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Why Is Glucose Important For Brain Health

Effects Of Glucose On The Brain

Effects Of Glucose On The Brain

Though there is a great amount of attention given to the effects of diabetes on the peripheral nervous system, it is important not to overlook the disease’s effects on our brains. While other organs in the body may rely on alternative sources of energy, such as fatty acids, the brain relies almost solely on glucose, using ketones as a last resort. For this reason, the blood brain barrier is rich in Glut1 active glucose transporters, and over 99% of the glucose that passes it is used by neurons and glia. Thus, the metabolic efficiency and continuous demands of the brain render it uniquely susceptible to fluctuations in glucose concentration in the body. As we discuss in this chapter, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia both can have detrimental effects on cognition as well as mood. These effects are evident in people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The most common manifestations of cognitive deficit are neural slowing, attention deficit, and executive functioning. Patients with type 2 diabetes in particular do more poorly in measures of learning and memory [1]. It is important to note that in a hospital setting patients without diabetes can become hyperglycemic, and these patients have an increased mortality risk [2]. Stress induced hyperglycemia in patients without diabetes can occur during periods of acute illness and may be due to hormonal cascades, particularly increases in epinephrine, cortisol, growth hormone and glucagon [3]. Patients may have “pre-diabetes”, or may have frank diabetes that is undiagnosed. Among hyperglycemic patients in general medicine wards, one study found that 12% were undiagnosed, and that they had 18.3 times the mortality rate of their normoglycemic peers. These patients also had longer hospital stays, were admitted to the ICU more often, Continue reading >>

The Institute For Food, Brain And Behaviour

The Institute For Food, Brain And Behaviour

Its been called the hottest question in nutrition. Which is worse for you, sugar or fat? Butter and cream, or low-fat (high-sugar) yoghurt? Many people are concerned about obesity, for health as well as for cosmetic reasons. Yet, even though brains dont store sugar and fat the way bodies do, what you eat has a big impact on your brain. Brains need lots of energy. At rest a quarter of the bodys total energy consumption is by the brain. Most of this is normally provided by glucose derived from starch or sugar (which is rare in the wild). Although fats have twice the energy content of glucose they need to be broken down to ketones before they can get into the brain. This only occurs to a major extent during starvation when stored fat is broken down to So on the face of it dietary sugar should be better for the brain, and large changes in blood glucose concentration (hyper- or hypo- glycaemia) can cause apathy, depression, confusion, even unconsciousness. But modern diets tend to contain too much of both sugar and fat. So the more pertinent question that some ask is which in excess is the more harmful? Blood levels of glucose are controlled by two hormones released by the pancreas: which raises them. They are also controlled by glucose-sensitive nerve cells in the hypothalamus that control your feelings of hunger or satiety associated with the release of key hormones into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland, e.g. growth hormone, stress and sex steroids; these modulate blood glucose and fat levels. Blood levels of fats are also affected by insulin which reduces blood fat levels by increasing fat storage. So excessive sugar intake is converted into body-fat. Sugar (sucrose) is actually made of two molecules, glucose and fructose. The body has far less control over blood f Continue reading >>

Sugar For The Brain: The Role Of Glucose In Physiological And Pathological Brain Function

Sugar For The Brain: The Role Of Glucose In Physiological And Pathological Brain Function

Go to: Glucose metabolism: fueling the brain The mammalian brain depends on glucose as its main source of energy. In the adult brain, neurons have the highest energy demand [1], requiring continuous delivery of glucose from blood. In humans, the brain accounts for ~2% of the body weight, but it consumes ~20% of glucose-derived energy making it the main consumer of glucose (~5.6 mg glucose per 100 g human brain tissue per minute [2]). Glucose metabolism provides the fuel for physiological brain function through the generation of ATP, the foundation for neuronal and non-neuronal cellular maintenance, as well as the generation of neurotransmitters. Therefore, tight regulation of glucose metabolism is critical for brain physiology and disturbed glucose metabolism in the brain underlies several diseases affecting both the brain itself as well as the entire organism. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of the functional implications and recent advances in understanding the fundamental role of glucose metabolism in physiological and pathological brain function. Although brain energy metabolism has been investigated for decades, certain aspects remain controversial, in particular in the field of energy substrate consumption and utilization. It is beyond the scope of this review to resolve these controversies; rather it is our aim to highlight conflicting concepts and results to stimulate discussion in key areas. To this end, we review the bioenergetics of neurotransmission, the cellular composition of a metabolic network, the regulation of cerebral blood flow (CBF), how peripheral glucose metabolism and energy homeostasis are sensed and controlled by the CNS, and the tight regulation of cellular survival through glucose-metabolizing enzymes. Glucose is required to provide Continue reading >>

How Blood Sugar Levels Affect Your Brain And What To Do About It

How Blood Sugar Levels Affect Your Brain And What To Do About It

How blood sugar levels affect your brain – and what to do about it Sugar - excessive consumption can have undesirable effectsCredit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire When Diane Abbott came under fire over her poor performance in recent interviews , few people outside of her immediate circle would have suspected that diabetes was a contributing factor. The 63-year-old Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes two years ago.  Speaking to the Guardian, she said: "During the election campaign, everything went crazy - and the diabetes was out of control, the blood sugar was out of control." She said her brother had raised concerns after seeing her struggling: "He said 'that is not Diane', because ever since I've been a child I've had a great memory for figures, and he said he knew it was my blood sugar and gave me a lecture about eating and having glucose tablets." Diane Abbott experienced problems as a result of type 2 diabetesCredit:EPA/ANDY RAIN  She added: "It is a condition you can manage. I am doing that now and I feel ready to get back to work." In diabetes, the body is not able to to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, which results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and higher levels of glucose in the blood. Some people with type 2 diabetes use insulin or certain types of tablets to control the condition, which can bring on episodes of hypoglycaemia, where blood glucose levels become very low. People experiencing hypoglycaemia will usually feel shaky, weak and hungry - and the condition can cause significant cognitive impairment.  Continue reading >>

How Blood Sugar Can Change Your Body & Brain

How Blood Sugar Can Change Your Body & Brain

Fasting glucose is linked with mood, sleep and cognition. Optimizing your blood glucose (better than having a "normal" level) may be the best bet for maintaining sharpness throughout the day and feeling better overall. The misconception about fasting glucose is that many believe it's a measure used to prevent diabetes only, rather than something measured in the process of improving your mind and body. In this blog we explain why fasting glucose is important, why you should get tested, and provide an argument for why you should pay attention to this vital part of your metabolism every day. When it comes to health, being “normal” just might not be good enough. Your best bet is to strive for optimal. Health practitioners emphasize that we must maintain our fasting blood glucose (sugar) level in the "normal range." We’re repeatedly reminded of the health consequences of glucose levels above the normal range (risk for type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, etc.). However, truly healthy blood glucose levels may not necessarily be in the entire scope of the "normal range" for every person. We should focus not just on reaching the normal, but reaching the optimal fasting blood glucose level — because that does more for our health than we originally thought. Glucose explained A blood glucose test (which InsideTracker offers) is used to determine your fasting blood glucose level, which measures the amount of glucose in a sample of your blood. The test requires you to fast for least 12 hours, and it can be done any time of the day. The easiest way to get tested is to do it right after you wake up. Blood glucose accumulates in our blood primarily from the carbohydrates we eat. The hormone, insulin, allows glucose to enter cells, so insulin is critical to helping the body use Continue reading >>

The Importance Of Glucose To The Brain

The Importance Of Glucose To The Brain

Glucose, at its very core, is a carbohydrate. It is also the most important sugar in human metabolism, the reaction and breakdown of chemicals to maintain our living state. And within the brain itself, it is also the primary source of energy (along with glycogen) used to function. The brain needs glucose in order to perform its basic functions, as well as higher order executive functions, such as making decisions, focusing, or doing mental calculations. Although the brain weighs just a few pounds, it accounts for about 20 percent of the calories burned in the human body. Brain cells (or neurons) need twice as much energy than any other cells in the human body. This is because neurons in the brain are always active, thereby always expending energy. Even during sleep, the brain is still active, regulating the sleep cycle and other vital functions necessary for the body to survive. A lot has already been said about the importance of carbohydrates during periods of strenuous physical activity. But not many know of the importance of glucose during strenuous mental activity. You may remember a time in which you felt mentally and physically drained after long day mentally. This is because glucose levels drain in the brain rapidly, especially parts of the brain responsible for higher order executive functions. Previously, scientists thought that the brain always had an excess amount of glucose. But recent research tells a different story. One such research discovered that glucose levels in the hippocampus portion of the brain fell 30 percent when mental tasks use that portion of the brain, such as acquisition of new memory or spatial navigation. Generally, the more developed portions of the brain will use more glucose whereas areas of the brain regulating our vitals can do with Continue reading >>

What Is Glucose (sugar In The Blood) And What Purpose Does It Serve?

What Is Glucose (sugar In The Blood) And What Purpose Does It Serve?

Question: What is glucose (sugar in the blood) and what purpose does it serve? Answer: Glucose, or commonly called sugar, is an important energy source that is needed by all the cells and organs of our bodies. Some examples are our muscles and our brain. Glucose or sugar comes from the food we eat. Carbohydrates such as fruit, bread pasta and cereals are common sources of glucose. These foods are broken down into sugar in our stomachs, and then absorbed into the bloodstream. Normal glucose levels are typically less than 100 milligrams per deciliter, in the morning, when you first wake up, or before eating. We call this the fasting blood glucose or the sugar level. Normal glucose levels 1 to 2 hours after eating are typically less than 140. Next: What Causes High Blood Sugar And What Harm Can It Do To My Body? Continue reading >>

The Roles Of Glucose In The Brain

The Roles Of Glucose In The Brain

Understanding the roles of glucose in the brain is important for people with metabolic disorders such as diabetes. Since the brain consumes large amounts of glucose, maintaining a constant source in the blood is crucial to insuring normal brain function. Thus, monitoring and managing fluctuations in blood glucose levels are central focuses of diabetic care. Video of the Day Glucose is chemically classified as a carbohydrate. Usually called a sugar, glucose is the primary source of energy for every cell in the body. Glucose is largely converted from other carbohydrates in the foods we eat. The body breaks down the carbohydrates in the intestines using enzymes and other chemicals resulting in glucose as a final product. The glucose is then absorbed through the intestines and enters the bloodstream for use in the brain and other tissues. The Brain’s Energy The brain is the most complex and energy demanding organ in the body, requiring almost twice as much energy as any other organ. This is because the brain is rich in neurons, or nerve cells. These cells expend energy to create specialized enzymes and proteins in order to function. A primary function of all neurons is to generate electrical signals for communication with other neurons in the brain. Generating and transmitting these electrical signals uses nearly 10 percent of the body’s total energy supply. The key role of glucose in the body is fuel for energy, and the brain depends completely on glucose to operate normally. Brain functions such as thinking, learning and memory are closely tied to glucose levels and how effectively the brain utilizes glucose. If glucose is lacking, neurotransmitters are not synthesized and communication between neurons breaks down. Age also plays a role in glucose utilization since an Continue reading >>

Studies Show Glucose And Oxygen Help Brain

Studies Show Glucose And Oxygen Help Brain

Got writer's block or can't seem to work through your data? Reaching for sugar or even an oxygen mask could help, suggests a new study by a British neuroscientist. Just as athletes can benefit by eating right and doping their blood to contain more oxygenated cells, the new findings suggest students can improve their performance by eating glucose or breathing pure oxygen. "We found a dose of oxygen or glucose can improve performance on tasks that require great mental effort," says Andrew Scholey, director of the Human Cognitive Neuroscience unit at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle, England. Hungry Brain Past research has shown that the brain is an energy-demanding organ. While it makes up only 2 percent of the body's weight, it consumes more than 20 percent of the body's energy. But Scholey explains the brain is incapable of storing significant amounts of glucose and requires blood flow to steady its supply. As mental strain increases, so too does the brain's demand for energy in the form of oxygen and glucose. "We measured levels of glucose and oxygen while people were doing mental tasks and found both levels fell," Scholey says. To conduct his tests, Scholey and his team first monitored students as they played the computer game Tetris. He found when the students played the game at beginner levels, doses of oxygen and glucose did not help the their scores. But as the players reached more challenging levels, the students showed significant improvement after sucking oxygen and drinking a sweet, lemon-flavored glucose drink. Next Scholey's team quizzed students using a "serial seven" test. In the test students are given a number and then asked to subtract seven from the number and then from each subsequent number. Scholey found those who drank glucose could accom Continue reading >>

Why Carbohydrates Are Very Important For The Brain

Why Carbohydrates Are Very Important For The Brain

Carbohydrates are essential for our body, especially for our brain. The human race is distinguished from other animals because it has the highest development of cognitive functions thanks to an evolved brain. This brain is about 1,400 grams in weight i.e., only about 2 per cent of the body weight. But this has the highest consumption of energy and oxygen. An adult brain consumes about 20% of the oxygen supply to the body and almost 20% to 30% of the energy consumption of the body. A developing brain of an infant can use almost 50% of the energy used by the body. The primary source of energy in the brain is glucose. Rarely, in glucose depleted situations, like fasting etc. it can use ketones to some extent for a limited period. Brain has a very high rate of metabolism, using ~5.6 milligramme glucose per 100 gram of brain tissue per minute. Dr Ashish Shrivastav, senior consultant neurosurgeon at Apollo Hospitals explained, “Carbohydrates are the only nutrients which can match this rate of energy requirement. However, the brain prefers to get its carbohydrates from carbohydrate rich whole foods rather than simple sugars. The cognitive functions or the thinking capabilities of the brain deteriorate if the glucose levels fall in the brain. A rapid relief can be obtained from carbohydrate rich whole foods. At the same time, glucose from simple sugars causes detrimental effect to the brain. Hence, glucose from whole food carbohydrates is essential in diet but excess simple carbohydrates are harmful.” Fruits, vegetables and cereals or more scientifically, foods with low glycaemic index (a measure of the relative ease of sugar release from any food) is desirable. Food with high glycaemic index, for instance, white sugar or juices, are not the correct sources of carbohydrates Continue reading >>

Brain Health And Blood Sugar

Brain Health And Blood Sugar

Blood Sugar, Insulin, and the Brain: Could Alzheimer’s Disease Be “Type 3 Diabetes?” We know that the brain is especially sensitive to blood sugar levels, and that our moods track right behind our blood sugar. Case in point: when your blood sugar is low, you’re more likely to be irritable and impatient. But some doctors now believe that problems with blood sugar and insulin are major factors in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Just like the rest of the body, the brain can develop its own form of diabetes, a condition that has been dubbed “type 3 diabetes” by Suzanne de la Monte, M.D., Ph.D., a neuropathologist at the Brown Medical School, in Providence, Rhode Island. The reason is that Alzheimer’s disease has characteristics that resemble both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Specifically, insulin levels become low (a trait of type 1 diabetes) and insulin resistance increases (a trait of type 2 diabetes) in the brain. The Role of Blood Sugar and Insulin in the Brain Glucose, or blood sugar, is the primary fuel of brain cells. We make it from dietary carbohydrates, sugars, and to some extent from protein. As in all other cells, the hormone insulin helps bring glucose into cells, where the fuel is burned for energy. But, according to recent studies, insulin plays many other roles in the brain. For example, insulin is an anabolic hormone, meaning that it stimulates the growth of cells. In the body as a whole, the hormone can trigger the production of muscle or fat cells. In the brain, insulin stimulates the growth of neurons, brain cells that process and store information. Neurons transmit information to each other via synapses, which are sort of like microscopic telephone network hubs. These synapses contain receptors—docking ports—for insulin molecu Continue reading >>

Blood Glucose And The Brain: Sugar And Short-term Memory

Blood Glucose And The Brain: Sugar And Short-term Memory

Millions of older adults suffer from significant memory loss, despite the lack of a diagnosis of dementia-causing disease. This memory loss can lead to a significant decline in quality of life and often remains undiagnosed and untreated. Recently, however, scientists have begun to study the role of glucose regulation in cognitive enhancement of adults. Cognitive function and short-term memory retrieval in middle-aged and older adults may now be linked to blood sugar levels. The brain’s primary source of fuel is glucose, unlike other organs that have multiple fuel sources. Research has long shown that ingesting drinks or foods with high glucose content before high-demand short-term memory tasks improves cognitive performance. However, people with better blood-sugar regulation performed better on the tests than those with poor glucose regulation. In other words, the faster people metabolized blood sugar, the better their memory functioned. Moderate increases in blood glucose are effective in enhancing short-term memory performance and cognitive functioning across an array of domains, but while a little glucose is good, too much can be bad. Sustained elevations in blood sugar levels, as seen in conditions including impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes, lead to a decline in cognitive functioning. Simply, the longer that the glucose remains in the blood, the less fuel the brain has to function and retain memories. These findings are owed, at least in part, to the fact that glucose affects the hippocampus — the part of the brain responsible for short-term memory. In one small study, people with high blood sugar levels actually had a smaller hippocampus than those with normal glucose regulation. Any type of insult or injury to the brain, including high blood sugar, easi Continue reading >>

What 'brain Food' Actually Does For Your Brain

What 'brain Food' Actually Does For Your Brain

What 'Brain Food' Actually Does for Your Brain You should eat salmon before a test, berries to prevent Alzheimer's, or a vitamin supplement to increase your memory. You've heard the term "brain foods" since you were a kid, but how much do you really know about them? More importantly, is there really a way to boost your brain power just be eating a certain type of diet? We talked with two experts to unravel the myths and unpack the facts about how much food can really impact your brain. Just as your stomach, muscles, and heart feed on the nutrients that food supplies, so does the brain. The brain controls almost everything we do and when it takes in chemicals it can have an effect on how it works, both positively and negatively. While you can't push your brain past a certain limit, chances are that your diet isn't providing it with what it needs. Since the brain is a complicated machine, I talked with Barbara Shukitt-Hale of the USDA Nutrition Research Facility at Tufts University and Gary Wenk, professor of neuroscience, and author of the Your Brain on Food blog at Psychology Today to get a better understanding of how and why certain chemicals in foods have an effect on our brains. Before we delve into the ways you can integrate brain foods into your diet, we have to get an understanding of how those foods get from your mouth to your brain and what they do when they get there. The Science Behind Why Certain Foods Interact with Your Brain Studies on the effects of food on the brain are relatively young, and we're still learning why some foods can benefit the brain and why others can't. We do know that certain foods and diets are better for the brain, but figuring out why is still a work in progress. Shukitt-Hale suggests that our bodies may simply absorb the nutrients w Continue reading >>

Sugar And The Brain

Sugar And The Brain

Glucose, a form of sugar, is the primary source of energy for every cell in the body. Because the brain is so rich in nerve cells, or neurons, it is the most energy-demanding organ, using one-half of all the sugar energy in the body. Brain functions such as thinking, memory, and learning are closely linked to glucose levels and how efficiently the brain uses this fuel source. If there isn’t enough glucose in the brain, for example, neurotransmitters, the brain’s chemical messengers, are not produced and communication between neurons breaks down. In addition, hypoglycemia, a common complication of diabetes caused by low glucose levels in the blood, can lead to loss of energy for brain function and is linked to poor attention and cognitive function. “The brain is dependent on sugar as its main fuel,” says Vera Novak, MD, PhD, an HMS associate professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “It cannot be without it.” Although the brain needs glucose, too much of this energy source can be a bad thing. A 2012 study in animals by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles indicated a positive relationship between the consumption of fructose, another form of sugar, and the aging of cells, while a 2009 study, also using an animal model, conducted by a team of scientists at the University of Montreal and Boston College, linked excess glucose consumption to memory and cognitive deficiencies. The effects of glucose and other forms of sugar on the brain may be the most profound in diabetes, a group of diseases in which high blood glucose levels persist over a prolonged period of time. Type 1 diabetes is a disease in which the immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, a hormone used by the body to keep blood glu Continue reading >>

Sugar Has Benefits For Your Brain Health, Says Doctor

Sugar Has Benefits For Your Brain Health, Says Doctor

Sugar has benefits for your brain health, says doctor You need to make sure you eat the right sugar though Most of us know that we need to cut down on sugar - doing so can lower your blood pressure, decrease your risk of heart attack and make you less likely to develop dementia. But according to a physician who specialises in brain health, sugar can have beneficial effects on our brain. Sugar is vital for your brain health - which is the biggest guzzler of the sweet stuff in your body, Dr Drew Ramsay wrote for Well + Good . He explains that our brains use up 400 calories of glucose every day, but that doesnt mean scoffing two chocolate bars is going to give your brainpower a boost. Its all about where you get your sugar from. Fructose - the sugar found in many artificial, processed foods - isnt much use to your body. But natural sugars - those found in honey, maple syrup and fruit, for example - can help boost your brain health. Theres been much debate recently over whether naturally occurring sugars are really any better for you than refined ones, but Ramsay believes they are. Even so, its best to eat whole fruit than juice. This is because the latter causes a much larger spike in insulin, which in turn leads to your body going into fat storage mode. Because an apple has more fibre and you consume it more slowly than a glass of juice, its a better choice. Six healthy breakfast recipes - in pictures Ingredients: 2 full eggs, 3 egg whites, asparagus, peppers, 50g of smoked salmon 1) Boil your asparagus in water for around five minutes. 2) Meanwhile, mix your eggs and egg whites in a jug, and add a splash of skimmed milk. Chop some peppers up and throw them in too. 3) Once your asparagus is cooked, drain it and chop into smaller chunks. Add these to your egg mixture. 4) Continue reading >>

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