As Dr. Georgia Ede explained to me at the Low Carb USA Conference and in this wonderful article in Psychology Today, Alzheimer’s Disease is now thought to be part of the Metabolic Syndrome affecting 60% or more of people around the world who eat a diet high in sugar and carbohydrate and Alzheimer’s Disease is now called “Type 3 Diabetes” by many doctors .  This article shows that having the metabolic syndrome more than doubles your risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease.  After doing some research I feel that Parkinson’s Disease which shares so many similarities to Alzheimer’s may soon be called “Type 4 Diabetes”.  Here’s a quote from this article in Progress in Neurobiology:  “There is growing evidence that patients with Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and share similar dysregulated pathways suggesting common underlying pathological mechanisms. Historically insulin was thought solely to be a peripherally acting hormone responsible for glucose homeostasis and energy metabolism. However accumulating evidence indicates insulin can cross the blood-brain-barrier and influence a multitude of processes in the brain including regulating neuronal survival and growth, dopaminergic transmission, maintenance of synapses and pathways involved in cognition”

 

This is something I’ve been studying for a while but I finally had to write this post when I saw this randomized, controlled trial in the Lancet showing a positive effect of treating Parkinson’s disease with the diabetes medication Byetta (exenatide).  This medication lower’s blood sugars by decreasing unneeded sugar production in the liver and lowering hunger.  The medication according to the Wikipedia article on it has been shown to decrease the amount of fatty liver in humans which is a main driver of insulin resistance and “can reverse impaired Calcium signaling in Steatotic liver cells” (these are liver cells that have been damaged by fat in the liver and drive the liver to produce glucose even though blood glucose levels are already high).

 

Will a Low Carb, High Fat, ketogenic type diet help Parkinson’s.  I could only find one small trial but 100% of the people on the ketogenic diet showed improvement compared to placebo.  There are so many other benefits to a Low Carb, High Fat diet that have been clearly demonstrated like totally reversing type 2 diabetes (a cousin of Parkinson’s), reversing fatty liver, and improving blood markers that indicate a person’s risk of heart attack like preventing the formation of small dense LDL Cholesterol, increasing HDL Cholesterol, and decreasing both Triglycerides and C-Reactive Protein (See my blog post on “What Causes a Heart Attack”), that if I were suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, I would certainly give a Low Carb, High Fat, ketogenic diet a try.

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