Over 35 million people on the planet have Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative disease of the brain. By 2050 it is estimated that over 100 million people worldwide will have Alzheimer’s. But it’s not inevitable. This number can be massively reduced by lifestyle changes: eat more healthily, exercise regularly, manage stress levels, and sleep better.
Excess blood sugar
Alzheimer’s disease is primarily a metabolic disease, and in many cases totally preventable. When you eat too much junk food throughout your life, your brain is flooded with excess sugar, and sugar in excess is toxic to every cell of your body.
Writing in The Guardian (10 September 2012) George Monbiot (Zoology degree at Oxford University, reporter on wildlife, climate change, and politics) said that “Alzheimer’s could be the most catastrophic impact of junk food”. This was the title of his article, which explored the link between excess sugar/junk carbs consumption and Alzheimer’s.
Suzanne de la Monte
It’s a shame that we live in a society where pretty much everyone knows who Justin Bieber is, or the Kardashians, but very few people have heard of groundbreaking neuropathologist Suzanne de la Monte. Perhaps this is part of the problem. People who devote their lives to curing the major diseases afflicting the human race are just not championed by the media.
Suzanne de la Monte is Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Professor of Neurosurgery at the Warren Alpert Medical School, part of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
Her experiments with rats established the link between junk food and Alzheimer’s. Details of this study can be found in the New Scientist (Food for Thought: Eat Your Way to Dementia, by Bijal Trivedi, 29 August 2012). See also the New Scientist’s editorial of the same date, Brain Diabetes: The Ultimate Food Scare.
Type 3 Diabetes
We’re all familiar with the term type 2 diabetes, caused by excess blood sugar over time which leads to insulin resistance and the inability to control your blood sugar levels.
Type 3 diabetes is the term given to Alzheimer’s caused by excessive blood sugar levels over time. Every country in which junk food is a dominant feature of people’s eating habits is seeing an increase in Alzheimer’s, and people are getting it at younger ages too, known as younger onset Alzheimer’s.
Diabetes drugs and lifestyle changes to reduce Alzheimer’s
Research is being conducted into the impact on Alzheimer’s of type 2 diabetes drugs such as Victoza, Lyxumia, and Actos. Both the preventive and curative effects of these drugs is being examined.
However, far more effective than prevention by drugs would be prevention by healthy lifestyle: cut down on our consumption of junk food, fizzy drinks, alcohol; increase our consumption of brain-enhancing essential fats and B vitamins (from oily fish, nuts & seeds, avocados, olive oil); and take more exercise.
Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London and author of the Fitness4London blog.