Research finds link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease

Current research suggests that Rooibos has the potential to delay or prevent the onset and progression of type 2 diabetes
Current research suggests that Rooibos has the potential to delay or prevent the onset and progression of type 2 diabetes

THE month of November is recognised around the world as Diabetes Awareness Month, which focuses on raising public consciousness of the signs, symptoms, and prevention of this condition. An estimated one in 14 South Africans between the ages of 21 and 79 suffer from diabetes. Alzheimer’s is reported to affect 750 000 South Africans.

Researchers at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in the US has found a link between a relatively new form of diabetes, known as “type 3” diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Read also: Free diabetes screening at La Lucia Mall

As with all types of dementia, Alzheimer’s is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the health of the brain over a period of time, but now scientists have discovered a connection between the disease and type 3 diabetes.

Prof Christo Muller, Chief Specialist Scientist at the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) describes Alzheimer’s as a neurodegenerative disease in the aged, which involves the progressive loss of nerve cells and connections.

“Type 3 diabetes is different from type 1 and 2, it is a more complex disease that has its origin in the central nervous system. Many type 2 diabetics have deposits of a protein similar to the protein deposits found in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s sufferers. According to research published in the World Journal of Diabetes, this increases type 2 diabetics’ risk of Alzheimer’s disease by between 50 per cent and 65 per cent,” said Muller.

Read also: Rooibos will keep your child healthy and alert

Current research suggests that Rooibos has the potential to delay or prevent the onset and progression of type 2 diabetes, however its effect on the associated risk of type 3 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease still needs to be clarified.

Muller said phenolic compounds present in rooibos enhances the body’s antioxidant defences helping to fight a variety of oxidative stress-induced conditions. Human trials have been earmarked for 2018.

 

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