Higher Blood Sugar Levels Linked With Cognitive Impairment

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Filed Under: Mood & Memory, Blood Sugar
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Higher Blood Sugar Levels Linked With Cognitive Impairment

A couple of years ago, I wrote about a study examining the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s in which Japanese researchers found that type 2 diabetes increased the risk of dementia by 35 percent. Now, research recently published in the journal Neurology suggests that higher blood sugar—even in the healthy range, without diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or even pre-diabetes—is associated with a greater risk of cognitive impairment.

In this latest study, researchers from Germany examined the correlation between blood sugar levels and cognitive function in people who were not overweight and did not have diabetes or other existing blood sugar or memory problems by administering blood glucose and memory tests, as well as brain scans to measure the hippocampus, an area involved in memory and learning.

They found that the participants with lower blood sugar levels scored higher on the memory tests and the volume of their hippocampi was bigger compared with those who had higher blood sugar levels. More specifically, in one test in which the study subjects were given a list of 15 words and asked to recall it 30 minutes later, the researchers noted that a 7 point increase in hemoglobin A1C was associated with participants recalling two fewer words.

The overall results of the study led the researchers to conclude that it’s never too early to take steps—such as eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise—to keep your blood sugar levels in the low-normal range. I agree with their assessment. One of the best, and easiest, ways to keep your blood sugar on an even keel is the mini-fast with exercise protocol (even if you don’t need to lose weight). I also recommend taking targeted nutritional supplements for extra support.

Now it’s your turn: How do you watch your blood sugar and/or keep your memory sharp?

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