In this episode we talk about a recent study that sheds some light on why almost 50% of people with Alzheimer’s have hyperinsulinemia.
A new study looked at the effect that sugar has on the macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) enzyme.
A diet high in sugar can destroy the MIF enzyme. Why is that a big deal?
The MIF enzyme plays a massive role in your immune response.
Too much sugar can lead to out of control inflammation in your brain.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are a growing problem.
Dementia is now the #1 killer in the U.K.
More seniors die with Alzheimers’s than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
We also talk about some practical ways to help protect your brain from inflammation.
TRANSCRIPT OF TODAY'S EPISODE
Dr. Martin Jr.: 00:03 You’re listening to The Doctor Is In podcast from martinclinic.com. Although we share a lot of practical, and in our opinion, awesome information, what you hear on this podcast is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease. It’s strictly for informational purposes, so enjoy.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 00:25 Hello, I’m Dr. Martin Jr.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 00:27 I’m Dr. Martin Sr.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 00:28 This is The Doctor Is In podcast, and this is episode 156. Today, we want to talk about two studies specifically that kind of caught our attention over the past week. I think on one you actually did a Facebook live.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 00:40 Yes, and I wasn’t even upside down.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 00:42 No, everything was normal. We could see you, it wasn’t too dark, your camera wasn’t greasy. It was a high quality production for sure.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 00:50 Yes, fascinating study. Right?
Dr. Martin Jr.: 00:54 On the outset it has to do with Alzheimer’s. Maybe before we even share the study, let’s just give a couple of statistics on Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 01:03 [inaudible 00:01:03] Incredible, the numbers, we’ve talked about this in the past. If you look at what are they saying now in England number one killer, in Australia number two, in the United States it’s in fourth place.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 01:16 Think about that for a second. Dementia has overtaken cardiovascular disease and cancer in the UK as the number one cause of death. I mean it’s coming everywhere, it’s incredible when you think about it.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 01:31 Yes, it’s an epidemic really, it really is an epidemic.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 01:34 Yes. We get a lot of emails about this and a lot of people ask us questions about how to protect their brain as they age because they’re worried that their body’s going to live longer than their brain. Based on the numbers and the statistics out there, that’s a reasonable fear, it’s not an unreasonable fear to have. We should be doing everything we can to protect the health of our brains because it’s one of those things when it comes to brain health that I find interesting, is it’s not something that you do once that hurts your brain. The brain is so resilient, it’s protected, it’s got a blood brain barrier, it’s got its own ecosystem in a sense, so it takes a long time to affect the brain negatively. It’s a real lifestyle.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 02:20 You were reading from one doctor who was talking about plaquing, I found interesting how that’s just kind of, they’ve put all this time and investment into figuring out the plaquing.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 02:29 They called it an amyloid, amyloid plaquing.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 02:32 He’s convinced that it’s more inflammation specifically. It makes sense if you start to look at the literature on Alzheimer’s dementia, and you and I have spent quite a bit of time especially because we put together that presentation on how to age proof your brain. You and I went through a lot of research and we’ve read a ton of stuff.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 02:51 Medicine hasn’t made a dent. I mean they really have-
Dr. Martin Jr.: 02:55 It’s like heart disease, it’s getting worse.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 02:56 It’s been around for 20 years and you know … Because to me they’re looking for love in the wrong place.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 03:03 It’s kind of the same idea, like when it comes to heart disease. If statin drugs were the absolute gift that they were supposed to be and talked about with almost a third of adults over a certain age on statin drugs, you would think just statistically you would see a decrease in heart disease, but you haven’t seen it at all.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 03:25 No, no. It’s gotten worse.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 03:25 It’s the same thing what’s happening now with Alzheimer’s dementia, it’s growing. It’s climbing the charts, if you look at the top killers. Like you said in Canada, it’s climbing the charts, in the states, four in the state?
Dr. Martin Sr.: 03:39 Yes, it’s number four in terms of death. That’s crazy, think about that. I mean, you look at people, what’s the causes of death and you’re seeing dementia and Alzheimer’s is actually the … it can kill you.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 03:57 I’ve been collecting these headlines as I’m going through these studies. Here are a few headlines just on Alzheimer’s dementia, just to give you an idea. There are over 9.9 million new cases of dementia each year worldwide, and I found this one interesting. One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, it kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 04:23 Think about that. Prostate cancer gets a lot of awareness. Breast Cancer, it definitely gets a lot of awareness, yet more seniors die with dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s a worry that everybody has, but it’s rarely talked about. It’s crazy. Half of the adults over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s. That’s proof right there that 50% of the people, their body is outliving their brain, half.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 04:51 Everybody is saying, “Oh, I wanna live till I’m 90 or whatever”, but 50% chance if you do, you’re going to end up with Alzheimer’s. There’s something to be said about paying attention now to protect your brain later.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 05:01 Yes, and especially this study, because this study was … what I found so fascinating about it, well, two things. One, I didn’t see it anywhere. Other than I saw this one study and then I looked around and I said, “Man, this study has got to get some ink because it was so revealing that I said, “Wow. I mean what they found was …””.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 05:25 Well, because it wasn’t about low carb or coconut oil, I mean if it had been about that. I saw a headline just before we go off topic, called the ketogenic, a fad diet, and it’s time to get off that fad diet. First of all, they were using the ketogenic diet to treat epilepsy for how long ago?
Dr. Martin Sr.: 05:44 Nineteen twenties.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 05:45 That’s a long fad diet, that’s a long fad diet. Anyways, yes, you’re right. I mean it didn’t make the news. It really is one of the first things that you can do now to help your brain as it ages to age proof it. Why don’t you talk about the study a little bit.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 06:03 The study was about an enzyme called the MIF. You can give the big name there.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 06:10 It’s the macrophage migration inhibitory factor.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 06:13 Now say that three times really fast.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 06:18 It’s so funny because literally, the name just describes what it does. It’s so funny. When they tried to create this barrier between doctors and patients, they-
Dr. Martin Sr.: 06:28 They invented a language.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 06:29 They did. Back then the educated took Latin, so they named all these things, these Latin terms and they really try to make things sound. I laugh because ,for example, you have an area on the inside of your knee were a bunch of muscles come in and attach at one area and it’s called the pes anserine. It’s a pes anserine which sounds like, “Wow, that’s pretty cool”, but it’s literally Latin for duck foot because it looks like a duck foot, but they have to give it such a … You can’t call it a duck foot even though that’s what … They literally did that, but they made it sound so …
Dr. Martin Sr.: 07:05 Technical.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 07:06 So technical. They’re so full of themselves really. Half the first years in school was learning the language of how to talk like a doctor, half the languages. They’re so full of himself it’s so funny. Like we just got to make these things so difficult for people to understand.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 07:23 They always wanted to separate the masses from the doctors.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 07:27 It’s so funny. Even sometimes I read these names and I’m like, “Come on, really?” You had to go that far down the path of naming just to come up with something rather than just giving it the name of what it does. Anyway, so this is just literally what it does.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 07:45 MIF for short.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 07:46 That’s why I said, “Don’t get miffed.”
Dr. Martin Jr.: 07:48 Yes, don’t get miffed.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 07:49 That’s what I sort of did on Facebook, I said, “Don’t get miffed.”
Dr. Martin Jr.: 07:53 Let me just quickly describe what this enzyme does and then you could talk about why the study was huge. MIF is an enzyme that basically your white blood cells. Let’s just say a bacteria antigens, or bacteria comes into your system, your body detects it, white blood cells secrete this MIF enzyme. This MIF enzyme will go and then it binds to other immune cells, and it triggers them to start the immune process.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 08:19 It’s a huge immune enzyme, you need it for inflammation, you need it for a whole bunch of things. It’s a very important enzyme. Like I said, the study-
Dr. Martin Sr.: 08:30 The study is incredible because it said that that enzyme, there’s a tipping point, and it all has to do with sugar. You can consume sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, but then there’s a tipping point where now the enzyme has been damaged. Think of the ramifications of that. Here’s an enzyme that is part of your immune system to keep inflammation and even insulin resistance down, and more specifically in the brain.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 09:02 Your brain has a barrier, not only the, obviously the blood brain barrier, but what it has is it seems to have, to some extent its own immune system. This enzyme specifically is released in order to keep inflammation down, insulin down, but there’s a tipping point where it doesn’t work anymore it gets damaged. They don’t know exactly where that tipping point is, but it seems this researcher saying, came out of England I believe, the University of Bath.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 09:34 This researcher said there’s a tipping point with glucose. So sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, and boom. Of course, what do we say in our course about the brain? The diet is essential because what insulin does, an insulin resistance does at the brain and what sugar does, especially sugar, it’s glucose. Your brain gets hammered and there’s a tipping point. If that enzyme is gone, apparently you’re not regenerating it.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 10:06 It’s interesting because I remember a few years ago a study came out that made a little bit of noise that was talking about how even if you have elevated sugars but they’re still considered normal. Elevated normal blood sugar levels increases substantially your risk of dementia. You’re not diabetic but you have higher than normal blood sugar levels. It’s interesting because it kind of fits in with this now, so that would damage that MIF enzyme which will then … if your immune system in your brain, if your ability to fight off inflammation that’s not working properly, you could see how it can degenerate quickly at that point.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 10:42 It’s interesting. You wonder now if they’re ever going to be able to pinpoint roughly what that tipping point is in terms of how much … Personally, if I had to guess, I think that it’s going to vary so much. I think if you were even go one step back, I’m wagering that they are insulin resistant. They got hyperinsulinemia, they got too much insulin circulating all the time, and then glucose now, your body can’t do anything with that glucose and it just affects the way that your brain uptakes it. From there it kind of goes crazy because we know, and a lot of research shows this, that I think it’s almost 50% of the people with dementia or Alzheimer’s has elevated insulin. It’s definitely in there for a lot of people.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 11:28 One pathway to dementia or Alzheimer’s for a lot of people is a glucose or insulin issue. This is the thing with the brain, not everybody who gets dementia or Alzheimer’s. You and I talk about how there’s like three main pathways to dementia or Alzheimer’s, this is 50% of the people will go down this path when they get Alzheimer’s. It will be a glucose issue. Basically it’s a type three diabetes.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 11:55 Type three diabetes, exactly.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 11:57 Almost half the people with dementia or Alzheimer’s will go down that path of that. Another path that you and I talk about has to do from the gut. I know a lot of people when they hear that, they just think that’s a fairy tale, it’s just a Disney. But you saw a study about what was the Parkinson’s one that they’re saying that a majority of the Parkinson’s cases originate now from the gut.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 12:22 Leaky gut, it’s fungal. They get a low grade fungal infection.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 12:27 You and I have said this before, but it’s worth repeating. A precursor to dementia and Alzheimer’s is inflammation. Inflammation is going to be present in all dementia and Alzheimer’s, however, something has to create that inflammation, something has to put it there. That’s what we were saying, there are three main causes of inflammation when it comes to dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 12:51 Hyperinsulinemia is a big one, and now you can see that MIF enzyme. It just answers a lot of questions about that gap that was there. The second thing is leaky gut, leaky brain that causes a ton of inflammation. The third one would be free radical damage or oxidative damage to the brain. Again, that causes a ton of inflammation and a lot of cellular damage. It is fascinating and it’s practical again because if you are worried about your brain, you would do so well just cutting out sugar and keeping your insulin low. I mean that would reduce your risk substantially.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 13:30 Well, 50%. If you look at that and then if you look at the other, like if you break the other two and free radical damage … Because what they were saying, this is fascinating to, what they were saying with what causes the enzyme to be destroyed is glycation, and glycation is AGE. It’s aging. Glycation is marbleization, it takes your body. Glycation I believe is, it causes free radical damage one of the things.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 14:08 Again, you’re coming back to the diet. Yes, I know environment, sure, with all the chemicals. We’ve talked about this, the plastics, and you can’t even get away from I, it just in everything. When you think of what you can control, you can’t control everything, but you can control that diet. If you lower your glycation which causes free radical damages which causes inflammation, food.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 14:35 Yes food and those-
Dr. Martin Sr.: 14:36 Probiotics.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 14:37 I think we’re going to look back in 20 years from now and with all those crazy vegetable oils that we used to eat and just the absolute inflammation they cause and they destroy the gut lining. They cause irritation to the gut linings, it is interesting.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 14:53 Crappy carbs.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 14:54 I think any discussion as well on dementia or Alzheimer’s, you have to also talk about side effects from a lot of medications. Look at antidepressants, look at sleeping pills, statin drugs, at the end of the day, a lot of these things do cause a cognitive issue, they can. It’s not everybody on them, but there’s a percentage of people which will bring us now to the second study, again, which a lot of North American and people from around the world are taking, which is metformin. That’s a very, very-
Dr. Martin Sr.: 15:29 Very common now.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 15:30 Very common drug.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 15:31 They even put a lot of women on metformin just strictly for PCOS which is polycystic ovarian because they know it’s insulin.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 15:38 Yes, they know it’s an insulin problem.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 15:39 Instead of changing your diet, they put them on metformin.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 15:46 They give it for metabolic syndrome, they give it for diabetes. I just read a thing yesterday, 50% of middle aged men or older have metabolic syndrome, and that puts them at a three times greater risk of having a cardiovascular disease and all types of cancer. That’s 50% of the middle age and older men in North America have this. There are a lot of people on metformin because that’s really ultimately the treatment of choice.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 16:14 Is not like the family doctor is going to suggest low carb or cutting out sugar. They may cut out sugar, sugar is becoming more common to see now. I mean their first choice of defence is definitely going to be metformin. It’s not going to be, “Hey, you know what, why don’t you go build more glycogen storage?” At the end of the day, your ability to tolerate carbs, it has to do with storage. If your storage has always full, you’re gonna have a problem, you’re going to have high blood sugar, your insulin is going to be high. Why don’t you go burn off some glycogen with exercise and build more storage which is muscle. You can only store glucose in liver, muscle or fat cells.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 16:55 They’ll make fat cells-
Dr. Martin Jr.: 16:57 You can always make more fat cells, but you can also put on more muscle and burn more things off. That’s not what they do typically. Typically it’s, “Hey, get on metformin.” Anyways, why don’t you talk about that study on metformin because it’s going to apply to a lot of people.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 17:10 Yes. What they’re saying is that metformin is in 50% of the cases is stripping away B12, so now you’re getting a vitamin B12 deficiency from metformin, it’s one of its major side effects. Again, who’s talking about that? That is such an important factor because again, we talk so often about the importance of B12, your brain doesn’t even work without B12. B12 is an essential vitamin for oxygen, for hormones, it’s an essential vitamin for bone and muscle. The vast majority of people are low in B12. If they’re on Metformin, they are going to be low in B12 and nobody tells them, “You better take B12, you’re on metformin.”
Dr. Martin Sr.: 18:02 You’ll see it in TV every once in a while. “Oh, you’re taking statin drugs, well you better take CoQ10 because statin drugs are famous for knocking CoQ10 out of your body. Well you better be taking it if you’re taking a statin drug.” What about if you’re on metformin? Nobody tells you, “You’re gonna be low in B12.”
Dr. Martin Jr.: 18:22 Yes, it should almost be something that goes hand in hand if you’re on metformin that you should be taking a sublingual B12, no question. Again, it’s interesting because I saw something else about B12 that I found interesting. There’s an epidemic of mouth ulcers or cankers in younger people, and they’re tying that directly into low B12 which is interesting. Again, it’s because, as you mentioned, we’re not getting enough from diet.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 18:54 No, people are scared of red meat, they’re scared of it. First of all, a lot of people can’t digest red meat if that’s the case, better take B12. There’s a big thing today like red meat is no good for you. Well okay, but how do you get B12 without red meat. That’s why we love the supplement of it, you better supplement it-
Dr. Martin Jr.: 19:13 You better take at least-
Dr. Martin Sr.: 19:14 If you’re on any medication, forget metformin, if you’re on any kind of acid reducer or proton inhibitor, high blood pressure medication, blah, blah, blah, they knock out the beat 12 out of your body.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 19:27 It just a good practical advice. All right, just to summarize quickly, 50% of the people that ended up with Alzheimer or dementia usually have an issue with too much insulin, and it seems now the picture’s becoming a little bit more clear on how that happens, and it has to do with that enzyme that gets damaged. Once it’s damaged, it’s damaged, and then it’s that tipping point, Alzheimer’s goes quickly after. That’s fascinating.
Dr. Martin Jr.: 19:55 Again, if you’re on metformin, you might want to strongly consider getting on B12. If you’re on a lot of other medications or if you’re not eating, as you mentioned, red meat, it would help a lot of people. It’s amazing how much better people feel when they just start taking some B12. Fascinating stuff. Again, the steps that went by quickly. Everyone, thank you for listening, and if you have any questions just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening.
Dr. Martin Sr.: 20:26 Thanks for listening to The Doctor Is In podcast from martinclinic. com. If you have any questions, you can reach us at email@example.com. If you’re not a newsletter subscriber, you can head to our website and sign up for free. We also have a private Facebook group that you can join. It’s a community of awesome people. Finally, I do a Facebook live every Thursday morning at 8:30. Join us again next week for a new episode.