People taking more sugar-rich diet are warned. They face the dire risk of contracting Alzheimer's disease, which degenerates brain cells, triggers memory loss, and contributes to the decline of cognitive ability.
This has been revealed in a new study by researchers from the University of Bath that said eating sugar-rich diets will bring the risk of contracting the neurologically degenerative disease.
The study says blood sugar glucose and the neurological condition has close connections. Glucose weakens the key enzyme called MIF, or macrophage migration inhibitory factor that resists the spread of the disease.
"Normally MIF would be part of the immune response to the build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain, and we think that because sugar damage reduces some MIF functions and completely inhibits others that this could be a tipping point that allows Alzheimer's to develop," said Professor Jean van den Elsen, who is attached to the biology and biochemistry department of the University of Bath.
Worldwide 50 million people are suffering from Alzheimer's disease and the figure may reach 125 million by 2050, according to a study.
Researchers are hopeful that the tipping point finding that established the sugar connection with the disease will be crucial in tracking the progression of Alzheimer's in affected individuals.
The study has been published in Scientific Reports.
Regarding the most vulnerable people, the study says higher risk prevails for people who are obese and diabetic as they have high levels of blood sugar, or hyperglycemia. This leads to the accumulation of abnormal proteins in the brain.
The study stands out for tracing the molecular link between glucose and Alzheimer's disease and also for suggesting that the sugar risk will not spare even those without a diabetic history.
The study deduced the findings by monitoring brain samples of people who are infected and those without Alzheimer's disease.
What Is Happening?
According to the research, a process called glycation destroys MIF, which plays a crucial role in thwarting the spread of the Alzheimer's disease in the early stages. The weakening of MIF is the turning point that exacerbates the neural disease.
The MIF enzyme undergoes modification in the brains of individuals at the early stages of the disease by the action of glucose.
In the next level of research, they study team will examine whether similar changes are happening in the blood as well, added Van den Elsen.
Omar Kassar of the University of Bath said excess sugar is bad when it comes to diabetes and obesity. The potential link with Alzheimer's disease makes it a reason for people to control sugar intake in diets.
Rob Williams from the Department of Biology and Biochemistry added that the new finding will help in developing a chronology of how Alzheimer's progresses, which can lead to new treatments or preventive measures.