Many of you will have heard about Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, and Type 2 diabetes, but did you know that medical researchers now identify Type 3!
Insulin helps neurons manage and use glucose, especially in the hippocampal formation which is intrinsic to memory formation. Insulin also strengthens the connections between cells and helps to regulate the neurotransmitter acetylcholine necessary for memory and learning. Evolutionary neuroscientists think this relationship between food-insulin-and learning may have been critical for survival as you eat and learn what you can eat- or not eat if it is toxic.
In fact, insulin is so significant to the brain that diabetes is a serious risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals with type 2 are twice as likely to develop AD as those without diabetes. As a result some health researchers propose a new term type 3 diabetes (T3D) when resistance to insulin/insulin insensitivity results in cognitive and memory difficulties and causes brain pathology associated with Alzheimer’s disease. So don’t hit the lolly jar to give you a sugar rush – eat a low glycaemic food instead – you brain will thank you.