November 2014

Our topic for this month is one that may be ill understood or completely unknown to many readers. This condition I am referring to is known as INSULIN RESISTANCE. If you come to understand the dangers of insulin resistance and learn how to avoid this condition it will serve you well with your efforts to stay healthy and avoid conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, or even cancer.

Before I explain insulin resistance, how to recognize it's symptoms, how it is diagnosed, and why it causes so manyhealth issues, let me explain how insulin works in the body. Insulin has a number of important roles in the normal state of physiology, but its main function is to escort glucose from the blood into the cells where your cells convert the glucose into energy. Cells must have glucose to survive. It's important to know that high levels of insulin in the blood, such as after eating a high carbohydrate meal, puts your body in a "fat storage mode" and thus leads to obesity and eventually diabetes.

If we have normal sugar handling function it takes only small amounts of insulin for the cells to open pores in the cell membrane and allow glucose to enter. However, if we develop insulin resistance due to a poor diet high in refined carbohydrates (like the Standard American Diet S.A.D.) our cells only respond to higher and higher levels of insulin. This is why insulin resistance almost always becomes diabetes over time due to a tired, damaged pancreas unable to keep up with the demands of a poor diet.

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. Without insulin, sugar in the blood could not enter the cells in order to provide energy to the cells.

HOW INSULIN WORKS IN THE BODY

As you can see from the diagram below, insulin is the key that fits into the cell receptor sites and unlocks the glucose channel and allows blood sugar to enterthe cells for energy production.

RECOGNIZING INSULIN RESISTANCE

If you experience two or more of the symptoms listed below you are in all likelihood suffering from insulin resistance:

  • Fatigue
  • Constant hunger
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Cravings for sugar
  • Fatigue after meals
  • Migrating aches and pains
  • Abdominal obesity

If you feel that you may already be experiencing insulin resistance please take the time to discuss this with your doctor and let him test you.

GETTING TESTED FOR INSULIN RESISTANCE

There is no one test that can directly detect insulin resistance. Instead, a health practitioner will look at an individual's entire clinical picture and may suspect insulin resistance if the person has , increased levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, and decreased concentrations of HDL cholesterol.

Laboratory tests most likely to be ordered by your doctor include:

  • Fasting blood glucose
  • Hemoglobin A1c
  • Insulin levels
  • Lipid profile
  • hs-CRP

Insulin resistance is not a disease or specific diagnosis, but it has been associated with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hypertension as well as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Some researchers also believe that there may be a link between insulin resistance and certain forms of cancer.

METABOLIC SYNDROME

A syndrome is not a diagnosed disease but a group of symptoms. Metabolic Syndrome consists of Insulin resistance + high blood pressure + increase central obesity (belly fat) + unbalanced lipid levels. People with metabolic syndrome have a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Metabolic Syndrome is epidemic in America! (Estimates --- 50 Mil Americans)
These are your diabetic patients of the future. These patients are a HEART ATTACK in the making.

DIET

Diets high in refined carbohydrates such as sugars ( especially high fructose corn syrup), and high intake of trans fats, are strongly linked to insulin resistance. Americans eat massive amounts of doughnuts, pastries, cakes, ice cream, chips, corn products, and potatoes, and also drink huge amounts of sweetened drinks. All of this is a sure path to insulin resistance.
Plant based compounds call "flavonoids" are found in plants such as onions, teas, kale, turmeric, celery, parsley, and garlic. Taken as purified extracts, they can be as potent as many commonly used medications. These can be quite helpful in stabilizing blood sugar and improving insulin resistance.

Helpful flavonoids include:

  • Curcumin
  • Quercetin
  • Luteolin
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon

Regular exercise, especially vigorous muscle-building exercises, can also correct insulin resistance. When a good diet is combined with exercise, many cases of Type 2 diabetes can be REVERSED.

If you would like to have a personal discussion about the subject matter of this newsletter you may reach me at (386) 956-1668.

If you have found this Newsletter helpful in your quest for good health please visit my website at www.drstephenhayman.com where I have all of my previous Newsletters archived. You may find a topic there that may be of help to you, a family member, or a friend.

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Healthy Transformations
820 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL. 32720

I am currently accepting new patients for nutritional assessment and dietary coaching.

Have a Healthy Day!

Dr. Stephen W. Hayman