I pointed to this post at The IF Life in last weekend's roundup, but here it is again for reference. This adds an interesting twist, in identifying an inflammatory omega-6 fat, arachidonic acid, as a potential culprit. And all this leads to speculation and hypotheses, now, that Alzheimer's is actually a kind of third type of diabetes.
Now scientists at Northwestern University have discovered why brain insulin signaling — crucial for memory formation — would stop working in Alzheimer's disease. They have shown that a toxic protein found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer's removes insulin receptors from nerve cells, rendering those neurons insulin resistant. (The protein, known to attack memory-forming synapses, is called an ADDL for "amyloid ß-derived diffusible ligand.")
With other research showing that levels of brain insulin and its related receptors are lower in individuals with Alzheimer's disease, the Northwestern study sheds light on the emerging idea of Alzheimer's being a "type 3" diabetes.
As Mike O'Donnell says:
Insulin and inflammation do run hand in hand. So could it be that insulin is the prime controlling agent for whether brain will function properly or not? Insulin will also drive more inflammatory markers, like the release of more AA (as seen above).
So, years of sugar and other high-refined-carb abuse, and if you don't get type 2, perhaps you'll get "type 3" diabetes and lose your mind.
To further complicate matters and confuse you, I picked up these bits of info in a comment thread. Doctor treats her own husband with a particular kind of oil and he demonstrates remarkable improvement in his Alzheimer's. Now, before you begin wondering if this doctor is a chiropractor and that the treatment amounts to hocus pocus, it's not.
The evening before the first screening, Dr. Newport stayed up late researching both drugs. During that research she discovered a third that had shown unbelievable results — actual memory improvement.
"Most drugs talk about slowing the progression of the disease … but you never hear the word 'improvement.' Right then I knew I had to find out more," she said.
She began vigorously researching online and uncovered the new medication's patent application. She found an in-depth discussion of its primary ingredient, an oil composed of medium chain triglycerides known as MCT oil.
In Alzheimer's disease, certain brain cells may have difficulty metabolizing glucose, the brain's principal source of energy. Without fuel, these precious neurons may begin to die. But researchers have identified an alternative energy source for brain cells — fats known as ketone bodies, explained Dr. Theodore VanItallie, a medical doctor and professor emeritus at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York City. He has been researching ketones for more than 35 years.
So, can you guess which of our favorite oils is loaded with medium chain triglycerides (MCT)? Yessiree: coconut oil, at a whopping 60%. You can go to the article to see in photos and read about the marked improvement. For the purposes of this post, we'll focus on why.
"Ketones are a high-energy fuel that nourish the brain," VanItallie said, explaining that when you are starving, the body produces ketones naturally. When digested, the liver converts MCT oil into ketones. In the first few weeks of life, ketones provide about 25 percent of the energy newborn babies need to survive.
So, essentially, by taking something that metabolizes directly to ketones, you get the same effect as, what? A low carbohydrate diet (free of sugar, grains, processed carb junk "food") and/or fasting, something we've been recommending as healthful all along. Are you seeing how all this stuff keeps coming full circle, all tied together?
There's more info for you in-depth sorts here and here. I also might mention that I just stumbled on the recently published results of yet another study demonstrating the healthful benefits of severely restricting carbohydrate.
There was an extremely significant (p<0.0001) reduction in body weight (108.62 kg-> 94.48 kg), body mass index (36.46 kg/m2->31.76 kg/m2), systolic blood pressure (125.71 mmHg->109.05 mmHg), diastolic blood pressure (84.52 mmHg-> 75.24 mmHg), total cholesterol (208.24 mg/dl->186.62 mg/dl), triacylglicerols (218.67 mg/dl->113.90 mg/dl) and glucose (109.81 mg/dl-> 93.33 mg/dl). There was a significant (p=0.0167) reduction in LDLc (114.52 mg/dl->105.95 mg/dl) and an extremely significant increase in HDLc (50.10 mg/dl->54.57 mg/dl). The most affected parameter was the triacylglicerols (47.91% of reduction).
Wow! A 31-pound average weight loss. The study was conducted on 31 obese individuals, and was unrestricted in calories. The reason for the "Mediterranean" bit is that it used olive oil as its chief source of fat, fish as its chief source of protein, and it included red whine. It's not how they eat in the Mediterranean, of course, but I guess this is the way its going to be in order to prove the efficacy and healthfulness of ketogenic diets — placate the fatophobs with olive oil and breathy whisperings of Tuscany. Whatever.
The other full-circle element here is that a natural, paleo-like diet without processed foods will, depending on specific composition, deliver an omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of about 2:1 or LESS. That is, no more than twice the amount of omega-3 in the form of omega-6. Well, due to modern vegetable oils, the ratio for Americans is on average 17:1. Very soon I will reference some information suggesting that this may be causing all sorts of trouble, including behavior problems in children.