What Insulin Really Means to Your Brain

Infertility and Insulin Resistance PhotoSometime ago, we discussed a study that linked Alzheimer’s disease to insulin resistance. That radical finding even went a step further to label the neurological condition as Type III diabetes. Therefore, since Insulin Resistance appears to be a major cause of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers decided to dig deeper to uncover how exactly the brain uses Insulin. The results were especially interesting.

Insulin keeps things running smoothly

If someone asked you to list just a few of the tasks carried out by your brain, what would you say? Learning, memory, movement? Well, insulin assists the brain in all these areas! Insulin makes it possible for brain cells to use glucose for energy while regulating chemical signals within the brain itself. Those chemical signals allow brain cells to communicate during the learning process as well as memory formation. As a result, individuals suffering from low levels of Insulin or Insulin Resistance are at a significantly higher risk of developing issues with cognition, dementia, or even Alzheimer’s disease. Consequently, people with Type II diabetes lose more brain volume with age than non-diabetics.

Sugar and Carbs make Insulin’s job much harder

Unfortunately, maintaining your Insulin level may not be enough to entirely prevent brain damage. In fact, even if you do not have Insulin Resistance or Diabetes, it is still possible to limit your brain function through your consumption of sugar and carbohydrates. One study examined the short-term and long-term effects of glucose on the brain:
  • In the short-term, regular glucose exposure disrupted memory formation
  • In the long-term, regular glucose exposure produced obvious shrinking of the hippocampus
It is important to add that the hippocampus is a structure within the brain that is involved in developing, organising, and storing memories. A shrinking hippocampus is also a common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.

What all this means for you…

As often emphasised, optimising your Insulin level is essential to your overall health and especially your brain health. The best way to achieve this is to limit your intake of sugar and carbohydrates. Consuming less sugar ultimately balances your blood sugar level, gives Insulin less work to do, and allows Insulin to focus on its other responsibilities in the brain. But, if you need help with altering your diet or managing your diabetes symptoms, just ‘Ask a Naturopath’right here at Mr Vitamins.