Type 3 diabetes is a title that is now being used as a classification for Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that Alzheimer’s disease is a result of resistance to insulin in the brain. Until recently it was thought that the brain would obtain and utilize sugar (glucose) for energy production on an as needed basis. However, research indicates that, like other areas of the body, the brain can develop insulin resistance which is the same symptom that underlies Type 2 diabetes. In turn, the lack of energy supply in the brain has been linked to more serious and destructive consequences over time, such as Alzheimer’s disease. It is important to note that Type 3 diabetes may occur in the absence of Type 2, as a unique and independent disease entity (Journal Diabetes Science Technology).
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas as well as by the brain. The term Type 3 diabetes was first utilized after a team of researchers of Pathology and Medicine at Brown University Medical School discovered that sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease had an 80% decrease of the hormone insulin in areas of the brain compared to healthy subjects. Insulin is a regulator of blood glucose however in the central nervous system (CNS) insulin is categorized as a neurotransmitter much like serotonin and dopamine.
One of primary consequences of insulin resistance throughout the body is elevated blood sugars which when present in the brain it is very toxic. Elevated sugar levels in the brain impair the ability of nerve cells to function, repair and regenerate ; all fundamental elements of good mental health and brain function.