Dr. Agnes Flöel of Charité University Medicine in Berlin, Germany presented new research in the Oct. 23, 2013 edition of the journal Neurology that indicates maintaining low blood sugar levels may be a preventative in cognitive decline and memory loss due to aging.
The study involved 141 people with an average age of 63 years. None of the participants had diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. Impaired glucose tolerance can lead to diabetes. None of the participants had any known memory or thinking impairment, were obese or overweight, or drank more than three-and-a-half servings of alcohol per day.
The trial participants were tested for blood sugar (glucose) levels and memory. The size of each participant’s hippocampus was measured because the hippocampus is one of the main memory areas in the brain.
Participants with low blood sugar had better memories as measured by the ability to recall a list of 15 words 30 minutes after hearing the words. The researchers found that a small increase in the blood glucose transfer factor called HbA1c was indicative of poorer memory. HbA1c is also known as glycated hemoglobin and is a standard measure of glucose use in the body and indications of diabetes.
The researchers conclude that “These results suggest that even for people within the normal range of blood sugar, lowering their blood sugar levels could be a promising strategy for preventing memory problems and cognitive decline as they age.”
The suggested means to accomplish blood sugar level reductions are low sugar and carbohydrate diet, low alcohol intake, and regular exercise.