The food that we consume has proteins, fats and carbohydrates and these are all broken down into glucose in our body and used for various functions or stored as fat. Insulin is the hormone responsible for channeling blood glucose into various functions. However, new research tells us that insulin may have additional roles like making of memory as well as neuronal connections.
Constantly raised insulin levels in the brain due to consumption of food rich in trans fat or vegetable fat may make it insensitive to insulin. This resistance is usually seen in muscles, fat cells and liver. But now it is seen in the brain too, say scientists.
Professor and Dean at the School of Regenerative Medicine, Bangalore, Ramesh Bhonde says, “So far the trend in diabetes research and therapy was pancreas-centric and focused on insulin secretion and function for better control of blood glucose. Now, the research’s focus is on fats, which take into account lipid metabolism and obesity as key players in diabetes pathophysiology. Insulin has a big role to play in the brain and nervous system.”
Insulin resistance in the brain may lead to dementia as neuronal cells die because of amyloid protein deposits as seen in Alzheimer’s disease.
Bhonde says amyloid deposits are seen in the pancreas in diabetes, so it follows that the same is happening in the brain, though the exact process is not known.
He adds “Raised glucose levels (hyperglycemia) is like toxicemia and affects each cell as glucose is in every cell. If diabetes is not controlled, it can affect kidneys, eyes, and heart. Insulin function is also governed by high fat diet and lipid metabolism.”
When we consume trans fats like vegetable fat (dalda), they are converted to triglycerides and lead to free fatty acids, which decrease glucose uptake by muscles
Insulin resistance was seen in muscles, liver and fat cells
Insulin resistance is now being seen in the brain too
It may lead to a slow death of brain cells and dementia