By anyone’s definition, we must now consider Alzheimer’s disease to be an epidemic. Alzheimer’s is a progressive degenerative neurological condition that actually has its origins decades before the initial symptoms of cognitive decline begin to appear. Unfortunately, by the time these symptoms of the disease emerge—memory loss, cognitive decline, and behavioral shifts—there is very little that can be done as, according to our most well-respected medical journals, there is currently no meaningful pharmaceutical treatment for this condition. Despite this reality, pharmaceutical companies continue to market “Alzheimer’s drugs” to the tune of some $3-4 billion annually. Continue reading
Wow! Yesterday, the release of Grain Brain Revised, was an incredibly exciting day. From visiting with the folks at MindBodyGreen to taking your questions live in numerous live chats on Facebook and Instagram, I was privileged to get to spend the day speaking with you all and spreading our message on optimal health.
But it goes without saying that the most provocative part of my day was how it started — my conversation with CBS This Morning. Let me start by saying it was an honor to get to sit with such a storied team of reporters. It was humbling to have Gayle, John, and the entire team present for this dialogue.
There is an extensive body of research that reveals how critical glucose uptake and utilization are for many types of cancer. What the research has been unable to determine is exactly how cancer cells might manipulate their environment so as to increase the availability of glucose.
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
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
Alzheimer’s disease, now affecting about 5 ½ million Americans, is a disease for which we have no meaningful treatment whatsoever. That said, it certainly makes sense to look at various factors that contribute to the risk for this disease. Continue reading
What is metabolic syndrome? In my past videos, I’ve discussed the topic extensively. But at its core, it’s a constellation of health issues, including elevated blood pressure, lipid malfunction, carrying around extra weight, and increased blood sugar.
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
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