Low blood sugar levels could be good for both your short-term and long-term memory. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has concluded that higher glucose may be a risk factor for dementia, even among people without type 2 diabetes.
Another study in the journal Neurology suggests with new data that even modest increases in blood sugar among people in their 50s, 60s and 70s can have a negative influence on memory.
The study included 141 healthy older adults, all of whom had blood sugar levels in the normal range. The participants were given recall tests in which they were read 15 words and then asked to repeat back as many words as they could remember.
Researchers discovered that when a participants hemoglobin A1C went from five percent (a normal range) to 5.6 percent (pre-diabetes), they recalled fewer words.
So what happens when blood sugar levels are chronically elevated? According to study author Agnes Floel of Charite University Medicine in Berlin, several variables could be at play. “Elevated blood sugar levels damage small and large vessels in the brain, leading to decreased blood and nutrient flow to brain cells.”
A second explanation for the memory loss could be that high sugar levels “impair the functioning of brain areas like the hippocampus, a structure particularly relevant for memory.” According to researchers, when glucose levels rise in the body, it may lead to a disruption in the transport of glucose through the blood-brain barrier to the hippocampus.
As blood sugar increases it is harder to movie glucose to the hippocampus which in turn affects short-term memory with the potential to harm long-term memory.
To combat this issue dieticians suggest a diet that is high in fiber, vegetables, fruit, fish, and whole-grain products. Regular exercise and the avoidance of cigarettes and alcohol is also suggested.