A recent study has demonstrated that high blood sugar levels, and not even those high enough to cause pre or full blown diabetes, may potentially raise the risk of a person suffering memory problems.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Agnes Flöel told Reuters Health that links had been made between blood sugar disorders, (diabetes, and a pre-diabetic condition called ‘impaired glucose tolerance’) and poor brain function and even dementia.
Flöel, who is a neurologist, said according to Fox News Health,
“We were also interested if this extends to people who are still in the normal range.”
Dr. Agnes Flöel, who led the study in Germany, could not determine as of yet whether blood sugar levels specifically caused the memory problems or whether it was to do with smaller brains that occurs with aging.
As participants were aged between 50 and 80 years old, all of whom though, did not have a history of memory problems or diabetes. The study did also exclude obese people and those who drank heavily.
The study into blood sugar and memory was laid out with each participant having a sample of blood taken after a minimum of 10 hours of abstaining from food completely. They then had an MRI scan taken of their brain to see if any visible results could be seen on the brain itself.
Every single participant was then given a memory test to complete, where they were told 15 unrelated words that they had to remember and then repeat after different lengths of time.
The results from Flöel’s study demonstrated that the people with the higher blood sugar readings performed worse on the memory test when compared to the participants with lower blood sugar.
A similar test was conducted by Convit of the New York State Office of Mental Health’s Nathan Kline Research Institute where the results of this particular test showed a part of the brain called the hippocampus, that is responsible for memory, tended to be smaller in the test participants with higher blood sugar. The size of the hippocampus in Flöel’s research study also demonstrated the same pattern as in Convit’s study.
Diabetes is a serious disease that kills 3.4 million people every single year. So as a nutritionist I can’t stress the importance of keeping blood sugar within the normal healthy ranges. Even when your blood sugar is in the normal range, but towards the high end, it proves useful to keep testing your blood sugar regularly and to monitor even the smallest of changes to your health as no matter how small the changes, they could be stopping you functioning on all cylinders – as is proven by the two studies discussed today.