By 2015, the number of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States is estimated to approach 16 million. Today, we are already at 5 million, and Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US. It is the second most-feared disease in America, after cancer.
There is currently no cure, or even a proven treatment that reliably slows the progression of the disease. If you’re surprised to see an article about Alzheimer’s on a weight loss website, you may want to keep reading to find out why you may be at risk.
There’s no such disease as type III diabetes, yet, but many doctors are starting to use the term to describe Alzheimer’s Disease. There’s a strong correlation between diabetes and Alzheimer’s, and it’s reasonable to say that if you are at risk for one, you may be at risk for the other.
Insulin Resistance and Alzheimer’s
If you have been diagnosed as insulin resistant or pre-diabetic, you have three times the usual risk of developing Alzheimer’s. That’s a pretty strong motivator to change your lifestyle now, I hope. Metabolic syndrome is also associated with increased risk for dementia and cognitive decline. My medical practice helps people overcome metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and obesity. I’ve worked with thousands of patients, and there’s a good chance that many of them have, unknowingly, had their risk for Alzheimer’s significantly reduced.
It’s Worse For Diabetics
A diagnosed diabetic has four times the usual risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Weight reduction can help get your diabetes under control. The right dietary changes can, in some cases, effectively put diabetes in remission.
Hawaii and Alzheimer’s
Here in Hawaii, there are currently 26,000 people aged 65 or older diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. That number is expected to increase almost 35% by 2025. You can see more statistics about Alzheimer’s here in Hawaii, and how Alzheimer’s and dementia effect our economy in Hawaii, by clicking this link.
Another Risk Factor That Correlates With Obesity
Finally, another risk factor that seems to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s is stress. Hopefully, if you’ve been reading my articles, you know that stress is a risk factor for being overweight, and one of the factors we attempt to control when losing weight. Stress causes, well, “stress eating”, which usually involves carbohydrates and spikes blood sugar. There are other complex metabolic changes that occur as well, which seem to be associated with risk of Alzheimer’s.
So What Do You Do To Reduce Risk of “Type III Diabetes”?
Besides taking control of the risk factors for insulin resistance and diabetes, what else can you do?
There’s no proven way to slow Alzheimer’s, but one potential one is currently being investigated. It appears that one of the best choices you can make is to include healthy fats in your diet, and get rid of the unhealthy ones. In particular, you want to increase your consumption of coconut oil. The Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) found in coconut oil have been found to improve cognitive performance in older adults suffering from memory disorders. They can take effect very quickly, showing improvements after only a single dose. It is believed that this may be due to impairment in the brain’s ability to fuel itself from glucose. The ketones in coconut oil act as an alternate fuel that the cells of the brain can access.
A 2004 study in the journal Neurobiology of Aging reported that administration of MCTs, the primary fat type found in coconut oil, had almost immediate effect and improved cognitive function in older adults with memory issues.
There are currently additional studies taking place at the University of South Florida (USF) Byrd Alzheimer Institute, where animal studies have taken place and a clinical trial of coconut oil in 65 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease is underway. A larger three-year study investigating MCT oil in the prevention of Alzheimer’s will take place in Canada, funded by the Alzheimer’s Association.
Omega 3 oils have also been found to reduce the amyloid plaque that is associated with Alzheimer’s, so increasing your Omega 3 fish oil consumption would be a wise decision. Vitamin D3 also seems to help remove inflammation and increase plaque reduction.
Prevention is the best medicine, though, and sugar, starches and highly processed foods are the enemy. Anything that triggers blood sugar and insulin spikes is going to increase your risk for insulin resistance, and therefore increase your risk of Alzheimer’s.