’s disease may no longer be a murky, genetically defined illness, if brain-healthy lifestyle choices are created and maintained.
Dr. B.J. Hardick is the co-author of the best-selling Maximized Living Nutrition Plans and a contributing author for The Cancer Killers. He is in private chiropractic practice in London, Ontario, Canada and has consulted for natural health clinics for over 20 years.