Deadly sugar discovered to alter hundreds of genes in your brain

We’ve talked before about the dangers of consuming too much sugar. That’s because the average American is consuming upward of 300% above the daily recommended intake.

Fructose is a big part of this huge problem.

Last time we touched base on this topic, we dove into the inner workings of how fructose wreaks havoc on your body. Fructose can cause heart disease, liver disease, strokes, diabetes, arthritis and a whole bevy of potential health problems.

Today, the evidence against fructose grows even larger.

A new study from life scientists at University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) has found that hundreds of genes in the brain are damaged by fructose consumption.

Diseases linked to these changes range from diabetes and cardiovascular disease, to Alzheimer’s disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The research team at UCLA sequenced more than 20,000 genes in the brain. They identified more than 700 genes in the hypothalamus (the brain’s major metabolic control center) and more than 200 genes in the hippocampus (which helps regulate learning and memory) that were altered by the fructose.

The genes altered are among those that are responsible for regulating your metabolism, cell communication and inflammation.

Among the conditions that can be caused by alterations to those genes are Parkinson’s disease, depression, bipolar disorder and other brain diseases. This was according to researcher Xia Yang, who also is a member of UCLA’s Institute for Quantitative and Computational Biosciences.

However, this is only half the reason why UCLA’s research is so important and why I chose to write about it today.

That’s because the researchers discovered a way to not only stop brain damage from fructose, but actually reverse the damage that’s already been done!

This is a very important finding for the vast majority of us.

If you’ve doing everything you can to limit your consumption of fructose now, that’s great news.

However, years and decades have gone by for many of us without knowing the adverse health effects that came along with the sugar.

The damage was done … and we had no idea it was even happening.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — one of the main Omega-3 fatty acids.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) one of the main omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in wild caught seafood, grass-fed meats, and nuts.

It’s commonly found in wild-caught seafood, grass-fed meats, eggs and nuts.

"DHA changes not just one or two genes; it seems to push the entire gene pattern back to normal, which is remarkable," wrote Xia Yang

DHA occurs naturally in the membranes of our brain cells, but not in a large enough quantity to help fight diseases.

"The brain and the body are deficient in the machinery to make DHA; it has to come through our diet," Fernando Gomez-Pinilla noted. He’s a UCLA professor of neurosurgery, integrative biology and physiology. Gomez-Pinilla is also co-senior author of the paper.

The exact mechanisms of how DHA reverses the detrimental effects of fructose need further research.

But the research team believes DHA:

  Strengthens synapses in the brain …

  Inhibits cell death …

  Helps reconnect damaged neurons … and

  Activates genes that help cope with brain damage, while turning off those that promote brain inflammation.

The solution to reverse fructose damage is pretty simple: Eat minimal amounts of fructose … satiate your sweet tooth mostly with fruits (and in moderation) … and eat adequate amounts of DHA.

As I mentioned before, the highest-DHA foods are wild-caught seafood, grass-fed meats, eggs and nuts. But seafood — especially "oily" fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines — is by far the best source.

The next-best option is a fish oil supplement high in DHA. But you really need to be careful which brand you use. That’s because cheap fish oil spoils easily and can actually end up doing more harm to you than good.

Our favorite brand is Nordic Naturals because they use a nitrogen extraction process that protects the fish oil from oxidative rancidity.

This oxygen-free manufacturing process allows them to deliver the best freshness levels on the market, an extremely fresh product and one free from heavy metals and other toxins.

We would love to hear your experiences with fructose, eliminating fructose from your diet, and incorporating fish oils by leaving a comment in the comment sections below.

Happy and Healthy Investing,

Brad Hoppmann

Your thoughts on “Deadly sugar discovered to alter hundreds of genes in your brain”

  1. My former wife started eating excessive amounts of sugary foods in her late twenties, finally ending up on a diet almost entirely of cakes, cookies, doughnuts and candies.

    Some years later she was diagnosed as bipolar.

    Interesting your comment about excess fructose.

    1. You may also want to immediately check her basal body temp, as our experience is that many ‘diagnosed’ with bipolar are also, or maybe one cause of it is being, sub-clinical hypothyroid.

      IF she has the classic symptoms, such as:
      body temp lower than 98.6, added weight, any so-called ‘anxiety’ attacks, skin and/or hair issues, etc…
      then she IS hypothyroid and you need to get her with someone who can get her on the correct amount of natural desiccated (NOT Synthetic T3) thyroid supplement.

      Do NOT accept some generalist who tests her TSH only, sees a number, and says ‘here take a happy pill instead. Find an endocrinologist who will test it all, and who will treat the patient, and those symptoms, not just the slip of paper.

      Labs are still good indicators. Also, symptomatic people should keep their TSH below 2, btw, not just whatever the current ‘average’ or ‘range’ says on a lab report.

      Then tackle the nutritional side of things immediately.

    2. But did the bipolar cause the excessive sweets consumption? That’s the funny thing about correlation, it does not imply causality

    3. Very helpful, the dietary supplement industry is like the “Wild West”, to get a recommendation of a company & product from a source you trust. I really hope my trust in this recommendation & this product is not miss-placed.

  2. Brad, your articles on health are terrific and so useful. You’re a rare source of credible information on this topic. Keep it up !

  3. High fructose corn syrup and corn syrup should be considered as source and likly cause of obesity.

    Take a note:
    Many cattle feed lots use sorghum, molasses and corn syrup rolled in oats to increase the weight of their cattle. Then give the cattle hormones to further increase their weights. These cattle are not expected to live long or well. The feed lots, feed this high caloric diet to the cattle to increase their weight, which increases the feed lot owners profits.
    We know that the hormones are being transfered to the consumers during consumption.

    Burger King uses a broiling method of cooking to allegedly help eliminate some of the carcinogenic sugars in the cattle meats.
    This cooking method does not remove the sugars completely, if at all.

    Health is maintained by a diet low in sugar.
    Why not ban the use of sorghum, molasses and corn syrup in the cattle feeding business?
    (Grass roots level GMO)
    Many unsuspecting consumers can prevent many cancers from developing.
    After all, cancers love sugar too!
    Prevention is worth well more than the many pounds of extra meat curing in a food locker for private profits.
    The corn syrup lobby is now trying to get congress to allow them to change the name of corn syrup to corn sugar in an effort to avoid the stigma associated with corn syrup.

    Corn syrup is hard for the body to process and why weight gain is presented and becomes a health hazard. It is a root cause for A.D.D. and other behavior issues. I suspect it to be a primary mover in developing dementia in later years of life. (Mad Cow disease. .. Hmmm? ).
    The saturation levels in the body over time should be studied extensively.

    Unfortunately, food manufactures add corn syrup to many many consumptive food products.
    Including, but not limited to: spices, honey, hot dogs, breads, chocolates, packaged foods, candies, pastries, and carbonated soft drinks.

    Now of course, these foods when combined with other foods and other sugars, will add to the cumalative total human caloric intake considerably.

    Those who are diabetic should take caution and avoid corn syrup as it will cause the blood sugar to spike! Which can be fatal!

    If, you want to loose weight and want to be healthy, just stop eating and drinking products, which contain corn syrup. This is a good step for all of us mammals. Cattle included!

    Just think about your health for the future, one bite at a time.

    Many other countries have banned corn syrup.
    If, the U.S. did, just calculate the monetary savings to Medicare and Medicaid from not having to have health issues, which are promoted by using this seditious product.

    Enzymes promote health. They are found in fruits and Vegetables. Sugars promote illness.

    Live well be well.

  4. Brad, Very good article. I am a sufferer with a sweet tooth, but I have come to believe that the sugar in our American diet is poisoning us. I am familiar with and have completed 100% sugar free diets, and when you do so, you realized the food complex has added it to everything!!!!! Eating a relatively healthy diet today, still is infused with a ton of sugar in our diets.

    thanks again.

  5. Brad…..
    Thank you for this article. Good info. I have found that many of our vitamin, fish oil and other producers use unreliable products that originate in China. And….it that it is often hard to find out where these companies source all of their materials. What about Nordic?

  6. Especially enjoy your health articles on the weekend—especially creditable coming from a financial arena, and not someone selling a product.

    Have you done any research on MTHFR issue—-MTHFR.net is a very educational site. In a nut shell, they are finding that many people have gene mutations, that don’t allow their bodies to assimilate the normal forms of B (folate & B12) over time we all know that deficiencies cause breakdowns and destructions. A simple blood test will detect this, so that a person can make sure these methyl forms (easier to assimilate) of B can be included. And then measures to repair any damages that might have happened over all those years of not knowing. Another area to research would be Dr. Rawlin’s (Richland, WA)

  7. Gerald is quite correct about sugar being added to everything we eat. I discovered this after I had lived in Germany for 5 years and then returned to the US. I had been eating low amounts of sugar and I could taste it in everything!

  8. Table sugar, sucrose, has one fructose and one glucose in it. The main sugar in fruit is fructose, so be careful about eating too much fruit. Fructose is not metabolized the same way as glucose, and so I am not surprised about the recently findings on fructose. High fructose corn syrup is being substituted for sucrose in many commercial products. It is sweeter than glucose and therefore sweeter than an equal amount of sucrose (which, as I noted above is half glucose, half fructose).

    Money is driving the increase in HFCS usage.

  9. Great article Brad!
    I ve been fighting tooth and nail to get my wife to stop feeding the kids excessive sugar.
    She just doesn’t seem to get it…sometimes I feel like Im going to lose it because I know the consequences. She has improved but I still catch her giving them junk because as she says, “there are no alternatives.”
    I love her to death but I just don’t think she believes me.
    Whenever she says that small amounts don’t matter I ask her if small amounts of poison don’t matter either.
    I have equated the two as both meaning the same thing. Sugar=Poison.
    I wanted to have the kid’s initial first years sugar free but my wife just wouldn’t let that happen. Now of course they crave sweet things and it does certainly interfere with the kids eating healthier food. Why would they want something that isn’t sweet now that they are exposed??!!
    I will forward this to her and hope that she doesn’t read my comment!
    Thanks again and I agree 200%!!!!

  10. Thanks for your interesting health articles!! Over the past 12 years, I have been increasing vegetables and fruits and decreasing sugar, cow dairy, and wheat. Recently, I started reducing fruit and fruit juice in my daily smoothie and adding more dark greens and even hot pepper. In fact, I have even started including edible weeds from our pesticide-free garden. It is a fun new area to learn about! And, yes, I definitely feel healthier.

  11. I was shocked to find out Agave syrup was pure fructose . For a while I used it to sweeten my tea instead of honey because it was supposed to have lower glycemic index. What a mistake!

  12. As a PhD in organic chemistry I’ve dug into the biochemical pathways, and I strongly believe that the “low fat” diet was a huge mistake. Low fat meant high carbohyrate, and the high fructose corn syrup is the major culprit in diabetes and other ailments. Brad, you on to the right path. I just don’t know why it takes so long to over come the mis-information.

  13. For Eric;
    If you really want an eye opener and you are suggesting that you have a talent for research, look hard at the Q Cycle. Q 10 and Ubiquinol have been misidentified as to their importance. Ubiquinol especially functions as the key to electron management, cell health, and therefore, Life. Our small group have a long list of effects on all types of cells which in their failure or poor performance depict ageing. Once you establish the true function of the Q Cycle you may wish to add the theory that muscle activity demands ( demands in capitals ) fuel and therefore can demand fat and all of the fat soluble vitamins, enzymes, and co-enzymes that are important to all cell function. It follows that if the muscles get all of the fat fuel and fat soluble vitamins/enzymes.co-enzymes there is nothing left for your greying hair, dry skin, poor immune system, nerves, etc., etc..
    Of interest is a site run by mercola.com which has been convinced that much more research is needed and he should post some specific results or convictions sooner or later.
    There is a caveat. Ubiquinol beginners are playing with reactivated muscles in an old body. You must proceed slowly. Also,not everyone will believe you about reverse ageing even as your hair turns back to its old colour. I have been at it for nine years and it is distressing to watch friends fall by the wayside for no good reason.

  14. Good for you for covering this subject! My interests are financial/global economic topics and health. I don’t care for our medical model because they provide very limited education and prevention guidance, and instead, push pharmaceuticals to manage health. I sometimes think that overall, they do more harm good, and could do so much more to keep people healthy long-term. I have read for quite a while that sugar is very damaging to the body due to the AGEs it produces (advanced glycation end-products). So spread the word. I love chocolate (not necessarily lots of sugar), but knowing the science of sugar helps me limit my intake. It is like how people finally learned the dangers of smoking. This should not be ignored!

  15. Thanks for your articles on Health and Wellness. Your report on Omega 3- fatty acids
    I found very interesting. It is great information to pass on. I use a product called Body
    Balance. It is comprised from nine Sea Vegetables. More information can be found at http://www.bestliquids.info Thanks again Vern.

  16. I m 76 years old and have craved sweets all my life. I am not sure I understand what is being said about Ubiquiinol. What are the recommendations for someone with my “background” of sweets?

  17. So right about dangers of sugar! I am highly susceptible to inflammation and since I cut back on sugar my joint pain has decreased. I find that if I “break down” and have a donut or bunch of bar b q potato chips (for example!) I suffer for two days from severe joint pain, which then levels out to my ‘normal’ levels. I know better than to give in to sugar!

  18. Brad, there is no DHA in land plants (vs. marine algae) such as nuts or grass. Land plants contain the omega-3 fatty acid called ALA. It does not have the same anti-inflammatory properties that DHA and EPA have. DHA and EPA are synthesized by marine algae and move up the food chain, which is why we find them in fish and in animals that eat fish.

    I think it is worth a mention that fructose was named for it’s natural source: fruit. I am unaware of any evidence at all that consuming plenty of fruit, and hence plenty of fructose, damages the brain or any other bodily part. Mother Nature sweetens virtually all of her goodies with fructose (the sweetest of the 3 sweet sugars), sucrose (a double sugar composed of 1 fructose and 1 glucose, and the 2nd-sweetest), and glucose. When we eat sucrose, our digestive tract cleaves it to fructose and glucose prior to absorption. Almost all sweet natural foods, whether fruit, sweet vegetables, raw honey, or sugar beets or cane, provide us with a ~50:50 mix of fructose and glucose (including sucrose’ contribution). These sugars have been primate food for millions of years. I think it would be wise to regard with some skepticism any study that purports to show that fructose is particularly problematic.

  19. I forgot to mention–there’s no DHA in eggs either, unless the hens have been fed expensive algal oil. The majority of “omega-3” eggs in stores have no DHA as the hens have been fed flax-seed oil, which only contains ALA. No DHA or EPA. Not all omega-3s are the same. That is why it is best to learn about nutrition from sources other than food-company ads and supplement brochures.

Comments are closed.

Brad Hoppmann originally grew up in Florida, but has lived in Baltimore, Charlotte and New York as well throughout his career. Always an athlete, he played varsity football and water polo at the University of Florida and received All-SEC/SCC honors.