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Community Voices by Robert Shorey: Evidence points to diet as a factor causing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease

Published in the March 29 – April 11, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Robert Shorey

Robert Shorey

Regarding the March 15 publication. I would like to compliment Morgan Hill Life for providing an extensive article on Alzheimer’s disease effects on families, providing a review of the disease and telling how families can find resources to help with the care of their loved ones suffering from this debilitating disease.

I would like to add some insights into the potential cause and how this disease can likely be prevented. While debate still continues about how much of the disease is about heredity and what specific factors are in play, strong evidence is mounting that nutrition, specifically high carbohydrate/refined sugar nutrition, plays a heavy hand as one of the important causative agents in dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Humans have a large brain capacity compared to other primates and mammals. Our brains account for more than 20 percent of our total body metabolism even when we are just sitting around or sleeping. This makes it important to understand that getting the right nutrients to our brain might be of utmost importance to prevent metabolic diseases.

Mounting evidence points toward insulin intolerance as being a potential key culprit in neurodegenerative disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s. So much new evidence that some scientists are advocating dementia to be titled Type III Diabetes. This isn’t exactly new science. A British psychiatrist in 1897, Henry Maudsley, observed that diabetes and insanity often co-expressed themselves in families. Recently “Snickers” candy bars have ads on television suggesting when we are low on sugar we are not ourselves. This alludes to the often common experience many of us have when our brains are on a sugar low and we feel hungry and grumpy until we get some food.

The reality is that our bodies behave this way because we’ve been getting too much sugar in our daily diets. Today because of the constant increase in sugar being added to our food sources it is almost impossible to avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates in our supposedly modern nutrition. The U.S. has 29 million diabetics along with a rising obesity rate. This situation not only is fueling the issue with the rising tide of diabetes but also other chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to name just a few. There is clear evidence mounting that people silently suffering from insulin resistance have higher inflammation and with greater inflammation organs like our brain are gradually overcome and the result are chronic disease like Alzheimer’s.

Want to avoid being a victim of Alzheimer’s or diabetes? Start learning more about the importance of avoiding processed foods with high amounts of sugar and inflammatory agents. Learn to lower the amounts of refined sugars and carbohydrates in your daily diets and review your understanding of the importance of saturated fats in our nutrition — especially brain nutrition.

Some references and resources that back up the assertions made include: “Grain Brain” by David Perlmutter, M.D.; “Spark” by John Ratey, M.D.; and “Sugar Crush” by Richard Jacoby, M.D.

Robert Shorey is a local dentist who has lived and practiced in Morgan Hill for the past four years. He authored multiple dental technology columns and practices general dentistry. He and is wife, Melissa, enjoy the proximity of Morgan Hill to hiking areas like Mt. Madonna and Quicksilver.