If you have Type II diabetes, you have double the risk of developing dementia. The connection is so strong, I even named Alzheimer’s dementia “Type III diabetes” last year in my Insiders’ Cures newsletter.
But a brand new study found that you can significantly lower your risk of dementia– even if you have diabetes. You just have to choose the right diabetes drug.
And, of course, the best option is Metformin.
As I’ve pointed out many times, Metformin is a safe and effective drug for treating Type II diabetes. And if you take it to treat high blood sugar, you get the added “side effect” of lowering your risk of certain cancers, like the notorious pancreatic cancer.
And now even dementia.
None of this should be a surprise, since Metformin comes from an herbal remedy known as French lilac. Paradoxically, the U.S. government classifies French lilac as a “noxious weed.” And it’s not available in the U.S. as an herbal preparation.
Thankfully, Metformin is available in the U.S. And you can even get it as an inexpensive generic. So in my view, it’s really the only drug you should consider if you have Type II diabetes.
In the new study, U.S. researchers examined several different Type II diabetes treatments. For five years, they followed 14,891 people over the age of 55 years who had Type II diabetes. Researchers only included patients in the study if they took just one of these drugs: Metformin, sulfonylureas (SU), thiazolidinediones (TZD), or insulin.
Over five years of follow-up, nearly 10 percent of all patients developed dementia.
But across the board, Metformin was the only drug that helped prevent dementia. In fact, men and women who took Metformin were 20 percent less likely to develop it compared to those who took the other drugs.
Now, let’s look at the numbers and results the other way…
Men and women who took SU had a 24 percent increased risk compared to those who took Metformin. And those who took TZU had an 18 percent increased risk. And insulin patients had a whopping 28 percent increased risk of dementia.
From this study, we now know that Metformin clearly appears to help lower dementia risk.
But this study did not prove Metformin’s “mechanism of action.” Or how it works in the body. As I often point out, scientists today want to know “how” things work. Not just that they do work.
So, this study was not able to determine whether Metformin works because it lowers blood sugar. And that it is the lower blood sugar that is better for avoiding dementia. Or whether Metformin has a direct, independent benefit on the brain. Or perhaps it’s a combination of both.
I have a hunch it’s the last one–a combination of both. In fact, we’ve already seen these effects in lab studies.
Lab studies on cell cultures and on animal models demonstrate that Metformin promotes the growth of brain cells and nervous tissues. And it improves insulin response in neurons (nerve cells).
Still other studies show that high blood sugar harms the brain and nerve cells.
So, it looks like Metformin can have a double-barreled effect on brain health. It both lowers blood sugar and may directly promote the health of brain cells.
Indeed, researchers are now testing Metformin in clinical trials to treat cognitive impairment and dementia.
When you consider all the benefits of Metformin–as well as the toxic side effects of other, newer drugs–why would anyone use any other drug for diabetes?
1. “Anti-Hyperglycemic Therapy and Risk of Dementia: A New User Cohort Study,” Presented at Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, July 15, 2013