Alzheimer’s, sugar and AGEs. Losing memory for names

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23962572_mNumerous researchers, including us, are referring to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia as the third form of diabetes (Type 3 diabetes), since their pathophysiology may be linked to alterations in sugar metabolism.

A recent Japanese study on diabetic patients, published in the European Journal of Neurology, revealed that memory impairment is caused by the inadequate control of sugar levels and by increased insulin resistance (Hishikawa N et al, Eur J Neurol. 2014 Sep 15. doi: 10.1111/ene.12568. [Epub ahead of print]), the latter deteriorating also as a result of inflammation.

The researchers at Okayama University specified that orientation and attention deficits are age-related, that is, are linked to aging in general, but confirmed that the decline in memory for names and emotional elements are instead linked to changes in sugar metabolism.

The authors concluded that the insufficient control of glycated haemoglobin is associated with a decline in calculus abilities, whereas insulin resistance (usually manifesting with weight gain and a “trunk-shaped” body) is associated with loss of memory for names of people and objects.

Once understood how sugar both rewards who eats it and contributes to excessive memory loss, one should realise how important are glycosylated products (also known as Advanced Glycation End-products, or AGEs) for the nervous tissue. These molecules regulate nerve growth and negatively impact on neuronal plasticity, a term used to indicate the ability of the nervous tissue to form collateral brain circuits when previous ones are no longer effective or functioning.

A German study, published in PLoS One, documented how the production of glycosylated molecules, whose levels are partly physiological but grow in proportion to the body’s amounts of glucose, interferes significantly with neuronal growth and development, especially with its plasticity, in other words the ability of neurons to adapt to damage (Bennmann D et al, PLoS One. 2014 Nov. 11; 9 (11):e112115. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112115. eCollection 2014).

Glycosylated substances act as cellular poison, to the point that some refer to them as “glycotoxins”. They form within the body, but are also present on most dishes, as a consequence of cooking, which results in an oxidative reaction leading eventually to their production. This means that a number of foods such as roasted chicken’s skin, French fries, bacon and some cheeses contain a high quantity of AGEs.

For the record, it is important to point out that eggs contain limited amounts compared to other foods. Therefore, the type of cooking, even if applied to healthy foods, may produce potentially harmful effects.

This is not an immediate and acute effect, but an action developing over a long time, which may be countered by antioxidants present in the same food in an effective way.

For example, almonds contain significant levels of AGEs, but oils and flavonoids contained in these seeds will effectively play as anti-oxidants. Unfortunately, grilled beef or roasted chicken do not contain the same amounts of antioxidants, but it is fine to eat them with lots of vegetables and fruit.

For this reason, products like inositol, turmeric, Perilla and vitamin D represent invaluable allies when defending ourselves from oxidation while preventing cognitive deficits. The research on food supplements aimed at helping memory runs around the role of vitamin D (a good example is the product Zerotox Memo D3), which helps fighting inflammation, allergies and obesity, while indirectly improving memory.

In the future, we will have access to a better understanding on the role of each type of sugar.

We already know that the effect triggered in certain cases by sugars is either “all-in or fold”, in others more uniform or complex, as demonstrated in bacteria (Afroz T et al, Mol Microbiol. 2014 Sep; 93 (6): 1093-103. Doi: 10.1111 / mmi.12695. Epub 2014 Jul 16).

The excess of a specific sugar can lead to profound changes of the metabolic response.

Noteworthy, once the metabolism is altered, also other inflammatory signals can trigger the same type of reaction, even in the absence of the sugar itself.

It is thanks to insulin sensitivity recovery, achievable through physical activity, inflammation control, the use of effective supplements (Zerotox Memo D3 and Zerotox Inositox are among the best recommended) and the choice of an appropriate diet, that memory can be rescued and the body’s defence mechanisms, once reactivated, will accompany the person to well-being and good health.

The first product abovementioned contains both Vitamin D3 and leuoagglutinin not by chance, since these contribute to reducing sugar craving while simultaneously balancing the intestinal mucosa, which helps reducing the levels of inflammation. Instead, inositol is well known for the positive function on insulin and sugars’ sensitivity.

Once again, all this shows how every part of our body is interconnected and doing a little here and there usually helps achieving quite a lot in return.