Tag Archives: insulin resistance

The Sour Side of Sugar’s Sweet Seduction

In the ever evolving world of nutrition a clear villain has emerged. It is a villain cloaked in mouth-watering and opioid receptor stimulating deliciousness. It is a villain that can be somewhat of a chameleon, hiding in large volumes in seemingly “healthy” foods. I am of course speaking of your favorite and mine: sugar.

(Unfortunately this sugar classification also includes high carb foods like grains. Translation: all that bread will eventually be broken down into the simple sugar: glucose.)

Mounting research implicates sugar (namely high fructose corn syrup and other processed/refined varieties) as a major culprit behind a plethora of diseases well beyond the obvious, but never understated obesity and diabetes. As a realist I realize that complete elimination of sugar is not much of a practical or desirable option, however a reduction in consumption would serve us all well, especially if you are having other seemingly unrelated health issues.

So other than coming to terms with the fact that you may be consuming way too much sugar, how do you know if you possibly are having issues with the way your body handles sugar? And why is this an issue anyway? Well, sit back, relax (dump your soda down the drain) and I’ll try to give it to you in a raw, unsalted nutshell.

We’ve heard the terms hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), but we will mainly be referring to dysglycemia and reactive hypoglycemia. These are conditions in which your blood sugar levels are not being handled properly and can be anywhere along the chain of dysfunction. Therefore addressing and correcting becomes imperative for health.

If you are someone who is consuming too many carbohydrates or sugar on a regular basis it is likely that your pancreas will become overactive in its secretion of insulin. This will lead to blood sugar levels rapidly swinging from high to low after a meal.

A clinical picture of this is marked by a drop in energy levels, mood swings, and overall cognition. This can be seen as spacing out easily, poor short term memory, becoming agitated if going too long without eating, and being prone to crashing in the later part of the afternoon. This is what’s known as reactive hypoglycemia, a form of insulin resistance which goes hand in hand with diabetes.

This person typically misses meals, eats foods high in sugar, craves sugar and salts throughout the day, depends on caffeine to function, and has a hard time waking up in the morning or sleeping through the night. Fatigue, brain fog, and headaches are also amongst the effects of this condition.

This could also lead to or be a contributing factor behind becoming hypoglycemic. This condition is marked by fatigue, mental confusion, lethargy and headaches and can also be caused by adrenal fatigue, poor diet, hypothyroidism or drug side effects.

A clinical picture of this would be someone who craves sweets throughout the day, is irritable if they miss a meal, eating can relieve fatigue, feeling shaky, jittery or having tremors, depending on coffee to get started or keep going, feeling lightheaded if meals are missed, getting agitated, easily upset or nervous or being forgetful.

Another possibility is to escalate from the reactive hypoglycemia to insulin resistance. The chronic release of insulin due to high carb/sugar loads eventually fatigues the cells to the point where they no longer want to accept the insulin or the glucose it is trying to deliver.

Clinically this entails feeling like you need a nap after every meal, craving sugar after every meal, being constantly hungry even after big meals, increased belly fat, insomnia, and facial hair or thinning hair in women (due to the fact insulin resistance promotes testosterone production in women), or breast and hip growth in men. It can also include frequent urination, migrating aches and pains, and overall difficulty losing weight.

Insulin resistance has also been linked to other coveted conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, obesity, hormone metabolism disorders and certain types of cancer.

A key factor to be aware of is that if you are dysglycemic in any way, your adrenal glands will also be activated in the body’s attempt to stabilize your blood sugar. The same holds true in reverse, as when your adrenal glands (stress glands) are on overdrive and they severely alter your body’s ability to effectively handle blood sugar.

Dysfunction on both fronts can be at the root or a main contributor to hypothyroidism, a weakened and inflamed digestive tract, a weakened immune barrier of the gut, lungs and brain, hormonal imbalances, clogging of the body’s attempts at detox and impairment of fatty acid metabolism.

So what to do? If any of these pictures we painted sounds like you it would be wise to investigate further and take action prior to escalation and emergency reactions. Rather than addressing each one of these symptoms separately with a potential side effect causing pill, imagine if you could clear up many issues simply be addressing your diet.

As we’ve said in the past, the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” holds true in a variety of venues, but never more so than with the diet. Outside of the obvious weight gain, the systemic effects can be devastating.

If you are ready to get serious and commit to investigating and potentially remedying your issues, please give us a call (321-848-0987) as it would be our pleasure to collaborate with you on your liberating journey towards optimal, all natural health.

It’s what we do.

Come join us.

What Causes That Post Meal Crash?

It seems as though nodding off after a holiday meal is just as much of a tradition as eating a Christmas tree or decorating a Thanksgiving turkey.  (Did you catch that or did I catch you drowsy from your last meal?) But why does this happen?  And worse, are you someone who is routinely tired after meals, regardless of the time of year?

The reason behind this varies depending on your specific situation, but mainly involves too many carbohydrates and poor blood sugar control.  Ideally, when we consume carbs/sugars the pancreas releases a proportionate amount of insulin which then delivers the glucose (end result of crab breakdown) to our cells for energy.

On one level we have someone who usually eats relatively healthy, but just consumed a carb load as if they were preparing to hibernate.  The flooding of glucose into the blood alarms the pancreas who, being the diligent little organ he is, dumps insulin to handle the carb load. (Elevated insulin levels due to too many carbs or outright insulin resistance is also not a good thing and has been linked to everything from inflammation to autoimmunity and cancer).

The pancreas wants to make sure all the glucose can catch a ride to a cell so it overcompensates with the amount of insulin secreted.  This also happens with people who have poor blood sugar control (aka dysglycemic).  The end result here is the glucose being cleared from the blood so rapidly that you have now gone from one extreme to the other; from blood sugar spike to crash.  This can lead to symptoms of hypoglycemia; which include light headedness, headaches and feeling tired.

Another reason for the post meal siesta occurs when our tissues become resistant to the insulin that is attempting to clear the blood of and deliver glucose.  This can also happen from over doing it on carbs and is the mechanism behind diabetes type II.  Anyone concerned with intelligently controlling your weight should perk up for this explanation.

When your tissues become insulin resistant due to poor diet, lack of exercise or binge eating, the glucose remains in the circulating blood causing damage to your brain and blood vessels. (We then have our body’s natural bandaid called in (cholesterol), to patch up the damage from the dysglycemia and insulin resistance.)

Your body wants to keep your blood glucose levels under control, so when plan A doesn’t work (glucose cleared from blood by insulin), plan B kicks in.  The glucose is then converted to triglycerides and stored around your midsection as, you guessed it, fat.  In many cases it’s excess carbs, not fat in your diet that leads towards poor blood sugar control, possible diabetes, insulin resistance, aaaaand additional weight gain in the form of glucose being converted to and stored as body fat.

This conversion of glucose to triglycerides en route to your fanny is a process that requires a lot of your body’s energy/fuel.  So much so that it actually leaves you tired and crashing, and thus we have the post meal coma.

Add to this the fact that this process can also raise serotonin levels.  As we’ve discussed in past posts, serotonin is actually the precursor to the sleep hormone melotonin, and because of that can induce drowsiness.  This is also the reason turkey knocks you out as it contains the precursor to serotonin, tryptophan.

Hopefully this sheds some light on the subject for those curious about why we hit the hay after scarfing down a delicious feast.  Enjoy the holiday.  Indulge if you like as you now know what’s going on within and the possible dangers routinely doing so can pose.

However, if you are someone who struggles with cravings, crashes, and weight as we discussed, make it a point to address these signs of internal dysfunction before they get worse.  We’re coming up on a new year which serves as an ideal time to get serious and make your health a priority.

Again, enjoy the holidays and come see us when you’re ready to step it up in the new year.

5 More Reasons to Drop that Weight

In a culture obsessed with image and appearance, it’s no wonder that the weight loss industry continues to reign supreme.  We are inundated with images of slim supermodels, shredded athletes, and air-brushed celebrities creating an often unrealistic and unattainable perception of the ideal.

While this has the potential to lead to frustration and unhealthy habits, on the other hand it can serve as motivation to drop that extra baggage.  You see in a society fixated on superficial aesthetics, unfortunately, health winds up taking a back seat.  If striving to fit into that bathing suit can serve as a catalyst for those slowly dying due to the extra baggage to take steps toward a healthier life, then so be it.  (Call that your alkalizing lemonade out of organic lemons or your colloidal silver lining.)  Provided of course, it is done in a healthy and controlled manner.  No fad diets or quick fixes here.

The truth of the matter is the dangers of living life overweight or obese stretch way beyond the outward appearance.  Here are 5 more hazards you may or may not have already been aware of that will hopefully spark you or someone you love to wake up and change before it’s too late.

In order to appreciate these hazards, it needs to be acknowledged that a fat cell is not a benign cell, but rather an endocrine cell; that is, a cell that secretes hormones classified as adipokines.  Hormones are secreted throughout our bodies to serve as communicators and messengers in carrying out various tasks and functions.  This is vital for life, but when not functioning correctly, can be severely detrimental to our health.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

I know we’ve all heard being overweight can lead to increased blood pressure, but why?  Other than the fact that the body needs to work harder to do everything due to the surplus of lbs., fat cells (aka as adipocytes) actually secrete a hormone called angiotensin.  Release of this hormone normally occurs due to the kidney to control blood pressure, but an excess of fat cells leads to an excess of angiotensin, leading to high blood pressure and all the well documented risks that come along with that.

INCREASED INSULIN RESISTANCE

Another hormone secreted by fat cells is called resistin.  This hormone causes insulin resistance, which is one of the key factors involved with type II diabetes.  Mounting research implicates the fat cell’s release of resistin as the linking factor between obesity and diabetes.  Insulin resistance also is involved in hypertension and atherosclerosis.

INCREASED INFLAMMATION

You can’t read anything health related these days without seeing the word inflammation being named as the common denominator involved with virtually all disease processes.  So what do you think the fat cells have the ability to secrete?  You guessed it, numerous inflammatory mediators (i.e. PGE, TNF, IL-6) that increase pain and cause internal destruction.

INCREASED RISK FOR BLOOD CLOTS & STROKE

The hits just keep on coming here.  Fat cells release something called plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1).  This is a protein that essentially diminishes the body’s natural ability to breakdown clots, and enable continuous blood flow.  Too much PAI-1 and you’re prone for sluggish circulation, which can culminate in clots and stroke.  This poor circulation can also lead to swelling and other symptoms such as pain, numbness and tingling due to the lack of blood flow to our peripheral nerves.

This protein is also produced in the cells that line our blood vessels (endothelial cells).  It is normal and quite necessary for these hormones to be present in our bodies.  The main issue here is with excess fat cells comes excess presence of these hormones, leading to a loss of balance (homeostasis) and subsequent pathology.

ESTROGEN DOMINANCE

The last issue we will touch on here is the fact that fat cells produce estrogen.  The more fat cells you have, the more estrogen will be produced.  Male breast cancer continues to rise congruently with obesity.  An overweight male taking part in testosterone therapy is simply providing the fat cells more fuel to convert into estrogen and all the other issues correlated with elevated estrogen levels (infertility, erectile dysfunction, enlarged prostate, cancer, etc.)  Excess estrogen in females can also lead to various forms of cancer, hair loss, hypothyroidism and uterine fibroids.

Obviously the consequences of carrying excess fat extend way beyond these mentioned, but add these to the continuously enlarging list.  I also realize that losing weight is exponentially more difficult than simply saying the words and the degree of difficulty varies on an individual basis.  However, research, evidence and history have shown us that it can be done.

If you’ve tried time and time again to no avail, and are somewhat lost at this point, but willing to truly sacrifice today in order to invest in the future, consult a healthcare professional.  If you’d like to begin your path in the right direction with a nutritional consult, feel free to contact me at anytime (contact information at the top of the page to the right).

A consistent commitment to exercise and a diet overhaul can be life changing and in many cases, saving.  Add the assistance of someone trained to identify functional imbalances that may be impeding your progress, and some serious momentum in the right direction can be attained.  We only get one shot down here and one body to carry us through the journey.  Respect life and make the investment in your future today.

REFERENCES

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23839524

http://www.abcam.com/index.html?pageconfig=resource&rid=12300&pid=10694

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14671216

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15049878

http://www.diabetesdaily.com/wiki/Resistin

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11201732

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11450024

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23011535