Diabetes and Alzheimer's – the connection no one's talking about.

Diabetes and Alzheimer’s – the connection no one’s talking about.
By Dr. Ian Hollaman DC, MSc, IFMCP

Until recently, we thought there were only two types of diabetes –  Type 1 and Type 2.  Now we have come to learn that there is another ~ Type 3 Diabetes.  Type 1 is an autoimmune condition seen typically in young children whereas Type 2 is a lifestyle disease due to unhealthy choices that leads to insulin resistance and high blood sugar. Type 2 has also been referred to as “adult onset” diabetes, although children are now developing Type 2 Diabetes due to poor diet and a sedate lifestyle. The symptoms of Type 3 Diabetes affects the brain specifically.  It has another name you may be more familiar with ~ Alzheimer’s disease.Type 3 Diabetes marks the progression from Type 2 Diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.  A dramatic decline in cognitive function and marked memory deficits highlight the key symptoms of Type 3 Diabetes.We can clearly see that your pancreas is not the only organ that changes function due to high blood sugar levels.  Instead of just having insulin resistance in the muscle, liver, and fat cells, we can develop insulin resistance in the brain.

People with diabetes have a 60 percent increased risk of developing any type of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Gary Small, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute said, “these risk factors tend to add up: If you have diabetes, that doubles the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. If you have a first-degree relative—a parent or sibling, for example—with Alzheimer’s, that doubles your risk.” And if you have poorly controlled blood pressure, abdominal obesity, or sleep apnea, your risk of developing dementia is increased even more.How does type 2 diabetes lead to type 3 diabetes and Alzheimer’s?

For starters, high blood sugar leads to inflammation throughout your body and brain. This is a problem because chronic inflammation has been linked with the formation of amyloid plaques and tau tangles, abnormalities in the brain that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Science now understands that it is the lack of insulin — or insulin resistance that not only impairs cognition, but is implicated in the formation of those amyloid plaques.Type 3 diabetes is a form of Neuro-Diabetes. Insulin resistance can impair blood flow to the brain causing damage to the blood vessels.  This means that adequate amounts of oxygen and nutrients are not transported to brain cells, thus decreasing their function. This in turn causes the neurons to die off at a faster rate. Type 2 diabetes can cause toxic proteins to accumulate in the brain and it may impair the brain’s ability to clear out waste products compromising important brain functions such as the formation and maintenance of new connections between brain cells.
Just as insulin resistance plays out in the rest of the body, when there’s impaired insulin signaling in the brain, brain cells can’t use glucose properly, and brain function suffers as a result. In case that isn’t worrisome enough, when circulation to the brain is compromised, you’re also more prone to developing strokes.

What you can do

Nutrition.  An anti-inflammatory diet can help add years to your life and life to your years. Enjoying an anti inflammatory diet designed specifically for you that includes healthy food combinations that fight inflammation and address your food allergies and triggers is key to combating diabetes.

Manage your weight and exercise.  Besides being a risk factor for the development of Type 2 and Type 3 Diabetes, abdominal obesity increases your risk of heart disease and impairs brain health, and increasing the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Keep your mind sharp.  What you do to help your brain also helps your body. Neurofeedback can help rehabilitate your neurological functioning.  Neurofeedback can retrain and repair areas of the brain that have been damaged by diabetes. Specific areas of the brain can be targeted to have the most impact. Thanks to the brain’s neuroplasticity, which is its ability to repair itself, with proper support from neurofeedback, the brain can regain strength and function in areas like working memory and executive functioning (a set of mental processes that involve planning, organizing, controlling attention, and flexible thinking).

It is essential to get 7-9 hours of good quality sleep.  Sleep is when the body does a majority of its repair and healing.   Managing stress, anxiety and depression are also keys to brain health.

While these can feel daunting, something as simple as Neurofeedback can be most effective!  It can help you overcome the symptoms that are holding you back from taking charge of your diabetes and your health!
We see the daily struggle in our client’s mood, energy and mental clarity when they have elevated blood sugar levels and Type 2 diabetes.  Fortunately we can uncover the root causes of these challenges with functional medicine and link systems together that are creating these complicated challenges!  By addressing the underlying hormonal, gut, environmental and lifestyle factors driving the inflammation in your body and brain, there is great potential for reducing blood sugar levels, optimizing blood pressure, reducing cardiovascular risk markers, improving weight management, lifting the fog that robs the joy from your life, and even improving your brain function!

Dr. Autoimmune is Boulder and Denver’s premier functional medicine clinic focusing on metabolic conditions like Type 2 and Type 3 Diabetes.  With a customized plan, you can have the tools necessary to take back your life!  If you have been suffering, don’t wait!  Your tomorrow will be brighter as your health soars!

Contact Dr. Autoimmune and join us for our FREE health seminar:

Functional Neurology: Supporting the aging brain
October 25th at 6:00pm OR October 26th at 11:00am

Space is LIMITED, call and reserve your seat today +303.882.8447

* CNS Drugs. 2003;17(1):27-45. The role of insulin resistance in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease: implications for treatment. Watson GS1, Craft S. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12467491

Functional Neurology: the who, what, when, where, & why – With Dr. Henry DC

Hello Colorado!
My name is Dr. Henry Zaremba DC. Working at Dr. Autoimmune has been a dream come true for me! I am excited to be a part of the cutting-edge healthcare that is being provided in this practice. I want to focus on one particular aspect of our practice: Functional Neurology. I thought I would take this opportunity to define what functional neurology is, as well as the principles that shape it.

The primary job for our nervous system is threefold: 1) It takes information in, 2) integrates that information, and 3) generates an output in response. In order to gain an understanding of the principles that govern the function of the nervous system, we must first study the smallest functional unit of the system: the neuron.

Neurons are the building blocks of your brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Like other cells of the body, they require oxygen and fuel (glucose) in order to maintain a healthy state and function appropriately. Neurons also require stimulation from other neurons through electrical signals called action potentials. These action potentials are how information is shared between nerves. Proper stimulation along with adequate oxygen and glucose provide the neuron with the environment and tools necessary to maintain healthy function. A decrease or loss of any of these factors can compromise a neuron’s ability to conduct action potentials and do its job.

The Central Integrated State (CIS) of a neuron (or a group of neurons) is the likelihood of that particular neuron (or group) to generate an action potential, based on the total input received. Essentially, the CIS is how responsive or ‘awake’ a neuron system is at any given point in time. Neuronal systems with a higher CIS make changes at the cellular level to allow the cell to conduct more action potentials in a more efficient manner. Systems or individual neurons that have a lower CIS often undergo a process known as Transneural Degeneration.

Transneural Degeneration occurs when a neuron does not receive adequate levels of stimulus, oxygen, or glucose to maintain a healthy CIS. This process involves cellular changes to the neurons of a system where they become less adept at conducting action potentials. This property can be simplified to ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’. This can lead to functional lesions of the nervous system, where the pathways are still present, but functioning at a less than appropriate level. Over time, functional lesions put unsustainable stress on a neuron or group of neurons and can lead to named conditions like Alzheimer’s/Dementia or Parkinson’s. These concepts are closely linked with another property of our nervous system called neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is defined as changes to the nervous system as a response to changes in our internal or external environment. This principle is the main mechanism through which our brains and nervous system can learn and adapt. Neurons and neuronal systems that receive more input, undergo changes to improve their ability to conduct action potentials. Neuroplasticity is how we can adjust future responses based on previous responses and the outcomes they create. This mechanism is the driving principle behind Functional Neurology examination and therapy procedures. If the brain can learn dysfunction, the same property that mediates this process enables the brain to be re-educated, or re-wired for more optimal function. This often involves reversing transneural degeneration and increasing the central integrated state of the affected pathways or neuroanatomical structures.

To put this into context, consider for example Parkinson’s disease. This is a neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects dopamine-producing neurons in an area of the brainstem called the substantia nigra. This leads to a deficiency in a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which presents as movement disorders, balance problems, and cognitive symptoms like inattention, anger and self-deprecation. Early signs like loss of sense of smell can present years before severe symptoms begin to develop since It is the result of transneural degeneration on a large scale. This process happens slowly, however, it is reversible if something is done early on. By selectively stimulating different parts of the brainstem we can use neuroplasticity to prevent or decrease the loss in dopamine and therefore prevent or slow the progression of Parkinson’s. Patients showing early signs of Parkinson’s can benefit from this type of care to the degree of never developing the disease at all but no matter how long you have had the diagnosis or have been suffering you may still benefit from addressing the root cause!

This same approach can also be applied for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Post Concussion Syndrome, Migraine headaches, and virtually any other chronic neurologic disorder. We work with our patients to investigate and address the underlying causes of their condition. Neurodegenerative disorders, like Parkinson’s, are often the result of multiple causes including metabolic, neurologic, and auto-immune. At Dr. Autoimmune we are uniquely positioned to address any and all of these causes, resulting in the best outcomes for our patients.

For more information and to seek your optimal health, friend us on facebook, come to one of our FREE health lectures, or call for your first comprehensive consultation! +1 (303) 882-8447

Upcoming FREE Lecture Schedule

  • Autoimmmune Conditions and the Functional Medicine approach – October 11th at 6:00pm
  • Thyroid Conditions – the myths, the truths, & the relief! – October 18th at 6:00pm OR October 18th at 10:00am
  • Functional Neurology – Supporting the aging brain – October 25th at 6:00pm OR October 26th at 10:00am

Space is LIMITED so please give us a call to reserve your seat today!

Yours in health,
Henry Zaremba, DC (pictured center)

Healthy Gut, Heathy Thyroid – The Unacknowledged connection.

Leaky (unhealthy) Gut And Hashimoto’s Hypothyroid ~ Why They Go Hand In Hand

Do you suspect you have a thyroid condition or maybe you know for certain? You have terrible fatigue, constipation, cold feet or hands, hair and skin problems, weight fluctuation, and brain fog that don’t seem to be getting any better despite eating well, sleeping, and trying to focus on what you’re doing. You are one of the 40 million Americans who suffer from Hypothyroidism! But is it really just a simple thyroid problem or is there more to the story?

If you were diagnosed with hypothyroidism via an elevated Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, TSH, or you have some of the above symptoms you most likely have an immune disorder called “thyroiditis” or “Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism”. The American Endocrine society states that 90% of people diagnosed with hypothyroidism suffer from autoimmune thyroid. But what causes it?

Like many problems in health, we need to “look to the gut” to understand why our immune system is so flared up and starting to attack our own tissue.

While researchers were studying Celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that attacks the gut they uncovered the “holy trinity” of autoimmune conditions.   That is, that anyone with autoimmunity must have three things: 1) genetic predisposition, 2) an environment in the gut ripe for problems and 3) had a triggering event that turned on their genes to start making antibodies against their own tissue: it goes something like this:

Mary was born via C-section and did not breast feed very well. She took antibiotics for infections had many yeast infections. Unfortunately Mary wiped out 80% of her immune system, which is actually the healthy bacteria in the gut. Mary had kids, went through a highly emotional and stressful life event and she began to notice symptoms. Weight gain, gut problems, fatigue, feeling out of sorts and wanting to just lay in bed and let the world wash over her. On top of that, Mary’s hair was thinning, she was constipated and life felt like an endless fog that she was trying to part. Sound familiar? Mary had developed Leaky Gut and was suffering miserably. Her doctor told her “take this thyroid hormone the rest of your life”. Though she did take the medication, her symptoms persisted and her doctor said “there is nothing I can do for you but my friend the psychologist can give you his drugs if you would like”.

So what happened to Mary? As I mentioned the gut is the root of the problem. Many people in life have gut changing events like antibiotics, poor breast-feeding or elevated stress that suppresses our immune system. Add high sugar, high fat standard American diet, not enough fiber and the constant deadline driven society that we live in and the gut barrier begins to break down.

Our small intestine consists of 25 feet of tubing that has a shag carpet lining called the “microvilli”. This is where we absorb our food and where the outside world interacts with the inside world. This barrier has the surface area equivalent to a doubles tennis court! It is covered by an immune system barrier called secretory IgA. This helps to grab onto bacteria and food and slows down items as they try to pass through our barrier. Stress begins to wear this immune system down and we have large food molecules trying to get into our body coupled with bad bacteria and yeast. What prevents a flood of material into the gut are protein called “tight junctions”. These guys are the glue between our enterocytes, the single cell layer that separates the outside GI tract from the inside. What keeps these guys tight? Vitamin D! Vitamin D, which is also called “the sunshine hormone”, keeps these tight junctions working normally and with low levels coupled by inflammation in the gut we start to widen the space between cells. Then, materials start to pour through, more inflammation results and we call in the immune system to defend ourselves!

Guess what? Leaky gut just started!

Now our immune system recruits “antibodies” which are lock and key proteins that fit around invaders, foods or bacteria and help to flag and destroy threats to our immune system. Unfortunately, this process is supposed to be short term and our immune system gets tired as it constantly deals with a barrage of foods and bacteria coming through the small intestine cells. When we get fed up with this process we start to turn our attack against the gatekeepers, those tight junctions, which help regulate the flow of traffic. Our immune system is pretty smart overall but because it is getting so overwhelmed with this leaky gut it starts to attack the very structures that are regulating traffic, the tight junctions. Then over time as the process continues these newly formed “self antibodies” flow through the rest of your bodies’ circulatory system and find their way into and around thyroid tissue (or joint, nervous system, cardiovascular, etc.). It just so happens that the tissue in your gut look very similar to thyroid tissue and BANG! Now you are creating antibodies against the gut tissue and thyroid. In research it’s called “molecular mimicry” but in real life it’s called Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism because now your immune system is attacking your own tissue and with nothing to stop the process you begin to suffer from thyroid symptoms: brain fog, depression, fatigue, hair loss, constipation and weight gain. Sound familiar?

The bad news is this can move on and target other tissue like joints, nerves, skin and even the brain. The good news is functional medicine can create a targeted approach to address the underlying cause and get you feeling optimal again! But, this process is not for everyone. It takes work, diet changes and supplementation that help heal not only the gut, but also the inflamed immune system. This is why Dr. Autoimmune developed a specific program to heal the gut and immune system for optimal results.

Here is what it looks like:

  • Set an appointment if you qualify and submit your paperwork 24 hours in advance.
  • We conduct a comprehensive neurologic and metabolic examination with a full health history case review – the functional medicine process.
  • The Report of Findings – Your results are explained to you with your spouse so you don’t have to play “telephone” to them and they can get their questions answered.
  • If we accept you for care and you are ready to tackle your health challenges, we begin a program that may consist of one, or all of the following:
    • A 5R elimination provocation diet customized to your needs
    • Additional lab work to uncover more triggers and mediators
    • Custom, pharmaceutical grade supplementation to speed healing
    • Therapies such as PeMF or cold laser to encourage tissue healing
    • Brain therapies like neurofeedback or functional neurology
    • Environmental assessments and recommendations for remediation
    • Lifestyle changing recommendations to promote self-regulation
    • Exercise prescriptions to promote anti-inflammation
    • Nutritional coaching to create lasting changes
    • Applied kinesiology examination and treatments
    • Exit strategies so that you maintain your newfound health

Everyone is evaluated thoroughly and the recommended program reflects what is absolutely critical to solve the process, not just bandage it. Our goal is to repeat labs at 8-10 weeks and definitively show regression and eventual remission. Isn’t that what we all want? To see symptoms resolve but also know deep down we healed at the cellular level so we can thrive, not just survive!

What’s next? 
If this peaks your interest please call to talk to our new patient coordinator about setting up an appointment. Join us and let your health soar! Just call 303.882.8447 today and take advantage of our $299 new patient special!

Supporting complex, chronic thyroid and autoimmune diseases in the Denver-Boulder area,

Ian Hollaman, DC, MSc, IFMCP