Although there is no research that truly confirms a link between sugar and dementia, there is emerging research that suggests that diets high in sugar may increase the risk of developing forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Higher glucose levels in Alzheimer patients
There is yet no research proving that one causes the other, however, a 2016 study of patients with Alzheimer’s disease showed that the areas of the brain that had the greatest damage, all had significantly higher levels of glucose. A separate analysis in 2017 of both blood samples taken from patients over a 19-year period prior to their death, and post-mortem brain samples, showed that those with Alzheimer’s disease had the highest brain glucose concentration. Furthermore, their glucose levels had been slowly increasing for years.
High blood sugar causes cognitive decline
A recent study published in January 2018, which had followed over 5,000 people for ten years found that those with high blood sugar levels experienced a faster rate of decline in cognitive areas such as memory and orientation.
But not high enough for diabetes
It’s worth noting that these levels of blood glucose were not indicative of diabetes. That means that people who are otherwise healthy could have rising levels of glucose in the brain long before they show any signs of dementia. The jury is still out on whether high intake of sugar contributes to build-up of glucose in the brain, but there is a clear possibility.
Find out what science says about sugar and links to more diseases in this article.