In specialist circles, Alzheimer’s disease is sometimes referred to as “type 3 diabetes”. But what does diabetes have to do with our forgetful brains and does something like a blood sugar-lowering sugar even exist?
Diabetes mellitus is initially associated with persistently elevated glucose concentrations in the blood (elevated blood glucose levels). This happens because the vital hormone insulin, which is crucial for the utilization of glucose in the body, can no longer work effectively. The so-called insulin resistance can also affect the brain. Consequently, despite high glucose concentrations in the blood, there may be an energy deficiency in the central nervous system. The resulting starvation of the brain gradually leads to the cessation of its specific functions and the death of brain cells, which is particularly noticeable in the impairment of memory and is the insidious onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
But not all sugar is the same. In addition to the industrial sugars that are harmful in excess, there are also types of sugar that do not necessarily have a negative effect on this energy crisis in the brain, but rather a favorable one. Thus, they could contribute to the maintenance or restoration of the brain’s energy metabolism. This would be particularly crucial at the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. In this context, we have already discussed the D-galactose reports. Alongside her, perhaps another Simple sugars be a nutritional way to normalize cognitive performance by balancing energy needs under these deficiency conditions: the D-tagatose.
Scientific studies have long investigated the effect of D-tagatose in diabetes and provide convincing evidence for the blood sugar-lowering effect of this sugar.
A 2014 randomized trial examined the safety of D-tagatose and its effect on the amount of “sugared” hemoglobin (HbA1c level) and thus long-term blood glucose levels. The study was conducted on 161 diabetic patients over a 6-month period and concluded that as little as 5 g of Tagatose taken three times daily was effective in lowering HbA1c levels. An amount of 7.5 g Tagatose, also taken three times a day, showed a significantly stronger blood glucose-lowering effect .
Based on these promising results, the researchers continued the study and investigated the effect of higher doses of D-tagatose in patients with type 2 diabetes. In this study, 480 participants were divided into two groups: 232 received D-tagatose at different doses, and 248 formed the placebo group. The study ran for a period of 10 months. The results showed that taking D-tagatose at a dose of 15 g per day could significantly reduce HbA1c levels when taken three times a day immediately before meals in 125-250 ml of water. The effect was already visible after 2 months. The reduction in HbA1c was robust and could be demonstrated in both subgroups, different subpopulations, and with different analytical approaches. D-tagatose was also quite well tolerated, with only mild side effects occurring in the treatment groups. The authors also emphasized that, unlike many other diabetes medications, the efficacy of D-tagatose increases with duration of use .
Exactly how D-tagatose exerts its blood sugar-lowering effect is not yet fully understood. It is discussed that by taking D-tagatose first, other sugars such as glucose (dextrose) are absorbed more slowly by the intestine and released into the blood, causing blood glucose levels to rise more slowly. Another hypothesis is that D-tagatose inhibits the conversion of glycogen (storage form of glucose) to glucose and promotes the conversion of glucose to glycogen. Through these mechanisms, there is less free glucose in the blood, blood glucose levels remain low, and less insulin needs to be secreted. This would prevent possible insulin resistance .
A growing number of studies show that the simple sugar D-tagatose can protect the body from blood sugar spikes due to its blood sugar-lowering effect. This could also have a positive impact on brain health, and thus play a role in dementia prevention. The sugar is now available in stores, but is still very expensive with a price per kilo of about 180 euros.
However, research with D-tagatosis in relation to dementia is just getting started. Dementias such as Alzheimer’s are very complex diseases that have a variety of risk factors. For example, the neurologist and Alzheimer’s researcher compares Dr. Dale Bredesen Alzheimer’s disease also with a roof that can have up to 36 holes, all of which need to be repaired.
Accordingly, we don’t see D-tagatose as a panacea, but it could be a brain-friendly sugar alternative to conventional table sugar that you can definitely indulge in small amounts every day, without harming your health!
If you would like to learn even more about the positive effects of D-tagatosis, feel free to check out “Knowledge stops Dementia” here.
- M. Ensor, J. Williams, R. Smith, A. Banfield, and R. A. Lodder, “Effects of three low-doses of D-tagatose on glycemic control over six months, Journal of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Obesity., vol. 2, article 1057, no. 4, 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4820068/
- Ensor, M., Banfield, A. B., Smith, R. R., Williams, J., & Lodder, R. A. (2015). Safety and Efficacy of D-Tagatose in Glycemic Control in Subjects with Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of endocrinology, diabetes & obesity, 3(1), 1065. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27054147/
- Guerrero-Wyss, M., Durán Agüero, S., & Angarita Dávila, L. (2018). D-Tagatose Is a Promising Sweetener to Control Glycaemia: A New Functional Food. BioMed Research International, 2018, 8718053. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/8718053
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