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Health News: High Blood Sugar Can Shrink Your Brain

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People with high blood sugar are more likely to experience age- and disease-related brain shrinkage, according to a new study published in the journal Neurology [U.S. News & World Report].

Researchers studied 249 people between the ages of 60 and 64 who had blood sugar levels in the normal range. Each person had a brain scan at the beginning of the study and again four years later.

They found that people with higher fasting blood sugar levels (110 mg/dL) were more likely to have decreased brain volume in the hippocampus and amygdala (responsible for memory and cognition) compared to people with lower fasting blood sugar levels. After controlling for certain factors like age, high blood pressure, and alcohol or cigarette use, they found that higher blood sugar was responsible for six to 10 percent of brain shrinkage.

So what can you do? Eat minimally processed, high-fiber carbohydrates (at least 3 g per serving) and hit the gym. “Eating minimally processed, high-fiber carbs helps slow digestion, which stabilizes energy and blood sugar levels,” says Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research at Core Performance. “Exercising also helps lower and balance blood sugar levels by burning off extra glucose (sugar) already in your body.”

Tags: Health, Disease