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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Insulin And Insulin Resistance - The Ultimate Guide
Insulin is an important hormone that controls many processes in the body. However, problems with this hormone are at the heart of many modern health conditions. Sometimes our cells stop responding to insulin like they are supposed to. This condition is termed insulin resistance, and is incredibly common. In fact, a 2002 study showed that 32.2% of the US population may be insulin resistant (1). This number may rise to 70% in obese adult women and over 80% in some patient groups (2, 3). About a third of obese children and teenagers may also have insulin resistance (4). These numbers are scary, but the good news is that insulin resistance can be dramatically improved with simple lifestyle measures. This article explains what insulin resistance is, why you should care and how you can overcome it. Insulin is a hormone secreted by an organ called the pancreas. Its main role is to regulate the amount of nutrients circulating in the bloodstream. Although insulin is mostly implicated in blood sugar management, it also affects fat and protein metabolism. When we eat a meal that contains carbohydrates, the amount of blood sugar in the bloodstream increases. This is sensed by the cells in the pancreas, which then release insulin into the blood. Then insulin travels around the bloodstream, telling the body's cells that they should pick up sugar from the blood. This leads to reduced amounts of sugar in the blood, and puts it where it is intended to go, into the cells for use or storage. This is important, because high amounts of sugar in the blood can have toxic effects, causing severe harm and potentially leading to death if untreated. However, due to various reasons (discussed below), sometimes the cells stop responding to the insulin like they are supposed to. In other words, they 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 >>
Wtf Is Insulin And How Does It Affect Our Health And Fat Loss?
With so much written about diet versus exercise and exercise versus diet, it’s easy to overlook the role hormones play in our health and wellbeing, but they can make all the difference. That's why we’ve decided to take a closer look at the hormone insulin: What is it, and how does it relate to diabetes? Can we manipulate insulin to help us lose fat and live longer? As it turns out, we can—and pretty easily, too. What Is Insulin and How Does It Relate to Diabetes? Insulin is a super important hormone that helps us absorb nutrients from our food. Whenever we eat carbs (and a little bit when we eat protein), the amount of sugar in our blood increases, and the pancreas releases insulin to help take the sugar out of the bloodstream and into our organs (mostly the liver and muscle cells) where it can be used for energy . Diabetes is a disease that occurs when that insulin response doesn’t work properly and sugar piles up in the blood with nowhere to go. This can result in a whole lot of problems, including vision loss, hearing loss, high blood pressure, and gum disease. There are two main kinds of diabetes: Type 1 occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Type 2 occurs when insulin is produced, but the body doesn’t respond to it the right way. What causes Type 1 is often hard to pinpoint. Type 2 diabetes is increasingly common—some have estimated that a third of Americans born in 2000 will develop the disease—and a lot of the time, it can be prevented. How? Let’s talk insulin sensitivity. What Is Insulin Sensitivity? Doing a lot of something can make you less sensitive to its effects, right? Drinking coffee all the time can dull the caffeine, regular drinkers find they need more beers to get drunk than they used to, and so on. In kind of the same Continue reading >>
Patient Comments: Insulin Resistance - Describe Your Experience
Please describe your experience with insulin resistance. Here are all my symptoms of insulin resistance. I have dark skin in my armpit area (very weird, I am fair skinned), and serious brain fog and short term memory issues that were scaring me to death as I make a living with my brain. I am 5 ft 6 inches, 207 pounds and an apple shape. I have tingling and numbness in my limbs especially at night, arms being the worst, and extreme tiredness always. My vision is deteriorating; worse at sometimes than others. I have skin tags, thinning hair at forehead, not sleeping well and low adrenals. I am so grateful to know what has been going on. At my age (62), I have been seriously wondering how much longer I could keep working in information technology when I know I must. I am now on a low carb diet, still in beginning phases, but these things have scared me enough that I am not likely to fall off the wagon. I really hope I can reverse this. Weight is coming down, I never have been able to lose since I put all this on 15 years ago. My son was diagnosed with insulin resistance about 4 weeks ago. For the last 2 years I knew there was a problem. No matter how little he ate or how much exercise he had, he continued to gain weight. I begged his pediatrician to refer us to a nutrition class for kids at the local children's hospital. At his last physical, his doctor finally ordered blood work for him. It came back at elevated levels. This qualified him for a referral to the endocrinologist, he was diagnosed, given metformin and vitamin D3 and he now has a nutritionist. He has lost 5 pounds in the last 4 weeks! He is doing great! Fight for your children! My 11-year-old daughter was diagnosed with insulin resistance a year ago. No matter how much or little she ate, she continued to gain 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Insulin Resistance: The Real Reason Why You Aren’t Losing Weight
Many people have weight loss as one of their key resolutions. Sadly, 35 percent of people also give up on that goal before the month even ends. It’s not necessarily lack of time or willpower that causes you to struggle with weight loss year after year. The real reason that you may have struggled to lose weight is insulin resistance, or a condition I call metabolism dysfunction. So you may be thinking, “Why is it so hard for me to lose weight?” I’m doing “everything right,” and yet still weight loss is difficult. Perhaps (like many of my patients) you’re already following a strict diet and working out several times a week, but to no avail. The weight still won’t come off — or, worse, you are gaining weight for seemingly no reason at all! You have become resigned to being overweight. Weight problems aren’t a permanent and immovable fixture for the rest of your life. If you’re finding that weight is easy to gain and hard to lose, it’s not your fault! Weight problems aren’t just about overeating or under exercising — they’re about metabolic changes (The MD Factor Diet, 2015) that are collectively known as insulin resistance. Lab tests conducted in my practice have confirmed that over 89 percent of my patients have this real and often undiagnosed issue. So the good news is that the right combination of diet, exercise, and will to succeed you can reverse your MD factor and finally find success in losing weight and keeping it off for good. In a nutshell, insulin resistance is the inability of your body to properly convert the food that you eat into energy to fuel your cells. People with the MD Factor have difficulty regulating their blood sugar, which is often due to insulin resistance or even diabetes. In both instances, their bodies are unable t Continue reading >>
Reactive Oxygen Species And Insulin Resistance: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - Sciencedirect
Volume 32, Issue 2 , February 2011, Pages 82-89 Reactive oxygen species and insulin resistance: the good, the bad and the ugly Author links open overlay panel TonyTiganis Get rights and content Reactive oxygen species (ROS) contribute to the progression of various human diseases, including type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). ROS can suppress the insulin response and contribute to the development of insulin resistance, a key pathological feature of T2DM. Paradoxically, ROS generated by NADP(H) oxidases at the plasma membrane and endomembranes might also be required for normal intracellular signaling. Growth factors, cytokines and hormones such as insulin promote the generation of ROS for the coordinated inactivation of protein tyrosine phosphatases and the promotion of tyrosine phosphorylation-dependent signaling. A recent study has established the potential of H2O2 to enhance insulin sensitivity in vivo and attenuate the development of insulin resistance. Thus, ROS have the capacity to both promote and attenuate the insulin response. Here I review evidence indicating that ROS promote insulin sensitivity versus insulin resistance and discuss the potential complications associated with the widespread use of antioxidants. 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 >>