- August 19, 2015
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and yet, treatments are virtually non-existent. For many patients being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is equivalent to a death sentence, but there is good news for AD patients and those who are genetically predisposed toward the disease. Research has revealed that minor lifestyle changes are extremely effective at preventing AD, and prolonging brain health for those already diagnosed. What may be most surprising is that making changes to reduce sugar intake alone significantly decreases the risk for AD by controlling blood sugar levels.
The Alzheimer’s Brain
Alzheimer’s disease is an illness that effects cognitive function. Recent research has revealed that a large portion of that impairment may be caused by insulin resistance. The brain produces insulin in order to “digest” sugars in the blood into brain cell energy. Insulin resistant patients breakdown less sugar decreasing energy, and with decreased energy, brain cells struggle to complete complex brain functions. The key to managing insulin resistance is controlling blood sugar levels, and this may just be the key to curing AD too.
One of the major contributors to AD is the brain’s production of a protein called ADDL (amyloid-beta derived diffusible ligands). These proteins are produced to prevent cells from becoming fat saturated, but in patients with AD, these proteins remove the insulin receptors from brain cells making them insulin resistant. ADDLs create the brain “plaque” that was long considered to be the cause of AD. It is now believed that overproduction of ADDL is actually a side effect of Alzheimer’s. High sugar diets lead to excessive amounts of sugar in the body, and greater necessity for ADDLs. However, if these proteins build up, they do more harm than good since without proper amounts of insulin to convert sugar to energy, the function of brain cells is significantly diminished. Thus, many doctors have referred to AD as stage 3 diabetes or mental diabetes.
Lifestyle Changes are a More Promising Alzheimer’s Treatment than Medication
The good news is that Alzheimer’s is preventable. Not with multiple medications that have their own sets of side effects or invasive surgical procedures, but with a few minor changes to your daily routine. First and foremost, reduce sugar intake. People in the United States live almost entirely on diets of high sugar, high starch, carbohydrate packed, processed foods. These foods are known to wreak havoc on oral health, digestion, and throughout the body. By reducing the intake of high sugar foods and keeping blood sugar levels between 70 and 85 mg/dL, patients are able to prevent AD, slow its rate of progression, and some claim, even reverse the effects. Controlling blood sugar levels may turn out to be the cure for almost everything that ails you. Plus, you’ll be protecting your dental health. It’s a win win!
Call Our Office Today
At the practice of Dr. David DiGiallorenzo, we focus on treating the whole patient because great oral health can be the first step to a healthier life. It seems reducing sugar is just another example of how making good oral health choices can have a positive effect on your whole body health. Call the Lanap & Implant Center of Pennsylvania to find out more about the whole body benefit of reduced sugar intake.