Diabetes, Weight Gain and Alzheimer’s
Diabetes mellitus is among the most prevalent and morbid chronic diseases.
If someone has pre-diabetes or diabetes, they will also have increased risk for neuropathy, retinopathy, kidney failure, fatty liver, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, peripheral artery disease, gangrene, amputations, erectile dysfunction and above all, Alzheimer’s disease.
The problem is that conventional medical treatment resorts to diabetic medications to manipulate glucose and insulin levels. There is not one person documented to have cured their diabetes by taking these medications. Most people get progressively worse on the medication and take it for life. Nutrition and dietary advice for diabetes are usually inaccurate and ineffective. The outdated strategies of drinking diet soda and counting carbs to control diabetes have been proven to fail time and again in scientiﬁc studies.
The fundamental problem of Type 2 diabetes is not a blood sugar problem, it is a problem of insulin resistance. It starts by eating foods that do not increase insulin. The Standard American Diet is full of foods that spike insulin. From sugar-laden beverages to reﬁned carbohydrates, these foods stimulate the pancreas to pump out ever-increasing amounts of insulin. The result is that cells no longer respond to insulin, despite high levels of the hormone. Insulin stores fat and transports glucose into the cells. When insulin stops working, glucose goes up and there is a greater increase in insulin to compensate for this resistance. The high insulin is what leads to obesity.
Another unaddressed cause of insulin resistance is the role of environmental toxins. Many toxic compounds have the ability to bind to insulin receptors on the cell surface and block insulin from entering. For example, phthalates, chemicals widely used in plastics, can bind to insulin receptors, causing resistance. The increased use of phthalates is in step with the rise in diabetes over the last 40 years. This may be a person that has diabetes despite eliminating all sugar from the diet, which can be frustrating for the patient and confounding for the doctor.
To reverse this condition, we must focus on increasing the intake of vegetable ﬁbers, healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado and nuts and seeds, and moderate amount of high-quality protein, such as grass-fed beef. High-quality omega-3 ﬁsh oil and proper exercise have both been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and in reversing diabetes. Regular, targeted detoxiﬁcation needs to be incorporated into an overall lifestyle program.
Diabetes Type 1 is typically diagnosed during childhood. However, increasingly we are seeing a rise in latent adult diabetes of adults (LADA), which is classiﬁed as Diabetes Type 1.5. Whether diagnosed in childhood or adulthood, both types are autoimmune conditions where the immune system is attacking the pancreas, leading to glandular failure and low insulin levels. For those with Type 1 diabetes, the root cause is not a blood sugar problem, but an immune system problem. Even though insulin may be needed, the priority for Type 1 diabetes shifts to support the immune system and identify the triggers of ﬂare-ups, which may be food sensitivity, infections and toxicities.
It is known that when a person has one autoimmune disease, the immune system can start attacking multiple organs and tissues, leading to polyautoimmunity. It is imperative for those with autoimmune diabetes to not rely solely on insulin as the sole treatment, but be proactive in managing the autoimmune system by putting it into remission with nutrition and lifestyle change to prevent new autoimmune disease from developing.
The most menacing part of diabetes is not weight gain and high blood sugar, but inﬂammation. In diabetes, the excess glucose binds to red blood cells and other tissues and form advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). They cause massive inﬂammation in blood vessels, nerves and brain, leading to vascular disease, high cholesterol, neuropathy and Alzheimer’s disease.
In fact, there are so many studies conﬁrming the causative role of diabetes and AGEs in neurodegeneration that Alzheimer’s disease has been called Diabetes Type III. Therefore, to prevent neurodegeneration such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, blood sugar management is paramount, as well as ensuring optimal levels of antioxidants such as glutathione and using herbal anti-inﬂammatories such as turmeric and resveratrol.
There are many more strategies to prevent and reverse diabetes, as well as protect against neurodegeneration.
Dr. Peter Kan, DC, DACNB, FAAIM, CFMP, the host of the online Ask Dr Kan Show, offers free educational videos on this topic at AskDrKan.com/brainhealth. Call 480-988-6269 to schedule a Skype consultation.