There is strong evidence that insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes is the first step to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) as almost 70% of patients with type 2 diabetes sooner or later develop Alzheimer’s dementia! Many people with insulin resistance and diabetes have brain changes that are hallmarks of both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Scientists believe that each condition fuels the damage caused by the other. Alzheimer’s disease is often referred to as a Type 3 Diabetes because the growing amount of research reveals a close relationships between insulin resistance in the brain and cognitive decline in the form of Alzheimer’s disease.
A study conducted by scientists at Albany University in New York, shows that Alzheimer’s may be the late stages of type 2 diabetes. Due to insulin resistance, individuals with type 2 diabetes force their pancreas to produce extra insulin. Also their medication may have similar effect. In addition, some of them are on insulin shots. As a result, excess insulin leads to obesity as insulinmakes sure more fat is stored in the body and too much fat especially in the belly area is one of the key causes of type 2 diabetes. In addition, excess insulin gets into the brain, disrupts brain chemistry and leads to the formation of abnormal toxic proteins that poison brain cells and trigger Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Some researchers believe that the protein (resistin) that is formed in type 2 diabetes in fat cells and causes insulin resistance might be the same protein which is responsible for leading to Alzheimer’s disease! They believe that excess insulin in the brain interferes with normal function of certain enzyme preventing it from breaking down amyloid. As a result, amyloid protein accumulates in certain areas of the brain leading to Alzheimer's disease!
Professor Edward McNay, a researcher at Albany University, stated that “People who develop diabetes have to realize this is about more than controlling their weight or diet. It’s also the first step on the road to cognitive decline. At first they won’t be able to keep up with their kids playing games, but in 30 years’ time they may not even recognize them.”
Nutritional Supplements That Promote Normal Blood Glucose Levels & Insulin Sensitivity
Since excess insulin (caused by high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance) is regarded as one of the key factors that significantly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer, implementing the following principles will help you to reduce the risk:
- There is enough scientific data to admit that type 2 diabetes is not only preventable, but also reversible if a diabetic is only willing to do daily exercise, go on a healthy high-fibre plant-based or mostly plant-based diet (free from bad fats, sugar and other refined products) and get rid of the belly fat (fat cells in belly area are responsible for generating resistin protein which is believed to be responsible for insulin resistance).
- Research has been also overloaded with information about various vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, super foods, and herbs that have been shown their abilities to promote healthy blood glucose levels, normal insulin sensitivity, metabolism (healthy body weight), and energy production.
- Chromium helps our body to use sugar properly, thus contributing to the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels. It plays important role in regulating metabolism as it is needed for the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Chromium deficiency (very common today) contributes to insulin resistance as the role of this mineral is to help insulin attach to cell’s receptors to increase glucose uptake into cell. According to the summery of the study published in 2006, „Chromium & Biotin supplementation improves glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.” Unfortunately, “Chromium deficiency is universal today, and becomes worse with age. We are witnessing an epidemic of related to chromium deficiency ailments including diabetes, hypoglycaemia, elevated cholesterol, fatigue, and sugar cravings.”
- Research suggests that Karela (Bitter melon) contains several active ingredients including charantin, vicine and an insulin-like compound known as polypeptide-p that has been confirmed to have a blood glucose-regulating effect. In addition, it contains lectin which is thought to be a key factor behind the blood-glucose regulating effect of Karela. Results of a clinical trial published in 2011 demonstrated that a 2,000 mg daily dose of Karela significantly reduced blood sugar levels among patients with type 2 diabetes. Also other studies have suggested an association between Karela intake and improved blood glucose control. A report published in the March 2008 issue of Chemistry and Biology found that Karela improved glucose tolerance and increased cellular uptake of glucose.
- Turmeric with its key active ingredient – curcumin has demonstrated its ability to not only help maintain normal blood glucose levels but according to some studies may help prevent dementia.
- Biotin (Vitamin B7) is involved in normal macronutrient metabolism, including the body’s utilisation of carbohydrates (sugars). It stimulates glucose-induced insulin secretion in pancreatic beta-cells; High dose biotin has shown to improve glycaemic control in diabetics.
- Deficiency of Vitamin D contributes to insulin resistance due to its effects on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. New findings indicate that Vitamin D may be more closely associated with glucose metabolism than obesity. Vitamin D also lowers risk of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and supresses inflammation of pancreatic beta-cells. Hypothalamus has vitamin D receptors to control both glucose levels and body weight. Studies show vitamin D can greatly improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Remember that vitamin D is not able to do its job without magnesium, deficiency of which is also a very common problem today.
- Zinc is needed for the synthesis, storage and secretion of insulin. Zinc, like vitamin D, alpha lipoic acid, and biotin, plays important role in type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune condition) as it protects pancreatic beta-cells from damage, and promotes normal function of the immune system.
- Alpha lipoic acid is one of the most powerful antioxidants which “enhances glucose uptake in muscles, improves glucose tolerance, and is very effective for diabetic neuropathy. It also increases glutathione which protects pancreatic beta-cells from damage.”
- Good probiotic bacteria can be very beneficial in preventing insulin resistance. According to research conducted at Loughborough University supplementation with live probiotics helped normalize insulin functioning and normalise blood glucose levels. In addition, probiotic supplements have been proven to have positive effects on cardio-metabolic parameters in patients with type 2 diabetes.
- Supplementation with Folic acid together with Vitamin B6 and B12 are beneficial in reducing homocysteine levels and may therefore reduce risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among patients with Type 2 diabetes.
- Fenugreek acts as an Alpha-glucosidase inhibitor and slows digestion of carbohydrates, thus reducing sugar level spikes. According to 1999 study published in the American Journal of Physiology, a compound in Fenugreek increased insulin production in diabetic animals. Several studies with human subjects also suggest fenugreek may be beneficial in keeping blood glucose in a healthy range.
- Alfalfa demonstrates blood sugar lowering, insulin-releasing and insulin like activity.
Nutritional Supplements That May Be Beneficial in Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia
Turmeric, Chlorella, Saffron, Flaxseed oil, Gingko biloba, Vitamin B12 (Sublingual Methylcobalamin), Magnesium citrate or bisglycinate, Vitamin B6, B3, Folate, Zinc, Vitamin D3, Alpha Lipoic acid, Resveratrol, L-cysteine or NAC, Ashwagandha, 5-HTP, Astragalus, Pine bark extract.
Written by Slawomir Gromadzki, MPH
Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.