Volume 3 Issue 6

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The idea that Alzheimer's is a form of diabetes has been gaining currency in medical circles for almost ten years. The accumulated evidence is so strong that is being called type III diabetes. Hormone imbalances wreak havoc on the health of our brain. While diabetes doesn't cause Alzheimer's, they have the same root cause. Let's take a look at the role of two hormones, insulin and cortisol and how they affect our brain. Why Does the Brain Need Insulin? Insulin plays a big role in helping the brain take up sugar from the blood. Glucose is what powers the brain. Insulin not only keeps the blood vessels that supply the brain healthy, it also encourages the brain's neurons to absorb glucose, and become stronger. Insulin is very important for making chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which are needed for neurons to communicate with each other. Insulin also stimulates many functions that are needed to form new memories and conquer tasks that require learning. Low insulin levels in the brain mean reduced brain function. It is well known that obese people are at risk of mental decline and are at least twice as likely to get Alzheimer's. What is less known, is that the hormone, insulin is not only made in the pancreas. It is also made in the brain. Similar to Type 2 Diabetes, our brain cells can become resistant to insulin. When this happens, insulin levels rise, which is bad for your blood vessels. The high levels of insulin could damage the blood vessels in the brain, eventually leading to poor circulation. Consequently, the brain cells practically starve to death. This leads to memory loss, disorientation and maybe even changes in personality. Alzheimer's and Exercise Isn't Alzheimer's Genetic? Most people think that Alzheimer's is genetic. The truth is, occurrences are not strictly genetic. In fact, the vast majority of Alzheimer's occurs sporadically. Truly genetic diseases do not change over a 30 year period. That interval is too short to affect rates of genetic diseases that arise only in middle-aged or elderly people. There is reasonable evidence that lifestyle, our diet and environment play a role in the disease. Chronic Stress and Our Brain. Alzheimer's is a condition in which protective enzymes are turned off in the brain and plaques begin to form. There are many situations which can cause this, but it really comes down to hormone imbalances, mainly cortisol. Cortisol is released by the adrenal gland in response to stress and low blood glucose levels. In those situations, the body is requiring glucose for energy production to function and to keep a clear mind. The human body is designed to handle transient stress and not the long term, continual stress that is so epidemic today. Sustained levels of stress actually fatigue the adrenal glands and cause them to be sluggish; thereby causing a cascade effect on other hormones (especially the female hormones) that disrupts the Hypothalamic-Pituitary Axis. Sustained high levels of cortisol also inhibits the proper formation of neuronal cells in the brain especially the cells in the prefrontal cortex that has to do with learning and memory. In effect, what is happening is under chronic stress, we are starving our brain. Page 8| Abby's Magazine -

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