Have you seen anyone you love or know of anyone who has suffered from Alzheimer’s? Have you witnessed firsthand the crippling that this crazy disease can do to a loved, cherished, honored person’s brain? The confusion? The chaos? Sometimes they seem fine, just like their old selves. Other times, they don’t know your name, haven’t seen you before, can’t recall their grandchildren, and that’s the easy stuff to bear.
Alzheimer’s is a horror of a neurodegenerative disease and it can be pretty much entirely prevented if we do one simple thing.
Stop. Eating. Sugar.
Sugar intake has been proven to be inextricably linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The way that it works is by creating insulin resistance in our body’s cells. Insulin resistance works by overexposure of our cells to insulin. Insulin is a powerful hormone that is released to help cells cope with blood sugar spikes. As long as it is released only sporadically, our cells are fine. But insulin is pretty hard on cells, and as blood glucose levels spike more and more cells begin to shield themselves from insulin’s effects. So, the more sugar or refined carbohydrates we take in, the more resistant to insulin we become.
This is also true in the brain, however, the brain requires even more glucose than the rest of the body. The brain is an energy hog that demands a constant supply of glucose. Its cells, however, also can become insulin resistant, and when that happens, the brain can’t process the glucose it needs, and it starts to die.
So where does brain death begin? In the hippocampus, which is the brain’s memory center. The brain knows how to prioritize the importance of its cells, and the ones containing memory are the first to go. This is why people with Alzheimer’s suffer memory loss as one of their first symptoms of the illness. By the time Alzheimer’s patients have been diagnosed with their illness, up to 10% of the hippocampus may already be dead.
This is all pretty scary news. The good news, however, is that you can fix it with your diet. Even if you are insulin resistant to some degree, the insulin resistance relaxes once you start eating well.
I know I’ll be getting my insulin resistance checked soon (hint: call your doctor’s office & make an appointment for it). How about you?