Blood sugar. We all have it. It gives us the energy we need to get through the day. But, too much or too little of it can cause health problems.
That’s why our bodies have a system to keep our blood sugar levels just right. Part of this system, it turns out, lives inside our brains.
Brains and Blood Sugar: A New Discovery
Scientists have found special nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain that can tell when the blood sugar level changes. This is a big deal! It could help doctors better understand diseases like diabetes and obesity.
Dr. Michael Schwartz, a hormone doctor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, led this research.
He explains that while we knew some neurons could sense sugar in the brain, this is the first time we’ve seen that some neurons can also detect sugar in the blood.
How They Found Out: A Study with Mice
In the study, the scientists watched the blood sugar levels and brain activity of awake mice.
When the mice’s blood sugar went up, the activity of a certain group of neurons in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus went down quickly.
These neurons seem to respond to changes in blood sugar levels that are sensed by other neurons that are connected to the blood vessels.
This info then seems to go to other parts of the brain that work with the pancreas. The pancreas is the organ that makes insulin, a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels.
What It Means for People with Diabetes
This finding is important for treating diabetes. Sometimes, when doctors treat people with diabetes, they find that the person’s body keeps their blood sugar level higher than it should be. Dr. Schwartz thinks this might be because the brain believes that’s the correct level.
If a person with diabetes has a blood sugar level above 300 when it should be 100, their brain might think that lowering it to 100 is too low. So, the brain will try to raise the blood sugar level again.
Dr. Schwartz believes that the brain of a person with diabetes might not be able to correctly sense the blood sugar level.
If this is true, then finding a way to fix this problem could help the brain control blood sugar more appropriately. This could be a new way to treat diabetes in the future.
If you care about diabetes, please read studies that pomace olive oil could help lower blood cholesterol, and honey could help control blood sugar.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about this tooth disease linked to dementia, and results showing this MIND diet may protect your cognitive function, and prevent dementia.
The study was published in Diabetes.
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