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Is Alzheimer’s a metabolic disease?

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Alzheimer’s, metabolic disease, Research, glucose, Brigham Young University, Type-3 Diabetes, dementia, insulin, brain, The Keto diet,
Is Alzheimer’s a metabolic disease?

Researchers have shown that Alzheimer’s Disease may be a metabolic disease at least to some degree where ther body is swimming in glucose because of poor eating habits but brain nerve support cells have little.

Researchers from Brigham Young University have started calling Alzheimer’s disease Type-3 Diabetes. It is part pf a growing theory that Alzheimer’s and dementia are metabolic diseases.

“Alzheimer’s Disease is increasingly being referred to as insulin resistance of the brain or Type 3 Diabetes,” said Professor Benjamin Bikman at BYU. “Our research shows there is likely a lifestyle origin to the disease, at least to some degree.”

The nervous system support cells in the brain burn glucose but in Alzheimer’s they don’t seem to have too much around. Instead they seem to turn to burning ketones, which are more normally made when insulin levels are low in the body. The Keto diet simulates this with its low carb high fat bias. 

For the BYU study, the researchers examined RNA sequences in 240 post-mortem Alzheimer’s Disease-impacted brains. Quite simply they were looking to see whether the cells were burning sugar or ketones. And they found they were burning ketones with a widespread inability to burn glucose. The nervous system support cells had widespread glucose impairment. The brain could not use glucose in these patients with dementia. It is rather like Type-2 diabetes in the body, which is known to be a metabolic disease.

“We’ve turned the hybrid engine of our brains into a mono-fuel system that just fails to thrive,” Bikman said. “And so, the brain, which is progressively becoming deficient in its ability to use glucose, is now crying out for help; it’s starving in the midst of plenty. The body is swimming in a sea of glucose, but the brain just can’t use it.

“The inability to use glucose increases the value of ketones. However, because the average person is eating insulin-spiking foods so frequently, there’s never any ketones available to the brain,” Bikman added. “I look at these findings as a problem we’ve created and that we’re making worse.”

The authors felt that focussing on a keto Diet might help slow the process down. But logic suggests stopping the high carb insulin spikes in the body in the first place might be a better place to start.

Further Reading

Go to: High Dose Resveratrol may stabilise early to mid-Alzheimer’s

Reference

  1. Alzheimer’s disease – stricken brains show a genetic deficit in ability to use glucose. Brigham Young University