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Does Sugar Cause Alzheimer’s

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Too Much Sugar Leads To Strokes

Can Sugar Cause Alzheimer’s?

Another possible variable when discussing sugar and dementia is the fact that too much glucose in the blood vessels can lead to stroke.

This is because a spike in blood sugar can cause the vessels to become weak. Meaning, they will not function as they should leading to strokes, which can make a person get various dementia forms.

In such a case, the brain cells will die because they lack oxygen.

How To Reduce Adverse Effects Of Sugar And Dementia

It is almost IMPOSSIBLE to cut off sugar in your diet, seeing that most fruits are loaded with sugar. This, however, does not mean that you should not try and limit the amount of sugar that goes into your system.

There are several steps you can take to prevent getting dementia because of too much sugar like:

What Is Alzheimers Disease

Alzheimers disease is the most prevalent form of dementia and results in progressive loss of brain cells and the junctions between those brain cells . This leads to cognitive decline, which worsens over time. Memory and learning are affected by the disease as an early sign, with more long-term memories being affected as the disease advances.

Though all types of dementia cause cognitive decline, Alzheimers disease, in particular, is characterized by the presence of 2 abnormal structures in the brain: neurofibrillary tangles and beta-amyloid plaques.

Accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques is worsened by particular genes, like ApoE4, which aggravates the risk of acquiring Alzheimers at an earlier age.

Removal of beta-amyloid has long been a focus of Alzheimers studies but has yielded no positive results. It is believed that this is due to the plaques, which are merely a symptom, so their removal is not useful unless the root causes of the disease are addressed.

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Eating More Sugar Increases Alzheimer’s Risk

Rush University Medical Center in Illinois found abnormalities in glucose metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease, including the progressive decrease of glucose utilization by the cortex and reduced expression and binding of insulin receptors. It means the brains of people with Alzheimer’s have a lowered ability to use sugar.

All sugars share a similar chemical structure. Monosaccharides like fructose or blood sugar and disaccharides like lactose or sucrose all have the same components in different arrangements. Most sugars convert to glucose in the body, regulated by insulin. GLUT4 is a protein, highly expressed in the hippocampus involved with memory, that also helps regulate glucose.

The Rush study found that people in the fifth quintile of sugar consumption had a 1.18-2.87 times higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease than those in the first quintile. This finding paralleled the results of other studies on the intake of sugary beverages.

Increased insulin resistance is another result of the relationship between sugar and Alzheimer’s. When insulin isn’t balanced correctly in the body, cells don’t get enough glucose, and they starve to death. This can lead to cognitive impairment, including problems with memory, understanding, thinking, and judgment – things you need for daily life.

A Type Of Cholesterol And Blood Sugar

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People ages35 to 50 who had high levels oftriglyceride, a type of cholesterol found in blood, and lower levels of the good cholesterol called high-density lipoprotein were more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimers disease later in life, the study found.

In the early age group only, an increase of 15 mg/dL in triglycerides was associated with an approximate 5% increase in Alzheimers disease risk, Farrer said via email.

The association was not seen for older age groups, perhaps because older adults are treated for cholesterol more aggressively, he said.

Alternatively, it could reflect that high triglyceridesin early adulthood may trigger a cascade of metabolic events that over time initiate processes that directly lead to Alzheimers disease, Farrer said.

In people ages 51 to 60, it was higher blood sugar levels that raised the risk for Alzheimers, according to thestudy.

For every 15 points that your blood sugar goes up, your risk of Alzheimers goes up by 14.5% later in life, said Farrer, who is alsoa professor of medicine, neurology, ophthalmology, epidemiology and biostatistics at Boston University School of Medicine.

Having high cholesterol may not cause Alzheimers, but it presses thefast-forwardbutton on the disease pathology and cognitive decline, Isaacson said. Theres also a relationship between diabetes and the development of amyloid pathology.

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How Can I Reduce The Amount Of Sugar I Consume Daily With Dementia

Reducing sugar intake is a relatively straightforward thing, but it is more difficult than often expected. There is sugar in nearly everything we consume, from our morning coffee to our toothpaste. Consequently, staying mindful of what you are eating and drinking throughout the day, every day, is the key way to minimize the amount of sugar you are consuming.

An easy way to avoid large quantities of sugar is to read the labels on food and drink you purchase. For example, if you enjoy coffee in the morning , read the Daily Value and Nutrition Info labels on the products you purchase to make that coffee. Perhaps there are low-sugar, or Diet alternatives to your favorite foods and beverages. This will also help combat sugar cravings, which are big factors in dementia, and so you will be feeling better every day, but also defending your body from things it does not need.

Another way to limit the sugar you consume every day is to switch out what you eat for dessert every night. Obviously, some nights it will be impossible to not enjoy pie, or cakes, or ice cream, etc., but there are many times when fruit could be an alternate option for deserts. For example, perhaps on the weekends, you treat yourself to sugary delights like pies, while on weekdays, fruits are the go-to dessert.

Can Sugar Cause Dementia

Dementia is a general term that describes the loss of memory and cognitive abilities an elderly person may experience, causing them to struggle with daily living. As the disease progresses, the symptoms will worsen. Seniors will experience memory loss and a decline in cognitive abilities. Eventually, affected elderly individuals will not be able to function and live their everyday lives without proper memory care assistance.

There currently is no cure for dementia. But if adults take the necessary steps to better care for themselves, they can improve their brain health and limit their potential for dementia later on. One way to improve their diet more specifically watching their sugar intake. This is because research has shown that sugar can be one of the causes of dementia.

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Too Much Sugar Clogs The Brain And Causes Inflammation

Another front that shows evidence of the link between sugar and dementia is the fact that obese individuals have a doubled risk of developing dementia.

Most people will become overweight because of a poor diet that mostly consists of too much sugar.

As a result, this causes clumps in the brain that affect how it functions. To better understand this concept, it is essential to know that obese persons typically have TOO MANY amyloid proteins in the brain.

These proteins are toxic to the brain because they stick together and start forming clumps. These clumps are usually present in the brains of people who have different forms of dementia.

In the medical world, there is still a huge debate as to whether the clumps that amyloid proteins form are responsible for dementia even though they are generally present in persons who already have dementia.

Experts also believe that HIGH sugar amounts in the body can cause inflammation.

Inflammation has been LINKED to dementia, diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer. Inflammation inside the body is akin to a swollen red, infection on the skin that is full of puss.

When there is inflammation in the brain or other parts of the body, the body has to get into a position where it is always fighting infections.

When this happens, it will lead to cognition breaking down because the brain, as well as the blood vessels, are irritated and swollen.

So How Is Blood Glucose And Insulin Involved

A link between sugar and Alzheimer’s disease?

Firstly, having chronically high blood glucose levels can cause increased production of AGEs , which are lipids and proteins that have been destroyed by bonding to sugar. HbA1c is a

test of how much glucose is bonded to the hemoglobin of our RBC , and so is a measure of how many advanced glycation end-products are being produced in the blood. AGEs damage the brain in multiple ways by oxidative stress, promoting inflammation, and direct harm to our brains blood vessels .

Then, after insulin has done its job allowing glucose to enter cells, it is degraded by the rightly named IDE . However, insulin-degrading enzyme also degrades amyloid in our brain when it is not engaged in working on insulin.

The more insulin that is released into our blood, and the more often this happens, the less spare time insulin-degrading enzyme has to remove amyloid from the brain. This means that taking sugar and refined carbohydrates often, particularly before bedtime when the brain does its housekeeping, may be contributing to Alzheimers disease in the long term by allowing amyloid to accumulate in the brain at a quicker rate .

Thirdly, in addition to its fat storage and glucose metabolism roles, insulin is a vital survival signal for neurons. When a person becomes insulin resistant by having inappropriately raised levels in the long-term, insulin no longer performs this role as potently.

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Inflammation And Blood Vessel Damage

With diabetes, you’re at greater risk for a heart attack or stroke. And high blood sugar levels can trigger inflammation. None of that is good for your blood vessels. Damaged vessels in your brain could lead to Alzheimer’s.

Inflammation can also make your cells insulin resistant, especially if you’re obese.

Prevent Or Delay Dementia

In the control group, inflammation levels in the brain rose, too, which the researchers interpreted as a sign that diet isnt the only factor at play: Aging itself may bring about inflammation, potentially causing some people to develop Alzheimers.

According to the studys authors, the evidence shows that a poor diet may increase the effects of aging.

These results add to our basic understanding of the pathways involved in the early progression of and demonstrate the negative effects of a diet on both the prefrontal cortex and hippocampal regions, the study team wrote.

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Chronic Stress And Alzheimer’s

One common problem that may lead to increased Alzheimer’s risk is chronic stress. Your body releases more cortisol with increased stress. Cortisol is the primary hormone released by your adrenals to fight off stress. When you’re no longer stressed, your cortisol levels should return to normal. However, chronic stress demands continual releasing it all of the time. That’s when Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome can occur.

In some cases, changes made to brain functions and structures are seen as soon as one month following stressful situations or extended periods of work or school without any breaks. This is due to the high levels of cortisol that lead to a change in cell functions in the hippocampus. It can also cause oxidative stress, where excess amounts of calcium ions cause mitochondrial damage.

Researchers have found that people chronically exposed to cortisol seem to be at a greater risk of Alzheimer’s. Associated dysfunction includes disruption of attention mediated by the hippocampus and loss of short-term memory coupled with mild cognitive impairment.

New Research Shows That The Brains Ability To Process Glucose Is Linked With Amyloid Plaques And Tau Tangles Biomarkers Of Alzheimers

Sugar On the Brain: The Link Between Diabetes and Alzheimer

A new study by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, has linked how efficiently the brain breaks down glucose with Alzheimers disease.

The study showed that how the brain processes sugar related not only to the amount of protein plaques present, but also the severity of Alzheimers and memory loss.

The brain uses glucose, a form of sugar, to fuel processes like thinking, memory and learning. The brain requires glucose to function its the most energy-demanding organ and uses up half of the available glucose energy in the body. But too much of it can be a bad thing, and glucose in excess has been linked to problems with memory and can speed up the aging of cells.

In the study, people whose brains were bad at breaking down glucose had more beta amyloid protein plaques and tau tangles in their brains compared to those who broke down glucose normally. Plaques and tangles are the hallmarks of Alzheimers disease. Researchers looked at brain samples collected from autopsies by the Baltimore Longitudinal study on Aging, a research project which tracks the neurological, physical and psychological data of participants over several decades. The study looked at those with a confirmed Alzheimers diagnosis, a healthy control group and those with the pathology of Alzheimers, but no symptoms.

However, the study did not examine whether consuming a lot of sugar might lead to Alzheimers for those who had trouble processing glucose.

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Doubling Of Blood Glucose Led To 20% Higher Levels Of Beta

For their study, the team used mice bred to develop a condition that is like Alzheimers in humans as they age their brains accumulate amyloid plaques.

When they infused glucose into the bloodstream of young mice, they found their brains produced beta-amyloid faster. A doubling of blood glucose led to 20% higher levels of beta-amyloid compared with mice that had normal blood glucose levels.

When the team repeated the experiment in older mice that already had amyloid plaques in their brains, beta-amyloid levels rose by 40%.

Closer examination revealed that sudden elevation of blood sugar increased brain cell activity, which stimulates them to make more beta-amyloid.

The team found that openings called KATP channels were an important feature of increased beta-amyloid. These ATP-sensitive potassium channels sit on the surface of brain cells and close when glucose levels get too high. When the channels are closed, the neurons are more likely to fire.

Under normal conditions, neurons fire to encode and send information a basic function essential for learning and memory. But too much firing in certain areas of the brain increases beta-amyloid, which makes it more likely that plaques will form and encourage the development of Alzheimers, the authors suggest.

The Startling Link Between Sugar And Alzheimer’s

A high-carb diet, and the attendant high blood sugar, are associated with cognitive decline.

In recent years, Alzheimers disease has occasionally been referred to as type 3 diabetes, though that moniker doesnt make much sense. After all, though they share a problem with insulin, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease caused by diet. Instead of another type of diabetes, its increasingly looking like Alzheimers is another potential side effect of a sugary, Western-style diet.

In some cases, the path from sugar to Alzheimers leads through type 2 diabetes, but as a new study and others show, thats not always the case.

A longitudinal study, published Thursday in the journal Diabetologia, followed 5,189 people over 10 years and found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugarwhether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.

Dementia is one of the most prevalent psychiatric conditions strongly associated with poor quality of later life, said the lead author, Wuxiang Xie at Imperial College London, via email. Currently, dementia is not curable, which makes it very important to study risk factors.

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Will I Prevent Alzheimers Disease If I Avoid Sugar

There are many potential contributors to Alzheimers disease. For many people, insulin resistance and inflammation are major drivers of their cognitive decline. Thus, eliminating or even reducing sugar in the diet is an extremely helpful step in preventing Alzheimers. However, there are many other factors regarding ones diet, lifestyle, and health history that must also be considered. If you would like more information on preventing Alzheimers disease, for the Amos Institute Cognitive Health Program today.


  • Kandimalla, R., Thirumala, V., & Hemachandra Reddy, P. . Is Alzheimers disease a Type 3 Diabetes? A Critical Appraisal. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1863:1078-1089. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2016.08.018
  • Yamamoto, N., Ishijkuro, R., Tanida, M., Suzuki, K., Ikeda-Matsuo, Y. & Sobue, K. . Insulin-signaling Pathway Regulates the Degradation of Amyloid -protein via Astrocytes. Neuroscience, 385:227-236. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2018.06.018
  • Lee, H.J., Seo, H.I., Cha, H.Y., Yang, Y.J., Kwon, S.H. & Yang, S.J. . Diabetes and Alzheimers Disease: Mechanisms and Nutritional Aspects. Clinical Nutrition Research, 7:229-240. doi:10.7762/cnr.2018.7.4.229
  • UCSF . Hidden in Plain Sight.
  • Excess Sugar Results In Insulin Resistant Brain Cells

    High-sugar diet can cause Alzheimer’s disease

    One of the significant threats of eating too much food with added or refined sugar is the increased likelihood of turning the body cells into insulin-resistant ones.

    Your body cells and organs need the energy to function normally every day. They get this energy from the food you eat, specifically in the starch and sugars you consume. However, too much sugar in the blood is bad thats why your pancreas will produce a hormone called insulin to control the sugar levels in your blood.

    The hormone insulin will help your body store the extra sugar inside the muscle cells for later use. However, when the cells become full, they will reject these sugars and protect themselves from them by transforming into insulin-resistant cells.

    As a result, your pancreas will keep on producing more insulin because they sense the high sugar level in your blood. So now, youll end up with a lot of insulin and sugar in your bloodstream, with defective cells that are insulin resistant.

    Eventually, this excess sugar and insulin will travel into your brain and then drown the cells to death.

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