What does Alzheimer's have to do with type 2 diabetes?

In the US, about 5 million people suffer from dementia. About 70 percent are affected by Alzheimer's, the disease of forgetting. Living with this diagnosis is a massive challenge both for those affected and their relatives. Despite intensive research, it has not yet been possible to develop a remedy for prevention or even cure of Alzheimer's disease.

Doctor cares for elderly woman suffering from dementia

Energy production in the brain

In general, glucose is used in our nervous system as a fuel derived from carbohydrates such as potatoes, pasta, bread, rice, cake or pure sugar. Contrary to other body structures, the brain can also absorb glucose without the presence of insulin. Until now, it has been assumed that the brain is independent of insulin and that insulin cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. In recent years, however, it has turned out that this assumption was not only wrong, but that insulin is even of particular importance for the brain, because it is not responsible in the brain the absorption of glucose but rather for the utilization of glucose.

Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's

Similar to type 2 diabetes, in which insulin production is depleted by increased sugar consumption and the cells no longer respond to insulin, is the processing of sugar in the brain in this situation disrupted because the insulin receptors of the cells have become insensitive. The result: The brain can no longer be supplied with sufficient energy. Experts say Alzheimer's is already a "type 3" diabetes. Excessive consumption of carbohydrates, especially those that are quickly available, is not only responsible for obesity but can also promote the development of Alzheimer's and dementia.

One solution: Ketones

Based on this knowledge, a new approach to combating Alzheimer's disease is attracting attention. Studies have shown that certain food components play an important role in the prevention and treatment of dementia: Ketones. Ketone bodies, which are mainly formed from the metabolism of medium-chain fatty acids (MCT), can serve as an important source of energy to the brain. Our brain can metabolize not only glucose but also ketone bodies and draw energy from them.

What are ketones?

Ketone bodies normally accumulate in the body during fasting. These are chemical substances that are produced in the liver when fat breaks down. They reach other organs through the bloodstream, including the brain, and serve as an energy supply. Without the ability to form these ketones, it would not have been possible for humans to survive periods of hunger in evolution. If we do not consume food, our body covers two to six percent of its energy needs after the first night by the breakdown of ketones, and after three days this proportion grows to 30 to 40 percent. This is also the reason why no cravings for sweets arise when fasting.

How do I get ketone bodies?

Medium-chain fats, which are broken down into ketone bodies, are mainly contained in coconut fat. Studies have shown that a diet based on these fats can help reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. The benefit of an increased intake of medium-chain fatty acids in the form of coconut fat is particularly evident in cases of early memory loss or other cognitive impairment. However, in advanced Alzheimer's disease, such improvements cannot be expected to be corrected by changing the diet to include coconut fat. The existing changes in the brain are irreversible.

Basic therapy for Alzheimer's disease

1. Intake of coconut fat, between 40 and 60 g per day.

2. Reduction carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates.

3. Deacidification of the body through addition of alkaline substances in the form of vegetables, salads or an alkaline dietary supplement.

4. Intake of coenzyme Q10, which plays a key role in the production of energy in the cells.

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