Insulin is a master growth hormone made in the pancreas, Ede explains, and it controls the levels and activities of most other hormones in the body, including sex and stress hormones.
Insulin resistance occurs when cells in the fat, muscles, and liver can no longer respond to insulin and can’t take glucose from the blood. To make up for it, the pancreas will pump out more insulin to help glucose enter the cells. Over time, this leads to blood sugar spikes.
How are insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s related?
While insulin resistance is not the only determination of Alzheimer’s, Ede says it is a very powerful risk factor. “The science is very clear,” she says.
Research has shown insulin resistance directly affects the ability of the hippocampus (aka the brain’s memory center) to access energy. Without proper energy levels, this region of the brain will begin to shrink and die, she explains, leading to cognitive and memory decline.