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Can You Lose Your Mind to Sugar?

A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports provides the latest evidence that sugar consumption can have devastating effects on human health. We know that sugar is close to being classified as a toxin that has addictive properties because it stimulates the same area in the brain as other addictive drugs like cocaine. Plus there is mounting scientific evidence that sugar is as damaging to our health as smoking is, if not more so.

Researchers, Dr. Omar Kassaar et al, have established a molecular link between glucose and Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have long known that excessive blood sugar (glucose) levels cause cellular inflammation that damages our DNA and is a root cause of diabetes and obesity.

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a steady and increased rate of degeneration of neurons in the brain marked by the presence of the protein’s amyloid and tau that come together to form “insoluble plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.” Other metabolic conditions that can increase the onset of AD is diabetes and oxidative stress that result from hyperglycemia or simply put, excess levels of blood sugar. However, even in people that don’t have diabetes but have elevated levels of glucose show higher incidences of AD.

The process where glucose is broken down is called glycation and that is where the researchers have found the link between glucose and AD.

Dr. Kassaar’s group used brain samples from people with and without Alzheimer’s and found that in early stages of AD the enzyme MIF “macrophage migration inhibitory factor) is damaged by glycation. MIF is a key part of immune response for the regulation of insulin.

MIF is part of how the brain cells respond to an unusually high build-up of abnormal proteins present in the brains of people with AD. Because glycation damages MIF it’s active functions are inhibited and reduced, thus allowing the progression of AD.

One of the main factors in the rise of blood sugar, or glucose, is the excessive ingestion of sugar. As our blood sugar levels rise they cause damage at the DNA level and this study has found that link between that damage and the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease and believe it is the “tipping point” in the progression and acceleration of AD.

American’s consumption of sugars, especially among children, is at an all time high so in the future we can reasonably expect to see dramatic increases in the rates of AD.

My mother died from AD and in the last years of her life she didn’t know me or my family. It was heartbreaking on many levels and as this and other studies are discovering, it may be preventable. Maybe it’s time we rethink how much sugar we eat…while we still can.

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