High blood sugar levels linked to progression of Alzheimer’s disease
(NaturalHealth365) A “tipping point” at a molecular level has been found connecting Alzheimer’s disease and high blood sugar levels. Researchers from the University of Bath and Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases, King’s College London have determined excess glucose due to overindulging in processed sugars can damage a vital enzyme related to inflammation in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Very high blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia, is very common in cases of obesity and diabetes. However, a correlation between Alzheimer’s disease and high blood sugar had been harder to establish – until now.
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High blood sugar levels negatively affect brain health
Science has already seen that diabetes patients are at increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease begins when abnormal proteins congregate to form plaque and clogged areas in the brain. These clogs progressively damage the brain and in turn can cause severe cognitive issues.
Past research has already shown that glucose and the products it breaks down into can damage cellular proteins via glycation. However, the precise molecular link between Alzheimer’s disease and glucose had not been fully understood.
The researchers studied brain samples from persons both with and without Alzheimer’s disease using a technique to help detect the glycation process. The team discovered that in early Alzheimer’s stages, glycation causes damage to an enzyme called the “macrophage migration inhibitory factor,” or MIF.
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And, as you may know, MIF plays a significant role in insulin regulation and the immune response.
High blood sugar reduces MIF functioning – causing decreased brain health and dementia
It is also involved in the mechanism of brain cells called glia and abnormal protein buildup in the brain that characterizes Alzheimer’s disease. The reduction and inhibition of MIF activity from glycation amounts to a “tipping point” in the progression of dementia.
As Alzheimer’s progresses, glycation increases.
It’s already established that this enzyme is modified by glucose in Alzheimer’s patients. Now researchers are investigating if similar changes occur within blood as well. By the way, it’s worth noting, MIF is a normal immune response to abnormal protein buildup.
Because sugar damage can reduce MIF functioning, this could very well be the definitive factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Action step: Cut down on processed sugars to help protect brain health
These insights can help to map exactly how and why dementia progresses and lead to both more effective diagnosis and treatment. Excess sugar in the diet is known to be detrimental to health and can lead to both obesity and diabetes. However, the link with Alzheimer’s disease adds to the list of key reasons to watch your sugar intake and favor a healthy, balanced (chemical free) diet, as much as possible.
Alzheimer’s disease affects about 50 million people worldwide, and this number is predicted to increase to 125 million or more by the year 2050. To help reduce your risk, minimize your sugar intake, maintain a regular physical activity routing and opt for natural sweets like organic blueberries (and other low glycemic fruits) plus sweeteners like, stevia.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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