We’ve known about the link between Type II diabetes and dementia for a long time now. In fact, the link is so striking, some experts now refer to dementia as “Type III diabetes.” But until recently, we didn’t fully understand exactly how Type II diabetes leads to cognitive problems in so many folks.
Now—a brand-new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) pinpointed key ways in which diabetes seems to damage brain cells. But before I get into the details, let’s go over what we already know about Type II diabetes and the brain…
Type II diabetes “starves” the brain and impairs circulation
First and foremost, insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. It helps transport glucose (sugar) from the blood into cells all around the body, where it’s needed for energy.
However, when someone has Type II diabetes (or even prediabetes), the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin. So, the pancreas starts producing more of it. But the body still struggles to transport that glucose from the blood into the brain (and other parts of the body). As a result, the brain becomes “starved” of critical nutrients and energy. Over time, this starvation leads to permanent damage to the brain cells.
To make matters worse, Type II diabetes also harms your blood vessels. This further impairs healthy circulation and the transport and delivery of glucose and insulin to the brain. (The same thing happens with vascular dementia, when the circulation fails to deliver enough blood to the brain.)
And here’s the final kicker: We now know that Type II diabetes is associated with chronic, systemic inflammation…
Exploring how inflammation triggers dementia
When someone suffers from this type of ongoing high blood sugar in the blood, excess glucose binds to proteins in the blood vessels, creating toxic byproducts called advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
One response to these harmful byproducts, is that the body tries to repair itself by triggering inflammation. Over time, this chronic inflammation ends up damaging all types of cells and tissues…including brain cells. And, in a vicious cycle, chronic inflammation also damages blood vessels and other tissues, like the brain.
In fact, in the new study I mentioned at the beginning of this Dispatch, researchers looked at the link between AGEs and dementia in nearly 4,000 men and women ages 55 years and older. Specifically, they took skin and blood samples to measure AGEs levels and administered standard memory testing to measure cognitive function.
Overall, they found a strong link between higher AGEs levels and dementia risk. And the researchers even went one step further, concluding that increasing levels of AGEs seem to contribute to the development of dementia. In other words, since Type II diabetes attacks in three ways by starving the brain, impairing circulation, and creating chronic inflammation, dementia results.
Fortunately, as I often report, there are many steps you can take to control and even prevent Type II diabetes…before dementia ever becomes a problem…
Five sensible tips for controlling blood sugar
Here are five simple steps you can take to control your blood sugar naturally:
1.) Get some weekly, light-to-moderate exercise. Research shows that engaging in just 140 to 150 minutes of light-to-moderate exercise each week is the optimal amount for protecting you against Type II diabetes and other chronic diseases. I also recommend engaging in a variety of exercises of different kinds throughout the week that work your heart and your muscles—such as yardwork, gardening, housework, and swimming.
2.) Talk to your doctor about your HbA1c levels. Make sure your doctor monitors your hemoglobin A1c ( HbA1c) levels regularly, especially if you experience bouts of dizziness or low blood sugar. If you’re already being treated to manage blood sugar, your primary care physician will typically want to see you about every four months to monitor your levels. (Just remember, stricter HbA1C levels may not be appropriate for some patients. In fact, the American College of Physicians recently relaxed their guidance, recommending upper levels somewhere between 7 and 8 percent for a majority of adults with Type II diabetes, especially among older people.)
3.) Follow a balanced diet. People with (and without) Type II diabetes should enjoy all of the delicious foods in a healthy, balanced, Mediterranean-type diet—including grass-fed and -finished meat; wild-caught fish and seafood; whole, full-fat dairy (like eggs, cheeses, and yogurt); nuts; five servings of fruits and vegetables; and alcohol (in moderation). As I regularly report, this type of diet helps fight against all forms of chronic disease—including Type II diabetes and blood sugar problems.
4.) Supplement wisely. Modern science shows that many natural supplements help reduce blood sugar and manage Type II diabetes. In fact, two years ago, I told you about a potent compound derived from an ancient, golden spice that improves the body’s response to sugar even better than prescription drugs!
5.) Do your homework. There are a multitude of drug-free strategies available to help manage your diabetes. And many are just a matter of making simple modifications to your lifestyle. So, it’s up to you to put in the research. The more knowledge you have about alternative options available to you, the more improved your quality of life will be while managing Type II diabetes.
In fact, there’s lots of emerging research showing you can prevent—and even reverse—Type II diabetes without resorting to drugs. You can obtain all the details about the uncommonly effective, commonsense strategies to do so in my online learning protocol, the Integrative Protocol for Defeating Diabetes. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now.
“Assessment of Advanced Glycation End Products and Receptors and the Risk of Dementia.” JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(1):e2033012. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.33012
“Insulin modulates hippocampally-mediated spatial working memory via glucose transporter-4.” Behavioural Brain Research. 2018 Feb 15;338:32-39.