Johny Johny Yes Papa But It's HORROR
The Scary Way The Amount Of Sugar You Eat Could Seriously Up Your Alzheimer's Risk
If you haven't already been convinced to stay far, far away from added sugar, new evidence supports the theory that having high blood glucose isn't just bad for your body, but could be bad for your brain, too.
In a new study published in theJournal of Clinical Investigation, Washington University researchers increased the blood sugar of mice that had been bred to develop a condition much like Alzheimer's disease. Doubling the blood sugar of the mice increased the levels of something called "amyloid beta" in their brains—essentially pieces of proteins thought to clump together and form plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's—by 20%. When the researchers doubled the blood sugar levels of older mice who had already developed such plaques, amyloid beta levels rose by 40%.
MORE:Would You Recognize The Early Signs Of Alzheimer's?
"We think the increase in blood glucose is changing the activity level of the brain, which in turn drives amyloid beta production," says study author Shannon Macauley, PhD, a postdoctoral research scholar at Washington University. With more amyloid beta produced, more plaques can form. Of course, the findings have yet to be replicated in humans, but, Macauley says, it's likely that for people with type 2 diabetes (or for those who have difficulty keeping their blood sugar levels steady for other reasons), Alzheimer's poses an even larger threat.
Previous studies have linked the two before. High blood sugar seems to increase overall dementia risk, and research shows it can also quicken the transition from mild cognitive impairment to full-blown Alzheimer's, Macauley says. Some experts even go so far as to call Alzheimer's disease "Type 3 Diabetes" or to call the brain of a person with Alzheimer's an "insulin-resistant brain," she says.
MORE:The Most Promising Lead Yet On A Cure For Alzheimer's
But the new finding may one day lead to improved Alzheimer's treatment. Channels by which the pancreas responds to high blood sugar levels, called KATP, were also found to play a role in the increase in amyloid beta in the study. "Therapies that target these avenues to treat diabetes may have an effect on the brain as well," Macauley hypothesizes, and glucose-lowering drugs could be introduced before diabetes was even ever diagnosed, she says.
Video: 12 Signs You're Eating Too Much Sugar
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