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Tag Archives: Alzheimers disease
Several scientific studies, but not all, link type 2 diabetes with Alzheimer’s disease. Some go so far as to say Alzheimer’s is type 3 diabetes.
My Twitter feed brought to my attention a scientific article I thought would clarify the relationships between diabetes, carbohydrate consumption, and Alzheimer’s dementia (full text).
Click the full text link to read all about insulin, amylin, insulin degrading enzyme, amyloid–β, and other factors that might explain the relationship between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s dementia. You’ll also find a comprehensive annotated list of the scientific studies investigating the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Bottom line: We still don’t know the fundamental cause of Alzheimer’s disease. A cure and highly effective preventive measures are far in the future.
Action Plan For You
You may be able to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by:
- avoiding type 2 diabetes
- preventing progression of prediabetes to diabetes
- avoiding obesity
- exercising regularly
- eating a Mediterranean-style diet
Carbohydrate restriction helps some folks prevent or resolve obesity, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes. A low-carb Mediterranean diet is an option in my Advanced Mediterranean Diet (2nd edition).
Reference: Schilling, Melissa. Unraveling Alzheimer’s: Making Sense of the Relationship Between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 51 (2016): 961-977.
A small scientific study of New York Alzheimer patients demonstrated significant increase in lifespan in those who had the highest adherence to the Mediterranean diet. 192 community-based individuals were followed for an average of 4.4 years (up to 13.6 years). They were divided into three groups of Mediterranean diet adherence: low, medium, and high. Compared to the people with low adherence, the others lived between 1 and 4 years longer. Those with highest adherence lived the longest, suggesting a dose-response effect like we would see with many drugs. No other diet has demonstrated this effect.
This same research group had previously reported that the Mediterranean diet lowered the risk for developing Alzheimer Disease in the first place.
Unfortunately, they did not report on whether the Mediterranean diet helped preserve brain function. Prolongation of life by itself may be more of a curse than a blessing in advanced Alzheimer Disease.
Steve Parker, M.D.
Ketogenic diets have seen a resurgence in the last two decades as a treatment for childhood epilepsy, particularly difficult-to-control cases not responding to drug therapy. It works, even in adults. That’s why some brain experts are wondering if ketogenic diets might be helpful in other brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
I’ll save you some time and just give you the conclusion of a 2006 scientific article I read: maybe, but it’s way too soon to tell.
The article is called “Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet,” from researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institue of Neruological Disorders and Stroke. Sounds promising doesn’t it?
The article goes into detail about how the ketogenic diet might be good for brain health. Dr. Emily Deans would be very interested in that, but most of my readers not. Two-and-a-half pages on non-human animal studies, too.
What is this “Ketogenic diet” used for epilepsy?
The most common ketogenic diet for childhood epilepsy is the one developed by Wilder in 1921. It was a popular treatment for epilepsy in the 1920s and 1930s. Fats provide 80 to 90% of the calories in the diet, with sufficient protein for growth, and minimal carbohydrates. Since carbs are in short supply, the body is forced to use fats as an energy source, which generates ketone bodies—acetoacetate, acetone, beta-hydroxybutyrate, largely from the liver.
Not much. This article may have been written to stimulate future research, and I hope it does. I just searched PubMed for “ketogenic diet AND Alzheimer” and came up with nothing new since 2006.
Could the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet prevent or alleviate Alzheimer’s disease? At this point, just flip a coin.
Reference: Gasior M, Rogawski MA, & Hartman AL (2006). Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet. Behavioural pharmacology, 17 (5-6), 431-9 PMID: 16940764