Calorie restriction has already been found to result in longer life, but a recent study also suggests that the effects of overeating may also be associated with Alzheimer's disease and brain health.
Obesity and overeating can be a cause of heart disease, diabetes and other serious medical conditions, but now scientists believe that the effects of overeating may take a toll on mental health too. According to a study published by the journal Annals of Neurology having excessive belly fat is associated with lower brain volume and scientists suggest that the extra fat triggers inflammation, which is known to put stress on the body and possibly the brain, too. Other studies have also shown that people with smaller brain volumes do badly on cognitive tests and are at higher risk of dementia. Could these all be the effects of overeating?
In a study on 1,200 people aged 70 to 89, each person reported on their typical eating habits. One third ate between 600 and 1,525 calories, slightly less than the recommended daily allowance of 1,800 to 2,000 calories. One third ate between 1,526 and 2,142 calories per day; and the remainder ate between 2,143 and 6,000 calories per day. The results showed that people who consumed the most were twice as likely to be diagnosed with an impaired memory disorder such as Alzheimer’s or dementia than those who consumed the least amount of calories.
According to lead researcher Dr. Yonas Geda, a professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, "Excessive daily caloric consumption may not be brain-health friendly." The study showed no connection between body mass index and cognitive impairment, but he believed that excessive calorie intake may cause oxidative damage leading to structural changes in the brain.
Is Alzheimer's a Type of Diabetes?
Many people already think of Alzheimer's as "type 3 diabetes", suggesting that Alzheimer's disease results from selective resistance to insulin in the brain, possibly caused by the effects of overeating.
Type 3 diabetes is an extension of type 1 and type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes, following a similar pathophysiology, but in the brain. In a similar way to other forms of diabetes, insulin is needed to help the brain absorb and use glucose. If the brain cells develop insensitivity to insulin then this is believed to lead to Alzheimer's disease.
Healthy Body – Healthy Brain
Exercise and a healthy calorie-restricted diet may be the key to a healthy body and a healthy brain as we age. Certain natural supplements may also play an important role in countering the effects of overeating on brain health. Products high in curcumin, L-carnitine, Co-Q 10 and other natural ingredients have been shown to support and enhance brain health.