In this blog our pharmacist Dimple delves into the relationship between sugar consumption and its effects on the brain. Dimple aims to unravel the connection between excessive sugar intake and its impact on brain inflammation and the heightened risk of Alzheimer's disease.  In a world where sweet indulgences are abundant, understanding the potential consequences on cognitive health becomes imperative.

 

What Is Alzheimers Disease?

In our lifetime, one in two of us will be affected by dementia whether this is through caring for someone with the condition, developing it ourselves, or both. The NHS defines Alzheimer's disease a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects older adults, typically becoming noticeable after the age of 65. The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease worsen over time and can be divided into early, middle, and late stages.

(NHS Alzheimers Disease Symptoms)

Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's, evidence points to a link between high sugar intake and Alzheimer’s risk. (Alzheimers Research UK 2023)

Dementia is not a specific disease but is a general term used to describe a group of symptoms that affect the ability to think, remember, and perform everyday tasks. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia.

Alzheimers Disease Symptoms

Alzheimer's disease unfolds in distinct stages, each marked by varying symptoms that progressively intensify, posing challenges for both individuals with the condition and their caregivers.

In the early stages, subtle memory lapses manifest as forgetfulness about recent conversations, misplacement of items, and difficulty recalling names and objects.
Concurrently, signs of mood changes, anxiety, and repetitive questioning may emerge. As the disease advances into the middle stage, memory deterioration becomes more pronounced, leading to difficulty recognizing familiar faces and an escalation of confusion and disorientation.

Additional symptoms include impulsive behavior, delusions, speech and language problems, disturbed sleep, and changes in mood. Individuals often require support for daily activities as cognitive decline accelerates. In the later stages, full-time care becomes a necessity.
Alzheimers and dementia

Deaths registered in England and Wales -ONS UK

What Is Type 3 Diabetes?

Evidence shows that poorly controlled blood sugar can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. This relationship is so strong that Alzheimer’s disease is often referred to as diabetes of the brain or Type 3 diabetes.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin is vital for glucose regulation and plays a crucial role in maintaining cognitive function. However, when the brain becomes resistant to insulin, it struggles to utilise glucose effectively, potentially contributing to the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Does sugar cause inflammation?

Excessive sugar intake has been implicated in chronic inflammation throughout the body, and the brain is no exception. Neuroinflammation, triggered by the body’s response to poorly controlled sugar levels, is now recognised as a potential contributor to Alzheimer's disease. The inflammatory response in the brain can lead to the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's.

Excessive Sugar

Symptoms of too much sugar in your body

It's important to note that the body reacts differently to sugar depending on individual health, metabolism, and the amount and type of sugar consumed. Here are some common symptoms associated with excessive sugar intake:

  • Weight gain: high sugar intake, especially from sugary drinks, can contribute to weight gain due to its high calorie content and its ability to increase hunger and craving for more sugary foods.
  • Low energy: consuming a lot of sugar can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, followed by sharp drops, which can lead to feelings of fatigue, irritability, and hunger.
  • Dental problems: sugar is a leading cause of dental cavities and gum disease as sugar feeds the harmful bacteria in the mouth.
  • Mood changes: excessive sugar consumption can lead to mood swings, irritability, and may even contribute to symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Skin issues: high sugar diets can exacerbate skin conditions such as acne and can contribute to premature aging of the skin.
  • Fatty liver disease: excessive intake of fructose, a type of sugar, can lead to a build-up of fat in the liver, which can progress to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Impact on Sleep: High sugar consumption, especially close to bedtime, can interfere with your ability to have a restful night's sleep.

The Scientific Evidence

A 2021 study involving 1865 adults over 19 years found a higher risk of Alzheimer's, all types of dementia, and stroke in people who consumed the most sugar, especially in the form of drinks.

A study with 37,689 people found a link between high sugar intake and increased Alzheimer’s risk among women.

A review undertaken in 2022 found that people with type 2 diabetes are up to 90% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.

A 2022 study with 4,932 people found that the link between Alzheimer’s, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol can begin as early as age 35. Researchers followed the participants over decades. They found that managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels early may help lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s later. 

Metabolic Gold

Metabolic Gold is our natural supplement formulated using pure artichoke leaf extract and bergamot fruit extract. These two botanicals contain bioactive compounds that provides effective support to help control sugar levels and therfore reduce your risk of dementia.

Metabolic Gold will help to improve sugar metabolism, reduce insulin resistance and restore normal cholesterol balance and weight management.

Metabolic Gold

How does Metabolic Gold work?

Metabolic Gold will help to regulate the enzyme, alpha-glucosidase, which is involved in the breakdown of complex carbohydrates into simpler sugars. By inhibiting this enzyme, you can slow down the absorption of glucose from the digestive tract, leading to more stable blood sugar levels.

The cholesterol-lowering effects are achieved through stimulating bile flow which in turn helps to break down, bind and excrete excess cholesterol from the body.

Here at The Naked Pharmacy we ensure all of our supplements are formulated using scientific evidence to ensure that they are safe and effective. Here is some trial data to support the use of Metabolic Gold to help manage your sugar levels and reduce the risk of dementia.

A study undertaken in 2019 involving 60 participants found that supplementation with bergamot fruit extract resulted in a significant reduction in sugar levels, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.


Another study found that supplementing with artichoke leaf extract for 60 days improved sugar control, insulin sensitivity, and reduced LDL cholesterol and weight circumference.

Protecting the Brain

It’s never too late to make the lifestyle changes needed to protect your health. Here are a few things you can do to reduce your risk by managing your sugar levels.

Balanced Nutrition

Healthy diet

Opt for a diet rich in whole foods, emphasising fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Minimise processed foods and refined sugars. Be wary about hidden sugars in processed foods, drinks, and snacks. Read labels and choose low-sugar alternatives when possible.

Foods with Anti Inflammatory properties

Eat foods with anti-inflammatory properties such as beans, avocados, green leafy vegetables, berries, fish and incorporate spices such as turmeric and ginger into your cooking.

What are Inflammatory Foods?

Avoid foods that can cause inflammation such as processed meat, red meat (steak, hamburgers), bread and pasta made with white flour, baked goods (cakes, cookies) and bad sugars.

Our Natruflex Turmeric capsules contain high-strength turmeric containing 95% curcuminoids (the compounds responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects) alongside black pepper extract to increase absorption of the turmeric and we’ve also added in Marine Magnesium.

Regular Exercise

Physical activity not only helps regulate blood sugar levels but also promotes overall brain health by enhancing blood flow and reducing inflammation.

Regular Exercise

Cognitive Stimulation

Mental stimulation is vital for maintaining cognitive function. Engage in activities that stimulate the brain, such as puzzles, reading, and learning new skills.

Call our pharmacist if you have concerns

If you have any concerns about sugar or cholesterol or your health risks in general, please call our pharmacists for free advice. (+44) 01483 685 630

Dimple Varu

Dimple Varu

Dimple is a pharmacist with 12 years of experience working in retail and general practice and now specialises in providing education and advice on natural supplements.

She believes in the power of nature and using natural existing compounds to enhance our health, whether that’s treating pain or helping to prevent long term conditions. Mum of 1, living a busy life, loves reading and baking if she has the time.

 

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