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How Long Does It Take For Insulin Levels To Go Down?

The Sweet Spot For Intermittent Fasting

The Sweet Spot For Intermittent Fasting

The Sweet Spot for Intermittent Fasting Lower insulin means greater fat loss Intermittent fasting — the practice of going without food for some (undefined) period of time — has many health benefits. It can help prevent heart disease, speed fat loss, and slow or reverse aging. There are a number of physiological mechanisms involved. It reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, leads to increased numbers and quality of mitochondria, and increases autophagy, the cellular self-cleansing process. Many of the beneficial effects are entwined with lower levels of insulin. The function of insulin is to promote energy storage and the growth of the organism. When insulin is increased, fat is stored in fat cells, and other cells take up glucose from the blood. Most importantly, when insulin is increased, lipids can’t leave fat cells. Since fat loss is all about getting lipids out of fat cells to be burned, losing fat requires some attention to how diet, exercise, and fasting cause insulin to rise or fall. Take a look at the following graph, taken from a paper by Volek et al. It shows that even small increases in insulin, within the normal range, virtually abolish lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat. This is where intermittent fasting comes in, as one of its effects is to lower insulin levels and thus increase lipolysis. The question is, how long do you need to fast before insulin comes down? Eating causes insulin to rise, the amount of the rise being dependent on a number of factors, such as type and amount of food eaten and the insulin sensitivity of the person doing the eating. High amounts of carbohydrates and lower insulin sensitivity cause a greater rise in insulin. Insulin increases and stays higher for several hours after eating — that is, during the “fed” state. Continue reading >>

How Insulin Really Works: It Causes Fat Storage…but Doesn’t Make You Fat

How Insulin Really Works: It Causes Fat Storage…but Doesn’t Make You Fat

Many people believe that insulin is to blame for the obesity epidemic. When you understand how it actually works, you’ll know why this is a lie. Insulin has been taking quite a beating these days. If we’re to listen to some “experts,” it’s an evil hormone whose sole goal is making us fat, type 2 diabetics. Furthermore, we’re told that carbohydrates also are in on the conspiracy. By eating carbs, we open the insulin floodgates and wreak havoc in our bodies. How true are these claims, though? Does it really make sense that our bodies would come with an insidious mechanism to punish carbohydrate intake? Let’s find out. What is Insulin, Anyway? Insulin is a hormone, which means it’s a substance the body produces to affect the functions of organs or tissues, and it’s made and released into the blood by the pancreas. Insulin’s job is a very important one: when you eat food, it’s broken down into basic nutrients (protein breaks down into amino acids; dietary fats into fatty acids; and carbohydrates into glucose), which make their way into the bloodstream. These nutrients must then be moved from the blood into muscle and fat cells for use or storage, and that’s where insulin comes into play: it helps shuttle the nutrients into cells by “telling” the cells to open up and absorb them. So, whenever you eat food, your pancreas releases insulin into the blood. As the nutrients are slowly absorbed into cells, insulin levels drop, until finally all the nutrients are absorbed, and insulin levels then remain steady at a low, “baseline” level. This cycle occurs every time you eat food: amino acids, fatty acids, and/or glucose find their way into your blood, and they’re joined by additional insulin, which ushers them into cells. Once the job is done, insu Continue reading >>

Can You Have Low Blood Sugar With Type 2 Diabetes?

Can You Have Low Blood Sugar With Type 2 Diabetes?

back to Overview Know-how Type 2 A tag-team approach on low blood sugar with type 2 diabetes. Markus recently wrote an article on our German language blog talking about low blood sugar with type 2 diabetes. The question (“can I have low blood sugar with type 2 diabetes?”) is very common, and it’s easy to see why it’s of concern. So I’ve helped Markus bring his German post to life here in English. I hope it helps! Here’s Markus: Low blood sugar In 2014, results from the DAWN2 study were announced. It was the largest study of its kind (15,000 participants) on the “fears & needs of people with diabetes and their families.” One result stood out: The gravest fears are related to low blood sugars, especially at night. Up to 69% of the participants share this fear! So! Can you have low blood sugar with type 2 diabetes? Yes! Of course! But let’s think about who exactly is at risk – and why. It’s common to think: Type 1 diabetes = at risk for lows Type 2 diabetes = not at risk for lows But that isn’t correct at all, so we should wipe it from our mind. So… what do I need to know? Maybe it’s more accurate to say that people with type 2 diabetes who take certain types of medication are more at risk for lows. We’re getting closer! But to get to the truth, we should take a look at someone without diabetes. Is it possible for them to have lows, too? Theoretically yes, especially if doing long-lasting physical activities without proper food intake. Additionally, extreme stress and binge drinking are also common causes of low blood sugar for people without diabetes. However, it’s pretty rare because as soon as BG’s drop below 80 mg/dl (4.4 mmol/L), the natural counterregulatory system kicks in, raising blood sugar back to normal levels. I’ve never exp Continue reading >>

Type 2 Diabetes Faqs

Type 2 Diabetes Faqs

Common questions about type 2 diabetes: How do you treat type 2 diabetes? When you have type 2 diabetes, you first need to eat a healthy diet, stay physically active and lose any extra weight. If these lifestyle changes cannot control your blood sugar, you also may need to take pills and other injected medication, including insulin. Eating a healthy diet, being physically active, and losing any extra weight is the first line of therapy. “Diet and exercise“ is the foundation of all diabetes management because it makes your body’s cells respond better to insulin (in other words, it decreases insulin resistance) and lowers blood sugar levels. If you cannot normalize or control the blood sugars with diet, weight loss and exercise, the next treatment phase is taking medicine either orally or by injection. Diabetes pills work in different ways – some lower insulin resistance, others slow the digestion of food or increase insulin levels in the blood stream. The non-insulin injected medications for type 2 diabetes have a complicated action but basically lower blood glucose after eating. Insulin therapy simply increases insulin in the circulation. Don’t be surprised if you have to use multiple medications to control the blood sugar. Multiple medications, also known as combination therapy is common in the treatment of diabetes! If one medication is not enough, you medical provider may give you two or three or more different types of pills. Insulin or other injected medications also may be prescribed. Or, depending on your medical condition, you may be treated only with insulin or injected medication therapy. Many people with type 2 diabetes have elevated blood fats (high triglycerides and cholesterol) and blood pressure, so you may be given medications for these problem Continue reading >>

14 Ways To Lower Your Insulin Levels

14 Ways To Lower Your Insulin Levels

Insulin is an extremely important hormone that's produced by your pancreas. It has many functions, such as allowing your cells to take in sugar from your blood for energy. However, too much insulin can lead to serious health problems. Having high levels, also known as hyperinsulinemia, has been linked to obesity, heart disease and cancer (1, 2, 3). High blood insulin levels also cause your cells to become resistant to the hormone's effects. When you become insulin resistant, your pancreas produces even more insulin, creating a vicious cycle (4). Here are 14 things you can do to lower your insulin levels. Of the three macronutrients — carbs, protein and fat — carbs raise blood sugar and insulin levels the most. For this and other reasons, low-carb diets can be very effective for losing weight and controlling diabetes. Many studies have confirmed their ability to lower insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity, compared to other diets (5, 6, 7, 8, 9). People with health conditions characterized by insulin resistance, such as metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), may experience a dramatic lowering of insulin with carb restriction. In one study, individuals with metabolic syndrome were randomized to receive either a low-fat or low-carb diet containing 1,500 calories. Insulin levels dropped by an average of 50% in the low-carb group, compared to 19% in the low-fat group (10). In another study, when women with PCOS ate a lower-carb diet containing enough calories to maintain their weight, they experienced greater reductions in insulin levels than when they ate a higher-carb diet (11). Low-carb diets have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin levels in people with obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and PCOS. Apple cider v Continue reading >>

Intermittent Fasting, Cortisol And Blood Sugar

Intermittent Fasting, Cortisol And Blood Sugar

There’s been a lot of discussion about the benefits of intermittent fasting (IF) in the paleo community lately. Paul Jaminet mentions it’s role in boosting the immune system in his book, The Perfect Health Diet, and IF can also be helpful for those trying to lose weight and tune their metabolism. From an evolutionary perspective, intermittent fasting was probably the normal state of affairs. There were no grocery stores, restaurants or convenience stores, and food was not nearly as readily available or easy to come by as it is today. Nor were there watches, schedules, lunch breaks or the kind of structure and routine we have in the modern world. This means it’s likely that our paleo ancestors often did go 12-16 hours between meals on a regular basis, and perhaps had full days when they ate lightly or didn’t eat at all. So, while I agree that IF is part of our heritage, and that it can be helpful in certain situations, I don’t believe it’s an appropriate strategy for everyone. Why? Because fasting can elevate cortisol levels. One of cortisol’s effects is that it raises blood sugar. So, in someone with blood sugar regulation issues, fasting can actually make them worse. I’ve seen this time and time again with my patients. Almost all of my patients have blood sugar imbalances. And it’s usually not as simple as “high blood sugar” or “low blood sugar”. They often have a combination of both (reactive hypoglycemia), or strange blood sugar patterns that, on the surface, don’t make much sense. These folks aren’t eating a Standard American Diet. Most of them are already on a paleo-type or low-carb diet. Yet they still have blood sugar issues. In these cases, cortisol dysregulation is almost always the culprit. When these patients try intermittent fas Continue reading >>

What Is Insulin?

What Is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. Insulin helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia). The cells in your body need sugar for energy. However, sugar cannot go into most of your cells directly. After you eat food and your blood sugar level rises, cells in your pancreas (known as beta cells) are signaled to release insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin then attaches to and signals cells to absorb sugar from the bloodstream. Insulin is often described as a “key,” which unlocks the cell to allow sugar to enter the cell and be used for energy. If you have more sugar in your body than it needs, insulin helps store the sugar in your liver and releases it when your blood sugar level is low or if you need more sugar, such as in between meals or during physical activity. Therefore, insulin helps balance out blood sugar levels and keeps them in a normal range. As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas secretes more insulin. If your body does not produce enough insulin or your cells are resistant to the effects of insulin, you may develop hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), which can cause long-term complications if the blood sugar levels stay elevated for long periods of time. Insulin Treatment for Diabetes People with type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin because the beta cells in their pancreas are damaged or destroyed. Therefore, these people will need insulin injections to allow their body to process glucose and avoid complications from hyperglycemia. People with type 2 diabetes do not respond well or are resistant to insulin. They may need insulin shots to help them better process Continue reading >>

Insulin Levels Signal The Liver Whether More Glucose Is Needed

Insulin Levels Signal The Liver Whether More Glucose Is Needed

To understand what happens as your blood sugar deteriorates from normal to pre-diabetes, and finally, to full-fledged diabetes you first need to understand how blood sugar control works in a normal body. The most important factor here is the role played by special cells called beta cells. These tiny cells are scattered through an organ called the pancreas which is located just under your stomach. The job of the beta cell is to produce insulin, store it, and release it into the blood stream at appropriate times. You can learn how blood sugar fluctuates during the day in people with normal blood sugar, those with mildly diabetic blood sugars, and those with full fledged Type 2 Diabetes on this page: Blood Sugar Throughout the Day. Healthy beta-cells are continually making insulin, storing it within the cell in little granules you can see in the illustration above. This insulin is released into the blood stream in two different fashions. Some of it is secreted into the blood continually. This is called basal insulin. The rest is secreted only when blood sugars rise, which happens mostly after you eat foods containing carbohydrates. This kind of insulin is secreted in two separate phases. Let's look more closely at these different ways the pancreas secretes insulin. Basal Insulin Release The beta-cells of a healthy person who has not eaten in a while release a small amount of insulin into the blood stream throughout the day and night in the form of very small pulses every few minutes. This is called "basal insulin release." Maintaining this steady supply of insulin is important. It allows the cells of the body to utilize blood sugar even if some time has passed since a meal. Insulin Levels Signal the Liver Whether More Glucose is Needed The steady insulin level as another f Continue reading >>

Fasting Physiology – Part Ii

Fasting Physiology – Part Ii

There are many misconceptions about fasting. It is useful to review the physiology of what happens to our body when we eat nothing. Physiology Glucose and fat are the body’s main sources of energy. If glucose is not available, then the body will adjust by using fat, without any detrimental health effects. This is simply a natural part of life. Periods of low food availability have always been a part of human history. Mechanisms have evolved to adapt to this fact of Paleolithic life. The transition from the fed state to the fasted state occurs in several stages. Feeding – During meals, insulin levels are raised. This allows uptake of glucose into tissues such as the muscle or brain to be used directly for energy. Excess glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver. The post-absorptive phase – 6-24 hours after beginning fasting. Insulin levels start to fall. Breakdown of glycogen releases glucose for energy. Glycogen stores last for roughly 24 hours. Gluconeogenesis – 24 hours to 2 days – The liver manufactures new glucose from amino acids in a process called “gluconeogenesis”. Literally, this is translated as “making new glucose”. In non-diabetic persons, glucose levels fall but stay within the normal range. Ketosis – 2-3 days after beginning fasting – The low levels of insulin reached during fasting stimulate lipolysis, the breakdown of fat for energy. The storage form of fat, known as triglycerides, is broken into the glycerol backbone and three fatty acid chains. Glycerol is used for gluconeogenesis. Fatty acids may be used for directly for energy by many tissues in the body, but not the brain. Ketone bodies, capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, are produced from fatty acids for use by the brain. After four days of fasting, approximately 75 Continue reading >>

Timing Of Exercise And Your Insulin Levels

Timing Of Exercise And Your Insulin Levels

Timing of Exercise and Your Insulin Levels By Sheri Colberg, Ph.D., FACSM, is a must read for everyone. Not only does this feature apply to insulin dependent patients, but the information is for all patients whether they have diabetes or not. Timing of Exercise and Your Insulin Levels By Sheri Colberg, Ph.D., FACSM The timing of exercise may also play a big role in your body’s responses. For instance, you’re less likely to experience low blood sugars if you exercise before breakfast, especially before taking any insulin. At that time of day, you have only your basal insulin (the insulin that covers your body’s need for insulin at rest separate from food intake) on board, so your circulating levels will generally be low, but you usually have higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that increases your insulin resistance, to compensate. If you exercise after breakfast and a quick-acting insulin injection, your insulin dose may affect whether you get low because the dose will affect your levels of circulating insulin. In one study, exercisers with type 1 diabetes did 60 minutes of moderate cycling starting 90 minutes after taking their regular dose with an insulin pump and eating breakfast. To prevent lows, they reduced their rapid-acting insulin boluses by 50 percent and took no basal insulin. Their morning insulin reductions, however, turned out to be less than afternoon ones made for a similar workout. Thus, if you often develop hypoglycemia during exercise, you might be better off exercising before taking any insulin to cover breakfast instead of afterward or later in the day. Anyone with type 2 diabetes who still makes insulin is also more likely to have glucose levels drop if exercising after breakfast or another meal (as opposed to before) because of the insulin t Continue reading >>

The Ketogenic Diet And Insulin Resistance

The Ketogenic Diet And Insulin Resistance

We recently touched on how you can use the ketogenic diet to control symptoms of diabetes such as elevated glucose and triglycerides. In this article, we examine research showing the impact that the ketogenic diet has on levels of the hormone insulin, a key regulator of blood sugar in the body. What is Insulin’s Role in the Body? Before we look at the research, we need to know our main players. Insulin is a protein-based hormone produced by beta-cells located in the pancreas. The pancreas, which is located under the stomach, also produces enzymes that aid with digestion. Insulin’s primary purpose is to regulate the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. The digestive system breaks down carbohydrates, such as sugars and starches, into a molecule called glucose. This compound can be used by cells to produce energy through a process called cellular respiration. Insulin allows cells in the body absorb glucose, ultimately lowering levels of glucose in the blood stream. After a meal is consumed, blood glucose levels increase and the pancreas responds by releasing insulin into the blood. Insulin assists fat, liver, and muscle cells absorb glucose from the blood, resulting in lower levels of blood glucose. Insulin stimulates liver and muscle tissues to store excess glucose as a molecule called glycogen and also reduces glucose production by the liver. When blood sugar is low, the hormone glucagon (produced by alpha-cells in the pancreas) stimulate cells to break down glycogen into glucose that is subsequently released into the blood stream. In healthy people who do not have type II diabetes, these functions allow levels of blood glucose and insulin to stay in a normal range. What Is Insulin Resistance and Why Is It a Problem? Unfortunately, for many Americans and other peopl Continue reading >>

Understanding Our Bodies: Insulin

Understanding Our Bodies: Insulin

Almost everyone has heard of Insulin. You probably know that people with type 1 diabetes need to inject themselves with insulin to survive, and must constantly monitor the amount of sugar they eat. But what do you really know about insulin? What is its purpose in the body, and why do we need it? How does it relate to our diets? What happens when things go wrong with it? And why should anyone who doesn’t have diabetes give a hoot? Insulin is one of the most important hormones in the human body, and yet most people don’t really understand why our bodies make it or how what we eat affects the levels of insulin we produce. More so than any other hormone, our diet is key in regulating insulin levels, and thus a number of biological processes. As you’ll soon see, everyone should think about how what they eat impacts their body’s insulin release to be at their happiest and healthiest. Why We Need Insulin Every living thing requires energy to survive. In cells, energy is stored and shuttled around using a molecule called Adenosine Tri-Phosphate, or ATP. Whenever the cell then has an energy-requiring reaction, enzymes can use the energy stored in ATP’s phosphate bonds to fuel it. Cells rely on ATP to survive, and to create ATP, they rely on glucose. All cells, from bacteria and fungi to us, take glucose and use it to generate ATP by a process called Oxidative Phosphorylation. First, glucose is converted to an intermediate molecule called pyruvate via a process called glycolosis. As long as there is oxygen around, this pyruvate is further converted to Acetyl CoA, which enters a cycle of reactions called the Citric Acid Cycle. This takes the carbon to carbon bonds and uses them to create high energy electrons, which are then passed down a chain of enzymes which use the e Continue reading >>

Diabetes In Cats For Beginners

Diabetes In Cats For Beginners

What is Feline Diabetes, and How Does it Affect My Pet's Health? Diabetes is a disorder affecting the processing of glucose (blood sugar) in the body. The digestive system breaks food down into various components, including glucose, that enter the bloodstream. Glucose is absorbed by cells to use for energy. Insulin is the hormone that signals the cells to take up the glucose -- without it, the glucose stays in the blood. A VERY simplified diagram is presented below to help explain this process. In a normal digestive system, the arrival of food stimulates the organ called the pancreas to secrete insulin into the bloodstream to regulate glucose levels. More food, more insulin. More insulin, less glucose in the blood (and more in cells to use for energy). At its simplest, diabetes is a disorder of this process. If there isn't enough insulin or if insulin can't act properly on cells, the glucose level in the blood stays too high and the glucose is not available for the cells to use as energy. Diabetes is generally divided into two different types, Type I and Type II. Type I (which is also sometimes called juvenile diabetes or Insulin Dependent Diabetes) occurs when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin. Looking back at the simplified diagrams, taking away the insulin removes the "key" that binds to the cell receptor ("the lock") and lets the insulin "through the door" into the cell. When this happens, glucose levels stay high in the bloodstream and the cell lacks enough glucose for its energy needs.Type II diabetes (sometimes referred to as adult onset diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes) occurs when there is a problem with the receptor or "lock." The "key" (insulin) won't fit into the lock and so glucose once again cannot get into the cell and high blood sugar Continue reading >>

How Prednisone Affects Blood Sugar

How Prednisone Affects Blood Sugar

It isn’t unusual for people with diabetes to sometimes require corticosteroid treatment. Corticosteroids, or steroids for short, are used to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. They are often a last resort for a wide variety of conditions, in everything from asthma to allergy attacks to arthritis and ulcerative colitis. Steroids are also prescribed to prevent the immune system from seeing donated organs as foreign bodies and rejecting them after an organ transplant. One of the most commonly used steroids is prednisone. “Among all medications available to treat different medical conditions, prednisone and similar steroids have the most profound effect on glucose metabolism. Medications such as prednisone can significantly increase glucose levels in patients with diabetes as well as individuals with impaired glucose tolerance or pre-diabetes,” says William Sullivan, M.D., a senior staff physician at Joslin Clinic in Boston and the Medical Director at the Joslin Clinic at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Needham. Prednisone is amazingly effective at calming inflamed tissue and reducing pain, but that comfort sometimes comes at a high price. Prednisone’s list of side effects is long and scary. The longer you are on the drug and the higher the dose, the more likely it is that you will experience side effects. When you have diabetes, even a short course of prednisone at a low dose is likely to wreak havoc with your blood glucose levels. In fact, another name for corticosteroids is glucocorticoids in honor of the powerful effect they have on glucose metabolism. Prednisone induces elevated glucose levels by stimulating glucose secretion by the liver as well as reducing glucose transport into adipose and muscle cells. The overall effect is a reduction in g Continue reading >>

7 Techniques To Reduce Post-meal Spikes During Pregnancy

7 Techniques To Reduce Post-meal Spikes During Pregnancy

“Gary, I think I need more insulin at breakfast.” “Why do you say that, Julianne?” “Because I’m always having high readings right afterwards, and my obstetrician said I shouldn’t spike after I eat.” “And what happens after the spike?” “It usually comes down to normal before lunch. So do you think I should take more insulin?” After-meal blood sugar spikes can create quite a quandary for anyone with diabetes, particularly during pregnancy. Research has shown that fetal macrosomia (overgrowth of the baby) becomes more common when post-meal blood sugars exceed 120 mg/dl (6.7 mmol). With post-meal readings above 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol), the risk more than doubles from baseline. Fetal macrosomia can cause many problems during pregnancy. When the baby grows and develops too rapidly, it can lead to a premature and more complicated birth. It may also cause injuries to occur to the baby during delivery. Why do after-meal blood sugars have such a major influence on the baby’s growth? Nobody knows for certain. Perhaps, when the mother’s blood sugar “spikes” suddenly after meals, the baby is fed more sugar than its pancreas can “cover” with insulin, and high fetal blood sugar results. And because the baby’s kidneys spill almost all excess sugar from the baby’s bloodstream back into the amniotic fluid, the baby then drinks in the extra glucose and winds up growing more than it should. Suffice to say that post-meal blood sugar spikes are something to avoid during pregnancy. But how do we do it? Getting back to Julianne’s question, if she takes more insulin, she’ll probably wind up hypoglycemic before lunch. Luckily, we have some excellent techniques for preventing the after-meal highs without having to take more mealtime insulin. What Causes Sp Continue reading >>

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