Ispectrum Magazine Ispectrum Magazine #06 - Page 33

Is Glucose a Cannabinoid? the health professions). Of course the cognitive impairments that follow take years or decades to manifest after the metabolic diseases are expressed, but that in no way reflects the true sequence of causation. One of the least understood effects of refined carbohydrates and sugar consumption is the effect on hunger. Indeed these foods make us hungrier shortly after consumption than before. Why? In 2011 Seul Ki Lim and team at Chonnam National University, South Korea, examined the effect of hyperglycaemia on retinal pigment cells (these are classical glial cells that pump glucose into the retina – exactly as do cerebral glial cells). They found that hyperglycaemia induces apoptosis by suppressing the FAAH 1 enzyme that degrades endogenous cannabinoids, thus activating cannabis CB1 receptors that suppress the cerebral glucose pump – the glutamate/glutamine cycle. In other words, glucose as hyperglycaemia acts as a cannabinoid and replicates cannabinoid-driven ‘munchies’. In this sense hyperglycaemia acts as a cannabinoid signalling system, deprives the brain of energy, and upgrades the orixegenic (appetite) hormones. The eye is an outpost of the brain and retinal glial cells provide an excellent model of the effect of hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinism on glial cells, and of cerebral energ 䁵