Alzheimer’s Linked to High Sugar Diet, Diabetes and Lack of Sleep
Insulin is usually associated with its role in keeping blood-sugar levels in a healthy range, it also plays a role in brain signaling.
In 1 animal study, when researchers disrupted the proper signaling of insulin in the brain, they were able to induce many of the characteristic brain changes seen with Alzheimer’s disease, including confusion, disorientation and the inability to learn and remember.
It now is becoming clear that the same pathological process that leads to insulin and leptin resistance, as well as Type 2 diabetes, may also hold true for the human brain. As we might overindulge on grains and sugar, the brain becomes overwhelmed by the consistently high levels of insulin. Eventually the insulin and leptin signaling become profoundly disrupted, leading to impairments in cognitive abilities and memory.
A study published in the American Diabetes Association’s journal Diabetes Care found that Type 2 diabetes is associated with a 60% increased risk of dementia.
Research featured in The New England Journal of Medicine noted a mild elevation of blood sugar, such as a level of 105 or 110, is also associated with an elevated risk for dementia.
In a Y 2012 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease it was revealed high-carb diets increase risk of dementia by 89%, whereas high-fat diets lower it by 44%.
The researchers stated, “A dietary pattern with relatively high caloric intake from carbohydrates and low caloric intake from fat and proteins may increase the risk of mild cognitive impairment or dementia in elderly persons.”
This connection between high-sugar diets and Alzheimer’s is highlighted in a longitudinal study published in the journal Diabetologia this year.
Based on a series of assessments completed during the 10-year follow-up period, researchers noted the higher an individual’s blood sugar, the faster their rate of cognitive decline. The connection between high blood sugar and Alzheimer’s is why the disease has sometimes been dubbed “Type 3 diabetes.”
Lack of Sleep Damages the Brain and Promotes Alzheimer’s
Studies linking poor sleep and beta-amyloid buildup as risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease continue to emerge.
Earlier studies, involving lab mice, such as a Y 2013 body of research published in the journal Science, discovered your brain’s cells are reduced by up to 60% while you sleep, making it easier to flush away cellular waste.
New research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), used positron emission tomography (PET) to show that acute sleep deprivation impacts beta-amyloid buildup in human brain regions that have been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. The study, involving 20 human participants, suggests your brain accumulates beta-amyloid deposits after just a single night of sleep deprivation.
The study’s authors wrote:
“We show that one night of sleep deprivation, relative to baseline, resulted in a significant increase in beta-amyloid burden in the right hippocampus and thalamus. These increases were associated with mood worsening following sleep deprivation but were not related to the genetic risk (ApoE genotype) for Alzheimer’s disease.”
By pumping cerebral spinal fluid through the brain’s tissues, the body’s glymphatic system flushes waste fromthe brain back into your circulatory system and to the liver for elimination.
But, as highlighted in the NIH study, if we do not get enough sleep, the damaging plaques will build up.
Over time, they attack and degrade certain regions of the brain.
Notably, a brain affected by Alzheimer’s has lost most of its ability to remove the beta-amyloid waste products, mainly because it is caught in a killer cycle: more amyloid, less deep sleep; less deep sleep, more amyloid.
Persistent patterns of poor sleep may actually be an early indicator of amyloid buildup, which could be causing very subtle brain changes well before disease develops.
The latest sleep guidelines suggest most adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, and children and teens need even more.
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