Alzheimer’s and Sugar

High Blood Sugar Makes Alzheimer’s Plaque More Toxic to the Brain
Oct. 29, 2013 — High blood-sugar levels, such as those linked with Type 2 diabetes, make beta amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease dramatically more toxic to cells lining blood vessels in the brain, according to a new Tulane University study published in latest issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
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The study supports growing evidence pointing to glucose levels and vascular damage as contributors to dementia.
“Previously, it was believed that Alzheimer’s disease was due to the accumulation of ‘tangles’ in neurons in the brain from overproduction and reduced removal of beta amyloid protein,” said senior investigator Dr. David Busija, regents professor and chair of pharmacology at Tulane University School of Medicine. “While neuronal involvement is a major factor in Alzheimer’s development, recent evidence indicates damaged cerebral blood vessels compromised by high blood sugar play a role. Even though the links among Type 2 diabetes, brain blood vessels and Alzheimer’s progression are unclear, hyperglycemia appears to play a role.”
Drs. Cristina Carvalho and Paula Moreira from the University of Coimbra in Portugal were co-investigators in the study.
Researchers studied cell cultures taken from the lining of cerebral blood vessels, one from normal rats and another from mice with uncontrolled chronic diabetes. They exposed the cells to beta amyloid and different levels of glucose and later measured their viability. Cells exposed to high glucose or beta amyloid alone showed no changes in viability. However, when exposed to hyperglycemic conditions and beta amyloid, viability decreased by 40 percent. Researchers suspect the damage is due to oxidative stress from the mitochondria of the cell.
The cells from diabetic mice were more susceptible to damage and death to beta amyloid protein − even at normal glucose levels. The increased toxicity of beta amyloid may damage the blood-brain barrier, disrupt normal blood flow to the brain and decrease clearance of beta amyloid protein.
The study’s findings underscore the need to aggressively control blood sugar levels in diabetic individuals, Busija said.
Integrative Way: Wrong Bacteria in Mouth Can Take Heavy Toll on Health
Drs. Kay Judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden The Sacramento Bee, Calif.
Your mouth is the gateway to your body, and can affect the health of the rest of your body. Did you know that more than 6 billion bacteria are present inside the mouth?
In essence, you have more bacteria in your mouth than the Earth’s human population! Most of the bacteria in the mouth are harmless, but the wrong bacteria in your mouth can led to tooth decay, gingivitis, heart disease and kidney disease.
Specific bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans, are responsible for tooth decay. In addition, researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons published a study in March showing that there may be oral bacteria that are responsible for accelerating heart disease. Their research showed that Streptococcus gordonii can produce a molecule on its surface that enables it to mimic the human protein fibrinogen, which is a blood-clotting factor.
This activates platelets — the blood cells that are involved in clotting — and causes them to clump inside blood vessels. Platelet clumping can result in growths on the heart valves (endocarditis) or blood vessel inflammation that can block blood supply to the heart or brain.
Here are some key facts about oral bacteria you may want to know, to keep your mouth healthy:
Your oral bacteria shift with age and health. The microenvironment of the oral cavity changes with age, the eruption or loss of teeth, and the presence of periodontal disease. Systemic changes, such as pregnancy or drug intake, also alter the number and proportion of flora. These changes are due to changes in the flow, amount and composition of salivary fluid and in the levels and activity of defense components such as immunoglobulins and cytokines in the saliva. Taking probiotics may help keep the bacterial balance in your body.
Sugar promotes growth of bacteria and plaque. Bacteria consume sugar from food residue in the mouth and excrete lactic acid, which becomes part of the plaque layer. Foods to avoid include soda, fruit juice, caramels and candy. Drink plenty of water between meals instead of soda to rinse out food debris and remove bacteria, and eat crunchy vegetables that are nature’s natural flossers (e.g. celery).
Bad oral health is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Here is a surprising statistic: The relative risk of cardiovascular disease is doubled in people with periodontal disease.
Smoking is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Yet one more reason to quit smoking.
Scraping the tongue is a good way to get rid of excess bacteria. Most of us have heard about brushing and flossing after each meal, but did you know brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper daily is a great way to reduce the buildup of excess bacteria in your mouth? Tongue scrapers can be found at many natural food stores.
Washing out the mouth helps reduce bacterial overload. Mouthwash is a remedy that helps control the amount of bacteria found in the mouth. In addition to regular mouthwash, natural mouthwash can be found over-the-counter; it contains ingredients such as cinnamon oil, clove, tea tree oil, peppermint and spearmint. And if nothing else is available, gargling with water is better than not washing the mouth out after a meal.
So for a healthy mouth, eat your veggies, decrease your processed carbs, take your probiotics and stop smoking. In addition, brush and floss your teeth, and scrape your tongue, daily. Use a mouthwash regularly.
You may get to keep those pearly whites longer, and you may avoid heart disease in the process!

Drs. Kay Judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden are medical directors of Sutter Downtown Integrative Medicine program in Sacramento, Calif. Have a question related to alternative medicine? Email

Periodontal Disease Linked to Cognitive Decline
Tags: cognition, gingivitis, mild cognition impairment, periodontal disease, periodontal disease and cognition impairment,tooth loss and cognition, tooth loss and heart disease
A groundbreaking study from the United Kingdom has connected gingivitis and oral health to cognitive decline. The study’s findings are backed up by a multitude of research supporting the mechanisms.
Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at London’s King’s College followed over 1050 adults for five years while tracking their oral health, as part of the Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study.
The test subjects were given comprehensive cognition tests and periodontal examinations at the beginning of the study and each year following for five years. Their degree of periodontal disease – or lack thereof – was calculated together with parameters of cognitive decline.
Gingivitis scores were calculated using the oral examinations based on levels of gum inflammation and sensitivity – established through probing. Cognitive scores were calculated using the Modified Mini-Mental State examination – also referred to as 3MS.
The research found that 90% of the test subjects had declining cognition through year five. The researchers then matched and removed risk factors such as education, sex, race, heart disease, age and depression from the calculation.
The research found that higher gingivitis inflammation at year two was strongly associated with cognitive declines of more than five points in the third to fifth years.
In their paper the researchers noted that, “Gingivitis is reversible, and periodontitis to some degree is preventable and controllable when manifest.”
Learn how to fight periodontal disease with oral probiotics.
Another study, this from the School of Dentistry at the University of Alabama, found among a study group of 9,853 adults over the age of 45 years old, that tooth loss was significantly associated with cognitive decline.
The research found that those who lost more than six teeth had greater cognitive decline than those with no tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is the leading cause for the loss of teeth.
While the association between cognition impairment and periodontal disease may seem mysterious, there is a solid basis for the mechanisms involved.
Numerous studies have linked periodontal disease with cerebrovascular disease and stroke. Cerebrovascular disease is the impairment of blood vessels that feed the brain cells. When these blood vessels become damaged or clogged, the brain can be starved of oxygen and essential nutrients.
Last year a meta-study review of clinical research by medical researchers from Greece’s Attikon University Hospital determined that 13 studies clearly proved the association between periodontal disease and a higher incidence of strokes and cerebrovascular disease.
Furthermore, medical scientists have established that pathogenic bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans that harbor within the gums will secrete biowaste products into the bloodstream and these waste products will damage blood vessels. Other research has suggested that some of these bacteria themselves may also escape into the bloodstream, causing sepsis and other infection-related disorders throughout the body.
A late 2011 study from the School of Dentistry at Italy’s University of Cagliari studied forty men between 20 years old and 40 years old. Half of the men had periodontal disease and the other half did not. The researchers tested the subjects for parameters indicating developing cardiovascular disease among both groups.
The research found that the periodontal disease patients had higher levels of inflammation-associated IL-2. This suggested to the researchers, “the existence of an early endothelial dysfunction in young adults with atypical periodontitis.”
In a study published in 2012, researchers from London’s University College School of Public Health combined mortality records with health surveys between 1995 through 2003. A sampling of nearly 13,000 people was used to calculate the cause of death and contributing factors.
This study found that those with tooth loss had three times the incidence of death related to having a stroke.
The association between stroke and cerebrovascular disease and cognition decline was made many years ago.
Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gums produced by bacteria that colonize around the gums at the base and roots of the teeth. As the bacteria colonies grow, they form biofilms – which produce plaque. These bacteria biofilms secrete acids that break down the enamel of the teeth to form decay. These acids and other byproducts can also leak into the bloodstream, damaging the arteries that feed the brain.
Written by Case Adams, Naturopath

Do we really need to risk it. Not me!!
Look after yourself.

Rob Nice.

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