When we talk about diabetes, we usually think of its three major types: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. However, there is another proposed type called type 3 diabetes.

What is Type 3 Diabetes?

“Type 3 diabetes” is a term used to describe Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Research suggests that Alzheimer’s is triggered by insulin resistance and the dysfunction of insulin-like growth factors in the brain. This insulin dysregulation leads to a condition known as dementia, which is why Alzheimer’s is sometimes referred to as type 3 diabetes.

Although this condition may already be widespread, it is not officially recognized as a diabetic health condition. Major health organizations, including the American Diabetes Association (ADA), do not classify Alzheimer’s disease as a type of diabetes mellitus.

Why is There Controversy Around Classifying Alzheimer’s Disease as a Type of Diabetes?

  1. Lack of Clinical Diagnosis: The medical community has not widely accepted Alzheimer’s disease as a diabetes classification.
  2. Pancreas Not Involved: Unlike types 1 and 2 diabetes, type 3 diabetes does not involve the pancreas.
  3. Progression from Type 2: Many researchers believe type 3 diabetes is a consequence or next stage of type 2 diabetes, where inflammation or damage in blood vessels due to undiagnosed type 2 diabetes leads to this condition.


Since type 3 diabetes is not officially recognized as a type of diabetes, its symptoms are primarily related to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease rather than diabetes mellitus. Common symptoms include:

  • Memory loss affecting daily living
  • Confusion about time and place
  • Difficulty using and understanding language
  • Abrupt changes in personality
  • Inability to make judgments
  • Difficulty executing simple tasks
  • Misplacing things
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Trouble making plans
  • Difficulty resolving problems
  • Withdrawal from social activities


Research indicates that excessive carbohydrate consumption throughout life may significantly contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. While some cases of AD would likely occur without insulin resistance, many are linked to this metabolic dysfunction.

A high-fat ketogenic diet, potentially including exogenous ketones in the form of ketone monoester, shows promise in managing type 3 diabetes. This approach is supported by primary literature, though it is not yet included in official guidelines. Clinical trials are necessary to update these recommendations.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for type 3 diabetes include:

  • Low fiber diet
  • Exposure to stress
  • Lack of exercise
  • Genetics or family history of diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Race and ethnicity


There is no specific test for diagnosing type 3 diabetes. However, Alzheimer’s disease can be diagnosed through:

  • Medical history review
  • Neurological examination
  • Neuropsychological testing

To provide a clearer picture of brain health, MRI and CT scans may be performed. Additionally, fasting blood sugar tests or glycated hemoglobin tests may be conducted if symptoms are present.


Currently, there is no specific treatment for type 3 diabetes. However, healthcare professionals can prescribe medications to manage symptoms.


To reduce the risk of developing type 3 diabetes, consider the following lifestyle changes:

  • Engage in regular physical activities
  • Make positive dietary changes
  • Follow a low-carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic diet
  • Include fruits and vegetables in your meals
  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain a positive outlook

Understanding the connection between Alzheimer’s disease and metabolic health is crucial for early intervention and management, highlighting the importance of updated clinical guidelines and ongoing research.