Did you read my article about insulin resistance from a couple weeks ago? If not, here’s a very quick crash course: If you’re insulin resistant here’s what that means… It means your pancreas has to work overtime to produce insulin, the hormone that’s responsible for transporting glucose (blood sugar) from your bloodstream into your cells. 

What does this have to do with the title of this article about type 3 diabetes and Alzheimer’s? Well, if you have insulin resistance, you may be at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease, aka type 3 diabetes. 

Why Is Alzheimer’s Disease Called Type 3 Diabetes?

Now the question becomes, what’s the connection between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s? 

A 2022 International Journal of Molecular Sciences research article explains that recent studies show that insulin plays a vital role in the brain’s neurotransmitters [chemical messengers], homeostasis [balance] of energy, as well as MEMORY CAPACITY. Of course, memory loss is the heartwrenching hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

How May Insulin Resistance Develop Into Alzheimer’s?

The study also explains that Alzheimer’s develops, in part because of type 2 diabetes and disrupted insulin signaling. Moreover, there’s an association between Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes when it comes to these other internal health issues:

  • Neuro(brain)-inflammation
  • Oxidative stress (The body’s inability to neutralize free radicals.)
  • Advanced glycosylation end products (AGEs): AGEs produce oxidative stress; eating charred/blackened barbecued meat and cured meats is one example of how AGE products develop in the body.
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction: The mitochondria is like the power generator of your cells. 
  • The development of Beta-amyloid, tau protein and amylin: These are the 3 classic markers of brains that are impacted by Alzheimer’s 

The Problem: Lack of Cognitive Function Diagnosis For Type 2 Diabetes

The authors of the study (a research team from Aristotle University in Greece) write:

“Given that the type 2 patients are not routinely evaluated in terms of their cognitive status, they are rarely treated for cognitive impairment.”

If type 2 diabetes patients aren’t screened for cognitive problems, are Alzheimer’s patients screened for type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance? 

Hardly ever, suggest the researchers. 

Although it’s not a scientific fact, the research strongly suggests that Alzheimer’s is really a metabolic disease. And at its core, the root problem is insulin resistance. This is why Alzheimer’s is called type 3 diabetes. 

7 Ways To Reduce Your Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s 

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

    If you have type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance, and you’re not sure how to manage your blood sugar levels, let me hold your hand. As a Nurse Practitioner (NP), functional medicine practitioner and health coach, I’ll design an easy to follow program. No guesswork about what to eat, how much to eat and what supplements to take. Take the first step and contact me at the Diabetes & Wellness Clinic ,where they accept most insurance!
  2. Move your body!

    Some people hate the “E” word. If exercise is no fun for you, or if your body is in so much pain you can’t even think about walking down the street, I’ll help you discover and overcome the root causes of what’s causing the pain and inflammation. But if you are able to move without pain set an intention to be physically active every day. It doesn’t have to be intense exercise. Just move! Regular exercise lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s, many studies show.
  3. Walk after every meal

    Sorta like the tip above, but one of the easiest and most-effective ways to manage blood sugar levels is going for a short walk. As little as a 10 minute walk after a meal can help normalize your postprandial (after the meal) glucose levels.
  4. Eat healthy

    Don’t know how? Don’t know what to eat? That’s why God created functional medicine practitioners and health coaches! Let’s take the guesswork out of what to eat and make it simple for you!
  5. Expand your mind

    No, I’m not talking about taking psychedelics. A simple crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or jigsaw puzzle will do the trick. Learn 10 words of a new language you always wanted to learn. Staying mentally active is important for lowering your risk of developing Alzheimer’s
  6. Sleep it off

    For some people, it’s easier said than done. But if you’re not getting adequate sleep, your brain won’t experience a “power wash” that cleanses toxins that may contribute to Alzheimer’s.
  7. Don’t worry, be happy

    Having chronic stress may contribute to those 3 markers of Alzheimer’s mentioned above. So it’s important to learn how to control your stress levels. For just 5-10 minutes in the morning and evening, practice deep breathing exercises (unless you have a serious respiratory problem like COPD). Gentle yoga or stretching is also a great way to reduce stress. 

I hope these tips inspire you to reclaim your health and live the pain-free, high-quality life you deserve. 

Until next time, 

Jenna Witt, NP