I mentioned earlier about the effects of diabetes on dementia and Alzheimer's but you don't necessarily have to have diabetes to be at risk from the effects of uncontrolled blood sugar. The brain is the largest consumer of energy in your body and almost one quarter of the fuel you make goes to “feed” it – give it the wrong fuel and it is not surprising that things start going wrong.

Most studies have shown that the main culprit with regards to diet and brain health is the amount of carbohydrates that that are consumed. Studies carried out on mice (with the mouse equivalent of Alzheimer's!) have shown that restricting carbohydrate intake specifically can halt or even reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. One study in particular which appeared in the July 2006 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry was the first to show that restricting carbohydrates may prevent Alzheimer's disease by triggering activity in the brain associated with healthy nerve cells, memory retention a long life.

Eating refined carbohydrates, also known as “white poison” as they are white sugar and white flour (in other words bread, pasta biscuits etc.) causes your blood sugar to fluctuate widely and effects the functioning of your brain (and in particularly memory) as it cannot receive the nutrients it needs to perform properly. Too few nutrients can lead to nerve damage and in extreme cases nerve death.

To counteract this the body produces chemicals to try to stabilise the blood sugar and it does this by producing a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol further destroys nerve cells and brain tissue – especially in the hippocampus part of the brain which is important for memory storage.

Now, before you start panicking about having to stop eating carbohydrates altogether and follow the Atkins diet or something similar I will show you a very simple way to reduce your carbohydrates and further improve your health at the same time.

The easiest way to reduce your carbohydrate intake is to stop drinking fizzy drinks, flavoured water, energy drinks and fruit juice drinks (by reducing your intake of these you reduce your intake of high fructose corn syrup, glucose and fructose) and to use sparingly sugar and honey (honey is a medicine not a food!).

A study reported from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology suggests that drinks with high sugar content have been linked to the increase in risk of Alzheimer's. The study found that mice that were fed a 10% sugar solution (or the equivalent of about 5 cans of fizzy drink) showed a decline in learning and memory retention, and their brains contained over twice as many amyloid plaque deposits – a hallmark of Alzheimer's.

As I have already mentioned, Alzheimer's has already been strongly linked to obesity and the authors of this research paper were unsure as to whether the sugar solution itself caused the memory deficits and the onset of Alzheimer's, or if it was the result of the increased calories and increased weight brought on by the sugary water. Either way it is very easy for us to drink less fizzy drinks and to replace them with water, tea, coffee or fruit juice. All of which have specific health benefits in their own right – and I will cover these in future articles…

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Steffan H. Abel D.C. has been involved in Chiropractic and healthcare research for over 20 years. He has run his own successful practice in the north of England for the last 19 years. During which time he has treated over 10,000 patients and given over 100,000 treatments. He has lectured and taught extensively in both Europe and America to students, chiropractors and medical doctors.

He has studied Hypnotherapy, N.L.P. and qualified as a Life Coach. He has also studied various Chiropractic-based treatments (gaining a M.Sc. in post graduate Clinical Chiropractic in 2003) as well as energy therapies such as Seichem and Reiki. In 2001 he became a Fellow of the College of Chiropractors and a Fellow of the Association of Osteomyology and in 2007 became a Fellow of the European Academy of Chiropractic.

In his spare time he spends between 15 and 25 hours per week researching all areas of “alternative” and allopathic healthcare in order to bring the best advice to his patients through his practice and writing and has just finished his latest book The Alzheimer's Alternative (www.alzheimersalternative.com). When not working he is to be found enjoying life with Sue, his partner, – whom he loves tremendously!