Insulin Sensitivity: When A Good Thing Is Too Much
Mark Twain once said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” Whiskey aside, when does a good thing become too much? On a recent podcast, Robb Wolf and I continued a panel conversation we had started at Paleo f(x)™ 2015. The topic of insulin resistance, we agree, is a little passé, especially in the Paleo-sphere. But as a writer and clinician, I stick to my guns and defend the value of the discussion. Insulin resistance, and insulin sensitivity on the other end of the spectrum, allow us to effectively qualify metabolic health and performance. Simply put: the more insulin sensitivity you are, the healthier you are. But is that really true? Definitions first: Insulin resistance is narrowly defined in conventional medical lexicon as elevated fasting blood sugar (glucose). Yet on its own, this benchmark does not indicate insulin resistance. Exercise, coffee, anxiety, and a host of medications can all elevate fasting blood glucose. In The Blood Code: Unlock the Secrets of Your Metabolism, I define Insulin resistance as follows: Insulin is the primary hormone that responds to what you eat. You release insulin when you eat carbohydrates and—to a lesser degree—protein. Insulin signals for the storage of sugars, and the making and stockpiling of fats; it also helps your cells uptake proteins and magnesium. Over many generations, your body has evolved to favor the ability to build and store a little extra, by leaving extra glucose behind in the bloodstream, and by storing extra fats for future energy needs. Over 40 percent of people in the United States—more than have blue eyes—store so much extra fat and glucose that it causes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, weight gain, and abnormal blood lipids. This constellation of sym Continue reading >>
Insulin Resistance Is Good? – T2d 7
Everybody says that insulin resistance is bad. Very bad. It’s the root cause of type 2 diabetes (T2D), and metabolic syndrome, isn’t it? So, if it is so bad, why do we all develop it in the first place? What’s the root cause? My friend Dr. Gary Fettke from Tasmania wrote an illuminating book called ‘Inversion’ where he describes how you can learn a lot from looking at things from another perspective. Invert (turn upside down) your perspective, and see how your horizons are immensely broadened. So let’s look at why we develop insulin resistance. Why is it good? Root Cause Analysis What is the root cause of insulin resistance? Some people say inflammation or oxidative stress or free radicals causes insulin resistance. Those are total cop-out answers. Inflammation is the body’s non-specific response to injury. But what causes the injury in the first place? That’s the real problem. The inflammation is only the body’s response to whatever is causing the injury. Think about it this way. Suppose we are battlefield surgeons. After decades on the job, we decide that blood is bad. After all, every time we see blood, bad things are happening. When we don’t see blood, bad things are not happening. It must be the blood that is dangerous. So, deciding that blood is what is killing people, we invent a machine to suction all the blood of people. Genius! The problem, of course, is what’s causing the bleeding, rather than the blood itself. Look for the root cause. Bleeding’s only the response, not the cause. Bleeding is a marker for disease. So is inflammation. Something causes bleeding, the body’s non specific response. Something causes inflammation, the body’s non specific response. Gunshots cause bleeding, knife wounds cause bleeding, and shrapnel causes bl Continue reading >>
Prediabetes & Insulin Resistance
What is insulin? Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas, an organ located behind the stomach. The pancreas contains clusters of cells called islets. Beta cells within the islets make insulin and release it into the blood. Insulin plays a major role in metabolism—the way the body uses digested food for energy. The digestive tract breaks down carbohydrates—sugars and starches found in many foods—into glucose. Glucose is a form of sugar that enters the bloodstream. With the help of insulin, cells throughout the body absorb glucose and use it for energy. Insulin's Role in Blood Glucose Control When blood glucose levels rise after a meal, the pancreas releases insulin into the blood. Insulin and glucose then travel in the blood to cells throughout the body. Insulin helps muscle, fat, and liver cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream, lowering blood glucose levels. Insulin stimulates the liver and muscle tissue to store excess glucose. The stored form of glucose is called glycogen. Insulin also lowers blood glucose levels by reducing glucose production in the liver. In a healthy person, these functions allow blood glucose and insulin levels to remain in the normal range. What happens with insulin resistance? In insulin resistance, muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin and thus cannot easily absorb glucose from the bloodstream. As a result, the body needs higher levels of insulin to help glucose enter cells. The beta cells in the pancreas try to keep up with this increased demand for insulin by producing more. As long as the beta cells are able to produce enough insulin to overcome the insulin resistance, blood glucose levels stay in the healthy range. Over time, insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes and prediabetes because the bet Continue reading >>
Why Insulin Resistance Is Good
We’re always told that insulin resistance is the root cause of diabetes type 2. But that may be wrong. Insulin resistance could be a GOOD thing. Dr. Fung explains it well in this insightful new post. Basically, insulin resistance is the way the cells protect themselves from excess insulin and glucose in the blood (the real problem): Dr. Fung: Insulin Resistance is Good? I love Dr. Fung’s take on inflammation in this post as well. It has bothered me for quite some time when people claim that inflammation is the cause of X (i.e. heart disease). Inflammation is usually a symptom of a problem, it’s the body’s default response to damage. The cause is something else. In the case of heart disease the cause is damage to the interior of the blood vessels. This damage results in inflammation – but that’s just a symptom. The cause of the damage? Many things. High blood sugar. High blood pressure. Toxic chemicals (e.g. from smoking). And probably oxidized small dense LDL particles. Excess bad carbs can be behind all these causes of heart disease, except perhaps smoking. The thing is that we can’t solve the problem by attacking a symptom of the problem. Diabetes type 2 can’t be cured by targeting insulin resistance. Heart disease can’t be cured by targeting inflammation. We need to take away the cause, which in many cases is eating too many bad carbs, too often (a normal Western diet). More How to Cure Diabetes How to Lose Weight Continue reading >>
Increasing Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone that is normally released by the beta cells of the pancreas. When a person’s pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to sustain good health, insulin can be injected into the body with a needle, inhaled with an inhaler, or infused with a pump. One of the main functions of insulin is to lower blood glucose levels by enabling glucose to enter the cells of the body, where it is used for energy or stored for future use. A person who is insulin-sensitive needs only a relatively small amount of insulin to keep blood glucose levels in the normal range and to keep the body’s cells supplied with the glucose they need. A person who is insulin-resistant, on the other hand, needs a lot more insulin to get the same blood-glucose-lowering effects. Insulin resistance is associated with numerous health risks. For one thing, it causes hyperinsulinemia, or high circulating insulin levels, which may be directly damaging to blood vessels. Hyperinsulinemia is also associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and heart failure, obesity (particularly abdominal obesity), osteoporosis (thinning bones), and certain types of cancer, such as colon, breast, and prostate cancer. In contrast, having low circulating insulin levels is associated with greater longevity; most centenarians without diabetes have low circulating insulin levels. Insulin resistance is a hallmark of Type 2 diabetes, but it can occur in Type 1 diabetes as well. In fact, there is a growing number of people who are said to have “double diabetes” because, in addition to having Type 1 diabetes, they also have the insulin resistance characteristic of Type 2. The good news is that you can lower your level of insulin resistance — and raise your level of insulin sensitivity — by modifying your lifes Continue reading >>
What Tests Should I Get For Insulin Resistance And Pcos?
Is Insulin Resistance Causing Your PCOS? Insulin resistance and PCOS commonly occur together. Have you got PCOS, but never been tested for insulin resistance? Or maybe you have been tested, but your doctor has told you that your blood sugar is normal? If so, you may have been left wondering what’s causing your PCOS. During my second year at university we did an experiment where were measured our blood glucose levels after eating different foods. We’d just been learning about how blood glucose could be lower in athletes due to higher muscle mass and increased insulin sensitivity. At the time, I was training for 20 hours a week. You can imagine my shock when I found that my results were close to the top end of the normal range. However, when I queried my doctor about this she assured me that it was still within the normal range. She told me that I needn’t be worried. I’m going to explain to you why this is incorrect and why even slight changes in blood glucose can be a sign of insulin resistance. Studies have shown that up to 70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance. I’m always amazed at the number of women I talk to who have been diagnosed with PCOS, but not tested for insulin resistance. You were not born with PCOS. PCOS is a condition that develops due to your environment interacting with your genes. Your ‘environment’ includes what you eat, how much you exercise, stress levels, environmental toxins, etc. It’s therefore easy to see that there is always something in your environment causing your PCOS. If you can find out what this is then you can remove it, then reverse your PCOS symptoms. I’ve written about the main causes of PCOS and how insulin resistance is the main one. Now I want to further explore insulin resistance: – What is it? – Ho Continue reading >>
What medical conditions are associated with insulin resistance? While the metabolic syndrome links insulin resistance with abdominal obesity, elevated cholesterol, and high blood pressure; several other medical other conditions are specifically associated with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance may contribute to the following conditions: Type 2 Diabetes: Overt diabetes may be the first sign insulin resistance is present. Insulin resistance can be noted long before type 2 diabetes develops. Individuals reluctant or unable to see a health-care professional often seek medical attention when they have already developed type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Fatty liver: Fatty liver is strongly associated with insulin resistance. Accumulation of fat in the liver is a manifestation of the disordered control of lipids that occurs with insulin resistance. Fatty liver associated with insulin resistance may be mild or severe. Newer evidence suggests fatty liver may even lead to cirrhosis of the liver and, possibly, liver cancer. Arteriosclerosis: Arteriosclerosis (also known as atherosclerosis) is a process of progressive thickening and hardening of the walls of medium-sized and large arteries. Arteriosclerosis is responsible for: Other risk factors for arteriosclerosis include: High levels of "bad" (LDL) cholesterol Diabetes mellitus from any cause Family history of arteriosclerosis Skin Lesions: Skin lesions include increased skin tags and a condition called acanthosis nigerians (AN). Acanthosis nigricans is a darkening and thickening of the skin, especially in folds such as the neck, under the arms, and in the groin. This condition is directly related to the insulin resistance, though the exact mechanism is not clear. Acanthosis nigricans is a cosmetic condition strongly Continue reading >>
How Do I Increase Insulin Sensitivity?
What is insulin sensitivity? Definitions Insulin sensitivity is a general phenomena in the body, and can be measured a few ways through studies. The pancreas (an organ that regulates blood sugar) secretes insulin in response to high blood sugar, and cells (like muscle or fat cells) can absorb blood sugar when stimulated by insulin. Insulin sensitivity is the relationship between how much insulin needs to be produced in order to deposit a certain amount of glucose. You are insulin sensitive if a small amount of insulin needs to be secreted to deposit a certain amount of glucose, and insulin resistant if a lot of insulin needs to be secreted to deposit the same amount of glucose. Insulin sensitivity is seen as good as the opposite, insulin resistance, is a major risk factor for the development of Type II diabetes. Types of Insulin Sensitivity There are three main types of insulin sensitivity; peripheral insulin sensitivity, hepatic insulin sensitivity, and pancreatic insulin sensitivity. Peripheral insulin sensitivity is how readily body cells in your periphery tissue, such as muscle and fat, can absorb glucose; either on their own (muscle can absorb glucose when contracted) or when insulin stimulates them. It is the most well-known form of insulin resistance. Hepatic insulin sensitivity is related to the process of gluconeogenesis, the production of new blood sugar. Usually inflammatory factors prevent insulin from acting in the liver via inducing insulin resistance, and insulin's actions are unable to tell the liver to 'stop' producing glucose. Pancreatic insulin sensitivity is the functioning of the cells that secrete insulin, the beta-cells. If these are damaged or cannot function, insulin resistance can develop. This is more of a concern in disease states like Continue reading >>
What Causes Insulin Resistance? Lipid Overload
Over the past year I have interacted with hundreds of people with diabetes, and have come to learn one very important lesson that has changed my view of diabetes altogether. This realization came to me early on in my career as a nutrition and fitness coach for people with diabetes, and continues to hold true. While insulin resistance is a condition that is most commonly associated with type 2 diabetes, an increasing body of evidence is now shedding light on the fact that insulin resistance is a common thread that underlies many health conditions previously unassociated with blood sugar, including (but not limited to) heart disease, diabetes, atherosclerosis, the metabolic syndrome, obesity and cancer. What that means is simple: insulin resistance significantly increases your risk for the development of a collection of health conditions that can significantly reduce your quality of life and decrease your life expectancy. Watch this video for a synopsis of the causes of insulin resistance: What is insulin and why should you care? Insulin is a hormone which is released by the pancreas in response to rising blood glucose. When you consume carbohydrates, the glucose that enters the bloodstream knocks on the door of the beta cells in the pancreas as a signal to make insulin. Insulin serves as the key that unlocks the door to allow glucose to enter body tissues. Insulin tells your cells “Yoo hoo! Pick up this glucose. It’s all over the place.” Without insulin, cells in the liver, muscle, and fat have a difficult time vacuuming up glucose from the blood. These tissues are capable to vacuuming up only a small percentage (5-10%) of the glucose in circulation without the help of insulin. When insulin is present, the amount of glucose that can be transported into tissues sign Continue reading >>
Reactive Oxygen Species And Insulin Resistance: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) serve an important role in glucoselipid metabolic regulation. In the present study, the results demonstrated that there was bidirectional regulation of insulin action in 3T3L1 adipocytes treated with ROS. Transient and acute ROS exposure improved insulininduced metabolic effects in 3T3L1 adipocytes. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), as a stable and diffusible ROS, diffused into adipocytes and altered intracellular redox homeostasis, resulting in oxidation and inactivation of phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN). Inactivation of PTEN enhanced the activation of insulininduced protein kinase B (AKT), leading to increased glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) redistribution and glucose uptake in 3T3L1 adipocytes. However, chronic ROS treatment induced insulin resistance in 3T3L1 adipocytes. It was also revealed that insulininduced AKT activation, GLUT4 translocation to cell membrane and glucose uptake were significantly inhibited in chronic ROStreated 3T3L1 adipocytes. Taken together, the present study provided further demonstration that transient ROS treatment improved insulin sensitivity; however, chronic ROS exposure induced insulin resistance in 3T3L1 adipocytes. Vitamin D deficiency could cause insulin resistance. However, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. The 1-Hydroxylase ["1(OH)ase"] is a key enzyme for activate vitamin D3 synthesis. Here, we show that 1(OH)ase stable knockdown by targeted shRNA led to vitamin D3 depletion in L02 hepatocytes. 1(OH)ase silence also inhibited insulin-induced downstream signaling (IRS-1, ERK and AKT) transduction and glucose transporter 4 expression. Further, 1(OH)ase shRNA in L02 hepatocytes led to significant reactive oxygen species production, p53-p21 activation and DNA damages. Such e Continue reading >>
Insulin Resistance Diet Guide For Beginners + Advanced Weight Loss Tips
Is insulin resistance, diabetes or pre diabetes making it difficult or impossible for you to lose weight? If you fall into this category you probably understand that for the most part insulin resistance is a DIETARY disease. Meaning you most likely have this condition because of the food you've eaten (or are currently eating). Understanding this concept is very important because if you understand that insulin resistance can be caused (and worsened) by diet it is also true that diet can actually help to lower insulin levels and reverse insulin resistance. But hold on. I have some good news for you and some bad news... First the bad news: Most Doctors and patients approach insulin resistance all wrong which leads to higher insulin levels and more weight gain over time. But, here's the good news: I'm going to walk you through how to approach insulin resistance through diet, medications and supplements. Because the best way to treat and reverse insulin resistance is with a comprehensive approach: Let's talk about what foods to eat, what foods to avoid, how much food you should be eating, what type of macromolecules you should consume on a daily basis and much more... Understanding Insulin Resistance Before we talk about diet and interventions for insulin resistance you really need to have a basic understand of what insulin resistance is and WHY you would even want to treat it. This is the beginners guide to understanding insulin resistance, diabetes and pre diabetes: Insulin is a hormone that is secreted from your pancreas in response to two macromolecules: glucose (sugar) and protein. It's primary job is to move that sugar inside your cells so your body can burn them for energy. It can put this glucose (energy) into all cells including your fat cells. Why? Because your Continue reading >>
Insulin Sensitivity: Why You Can't Blast That Fat For Good!
Have you ever wondered why, after all the exercise and healthy eating you do, you still can't shift that last bit of fat? You hit the gym four to five times a week or more, you even try to get a run in over the weekend and on top of this you're eating all the healthiest food you can find; despite this your still not super lean like you want to be. I have the answer to your nightmare - Insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity will eventually replace the term "weight loss" and "fat loss" as the new hot topic. Insulin has a powerful ability to prevent fat breakdown by its anabolic (rebuilding) properties. Few health and fitness professionals know or understand Insulin sensitivity (IS) which is why its no wonder that the every day man or woman is finding weight and fat so difficult to lose; it's incredibly hard to win against an obstacle you don't know is there! Let me explain Insulin's role and how it's sensitivity changes depending upon how close you are to your weight and fat loss goals. Insulin Sensitivity You might remember the hormone Insulin from articles referring to muscle gains due to its anabolic properties. Well further research into Insulin action shows that these same anabolic tendencies also affect the fat cells1. What most people don't realize is, Insulin also targets the fat, liver, and muscle cells when it is released1. This is not the only problem, though. A review of the research tells us that IS is actually increased when you lower your weight or body fat percentage2,3,11. It's also important to note that IS gets stronger the more you work out. The catabolic effect of exercise increases IS during a work out and for about 30-45 minutes post workout3. This means as a healthy exercising individual you simply can't eat the same amount of carbohydrate food t Continue reading >>
A Practical Guide To Carb Tolerance And Insulin Sensitivity
One of the biggest reasons why people go Paleo is the metabolic benefits. Most people find Paleo to be very therapeutic for a whole cluster of carb-related problems: high blood sugar (or the rollercoaster of highs and lows), insulin resistance, and all the related issues. These issues can make weight loss difficult or impossible, but on the flip side, addressing them through diet can make it easier and more pleasant than you ever thought could happen! On the other hand, though, there are a lot of myths and half-truths floating around about diet, exercise, and carb metabolism. So here’s a quick review of what it all means, and the evidence supporting various different complementary strategies for improving your carb tolerance (preview: it’s so much more than dietary carbs). Note: This article is not written for diabetics. Diabetes is a very complicated disease and strategies that are right for other people might not be appropriate. If you have diabetes, see a doctor! What Is “Carb Tolerance”/Insulin Sensitivity? (If you already know how insulin and glucose work, this section has nothing new for you; just skip down to the next one) Very simply put, insulin sensitivity (or “carb tolerance” in everyday language) is a healthy hormonal state that allows your body to digest and store carbohydrates without a problem. In healthy people, here’s how it works: You eat something with carbs (let’s say a potato, but it could be anything). Your digestive system breaks down the starch in that potato into glucose. Glucose is a simple sugar – this is the form of carbohydrate that you’ll either use for energy or store as fat. Your blood sugar temporarily rises as the glucose enters the bloodstream. This is not a big problem, because… Insulin (produced in the pancreas) Continue reading >>
- Effects of resveratrol on glucose control and insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis
- Effects of resveratrol on glucose control and insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis
- Alpha Lipoic Acid: Improve Insulin Sensitivity & Fight Diabetes!
The Insulin Resistance Diet Protocol
Understanding the cellular mechanisms of insulin resistance helps us choose more effective therapeutic interventions for the treatment and prevention of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is present in individuals who are obese and those with diabetes mellitus. Several studies have found that an insulin resistance diet protocol and exercise can alter insulin signaling pathways and delay the onset of insulin resistance. It’s estimated that the number of diabetes sufferers in the world will double from about 190 million to 325 million during the next 25 years. (1) It’s obvious that we need to pay more attention to our lifestyle habits and make some changes. An insulin resistance diet, similar to a diabetic diet plan, helps you lose excess weight and regulate your insulin and blood glucose levels in order to reduce your risk of developing prediabetes and diabetes. Insulin Resistance Diet Research suggests that the primary cause of insulin resistance is excess weight, especially excess fat around the waist. Fortunately, weight loss can help the body respond better to insulin. The Diabetes Prevention Program and other large studies indicate that people with insulin resistance and prediabetes can often prevent or delay developing diabetes by changing their diets to follow an insulin resistance diet, along with losing weight. Here are seven ways to start eating an insulin resistance diet. 1. Limit Carbohydrates Research published in Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity suggests that monitoring carbohydrate intake, whether by carbohydrate counting or experience-based estimation, remains a key strategy in achieving glycemic control. Although all carbohydrates can be incorporated into carbohydrate counting, for good health, carbohydrates from vegetables, Continue reading >>
Insulin resistance (IR) is a pathological condition in which cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin. The body produces insulin when glucose starts to be released into the bloodstream from the digestion of carbohydrates in the diet. Normally this insulin response triggers glucose being taken into body cells, to be used for energy, and inhibits the body from using fat for energy. The concentration of glucose in the blood decreases as a result, staying within the normal range even when a large amount of carbohydrates is consumed. When the body produces insulin under conditions of insulin resistance, the cells are resistant to the insulin and are unable to use it as effectively, leading to high blood sugar. Beta cells in the pancreas subsequently increase their production of insulin, further contributing to a high blood insulin level. This often remains undetected and can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes or latent autoimmune diabetes of adults. Although this type of chronic insulin resistance is harmful, during acute illness it is actually a well-evolved protective mechanism. Recent investigations have revealed that insulin resistance helps to conserve the brain's glucose supply by preventing muscles from taking up excessive glucose. In theory, insulin resistance should even be strengthened under harsh metabolic conditions such as pregnancy, during which the expanding fetal brain demands more glucose. People who develop type 2 diabetes usually pass through earlier stages of insulin resistance and prediabetes, although those often go undiagnosed. Insulin resistance is a syndrome (a set of signs and symptoms) resulting from reduced insulin activity; it is also part of a larger constellation of symptoms called the metabolic syndrome. Insuli Continue reading >>