New Research Suggests Alzheimer’s is a Form of Diabetes
New Research Suggests Alzheimer’s is a Form of DiabetesAlzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in theUnited States. It is a form of progressive dementia that profoundlyaffects a person’s memory, thinking and behavior. Approximately5.2 million people are currently suffering with Alzheimer’sdisease in the U.S., and that number is projected to triple by 2050.Like all diseases, Alzheimer’s prevention is far better thanAlzheimer’s treatment, and there is mounting evidence thatprevention should start on your plate.What Happens with Alzheimer’sMany scientists now believe that Alzheimer’s disease (which is the leading cause of dementia) isactually a metabolic disorder, similar to diabetes. Diabetes develops when someone either doesnot produce enough of, or is insensitive to, the blood sugar regulating hormone called insulin.Like diabetes, researchers have found that Alzheimer’s may also be caused by impaired insulincapabilities – except the impaired insulin response is primarily in the brain. As a result, thiscauses an inability of the brain to properly utilize glucose (sugar).The insulin impairment is highly problematic, as it disrupts pathways in the brain that arerequired for energy production, gene expression, and the survival of brain function-supportingneurons.Type-3 DiabetesThe insulin connection to Alzheimer’s may explain why people with type-2 diabetes are muchmore likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, versus non-diabetics in the same age group. Theidea that Alzheimer’s disease is primarily a metabolic disorder has prompted some scientists torename the disease, calling it type-3 diabetes. Although metabolic disorders such as type-1diabetes can be inherited, if you were born without a metabolic disorder, poor lifestyle choices isthe primary cause of developing one.As such, supporters of the ‘type-3 diabetes’ theory claim that Alzheimer’s disease is a directresult of a poor diet — one that is high in fat, sugar and salt. This assumption is not merespeculation either; a study conducted on 17,478 patients, found that an adherence to aMediterranean diet (which is high in fruits, vegetables, fish, and olive oil and low in processedjunk foods) was associated with a much lower risk for cognitive impairment, associated withdementia.As more research shows Alzheimer’s to be a metabolic disorder, it would mean that it may soonbecome an epidemic, similar to obesity, and that the rate that this form of dementia will becomefar more prevalent than researchers had originally anticipated. This could have direconsequences on healthcare costs and human suffering. Unfortunately, simply warning people ofthe health consequences of consuming junk food has not been enough to stop the obesity and
type-2 diabetes epidemics. If researchers do find a definitive link between diet and Alzheimer’s,it might still be hard-pressed to prevent the epidemic from happening.Out of the top seven leading causes of death in the US, lifestyle choices are directly impactingthe risk for six of them. While more research is required to prove Alzheimer’s link to metabolicdisorders, making healthy lifestyle choices is clearly a matter of life and death. A whole-foodbased diet, regular exercise, avoidance of tobacco, adequate sleep, stress reduction practices, andactively working to achieve emotional health, will go a long way to improve your quality of lifetoday, and reduce your risk for disease tomorrow.