Would you eat a something everyday if I told it was going to actually shrink your brain little by little and it was going to greatly increase the chance that you are going to develop some form of dementia, like Alzheimer’s, when you get older?
In the first three installments of the blood sugar breakdown series, I have gone into detail on the destructive effects of insulin and cortisol from repeated blood sugar spikes. While we have focused on things like adrenal fatigue, leaky gut and reproductive hormones the bottom line is that the destructive inflammation caused by sugar and stress can alter proteins anywhere in your body creating all kinds of problems.
Your brain is another area of your body that is impacted by the destructive effects of blood sugar highs. The ability to maintain a sharp mind later in life is pretty high on the priority list for most people I meet. I would even bet that most of these would take having a physical ailment over losing their mind.
There is nothing that creates more stress on a family than when a family member loses their mental capacity. I saw this first hand with my aunt who developed Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, this is a story that is becoming all too common.
The thing that really gets me fired up is that there is a lot that can be done to prevent or significantly lower your risk of developing some form of dementia. If you are following the advice I have given your throughout the Blood Sugar Breakdown Series you are already on the right track. I hope to help you take a proactive role in your health and minimize your chances of developing chronic disease and sugar brain damage.
Early Warning Signs
Just like all the other types of blood sugar breakdown, the destructive effects of sugar on your brain happens slowly over time. Something like dementia will take decades to develop, but there are early warning signs showing the effect sugar is having on your brain and your mental state.
One of the earliest signs of blood sugar dysregulation is reactive hypoglycemia. This is a relatively low blood sugar state that is a form of stress leading to surges in both insulin and cortisol.
Some of the main symptoms related to the brain that go along with this state are feeling irritable, jittery, or light-headed if meals are missed. If this is an ongoing problem, it is also common to experience poor memory, nervousness, and even depression or mood disorders.
Reactive hypoglycemia is often mixed with or can lead to another type of blood sugar dysregulation called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance happens when your cells are overexposed to insulin and they stop responding to it. This leads to higher blood sugar states that promote inflammation and fat storage.
Some common brain symptoms associated with insulin resistance are brain fog and mental fatigue especially after eating a meal. Depression and mood disorders are also common complaints associated with insulin resistance.
The Sugar Breakdown
We are consuming sugar in quantities never before experienced in human history–140 pounds a year versus 20 teaspoons a year 10,000 years ago. The effects of sugar at these levels is like that of a drug.
Too much sugar leads to inflammation through a process called glycation. Glycation is when sugar attaches itself to a protein. The end result is inflammation causing damage throughout your entire body, including the brain.
There is a blood test that measures glycation in the blood the hemoglobin A1c. Hemoglobin is the protein portion of your red blood cells. This test shows how much glycation has occurred in your blood.
The typical life of a red blood cell is 3 months. The hemoglobin A1c test gives you an idea of the amount of glycation that has occurred in your blood and the rest of your body over the last three months.
There is an area of the brain called the hippocampus that is responsible for memory. This is the part of the brain affected in dementia that causes memory loss and disorientation.
Elevated blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c and cortisol all lead to the destruction of the brain’s memory center. While this is not the only possible cause for dementia, it is definitely a contributing factor that is completely in your control.
There has also been some research that has found many similarities between alzhiemer’s and insulin resistance. The correlation is so strong that some have started using the term type 3 diabetes to describe Alzheimer’s disease.
The evidence is pointing to a strong relationship between higher carbohydrate intake and the destruction of the brain.
Keeping Track of your Marbles
Based on what I have told you so far, the first recommendation is going to be to get your blood sugar and stress levels under control. Focus on nutrient dense foods to nourish your brain and stabilize your blood sugar. Correct adrenal function if necessary to improve your stress.
These steps will reduce inflammation and stop the damaging effects of sugar and cortisol on the memory center of your brain. This is something you want to work on consistently. Remember these changes happen slowly over time.
While sugar and stress can shrink your brain, mindfulness meditation techniques have been found to increase brain size and improve function. This is a powerful tool that will also help improve your response to stress. The best part is that it is absolutely free!
When you combine stabilizing your blood sugar, effectively managing your response to stress, and regularly practicing some form of mindfulness on a daily basis you have powerful approach to protect your brain and significantly reduce your chance of developing some form of dementia.
Here are the steps you need to take:
- Follow the 7 Critical Steps to Get Your Blood Sugar Under Control to keep blood sugar stable. (See Blood Sugar Breakdown Part 1)
- Assess and correct adrenal function if necessary. (Also see Blood Sugar Breakdown Part 1)
- Start a mindfulness practice. This can be as simple as just observing your thoughts, counting your breaths, or deep breathing. There are many different way to practice mindfulness. You just need to find what works for you and do it regularly. There are even many different apps available on smartphones and tablets that will guide you.
Let’s me help you put these steps into practice
I am going to do something I have never done before. Next week, I am going to unveil a 4 week program to put an end to the Two Silent Killers. I am going to walk you through the process, step by step and guide you on the best solutions to get your health where you want it to be for good.
Now is the perfect time to start making lifestyle changes before the holiday junk food fest begins. The lifestyle changes I am going to guide you through will greatly reduce carb cravings and give you strategies to navigate through the holidays.
Check out the rest of the Blood Sugar Breakdown Series:
If you missed the previous installments of the Blood Sugar Breakdown Series click on the links below to catch up:
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