Why Doctors are Now Calling Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes
(A Short 13 Minute Video — Brain on Fire)
Alzheimer’s: Type 3 Diabetes
The idea that Alzheimer’s might be type 3 diabetes has been around since 2005, but the connection is becoming more and more convincing, as summarized in a cover story in New Scientist entitled “Food for Thought: What You Eat May Be Killing Your Brain.”
Type 3 diabetes is a title proposed for Alzheimer’s disease because it results from insulin resistance in the brain. Studies at Brown University found that insulin resistance can occur in the brain–similar to type 2 diabetes that happens in the body.
In comparing the brains of hundreds of Alzheimer’s patients with and without diabetes, those with Alzheimer’s show similar insulin resistance and processing abnormalities as seen in body tissues of type 2 patients.
How could insulin resistance in the brain lead to Alzheimer’s? One explanation is that insulin resistance may lead to a reduced ability to use glucose in fueling brain function, leading to poorer cognitive function. Additionally, the compromised role of insulin in the brain has been thought to accelerate the formation of the protein abnormalities (e.g., tangles and plaques) that are typically found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s and has been proposed to cause the disease.
If you want to reduce your risk for diabetes and Alzheimer’s, control your blood sugar. Like the Bredesen Protocol (discussed above), it starts with diet and exercise.
Diabetes causes complications too numerous to mention, but when the cells in your brain become insulin-resistant, you start to lose memory and become disoriented. You even might lose aspects of your personality. In short, it appears, you develop Alzheimer’s.
Since its first description over 100 years ago, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) has been without effective treatment.
That may be about to change: in a small, personalized study to reverse memory loss, 9 out of 10 participants displayed improvement in their memories within 3-to-6 months after the start of the program. Six participant who had discontinued working or were struggling with their jobs when the study started were all able to return to work or continue working with improved performance. Today, 2016, improvements have been ongoing and sustained. One patient, diagnosed with late stage Alzheimer’s, did not improve.
The results for nine of the 10 patients suggests that memory loss may be reversed, and improvement sustained with this therapeutic program, said Dr. Dale Bredesen, MD, who currently works as an Alzheimer’s specialist at UCLA.
Presently (2016) Dr. Bredesen is working with 100 patients who he says have shown similar dramatic improvements as the first 10 participants with his protocol. “We essentially ask the question, ‘why?’ Why do you have this? Instead of just naming it and saying this is Alzheimer’s, we are looking at what is actually causing the problem,” said Bredesen.
The “Bredesen Program” is actually simple: he prescribes a healthy lifestyle … exercise, sleep, foods without additives or preservatives, lots of fruits and vegetables, no farm-raised fish, and lots of vitamin and mineral supplements.
It’s important to note that Dr. Bredesen says he cannot treat people with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. His protocol is only for those with the disease in its early stages.
With so many people being diagnosed with AD (50% of those over age 85) there’s no time to wait for traditional science to come up with a “cure” or solid evidence to determine whether Dr. Bredesen’s approach works. Some of these studies will take 20 years. Do you have 20 years to waste if you are suffering from early stages of dementia? I think not. You may want to move forward and take chances and adopt a healthy lifestyle now.
If there is one downside to this program it is not often easy for the patient to follow, with the burden falling on the caregivers. The significant diet and lifestyle changes, and multiple pills required each day, are two of most common complaints. The good news, though, said Bredesen, are the side effects: “It is noteworthy that the major side effect of this therapeutic system is improved health and an optimal body mass index, a stark contrast to the side effects of many drugs.”
Bredesen’s approach is personalized to each patient, based on testing to determine what is affecting the plasticity signaling network of the brain.
A therapeutic program might include the following:
- Eliminating all simple carbohydrates,
- Eliminating gluten and processed foods, with increased vegetables, fruits, and non-farmed fish;
- Reducing stress with yoga and meditation;
- Taking melatonin at night if unable to sleep;
- Sleeping 7-8 hours per night;
- Taking vitamin B-12 methylcobalamin each day;
- Taking vitamin D3 each day;
- Taking fish oil each day;
- Taking CoQ10 each day;
- Optimizing oral hygiene by using an electric flosser and toothbrush;
- Initiating hormone replacement therapy if necessary;
- Fasting for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and three hours between dinner and bedtime; and
- Exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes, 4-6 days per week.
Dr. Bredesen’s Case Study #1
Why Doctors are Now Calling Alzheimer’s Diabetes III
Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, is an American physician, scholar and New York Times best-selling author. He is the founder and medical director of the UltraWellness Center and a columnist for The Huffington Post.