You may never have heard of type 3 diabetes but I’m pretty sure you soon will as this is big news!
As you probably are aware, diabetes is a condition where your blood sugar management isn’t working properly: type 1 is an auto-immune disease where the immune system has attacked the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Without the ability to produce insulin, the body has no means to balance blood sugar levels. This can quickly become fatal.
Type 2 diabetes (once called adult-onset but we are now seeing it in young people), is where your insulin becomes ineffective. This results in high blood sugar levels because, despite producing insulin, your cells don’t ‘listen’ to it, so the cells don’t open up and take in glucose to use as energy, resulting in the glucose (sugar) staying in the blood stream. This quickly leads to weight gain, especially around the tummy; circulation issues, which can result in amputation of toes, even feet as ulcers and injuries can’t heal and a higher risk of blindness; increased risk of cardio vascular disease – so, seriously serious.
Then comes type 3 diabetes, and this is even more scary…. type 3 shows up as brain disease. This is going to get a bit technical, but it is critical we all understand the damaging effects of a high sugar diet. I’ll try and keep it simple:
When we eat foods that make our blood sugar shoot up i.e. high glycemic foods, something destructive can happen, especially if the blood sugar remains high for long periods due to continued high carb eating and/or poor insulin response. High blood sugar can combine with protein in the blood to form Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). These are nasty, super-charged, damaging molecules. These AGEs can enter the brain and trigger inflammation. In short, this can cause permanent damage to the brain.
For the more nerdy of you, this brain damage is due, at least in part, to glia cells. The brain comprises loads of glia cells. There are 10 glia cells for every neoron. They are involved in regulation and communication between neurons and also dispose of dead neurons and crucially, they clean out other debris including amyloid plaque. This is the plaque that is now known to cause dementia / Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
However, when AGEs enter the brain, the inflammation they cause result in the glia cells being over stimulated and they then go from being brain helpers to brain cell destroyers. Once your glia cells have become hyper-active, they inhibit the speed at which your brain works, as the information is not sent as efficiently to the different areas of the brain; your brain will fatigue more quickly, so your concentration will wain more readily and you won’t be able to retrieve information. Long term, the overly-activated glia cells are not only not able to keep the brain clean, healthy and functional, they actually cause damage to neurons while the super-damaging amyloid plaque builds up, causing further damage which ultimately results in degenerative brain disease.
This is type 3 diabetes!
To avoid these devastating brain diseases, you HAVE to get the sugars out of your diet. I am not a low carb fanatic, but I am absolutely adamant that we should all be avoiding high carb diets. This includes fruit juices and even too much fruit; grains, especially wheat; breakfast cereals; processed snack foods, never mind all the sweet, baked and refined foods that most people are eating several times daily. As I have blogged so many times, get back to non-packaged, non-processed, whole foods and maintain a balance of all meals and snacks of protein, healthy fats and fibre in preference to carbohydrate-rich foods.
There are also many products / supplements on the market that claim to help blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity. Many will be of little or no effect due to the contents being of made synthetically, so the body can’t use them. Look for Food State or Wholefood blood sugar supporting supplements – there are some great ones available. Get in touch if you would like me to recommend a specific blood glucose support supplement and meanwhile get yourself, your family and your friends on a low – medium glycemic, anti-inflammatory diet. Also, look back at previous blogs for more info on this and the benefits of turmeric as an anti-inflammatory aid – great for brain health.