Why Is Alzheimer's Disease Called "Type 3 Diabetes"?


It is hard to imagine a more distressing medical diagnosis than Alzheimer’s Disease.  This disease of the brain causes mild to severe memory loss, confusion, personality changes and even death.  Although medicines can slow the progression of the disease, the prognosis is usually grim at best.

The causes of Alzheimer’s Disease are various and unclear, however  medical science has come to light that sheds significant new information as well as hope for those who suffer from this disease, or who wish to avoid it altogether.

The key seems to be the role of insulin in regulating blood sugar.  Most people know that too much blood glucose (from a continuous excess of dietary carbohydrates) will result in the dysregulation of insulin, and, over time, the disease of Diabetes. It turns out that the brain is also exquisitely sensitive to insulin.
100 years ago, neuroscientist Alois Alzheimers discovered that a strange form of protein, called “beta amyloid  plaque”,  was taking the place of healthy cells in diseased brains.  Researchers now know that this protein occurs when there is either too little, or too much, insulin in the brain—hence the link with Diabetes and the term “Type 3 Diabetes”, or Diabetes of the brain.  When glucose cannot enter the cells of the brain due to insulin resistance, the brain begins to starve, resulting in memory loss, confusion, and the other symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.

We know that Diabetics are more than twice as likely to be afflicted with Alzheimers than the general population, adding further correlation of Alzheimers with blood glucose dysregulation.  While genetics may play a small role, the huge increase in Diabetes and Alzheimers  diagnoses  in the last 30 years makes it clear that diet and environmental factors play the much more significant role.  Another factor are the food preservatives called nitrates, which are associated as a causative factor in cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimers. Nitrates are used in foods being shipped long distances, as well as in packaged foods—yet another reason to eat organic and locally sourced, unprocessed and fresh foods whenever possible.

I said this news brought hope, and I meant it! Hope, because if dietary intervention occurs soon enough, clinical experience has shown that brains can indeed recover from injuries brought about by hormonal dysregulation. Specifically, limiting excessively high carbohydrate foods, especially sugar, starchy vegetables and grains of all kinds, can bring blood glucose and insulin back into normal and healthy balance.  Sounds like a recipe for Type Zero Diabetes—and a healthy brain.
– Andrea Winchester, editor
Dr. Oz.com: Alzheimer’s, Diabetes of the Brain?  At   http://www.doctoroz.com/article/alzheimers-diabetes-brain   and ,
The New York Times, “Is Alzheimers Type 3 Diabetes?” By Mark Bittman, Sept. 25, 2012, at https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/bittman-is-alzheimers-type-3-diabetes/?mcubz=0