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Monday 25 August 2014
Type 3 Diabetes: Metabolic Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
As the population of the industrialized world ages, illnesses associated with aging consume a larger portion of our healthcare budgets and impose increasing burdens on the quality of life of patients and their caregivers. Estimates suggest that in the U.S., Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects 12 percent of people over age 65 and nearly 50 percent of those over 85, with predictions for this to include 16 million people by 2050.1 National healthcare costs associated with AD are expected to surpass one trillion dollars by mid-century.1
Considering the fact that AD has no known cure and current therapies are largely ineffective, identifying the triggering mechanisms and exacerbating factors behind AD is of paramount importance, as prevention and early detection would serve to decrease—or at the very least delay—the physical, emotional and financial hardships this illness creates. Prevention is also critical because AD symptoms often do not appear until loss of functional neurons is so widespread that irreversible damage has already occurred.
Significant epidemiological and clinical evidence has emerged that suggests AD belongs among the “diseases of civilization,” primarily caused by modern Western diets and lifestyles at odds with human physiology. High intakes of refined carbohydrates and omega-6-rich polyunsaturated oils, low antioxidant intake, lack of physical activity, and misguided avoidance of cholesterol and saturated fats combine to create a perfect storm for glycation and oxidative stress in the brain, ultimately resulting in severe cognitive decline that renders nearly impossible the tasks involved in everyday living.
Our evolutionarily discordant dietary environment has been linked to conditions as diverse as heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and schizophrenia.2,3 Often, the brain is seen as a space unto itself, as though the blood-brain barrier were an impenetrable border that spares the brain the deleterious effects the rest of the body suffers as a result of a physiologically incongruous diet. However, research on AD confirms that not only is the brain as susceptible to metabolic and environmental insults as the rest of the body, but due to its high energy demands, disproportionate oxygen consumption, high concentration of oxidation-prone long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and decreased capacity for regeneration, the brain is especially vulnerable to the detrimental effects of modern Western diets.2-10
This is a long read folks but well worth your time. The full article can be found here.