Alternative fuel for your brain

Tight control of blood glucose levels is critical to mitigating the long-term complications of diabetes; however, the intensive insulin therapy required for this control is frequently accompanied by recurrent episodes of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Hypoglycemic episodes have been implicated in brain damage and cognitive impairment. Though the brain depends predominantly on glucose as an energy source, it can also use alternative fuels, such as lactate, to satisfy its energy requirements.

In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Raimund Herzog and colleagues at Yale University used (MRS) to measure the concentrations and enrichment of different energy substrates and their metabolites in a rat model of recurrent hypoglycemia. They found that recurrent hypoglycemia enhances neuronal uptake of lactate which allows the brain to retain normal neural activity during hypoglycemia.

These observations suggest that lactate supports neuronal function and indicate that supplementation of alternative fuels could protect the brain during hypoglycemia.

More information: Lactate preserves neuronal metabolism and function following antecedent recurrent hypoglycemia, J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI65105

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Low blood sugar: A killer for kidney disease patients?

May 07, 2009

Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, poses a serious health threat for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN ...

Be Aware of Blood Sugar Post Gastric Bypass

Jan 04, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- People with type 2 diabetes who have gastric bypass surgery often leave the hospital without the need for previously prescribed diabetes medications.

Recommended for you

Student seeks to improve pneumonia vaccines

18 hours ago

Almost a million Americans fall ill with pneumonia each year. Nearly half of these cases require hospitalization, and 5-7 percent are fatal. Current vaccines provide protection against some strains of the ...

Seabed solution for cold sores

20 hours ago

The blue blood of abalone, a seabed delicacy could be used to combat common cold sores and related herpes virus following breakthrough research at the University of Sydney.

Better living through mitochondrial derived vesicles

Aug 19, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—As principal transformers of bacteria, organelles, synapses, and cells, vesicles might be said to be the stuff of life. One need look no further than the rapid rise to prominence of The ...

Zebrafish help to unravel Alzheimer's disease

Aug 19, 2014

New fundamental knowledge about the regulation of stem cells in the nerve tissue of zebrafish embryos results in surprising insights into neurodegenerative disease processes in the human brain. A new study by scientists at ...

User comments