INSULIN RESISTANCE LEADS TO A
MYRIAD OF HEALTH PROBLEMS
"Insulin resistance — also called metabolic syndrome— is so pervasive today that we evaluate nearly every woman who visits our clinic to determine her level of risk. Experts estimate that 25% of all Americans suffer from insulin resistance. Over 80 million Americans suffer from insulin resistance, and it appears to sit at the center of a web of related health problems. Women who are insulin resistant are at much greater risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, high cholesterol, breast cancer and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). There is some evidence that insulin resistance may contribute to endometrial cancer. It has also been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. Insulin resistance often accompanies the most common complaints we hear at Women to Women —fatigue and weight gain. As women approach menopause, they become increasingly intolerant of carbohydrates and find it easier to gain weight, especially around their waists. Afternoon blahs, sugar crashes and carbohydrate cravings may all be early insulin resistance symptoms." Cherry-picked from What Is Insulin Resistance? by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP.
Insulin Resistance is what happens when your body's cells can no longer respond in a normal fashion to the pancreatic hormone Insulin. Even though the pancreas is still making Insulin (quite possibly, at least at first, a lot of Insulin), continually elevated amounts of dietary sugar cause the body to bind up its Insulin Receptors. This means that you will have elevated blood sugar and elevated blood insulin levels simultaneously. The body senses this as a deficiency of Insulin and tells the pancreas to make even more. This becomes a vicious cycle that literally feeds itself to the point of your pancreas not being able to keep up. Sooner or later, the overworked pancreas burns itself out. Blood sugar levels continue to rise, and you receive the "official" diagnosis of Type II Diabetes (even though for all intents and purposes, you have been a "functional" diabetic for years). We all know how severe the effects of Type II Diabetes can be, but what about Insulin Resistance (sometimes called Metabolic Syndrome, Syndrome X, or pre-Diabetes)? Try these on for size.
- SUGAR ADDICTION: When people get to the point where their bodies are "resisting" the effects of Insulin, the body not only requires more Insulin, but it takes more and more sugar to satisfy the body's need (the word "cravings" would also fit here) for blood sugar. When you consume High Glycemic Index Carbohydrates (sugar and starch), these will increase blood sugar dramatically. The body sends out Insulin to move the sugar into the cells, where it will either be burned or stored. Just like the "crash" a coke addict gets when the drug wears off, CARB ADDICTS experience the same thing. This leads to "SUBSTITUTUVE BEHAVIORS", denial, carb binging, and "closet" consumption --- just like a DRUG ADDICT. This crash is caused by HYPOGLYCEMIA, and leads to intensive cravings. People feed these cravings and the cycle continues.
- INFLAMMATION: Here is the thing folks. This point covers a ton of ground. There are literally dozens of disease processes whose foundations are based on Insulin Resistance. Just look at a few of our posts on INFLAMMATION to see what I mean. And yes; most experts consider CANCER to be an inflammatory problem.
- WANING SEX LIFE: Maybe you're one of those people who tells yourself that it doesn't really matter any more whether you have a sex life or not. You are fooling yourself and quite probably punishing your spouse. HERE is my post on Insulin Resistance and Sexual Dysfunction.
- CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE: When I say "Cardiovascular Diseases", this means all of them. HARDENING OF THE ARTERIES (Atherosclerosis / Arteriosclerosis) and HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (Hypertension), HIGH CHOLESTEROL, Strokes, Heart Attacks, Cardiomyopathy, Blood Clots, Peripheral Vascular Disease, High Triglycerides, and more. Yes, I realize that there are still a boatload of doctors out there telling people that all of these problems are the result of RED MEAT & DIETARY FATS. This is true only if we are specifically talking about dietary TRANS FATS.
- OBESITY: Just Google "Obesity / Insulin Resistance" ---- you'll get nearly 7 million hits. If you have excess body fat ---- particularly BELLY FAT ---- it's a dead give away that your body is resisting the effects of Insulin. One of the classic signs of Metabolic Syndrome is "Central Obesity".
- FATTY LIVER DISEASE / CIRRHOSIS: Sorry, but OBESITY (itself considered to be an "Inflammatory" problem) is a far greater cause of Cirrhosis than alcoholism. And if your liver cannot function properly, you will not be able to CLEAR YOUR SYSTEM OF TOXINS. Seems harmless enough until you click on the link and see how serious this aspect of Insulin Resistance really is.
- HIGH BLOOD SUGAR: Be aware that many of you have ELEVATED BLOOD SUGAR even though your readings are still in the "normal" range, and your doctor is telling you that you do not have DIABETES. Those of you in this category are what I refer to as "Functional Diabetics".
- NEUROLOGICAL PROBLEMS: Even though GLUTEN is also a big culprit in this bullet point, we know that Insulin Resistance is directly tied to problems like ALZHEIMER'S and NEUROPATHY. My guess is that before it's all over, most, if not all diseases that are NON-GENETIC in nature (HERE) will be tied in some form or fashion to Insulin Resistance.
- DIGESTIVE ISSUES: Because we know that one of the factors that weakens / negates the strength and function of your stomach acid is processed sugar and processed flour, we see these being tied to Insulin Resistance as well. To understand this process better, simply read my post on H. PYLORI, REFLUX & DECREASED STOMACH ACID.
- ENDOCRINE PROBLEMS: The first thing we think of here is DIABETES. But the reality of the situation is that virtually all ENDOCRINE PROBLEMS (including female hormonal issues,, THYROID PROBLEMS, and FIBROMYALGIA) are being tied directly or indirectly to Insulin Resistance. Case in point is the number one female issue facing American women today --- PCOS.
- DYSBIOSIS: Insulin Resistance not only drives DYSBIOSIS, is is also driven by it as well. ANTIBIOTICS and Insulin Resistance are not good bedfellows if you are interested in long-term health (HERE HERE, HERE & HERE).
- SLEEP APNEA: Although SLEEP APNEA is tied to Weight Issues, it is also tied to Insulin Resistance as well.
- OTHERS: This list is by no means exhaustive. We could add many other diseases to it, as well as other categories of disease such as AUTOIMMUNITY. Just remember; when you start tying things on this list together (Adrenal, Inflammation, Weight Gain, Neurological Issues, etc), sooner or later you are going to end up with Chronic Pain.
Not only are the problems on this list caused by Insulin Resistance; as crazy as it sounds, they actually feed it as well. In other words, it is a very vicious cycle. The key is to break this cycle by controlling your blood sugar, and subsequently decreasing the amount of Insulin coursing through your bloodstream at any given moment. This is why the first part of any "Get Healthy" program is dealing with blood sugar. The diet I recommend? There are any number of Low Carb Diets that will help accomplish this, but for lots of reasons, PALEO will probably help more people the most (mainly because it also deals with GLUTEN). By the way, come back tomorrow for a post called WEIGHT LOSS EXCUSES.