New Study Unveils Molecular Links Between Diet, Diabetes, and Alzheimer’s

by Ella

A recent study delving into the molecular connections between Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease has shed light on Alzheimer’s being conceptualized as “Type 3 diabetes.” This groundbreaking research reveals that a high-fat diet can suppress a crucial gut protein, Jak3, consequently inducing Alzheimer’s-like brain alterations in mice. The implications underscore the significance of managing diabetes or preventing it through dietary measures to mitigate the risk of Alzheimer’s.

The study, conducted on mice, illuminates a potential pathway from dietary patterns through gut inflammation to brain health, offering promising avenues for preventive strategies. Key findings from the research include:


Molecular Connection: The study highlights how the suppression of the Jak3 protein in the gut, triggered by a high-fat diet, can initiate a cascade of inflammation leading to symptoms resembling Alzheimer’s disease in the brain.


Preventative Potential: Controlling or preventing diabetes through dietary interventions and blood sugar management could substantially decrease the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.


Broad Implications: With a significant portion of the U.S. population grappling with prediabetes, lifestyle modifications aimed at diabetes prevention may also serve to diminish the risk of Alzheimer’s, emphasizing the critical nexus between diet, metabolic health, and neurodegeneration.


According to Narendra Kumar, an associate professor at Texas A&M University, who spearheaded the study, the intertwined relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer’s underscores the importance of adopting preventive measures for diabetes to potentially stall the progression of dementia symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease.

Kumar will present these findings at Discover BMB, the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, held from March 23 to 26 in San Antonio.

Diabetes and Alzheimer’s represent escalating health concerns globally, with diabetes affecting an estimated 1 in 10 U.S. adults and Alzheimer’s ranking among the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States.

The impact of diet on the development and severity of diabetes-related health complications is well recognized. To elucidate how dietary factors could influence Alzheimer’s risk in individuals with diabetes, researchers investigated the role of a specific gut protein in brain function.

Their research revealed that a high-fat diet leads to the suppression of Jak3 expression, triggering a chain reaction of inflammation that originates in the intestine, progresses through the liver, and culminates in brain alterations reminiscent of Alzheimer’s disease.

Kumar emphasized the liver’s pivotal role in metabolizing dietary components and suggested that the pathway from the gut to the brain traverses through the liver.

While acknowledging that the findings unveil a complex interplay influenced by dietary choices, Kumar remains optimistic. He believes that halting this inflammatory pathway is achievable through adopting a healthy diet and early management of blood sugar levels.

In particular, individuals with prediabetes, estimated at around 98 million U.S. adults, stand to benefit from lifestyle modifications aimed at reversing prediabetes, forestalling the progression to Type 2 diabetes, and potentially diminishing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.



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