"Type 3 Diabetes," a.k.a. Alzheimer's

Last updated: September 26, 2012

Heard the phrase "type 3 diabetes" yet? You'll surely be hearing it more. For several years now, researchers have been calling Alzheimer's disease a brain form of diabetes as they explore links between the diseases. Increasingly now, they're fingering a poor diet as an influential culprit.

To understand the complicated concept of type 3 diabetes, it helps to understand the key role of insulin in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Mark Bittman provides a great, clear explanation in his New York Times op-ed piece about the September 2012 UK New Scientist cover story that maps out the current research making this important diet-insulin-Alzheimer's link.

Basically, in Alzheimer's, insulin becomes ineffective in the brain, starving brain cells and causing cognitive damage. It's also implicated in the formation of the telltale plaques in the brain.

"What's new is the thought that while diabetes doesn't 'cause' Alzheimer's, they have the same root: an over consumption of those 'foods' that mess with insulin's many roles," Bittman writes. (Also likely factors: Differing genetic susceptibility and various environmental triggers.)(See Caring.com food and nutrition editor Beth Reardon's related explanations of inflammation.)

Not only sugar and simple carbs seem to be at fault. There's growing interest in nitrites/nitrosamines, used rampantly in processed foods, cured meats, and also in large-scale farming, says one of the lead researchers in this area, Suzanne DeLaMonte of Brown University. They have a cumulative effect and are also connected to cancer.

The New Scientist cover image "” a chocolate brain with a huge piece missing "” "is creepy," Bittman notes. "But for the record: chocolate is not the enemy," he adds, alluding to the fairly good dietary rep of dark chocolate. The real problem, he says, is the standard American diet (or "SAD," he says, pitch-perfect.) Maybe a greasy bacon-burger-with-fries-on-top brain would have made a more accurate graphic. Or a deep-fried turkey brain. Or a Paula Deen fried butter ball brain.

It's enough to make you want to start an anti-diabetes diet right this minute. Which wouldn't be a minute too late.

Was this blogpost helpful?

7 Comments So Far. Add Your Wisdom.

almost 2 years ago

The first mention of Alzheimer's disease being related to diabetes mellitus came from a video on a doctor who went researching on Alzheimer's research after her husband developed the problem. After finding something that seemed to halt & possibly reverse it, she went looking for a natural source of it and found it in extra virgin coconut oil. You can find her video by researching "coconut oil therapy for alzheimer's disease". There are multiple factors that contribute to Alzheimer's disease - one of them being those who get 5 flu shots in a row - which I interpret to mean once a year for 5 years or more. For those interested in really looking into this problem, may I suggest that first you research "Metabolic Syndrome X" and you are not looking for the congenital problem with the same name, but one by a Dr, Reaven who proposed many years ago that Diabetes Mellitus" was not a disease that stands alone but just a later phase of a syndrome, which brought him jeers from his fellow doctors. After spending 25+ years proving his theory, he put it on line. When a doctor puts something on line, you can bet that no othodox medical journal would print it. Why? Do your research and you will probably come to the right conclusion. I will tell you that the metabolic syndrome X starts with an excessive production of insulin. We were told in a physiology lecture in l977-78 that overweight people had 8 times the normal amount of insulin circulating in their bloodstream, but when asked which came first (the excessive insulin or the overweight), they didn't know. So I didn't ask what made us kick out excess insulin. Interestingly enough, orthodox medicine now has a diagnosis called "Insulin Resistance" which follows the same phases as Dr. Reaven's Metabolic Syndrome X, but give him no recognition for his theory or his proving it . One wonders why they renamed it and tried to hide his brilliance by not mentioning him at all, but they did get around to renaming juvenile onset and adult onset DM to diabetes mellitus, type 1 and type 2. A book titled "The Carbohydrate Addict's Healthy Heart Program" by Richard & Rachel Heller, and cardiologist Dr. Vagnini is the first thing I found stating that monosodium glutamate and aspartame are the culprits that make us kick out excess insulin. They don't mention Dr. Reaven and his Metabolic Syndrome X but they do mention a progression of symptoms beginning with excess insulin production that his Metabolic Syndrome X does. For those interested in a healthy way of eating, I do suggest that they read this book and follow their instructions, which are a lot easier to understand than the usual diabetic diet and all of its exchanges, and does work and would likely decimate the entire medical field because it would wipe out several of our so-called epidemics or obesity, hypercholesterol, hypertension, diabetes type 2, renal disease and most, if not all cancers. Another book titled "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills" by neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock tells us that monosodium glutamate and aspartame are not safe despite the FDA's "GRAS" rating and blames a lot of brain problems from headaches to cancer of the brain, Parkinson's disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), epilepsy & others on monosodium glutamate and aspartame. At one medical round I attended, we were told that renal dialysis patients were the biggest drain on the medical field and that most of these dialysis patients were diabetics. At another medical round I attended, we were told about a study that found that oral hypoglycemic tablets destroyed the renal cells. Since that last one, my question has been why do we waste time and money doing medical research when no one pays it any attention. Most importantly of all - Why is orthodox medicine still treating diabetics with oral hypoglycemics, whose purpose is to make the pancreas produce insulin, when excessive insulin production is the initial stage of Metabolic Syndrome X or their renamed "Insulin Resistance"? My last suggestion is for those who still think they aren't getting much MSG because they seldom eat "stir fried". Type "names monosodium glutamate hidden under " into your search window and prepare to print it out because it is too long to remember. Take that list and go into your kitchen and read ingredient lists on everything in there that goes into your mouth to eat, chew or drink, even the raw meats that you have to cook. You shouldn't be surprised to learn that everything in your kitchen is loaded with MSG and/or aspartame.

about 2 years ago

If you click on the anti-diabetes diet right at the end of the article, it gives very general guidelines on what to eat and not eat. You could also go to the American Diabetes Association and get their diet recommendations.

about 2 years ago

Please list the food we must avoid.

about 2 years ago

You forget genetics.Diabetes runs in families,I know ,both of my brothers and2nephews(all male are Diabetic.I am diabetic due to a genetic disease (Hemochromatois which causes cancer, heart problems,chirrosis of the liver and diabetes, I have all of the above plus diiabetic neuropathy and PAD. Sorry , but food is not the cause,maybe in some cases. Your article is missleading and inaccurate by narrow focusing.

about 2 years ago

The article would have been more beneficial, if only it had identified a few among the many commonly consumed food items that one must avoid or eat less, so as to safe guard against the dreaded disease. Dr.Parameswaran, Consuting Engineer

Anonymous said about 2 years ago

Article is not specific enough. Blame without answers. Just guilt producing.

Anonymous said about 2 years ago

The title leads one to think you will be listing a number of foods to avoid. You didn't.

Stay Connected With Caring.com

Receive the latest news and tips in your inbox

Join our social communities:

Best in Health News