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The Insulin Sweet Spot: Is Lower Better?

We commonly think that if something is good for our health, that more of it is even better, right? More kale never hurt anyone. Putting on extra sunscreen may not protect us from even more UV rays, but it certainly won’t cause excess damage!

But is that actually always true? How about with insulin, which we’re commonly told to keep as low as possible? Continue reading

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You Can Reduce Your Risk for Parkinson’s Disease!

As we have explored previously, elevated blood sugar is clearly toxic for the brain. Higher blood sugar is clearly a risk for Alzheimer’s disease, along with coronary artery disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

But focusing on the brain, I think it’s important to emphasize that elevated blood sugar has wide-ranging negative effects on brain cells and their functionality. Elevated blood sugar is associated with inflammation, and this is a cornerstone mechanism across a wide spectrum of neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, persistent elevation of blood sugar ultimately compromises the function of the hormone insulin. We now recognize that insulin is important for the health and integrity of the brain not only because of its role in allowing glucose to be used as fuel, but also how it functions as a nurturing hormone. Continue reading

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Insulin Resistance and Cognitive Decline

I want to dive a bit deeper today into our discussion of the relationship between diabetes (and even mild elevations in blood sugar), and the overall health of your brain. With that, it’s becoming increasingly clear the lifestyle factors that impact metabolic disease, of which insulin resistance is at the core, also play a key role in influencing the health of the brain and long-term cognitive capacity. Let’s look at this recent study published in Experimental and Molecular Medicine in today’s video. Continue reading

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Blood Sugar and Your Brain

Several years ago, when I wrote Grain Brain, I had a long discussion with our publisher centered around choosing the best subtitle. Ultimately, we decided to emphasize the toxic role of sugar and carbs on the brain, and with good reason. Since that time, there have been a large number of studies that have confirmed the thesis that elevated blood sugar is profoundly detrimental, not just for the brain in general, but for brain function as well.

As the authors of a new paper entitled, Brain atrophy in ageing: Estimating effects of blood glucose levels vs. other type 2 diabetes effects point out, our brains shrink as we age with as much as 5% volume loss occurring between age 60 and 70. And as you would expect, this correlates with declining function.

A lot of the research has shown that type 2 diabetes (T2D) is what accelerates brain aging. But as this new study shows, it’s not the diagnosis of T2D that is the issue. Well before that diagnosis is made, brain structure is affected by blood sugar, even in the “normal” range! Continue reading