If you have type-2 diabetes, your risk for developing Alzheimer's goes up significantly. As I've reported in the past, there's a close link between the two diseases. While Alzheimer's isn't identical to type-2 diabetes, it's close enough that it's now referred to as type-3 diabetes.
This link, along with some new research, shows us just how important it is to prevent or reverse type-2 diabetes. It's a primary way to avoid Alzheimer's. And researchers think they found a drug that can help in both conditions. What's interesting about this drug is that its original purpose gives us a clue about how we can avoid ever needing it in the first place.
Researchers at Lancaster University in the UK have been experimenting with a triple-receptor drug originally used to treat type-2 diabetes. Because the researchers recognized diabetes' connection to Alzheimer's, they decided to evaluate the effects of the diabetes drug on mice genetically engineered to express Alzheimer's.
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People with Alzheimer's disease typically have trouble with growth-factor signaling in the brain. Because insulin is a growth factor that has neuroprotective properties, issues with insulin sensitivity are becoming increasingly linked to neurodegenerative conditions. The researchers wanted to test whether this drug, which combines the growth factors GLP-1, GIP, and Glucagon, might be able to help mice suffering from advanced neurodegeneration.
Sure enough, after taking the drug, the mice performed much better on a maze test, an indication of improved learning and memory formation. Plus, the mice had higher levels of a particular growth factor that helps nerve cells function properly in the brain. What's more, their amyloid plaques, chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and rates of nerve cell loss all decreased.
These are very promising results, and I'm hopeful that further research will find that this drug can help humans who have already developed Alzheimer's disease. However, I'd much rather you avoid needing it in the first place. Remember, insulin desensitization is what caused the growth factor signaling problem in the first place. So a good way to reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer's is to maintain a healthy relationship with insulin and avoid type-2 diabetes.
I've written at length about how to do this in my book The Type 2 Diabetes Breakthrough. The protocol I outline here can even help you reverse insulin resistance. If you have type-2 diabetes or insulin resistance, you need to start taking steps to reverse it right away so that you don't find yourself fighting Alzheimer's too. To be specific, your A1c level should be in the low 5s, and your insulin level below 7. If you don't see this, be sure to read the book and make the necessary changes.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD