By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Alzheimer, dementia, and other neurodegenerative diseases are on the rise. Many people are under the impression that these diseases happen when you’re older, in your 60s, 70s, 80s… but this belief is wrong. Brain damage and deterioration actually starts when you’re young, in your 20s and 30s. It is only once enough damage has occured and symptoms start to show that a diagnosis is made.
How might a young person be causing such damage to their brain that they could end up with Alzheimer’s or other similar diseases? There are a few common patterns:
1) Insulin resistance: in some circles insulin resistance is even being referred to as Type III diabetes!
2) Autoimmunity: which can drive neurodegeneration in the brain.
3) Environmental toxicity: including heavy metals like aluminum, mercury and lead.
Today we’re going to be focusing on the effects of insulin resistance and its role in neurodegenerative diseases. Insulin is a hormone your pancreas creates that allows your body to use glucose (sugar and carbs) for energy. Insulin resistance is what happens when you consume too much sugar and carbohydrates, and your body stops reacting to insulin.
How does this relate to the brain? Well, it is a scientific fact that while the brain only represents about 5% of our body weight, it consumes nearly 25% of our nutrition and oxygen. When you consume too much sugar and carbohydrates, you become insulin resistant. Insulin resistance keeps the glucose trapped in the bloodstream and unable to be used for energy. Your brain becomes less and less capable of utilizing the glucose found in sugar and carbs for energy, and your begins to starve. If the brain is starving for glucose, the fuel needed to power our higher brain function is no longer accessible.
Hearing that these diseases can start if your brain is starving for glucose might lead you to believe that you should just consume more glucose, right? It’s important to remember that excess glucose is what started this whole problem in the first place. Excess glucose in the blood is what caused insulin resistance, and also causes something called AGES(advances glycation end products). AGES are free radical magnets that damages our DNA, accelerate aging, and even cause wrinkles.
What the most up to date research is showing is that our brain can adapt to burning fat or ketones for energy. Essentially 80% of our brain can run off of ketones, so other areas that were perhaps starving now have access to a new fuel that can bring to life parts of the brain that may have been asleep. One of the most popular fats that are being used are MCTs (medium chain triglycerides), which are abundantly found in coconut oil. These fats are unique because they are easily digested and converted into ketones which become brain food rather quickly.
Next time your sitting down to a meal, it’s a wise choice to avoid the excess sugar and refined junk and eat organic whole foods, especially vegetables, healthy fats, and proteins. The solid portion of your brain is 70% fat, so make sure you get an extra serving of healthy grass-fed meat, wild salmon, and coconut oil. This will help your brain function at the highest level possible and help prevent the occurrence neurodegenerative disease in your future.