Sure, you know that a daily meth habit will fry your brain. But what if over half of 40-somethings had brain damage? Couldn’t be possible, right?
Alzheimer’s dementia, memory loss, cognitive decline, Parkinson’s…these all happen to OLDER people, so you’re safe. You gave up the obvious brain-damaging behaviors after college and you’re pretty sure your neurons have recovered enough to last you until your grandkids get married.
Besides, you take all those nutrients that we know protect the brain–magnesium, fish oils, ginko and vitamin D–so you’re even better off. And if there really was some dastardly virus or bacteria or toxic chemical destroying your brain you would’ve read about it in Newsweek or there would be a Hollywood blockbuster with Julia Roberts as the hotshot young attorney taking on Monsanto for dumping hazardous waste into the Potomac resulting in children being born with an extra arm.
Nope. Reality is far more sinister.
Neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s disease have long been considered a Type 3 diabetes because the links between poor sugar handling and these conditions is so strong. I’ve taught classes on this topic for several years and most of the participants in the classes were unaware of the strong links.
Even fewer still are aware that these links exist for PRE diabetes as well. Prediabetes–that condition that is found is about HALF of the industrialized world. That means there’s a good chance that you fall into this category.
Carrying too much weight around the middle? Cholesterol problems? Liver enzymes elevated? Had your gallbladder out? Ringing in your ears? High blood pressure?
Doesn’t apply to you? How about liver enzymes still normal, but in the top half of “normal?” How about high normal glucose levels? How about a combination of “normal” trigylcerides at the higher end and “normal” HDL levels at the low end? Is your blood pressure over 120 systolic (WITHOUT meds)?
The point is, while you may not think you’re prediabetic (or even if your doctor told you that you’re not), there’s a very good chance that you are. In which case, the results of this particular study should be a great interest to you. In it, researchers looked at a group of 2,216 men and women at an average age of FORTY to see about the relationship between blood sugar and brain health. This is important, because we’re not talking about an 80 year old in a retirement community. Here’s what they found:
- Diabetes was associated with worse memory, visual perception, and attention performance.
- Diabetes was also associated with higher “white matter hyperintensities”–a sign of damage to the cells of your brain.
- Diabetics also had lower cerebral brain and occipital lobar gray matter volumes. In other words–their brains were shrunk.
- Here’s the kicker–increased fasting blood sugar was also associated with shrinkage of large areas of gray matter.
With the last detail we are no longer talking about diabetics (who, at some level, probably understand that diabetes is slowly destroying every part of their bodies) but also the prediabetics. That’s a huge chunk of the population that has already begun to lose brain cells at a very early age. Fast forward another 20, 30 or 40 years and there’s not likely going to be much left to finish a Sudoku puzzle.
The bottom line is that, if you care about your brain at all (and really…you should) and you have even the slightest concern that you are prediabetic or have any of the things listed about, you need to start NOW with a lifestyle revamping (feel free to check out my Diabetes eBook for some help by clicking here). The brain damage is already occurring. You may never get it back.