Alzheimer’s Disease Dubbed Type-3 Diabetes

Can You Avoid Alheimer’s with Lifestyle Changes?


What if I were to tell you that you could avoid Alzheimer’s just by changing the way that you eat?

Would you be willing to trade French fries now for mental clarity in your golden years?

If so, you may be in luck – recent research indicates that Alzheimer’s disease is primarily a metabolic disease. That means that biggest part of the Alzheimer’s puzzle – the cause – may finally be answered.

For decades, Alheimer’s disease has been a runaway train that nobody knew how to stop, or even how to avoid because we didn’t know what caused it. In fact, the only way that you can be 100% positively diagnosed is via your autopsy!

It’s the 6th ranked cause of death and is ranked 2nd as the disease that people fear the most – right behind cancer. It’s no wonder, either. The disease completely debilitates you, robbing your of your dignity, your identity and eventually, after a long, agonizing process, your life. Nobody wants to live that way, or die that way.

Up until now, we’ve suspected that heart disease and other circulatory issues could increase your risk because of the restriction of blood and oxygen to the brain but there’s never been any definitive “how’ or “why”. That’s why this new research is so profound – it offers an explanation as to what causes the disease as well as a near-definitive way to avoid it.

What is Diabetes?

Before we get into the Alzheimer’s research, you need to have a general idea of what diabetes actually is from a medical perspective. Most of us know that it has to do with insulin regulation and sugar uptake in the body, but the mechanics may not be clear. Let’s jump to biology 101 for a minute, then we’ll get back on track.

Your body uses glucose, which it gets from all sorts of carbohydrates, for energy. Typically, your brain detects glucose in your blood and tells your pancreas to make the hormone insulin, which then tells your cells to absorb the glucose. This is all well and good as long as your levels of glucose are relatively normal.

If you chronically have high amounts of glucose in your blood, your brain will signal for your cells to ignore the insulin and you’ll become insulin resistant. Then two bad things happen. First, glucose accumulates in your blood and wreaks all kinds of havoc. It causes plaque buildup throughout your body, including in your brain.

The second result of insulin resistance is that now your cells aren’t absorbing glucose even when it’s needed. They will literally starve from lack of energy and start to deteriorate, causing memory loss and confusion. Do you see where this is leading?

It occurred to researchers that if your body responded like that to insulin resistance, then your brain just might, too. After all, it does function primarily on glucose. Insulin tells your neurons to uptake glucose for energy so that they can function. As we know, neurons are basically the body’s motherboard so it’s fairly obvious what low insulin levels (as seen with Type-1 diabetes) could do to brain function. But can your brain cells develop insulin resistance like it does with Type-2 diabetes, the one that’s most equated with poor diet and exercise?

What Does the New Research Indicate, Exactly?

There are three things that caught the attention of researchers. First, Alois Alzheimer noticed more than a century ago that a weird form of protein was taking the place of some brain cells but he had no idea why. These amyloid plaques are now being linked to insulin resistance or low insulin.

The next major advance came when Suzanne de la Monte, a neuropathologist who was trying to figure out the plaque situation, tried blocking insulin from reaching rats’ brains. The result was that they started showing signs of physical disorientation and organic signs of Alzheimers. Aha.

Before we move onto the third and final (for now) piece of the Alzheimer’s puzzle, let’s touch on a few facts. We know that diets rich in processed grains, trans fats and refined sugars (aka the Western diet) lead to obesity, heart disease, digestive disorders, Type-2 diabetes and other preventable diseases that will maim or kill you. But here’s an interesting find: people with diabetes are 50%-70% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than non-diabetics. Hmm.

Now for the final click. It may seem that perhaps diabetes increases your chance of developing dementia, so researchers took a look. What they found was that while Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes shared some common denominators with Alzheimer’s disease, they weren’t the cause, even though the amyloid plaque was found on the brains of many diabetics. The big discovery was that insulin resistance can be targeted; that is, it can be found in one or two organs but not in others. In other words, it’s possible to have insulin resistance in your brain cells but not in the rest of your body.

And that explains how people without diabetes develop Alzheimer’s and why Alzheimer’s is now being called Type-3 diabetes. At least, sort of. There are still many questions that aren’t answered, with one of the biggest ones being why obese diabetics have about 3x the risk of developing the disease than non-diabetics while non-obese diabetics only have about twice the risk. There’s still an unexplained link between Alzheimer’s and obesity that researchers are working hard to figure out.

This is absolutely astounding news because Alzheimer’s disease is no longer random. There’s now a known cause and a way to drastically reduce your chances of developing it.

Until these breakthroughs, you already knew that eating a healthy diet and exercising could help you avoid obesity, heart disease and a host of other ailments. Now we know that a healthy lifestyle can drastically reduce your odds of getting Alzheimer’s. If that isn’t incentive to trade your fries and cheesecake for chicken and bananas, then I don’t know what is!

If you’d like to chime in on this topic, please let us know what you’re thinking in the comments section below.

2 Responses to “Alzheimer’s Disease Dubbed Type-3 Diabetes”
  1. Jacqueline Marcell says:

    Excellent article! The stumbling block for most people is that sugar, processed, and high-glycemic foods are so pleasurable and the food industry has figured out how to make tons of money by putting it in our food and hijacking our brains with surges of addictive dopamine. But once we understand and embrace the science, it makes it easier to go through the withdrawal from our fix and get to the other side of it. After caring for two parents with Alzheimer’s, writing a book about it, and then going through invasive breast cancer, I was finally able to eliminate these addicting foods, go through the withdrawal, and it was an absolute shock that all cravings just magically went away.

    -Jacqueline Marcell, Author, ‘Elder Rage’, International Speaker on Alzheimer’s

    • Theresa says:

      Thank you, Jacqueline. From you, this is high praise indeed! Since learning about the link between Alzheimer’s and insulin resistance, I’m making some serious and long-overdue changes to my diet as well. This new discovery really drives home the fact that what we eat plays a vital part in how our bodies function. Thanks for your input here and for your valuable contributions to the community!

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