Obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease

Linda Brent, PhD

Executive Director, Parsemus Foundation

Doctor measuring obese man's waist

We regularly hear that obesity is a risk factor for various diseases, and we’re beginning to understand that some diseases have overlapping risk factors and outcomes. For example obesity, type II diabetes, and a diet high in saturated fats are all risk factors for developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And recent studies have revealed outcomes common to both type II diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease such as chronic inflammation, increased oxidative stress, impaired insulin signaling, and other metabolic disturbances.

After reviewing data in humans and mice, scientists at Vanderbilt University have called for more research on the effect of lifestyle changes (such as diet and exercise) on type II diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease to better illuminate our ability to improve disease outcomes.

We already know that foods or supplements with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties have been associated with decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, as has caloric restriction.

A recently published cookbook includes recipes that may reduce your chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease, type II diabetes and other lifestyle diseases. Famed Australian chef Maggie Beer partnered with Alzheimer’s scientist Professor Ralph Martins to produce a cookbook with over 200 healthy recipes. Maggie’s Recipe for Life also has lots of information on diet and Alzheimer’s disease, including a review of micro- and macro-nutrients and lifestyle habits that are important for a healthy brain. The cookbook is available on Amazon, with proceeds supporting this important research.

Dr. Martins is an early grantee of Parsemus Foundation, and is actively engaged in clinical studies to better understand Alzheimer’s disease (see our page on Testosterone and Cognition).

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