THE EFFECTS OF SUGAR ON THE BRAIN AND MEMORY

by Dr.Dave on Jan 5, 2016     

Americans are undeniably great consumers of added sugar. The average person’s intake is over 126 grams of sugar daily which is way too much. Sugar per se is not harmful but too much of it is detrimental to health. High sugar consumption has long been linked to weight gain, and the development of obesity and lifestyle diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. More recent studies show that sugar can also induce memory problems and neuroinflammation.

A study conducted at the University of Southern California (USC) revealed that intakse of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) at levels similar to those in commonly available sugary beverages can trigger memory problems and brain inflammation. In the study, adolescent rats consuming high quantities of HFCS were subsequently found to have impaired hippocampal-dependent spatial learning and memory when subjected to the Barne’s Maze test. Rats consuming a sucrose solution experienced moderate learning impairment. Adult rats given either HFCS or sucrose did not show any problems with spatial learning, glucose tolerance or neuroinflammatory markers. According to Scott Kanoski, one of the proponents of the research, the brain is vulnerable to dietary influences during critical periods of development, like adolescence. He further explained that a diet high in added sugar can not only cause weight gain and metabolic problems, but also impair brain function and cognitive ability.

This is supported by an earlier study at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) that tested the effects of fructose and omega-3 fatty acid consumption among rats. Two groups of rats were initially trained to find their way out of a maze. The results showed that long-term consumption of a high fructose diet by the rats negatively affected their cognitive function and ability to recall while omega 3 fatty acids were able to counteract those effects. After six weeks, the rats that consumed fructose forgot the previously learned escape route and developed signs of insulin resistance. The impaired learning and memory problems exhibited by this group of rats was attributed to insulin’s inability to regulate how cells use and store sugar.

Sucrose and high fructose corn syrup are liquid sweeteners often added to processed foods and common beverages such as soft drinks and juices. These added sugars are quickly absorbed in the blood where it lowers the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a substance known to influence the formation of new memories and regulate learning. Individuals with impaired glucose tolerance were found to have low levels of this chemical. Low levels of BDNF have also been associated with depression and dementia.

So before you drink your favorite juice or munch on a delectable dessert, remember that added sugars from such beverage and food items are likely culprits for health complications including poor memory and cognitive damage. Avoiding foods with added sugars will help you stay fit and keep your mind healthy.

References:

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/02/05/where-people-around-the-world-eat-the-most-sugar-and-fat/
  2. http://www.worldhealth.net/news/sugar-triggers-memory-problems-and-neuroinflammati/
  3. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/this-is-your-brain-on-sugar-ucla-233992
  4. http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2012/04/01/what-eating-too-much-sugar-does-to-your-brain/
  5. http://www.besthealthnutritionals.com/blog/2014/07/22/eating-sweets-can-rot-your-brain/
  6. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2683174/Is-SUGAR-responsible-rising-dementia-cases-High-levels-glucose-cause-memory-loss-study-finds.html
  7. https://pressroom.usc.edu/sugar-linked-to-memory-problems-in-adolescent-rats/
  8. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/neuronarrative/201204/what-eating-too-much-sugar-does-your-brain

https://www.integrativepsychiatry.net/blog/the-effects-of-sugar-on-the-brain-and-memory/

Back To Front – What came first, the sugar problem, or the depression?

ChooseLife : It is clear to me, that those on higher sugars are more prone to mental health disorders – Sugar intake – Whitehall Study/ Therefore, it is almost certain, that those needing antidepressants, will be more likely to also be closer to diabetes/sugar dis-regulation, than those on lower simple sugar diets, higher magnesium/greens/Omega3 et al.

Oxygen and sugar share the same space in blood, hence, when that blood is also being shared with a growing baby, as is the focus below, it is no wonder that struggle for space may become more fragile and a narrower range can be tolerated.

BMJ Study:

Antidepressant use during pregnancy and the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus: a nested case–control study

The following article reflects on this situation and has a give away snippet, which shows the culprit in the piece (ChooseLife’s opinion):

Antidepressants linked to higher gestational diabetes risk

” Gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy in women, can increase the risk of certain complications for both the mother and baby, including risks of high blood pressure for the expectant mother, needing a cesarean section delivery, having low blood sugar for the baby and developing type 2 diabetes later in life for the baby.

After analyzing that data and taking a close look at antidepressant exposure, the researchers found that specifically venlafaxine and amitriptyline were associated with a 27% and 52% increased risk of gestational diabetes.

While the risk was greatest for those two antidepressants, the researchers also found that gestational diabetes risk increased with the longer any antidepressant was taken.”

ChooseLife : If only these people of science were allowed to put 2 and 2 together. The use of Antidepressants is almost certainly a sign of longer term sugar problems, which turn everyday struggles into unbearable burdens, to unfortunate individuals with less robust Liver and/or Pancreatic function. Prolonged Low Blood Sugar/Hypoglycemia is a precursive condition to Diabetes, known to cause Mental Health dysfunction.

Sugar intake from sweet food and beverages, common mental disorder and depression: prospective findings from the Whitehall II study

Anika KnüppelMartin J. ShipleyClare H. Llewellyn, and Eric J. Brunner

Abstract
Intake of sweet food, beverages and added sugars has been linked with depressive symptoms in several populations. Aim of this study was to investigate systematically cross-sectional and prospective associations between sweet food/beverage intake, common mental disorder (CMD) and depression and to examine the role of reverse causation (influence of mood on intake) as potential explanation for the observed linkage. We analysed repeated measures (23,245 person-observations) from the Whitehall II study using random effects regression.

Diet was assessed using food frequency questionnaires, mood using validated questionnaires. Cross-sectional analyses showed positive associations.

In prospective analyses, men in the highest tertile of sugar intake from sweet food/beverages had a 23% increased odds of incident CMD after 5 years (95% CI: 1.02, 1.48) independent of health behaviours, socio-demographic and diet-related factors, adiposity and other diseases.

The odds of recurrent depression were increased in the highest tertile for both sexes, but not statistically significant when diet-related factors were included in the model (OR 1.47; 95% CI: 0.98, 2.22). Neither CMD nor depression predicted intake changes.

Our research confirms an adverse effect of sugar intake from sweet food/beverage on long-term psychological health and suggests that lower intake of sugar may be associated with better psychological health.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5532289/

Published Online : July 27th 2017

ChooseLife : This is the beginning post in a research stream I will undertake, to demonstrate the multi faceted path of destruction simple sugars may wreak, on susceptible individuals mental and physical health. Many years ago I read Moreless responding to a question on the general cause of Depression, just four words, which at the time did not click for me, but does now “prolonged low blood sugar“, the thought streams back to Carey Reams exceptional interview on Blood Sugars available here = Dr Carey Reams Interview on Hypoglycemia