Home > Uncategorized > Is Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes? – NYTimes.com

Is Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes? – NYTimes.com

September 30, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Is Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes?

By MARK BITTMAN

Just in case you need another reason to cut back on junk food, it now turns out that Alzheimer’s could well be a form of diet-induced diabetes. That’s the bad news. The good news is that laying off soda, doughnuts, processed meats and fries could allow you to keep your mind intact until your body fails you.

We used to think there were two types of diabetes: the type you’re born with (Type 1) and the type you “get.” That’s called Type 2, and was called “adult onset” until it started ravaging kids. Type 2 is brought about by a combination of factors, including overeating, American-style.

The idea that Alzheimer’s might be Type 3 diabetes has been around since 2005, but the connection between poor diet and Alzheimer’s is becoming more convincing, as summarized in a cover story in New Scientist entitled “Food for Thought: What You Eat May Be Killing Your Brain.” (The graphic – a chocolate brain with a huge piece missing – is creepy. But for the record: chocolate is not the enemy.)

The studies [1] are increasingly persuasive, and unsurprising when you understand the role of insulin in the body. So, a brief lesson.

We all need insulin: in non-diabetics, it’s released to help cells take in the blood sugar (glucose) they need for energy. But the cells can hold only so much; excess sugar is first stored as glycogen, and – when there’s enough of that – as fat. (Blood sugar doesn’t come only from sugar, but from carbohydrates of all kinds; easily digested carbohydrates flood the bloodstream with sugar.) Insulin not only keeps the blood vessels that supply the brain healthy, it also encourages the brain’s neurons to absorb glucose, and allows those neurons to change and become stronger. Low insulin levels in the brain mean reduced brain function.

via Is Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes? – NYTimes.com.

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