Getting your blood sugar under control appears to have far reaching effects according to a new study coming out of Japan. The study links glucose regulation with dementia and prediabetes and diabetes with dementia, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. In the population group studied poor glucose control accounted for one in six cases of dementia and one in five cases of Alzheimer’s.
Diabetes patients were 74% more likely to develop dementia of any type over 15 years of follow-up after adjustment for other confounding factors.
And Alzheimer's disease developed 2.05-fold more often in those with diabetes than in those with normal glucose tolerance. Most interesting, though, was the strong risk prediction of postload glucose levels during the oral glucose tolerance test, mimicking how meals are metabolized.
Higher two-hour postload glucose levels correlated with greater risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and vascular dementia. After adjustment for age, sex, hypertension, electrocardiogram abnormalities, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, total cholesterol, prior stroke, education, smoking, alcohol intake, and physical activity in the multivariate analysis: Two-hour postload glucose levels of 7.8 to 11.0 mmol/L predicted 50% elevated risk of all-cause dementia and 87% elevated likelihood of Alzheimer's disease.
Two-hour postload glucose levels above 11.0 mmol/L predicted 2.47-fold higher risk of all-cause dementia and 3.42-fold elevated Alzheimer's risk and 2.66-fold elevated vascular dementia risk (P=0.01).
Those findings suggested "that postprandial glucose regulation is critical to prevent future dementia.
Hyperglycemia itself may have an impact on the brain through atherosclerosis, oxidative stress and accumulation of advanced protein glycation, and changes in insulin metabolism yielding distorted amyloid metabolism.
One important tool to reduce high after meal blood sugar levels is the glycemic index. Foods that are low are better than foods that are high.
Have a look at how the foods you eat frequently score on the index here.
Ohara T, et al "Glucose tolerance status and risk of dementia in the community: The Hisayama Study" Neurology 2011; 77: 1126–1134.
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