Is Alzheimer’s a Type 3 Diabetes
In the past decade we’ve discovered that your pancreas isn’t the only organ that produces insulin. Your brain also makes insulin and, like your body, it can become insulin-resistant. When that happens, your brain cells can’t use sugar properly and eventually they starve. This could be the beginning of the chain reaction that eventually leads to Alzheimer’s.
When your body becomes too insulin-resistant we call it type 2 diabetes. When it happens in your brain, we don’t call it anything…but maybe we should. A growing number of doctors now argue that we should start calling it what it is: type 3 diabetes.
But there’s good news.
You may have heard it before. A growing number of doctors are now arguing that Alzheimer’s should be considered “Type 3” diabetes.
Their reasoning is sound; in the past decade we’ve discovered that your pancreas isn’t the only organ that produces insulin. Your brain also makes this vital hormone and, like your body, your brain can develop insulin resistance. When this happens in your body, it wrecks your ability to regulate your blood sugar levels and we call it type 2 diabetes. When it happens in your brain, we don’t call it anything…but it has a profound and devastating effect.
When your brain becomes insulin resistant, your brain cells can’t use sugar properly. They effectively begin to starve. This could be the beginning of the chain reaction that eventually leads to full-blown Alzheimer’s. Insulin resistance in your brain also leads to widespread inflammation, and current research shows that inflammation is probably the very heart of Alzheimer’s .
Now, you don’t have to have full-blown type 2 diabetes to develop this type of insulin resistance and the memory loss that goes with it. And it’s not something that happens overnight—you don’t wake up one day and find you’re suddenly in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Instead it happens slowly, over decades. The problem is that we don’t usually recognize what’s going on until it’s too late.
But there’s good news.
You see, we know what causes insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. We also know how to prevent it. And the same steps that will prevent type 2 diabetes will prevent and—if caught early enough—even reverse…type 3.
You CAN reverse memory loss
Let me tell you about Bill.
Bill and his wife were both terrified when they came to me. A successful business owner, Bill was losing his grip on things. His memory was slipping to such a degree that he couldn’t manage his business anymore and his wife and grown kids were having to step into the breach. They’d dropped all of their social activities, and it was to the point where he even had trouble functioning in family situations.
One terrifying word was preying on their minds: Alzheimer’s. They’d put off any discussion with their regular doctor, afraid of the prognosis. Then two things happened: someone told them about my work with diabetics, and Mrs. Bill read an article about Alzheimer’s being type 3 diabetes. They thought that if type 2 diabetes could be reversed, maybe type 3 could too.
Bill started the Done with Diabetes program and then transitioned to a healthy diet of real food. We found that he had high levels of mercury, and took steps to detox the heavy metal from his system. He added folic acid to his diet because his homocysteine levels (a symptom of folic acid deficiency and a HUGE risk factor for Alzheimer’s) were through the roof.
And he began to get better.
Of course it didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took more than a year—but he didn’t get to the shape he was in overnight either. Today, he’s back at the helm of his construction business, and his kids have gone back to their own lives.
And Bill isn’t the only one. I’ve seen this happen over and over.
Now here’s the thing: the earlier you take action, the more likely you are to be successful. And the best option is to prevent the problem from happening in the first place.
Stop type 3 diabetes before it starts
As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So what steps can you take to prevent Alzheimer’s—or type 3 diabetes—before it starts? The following steps are a good starting point:
Balance your blood sugar by balancing your diet. This means first and foremost cutting the carbs, especially refined carbs. Get rid of the added sugar. Get rid of the refined grains and grain products. Limit alcohol. Avoid inflammation-causing omega-6 heavy oils like vegetable and seed oils and replace them with good stuff like olive and coconut oil. Treat processed “food” like poison—because it is.
Eat foods with healthy fats. That means choose butter over margarine, olive oil over canola. Include plenty of foods high in anti-inflammatory omega-3s like fatty fish (in moderation, due to the possibility of mercury), avocados, nuts, seeds and free-range eggs.
Go for a walk every day. Research shows that exercise is one of the simplest ways to cut your dementia risk and even slow it down once it’s started. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise—if you like swimming, then swim. If you like tennis, play tennis. If you run marathons, that’s great. But even a 30-minute walk each day can make a massive difference.
Consider supplements. While we should, theoretically, be able to get all we need from a diet of real food prepared at home, the fact is that our food just isn’t as nutritious as it was just 2 generations ago. And thanks to our societal eating choices, most of us are probably facing one or more vitamin or mineral deficiencies. I suggest that everyone consider the following supplements, along with sufficient sun exposure to ensure they make enough vitamin D:
- A multivitamin and mineral supplement
- Fish oil (for omega-3s)
- B-complex (make sure it includes B6 and folate)
If you haven’t been eating many animal products, you may also need a B12 supplement. In addition, make sure you eat some type of fermented food (sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, etc) every day or take a probiotic supplement to ensure a healthy gut. The gut/brain connection is becoming clearer with each passing month.
Get tested for heavy metals—and check your water quality too. We’re exposed to heavy metals in various ways, from air pollution to our diet (mercury-tainted fish) to the water we drink. Check out your local water quality report and choose a water filter that removes and heavy metal contaminants. Have yourself tested for any heavy metals, and if necessary go through a detox program to remove them.
Cut your stress. Stress and inflammation go hand in hand, which is probably why stress raises your risk of nearly every chronic disease under the sun. Experiment with what works for you, and do whatever it takes to destress. And last but not least:
Make sure you get 8 hours of quality sleep. Poor or inadequate sleep is a huge risk factor for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. A good night’s sleep should be a priority but isn’t; the National Sleep Foundation says that very few of us get more than 5-7 hours a night, while we actually need 7-9 hours depending on our age. And don’t buy the old chestnut about needing less sleep as you age—you do, but it amounts to needing 7-8 hours instead of 8-9.
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