Linking Type 2 Diabetes to Alzheimer’s

October 28, 2013 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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Linking Type 2 Diabetes to Alzheimer’s
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60% of Alzheimer’s patients have at least one medical condition linked to type 2 diabetes, indicating the high rate of overlap between blood sugar problems and cognitive decline. New research sheds light on how this happens. Significant blood sugar problems alter gene signaling in the brain, in turn causing a failure of brain cells to form properly which then leads to cognitive malfunction.

In the short-sighted world of Western medicine health problems are neatly divided up by specialty and treated accordingly, as if one problem in the body has little or nothing to do with something else. This theory of medicine is rooted in the germ theory of disease, wherein doctors are trained to keep looking for a singular causative agent that is foreign to the body. This theory was convenient for the rise of Western medicine to monopolistic power and has little to do with what is actually going on in the human body that is causing many of the common health problems of our day. Seemingly unrelated specialties like endocrinology and neurology are completely related and understanding those relationships is vital for your health and the prevention of disease.

This new study is a significant case in point, centering on the merging field of epigenetics (how genes express themselves). It shows that once blood sugar problems set in then epigenetic switches relating to how the brain builds new cells is adversely altered to the point that brain cells involved with memory don’t form properly and therefore don’t work properly. While this is not the only cause of cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s it is a major stress to the brain.

Considering that we have an epidemic of obesity and blood sugar problems in this country at ever-younger ages of onset, this data predicts that Alzheimer’s will continue as a major health problem in America for at least the next generation. The take home message is really clear; manage your weight and blood sugar issues in a healthy way while you still have the cognitive wherewithal to take effective action.

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