Diabetes, Obesity, and Your Brain
The connection between your physical health and your mental longevity is well known at this point. Habits of Healthy Motion help to maintain mental acuity. Memory and critical thinking skills tend to be substantially better in people who live active lifestyles, and those benefits appear to extend into late life.
The research thus far has told us a lot about how this relationship between activity and mental health works, but we are still learning more about it every day. A new study in published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that insulin could play an important role in the longevity of our brains and in preventing Alzheimer’s.
Now to be clear, we have known that there was some sort of link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s, but we weren’t quite sure exactly what that link was.
It turns out, according to Professor Melissa Shilling from NYU, the secret could be our insulin levels. The enzyme that breaks down insulin in our systems is the same enzyme that breaks down the protein that ultimately forms the plaque in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. If you drift into hyperinsulinemia (where you secret too much insulin), these enzymes get used up processing insulin, leaving the proteins to build up.
Here’s what you need to know: hyperinsulinemia is not limited to people diagnosed with diabetes, and it is both preventable and treatable.
You don’t even need to be diagnosed with prediabetes to be at risk for hyperinsulinemia. Simple (but dangerous) obesity is enough for your insulin levels to reach dangerous levels and put your brain health at risk. In addition to your regular check-ups with your physician, Habits of Healthy Motion and Habits of Healthy Eating can help to reduce the effects as well as potentially prevent hyperinsulinemia.
I’m not writing this to scare you. Fear is not an effective motivator, and making choices out of fear is not a sustainable lifestyle.
Instead, think about what you gain by preventing Alzheimer’s. This terrible disease strips our ability to cherish time—current and past—with the people we love. For me, I treasure every minute that I can spend with my wife and my daughters, and knowing that the choices I make each day in support of my health could potentially give me more of those minutes in the future is a powerful feeling.
The research is incredibly clear: The Habits of Health give us our best shot at preventing disease and living a rich, vibrant life. One of the big first steps we can take is moving from obesity to a healthy weight. You have a lot to lose, yes, but even more to gain.