If you ever needed motivation to cut your sugar intake, this health news might be just the thing to get you started.
An unprecedented study, carried out by researchers from the University of Bath has discovered a link between blood sugar glucose and Alzheimer's disease, a degenerative neurological condition.
Scientists involved in the study have pinpointed a “tipping point” at which sugar levels become so dangerous they restrict the performance of a vital protein, which normally serves to fight the brain inflammation associated with dementia.
“Excess sugar is well known to be bad for us when it comes to diabetes and obesity, but this potential link with Alzheimer's disease is yet another reason that we should be controlling our sugar intake in our diets,” said Dr. Omar Kassaar from the University of Bath.
Previous research found that patients with diabetes appear to have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. However, this is the first study to suggest that people who consumed a lot of sugar but are not diabetic are also at increased risk.
The findings came about by studying brain samples from people with and without Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers discovered that in the early stages of Alzheimer's, an enzyme called MIF (macrophage migration inhibitory factor) is damaged by a process called glycation.
It is believed inhibition and reduction of MIF activity caused by glycation could be the "tipping point" at which time the disease finds its opportunity to take hold.
Professor Jean van den Elsen, from Bath's Department of Biology and Biochemistry, said, “Normally MIF would be part of the immune response to the build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain, and we think that because sugar damage reduces some MIF functions and completely inhibits others that this could be a tipping point that allows Alzheimer's to develop.”
Approximately 50 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer's disease, and that figure is only expected to increase to more than 125 million by 2050, which is why this latest clue proves to be so valuable.
According to Dr. Rob Williams, also from the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, “knowing this will be vital to developing a chronology of how Alzheimer's progresses.”
He added that the discovery of the "tipping point" will help to “identify those at risk of Alzheimer's and lead to new treatments or ways to prevent the disease.”
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This post was written by Candice Mehta-Culjak. For more, check out our sister site Now To Love.