Alzheimer’s disease is a serious form of dementia that affects more than 6 million Americans, according to 2022 statistics.1 Alzheimer’s affects 1 in 9 people over the age of 65; the disease kills more people than breast and prostate cancer combined.
A growing body of research shows a powerful link between what you eat and your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, through pathways similar to those that lead to type 2 diabetes. 73% of people with Alzheimer’s disease are over the age of 75; two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.
Contrary to popular belief, your brain doesn’t need glucose and is actually better at burning alternative fuels, especially the ketones your body produces when it digests healthy fats.
Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases are linked to proteins that regulate glucose metabolism, according to experts at Emory School of Medicine. Previously, they had determined that abnormalities in the brain’s process of breaking down glucose were linked to the development of amyloid plaques in the brain and memory loss.
Interestingly, Alzheimer’s disease was tentatively named “type 3 diabetes” in early 20052 That’s when researchers discovered that in addition to your pancreas, your brain also produces insulin, and that this brain insulin is needed for brain cell survival.
“We found that insulin is produced not only in the pancreas, but also in the brain,” the researchers said in a press release at the time. Brain cells contribute to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. “
In your brain, insulin helps neurons take up glucose and regulates neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine, which are crucial for memory and learning. That’s why lowering insulin levels in your brain can impair your cognition.