By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
August 21, 2015
- This is your brain on diabetes
- Why poor blood flow and high blood sugar don’t mix
- Two recommendations to save your brain
You probably know several people who have type 2 diabetes. You might even have it yourself. That’s because about one out of every three adults here in the U.S. is a full-fledged diabetic.
Well, whether it’s you, a friend or a family member, this is a very serious health concern.
I’m sure you’ve heard that diabetes exponentially increases your risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and other serious health problems.
These are all very frightening outcomes. But there’s one that you may not have heard about.
It’s the direct link between diabetes and mental decline – even Alzheimer’s disease. The link is so great that Alzheimer’s is often called type 3 diabetes, or diabetes of the brain.
Diabetes is an inflammatory condition, which doesn’t bode well for your brain to start with. But that’s just the beginning.
It turns out that diabetes alters the ability of your blood vessels to produce nitric oxide, or NO.
This is important. Because the NO produced in the inner lining of your blood vessels is what allows your blood vessels to relax. This, in turn, increases blood flow to all of your organs including your brain.
In only two years, diabetes can cut the regulation of blood flow in your brain by about two-thirds. This decrease is enough to lower mental skills, like memory and thinking. It can even affect your ability to perform daily tasks, such as bathing and cooking.
Just as importantly, there’s evidence that nitric oxide impairment may be one of the catalysts that initiates Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s more, high blood sugar is also damaging to your blood vessels.
And when you mix high sugar levels with damaged blood vessels in your brain, it can make Alzheimer’s plaques more toxic to the brain. In fact, as the level of sugar goes up in your blood and your brain, it can actually increase the development of amyloid plaques.
Combined, this creates the perfect recipe for sending your brain to “Malfunction Junction.”
Now, even if you’re not diabetic, this should concern you. That’s because there’s an overwhelming chance that you’re pre-diabetic. Or you might have metabolic syndrome. Either of these conditions can turn on a dime, resulting in diabetes.
You already know to avoid simple sugars, processed flours and high glycemic carbs. Eating healthy non-starchy vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and wild-caught fish are all healthy alternatives.
But if you need extra support to protect your brain from these metabolic disorders, try this…
Nitric oxide is absolutely necessary to keep your blood vessels relaxed and wide open so blood can flow exactly where it’s needed – whether it’s to your heart or your brain. There’s also some evidence that NO can improve fasting glucose and insulin response.
Certain foods are rich in natural chemicals called nitrates. When you eat them, they go through a process in your body that results in the production of nitric oxide.
Red beetroot (or beetroot juice) is a great source of nitrates. Leafy greens, like arugula, spinach and kale are also at the top of the list. Other foods that are very high in nitrate include celery, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, radish and turnips.
However, to get the kind of sustained boost in NO levels that will actually make a difference in how you feel, you need something more powerful. That’s why I often recommend taking a nitric oxide-boosting supplement.
Look for a plant-based NO enhancer that has beetroot juice as its main ingredient. These plant-based formulas vary from one manufacturer to another, so make sure to choose the one that gives you the biggest bang for your buck.
It’s also imperative that you maintain steady glucose levels.
When your blood sugar rises, it not only damages your blood vessels. It also adds to the development of amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.
Chlorogenic acid, which is found in coffee, helps block the absorption of sugar in your intestines. Plus, it suppresses your liver from producing glucose after meals. But you would have to drink an awful lot of coffee to get these results.
However, there’s a green coffee bean extract that contains about 270% higher concentrations of chlorogenic acid than coffee. And it’s an easy way to keep your blood sugar in check. All it takes is 200 mg. twice a day before your heaviest meals to keep your blood sugar in check.
If you are on any medications for blood sugar, blood pressure or cholesterol, be sure to work with your physician to monitor your levels if you decide to try green coffee bean extract – and back off the pharmaceuticals as needed.
Bahadoran Z, et al. Beneficial effects of inorganic nitrate/nitrite in type 2 diabetes and its complications. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2015 May 16;12:16.
Chung CC, et al. Inflammation-associated declines in cerebral vasoreactivity and cognition in type 2 diabetes. Neurology. Published online before print July 8, 2015
Carvalho C, et al. Increased susceptibility to amyloid-ß toxicity in rat brain microvascular endothelial cells under hyperglycemic conditions. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;38(1):75-83.
Macauley SL, Stanley M, et al. Hyperglycemia modulates extracellular amyloid-ß concentrations and neuronal activity in vivo. J Clin Invest. 2015 Jun 1;125(6):2463-7.
Thom, E. The Effect of Chlorogenic Acid Enriched Coffee on Glucose Absorption in Healthy Volunteers and Its Effect on Body Mass. J Int Med Res. 2007 Nov-Dec;35(6):900-8.