After lunch are you reaching for coffee or something sweet as a pick me up to push you through the rest of your workday?
To top it all off, no matter what you do, you can’t lose weight–especially in the belly area?
These are common symptoms that occur when your insulin levels rise, putting you in “fat-storing mode”. This is also why nothing that used to work in the past to shed those extra pounds is working for you anymore. You probably feel frustrated and exhausted both emotionally and physically.
Let me try to simplify this complex process for you. Every cell in your body requires glucose for energy production. However, sugar cannot go into your cells without its partner in crime, insulin. Insulin is one of the body’s most important hormones that can be described as the “key”, which attaches to, unlocks the cell and allows the sugar to enter. After you eat food, your blood sugar level rises and the cells in your pancreas (known as beta cells) are signaled to release insulin into your bloodstream. It plays the main role in our metabolism, helping usher energy from food into cells. A healthy and normal functioning cell has abundant insulin receptors and responds to insulin’s presence appropriately. In a nutshell, insulin helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).
On the contrary, when a person consumes too many carbohydrates and refined sugars it results in an over-abundance of glucose in the bloodstream. Consequentially, the body has to increase its insulin production to account for this, causing the cells to be harshly exposed to these high insulin levels. To protect itself and adapt to this environment, the cell does something brilliant. It reduces the amount of insulin responsive receptors on its surfaces. It’s as if a cell changes a few “locks” so the keys won’t work and the insulin can’t get in. Ultimately the cells become desensitized and more resistant to insulin. This leaves the sugar stuck outside the door in the blood stream. Having higher amounts of sugar in the blood stream is like an assault weapon and it inflicts a LOT of damage. As with most biological processes there is a fail-safe back-up system in place!! The body, not the cell, wants to fix this problem as it knows it can’t have glucose hanging out in the blood. To address this, it tells the pancreas to increase its production of insulin to mop up the mischievous glucose. The pancreas pumps out as much insulin needed to push that excess glucose into the cells, instigating the cells to put up more protection. Simultaneously the beta cells start to burn out from being over-worked, no longer compensating for the increased sugar in the blood. It is NOW that the blood sugar levels start to rise. Between the insulin resistant cells and the burnt out beta cells, this vicious cycle eventually culminates into type 2 diabetes.
Now that you better understand the process, let me ask you a question: Do you think that you wake up one morning 30 pounds heavier or having a chronic disease like diabetes? I hope you are yelling a big “NO” out loud! Science tells us these conditions are progressive, decade-long processes that develop in a step-by-step sequence. Once you gain the big-picture view of the disease sequence, it becomes clear that there is a way to nip it in the bud, stay healthy longer and experience an improved quality of life.
You may think, everyone in my family history has type 2 diabetes, so I am doomed to one day receive this diagnosis as well! Or on the contrary, you may think, this won’t happen to me because my glucose level is within normal lab ranges. I would love to say, whether you think you will or think you won’t, you are correct, but when it comes to type 2 diabetes, it has more to do with your diet, lifestyle, stress management, environment and the correct knowledge and tools than it has to do with your mindset or your genetics. Yes, genetics play a role, but research shows that it is less than 5%. In this case, genetics do not define your destiny!
Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes have reached epidemic proportions and it continues to increase at an alarming rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that one in three people will develop diabetes in their lifetime. From these statistics, I think it is fair to say, that the traditional health care system is not solving this pandemic problem nor is it uncovering and addressing the underlying root causes.
Why Can’t I Lose Weight?!?!
As previously discussed, insulin is a big player in the body’s reactions when blood sugar levels are not managed well. Insulin is an anabolic hormone, which means that it encourages cellular growth, promotes fat formation, fat retention and stimulates inflammation. Moreover, high levels of insulin rev up and shut down other hormones, which throws the body’s overall hormonal system off balance further. In general, the short and not so skinny is, insulin equals increased fat storage.
High Blood Sugar Is Rotting Your Brain
Blood sugar spikes create chaos of their own and have direct negative effects on the brain. High levels of glucose lead to the depletion of important neurotransmitters, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, obesity, IBS, insomnia and memory issues. The materials needed to make these neurotransmitters such as B vitamins and magnesium try to compensate for the depletions and consequently get used up quickly. B vitamins play an important role in keeping our bodies running like well-oiled machines. These critical nutrients help convert food into fuel, helping us to stay energized throughout the day and magnesium is responsible for the function of over 300 enzymatic processes in the body.
Insulin Resistance Is Your Signal to Slow Down!
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is characterized by an excessive intake of processed and refined foods, typically high in carbohydrates. These foods combined with many other lifestyle and environmental factors can begin to promote abnormal glucose levels. However, remember that your pancreas is working over-time to compensate for this dysfunction, so your glucose level will still show up normal on blood tests.
There are tests that let you know if you are heading down this path prior to you being told you have diabetes or pre-diabetes! Unfortunately, conventional practitioners rarely order these tests. Actually, when I say rarely, I really mean, I have never seen a conventional medicine practitioner order it.
Insulin resistance is like the “yellow light” on a traffic light. It is your warning that you need to start pumping the breaks on your current lifestyle and day-to-day habits. When the “yellow light test” is not ordered on a lab panel, it is comparable to driving towards a green light and it suddenly changes red with no forewarning. Sirens and cop lights immediately turn on and you receive a ticket with the diagnosis of diabetes. Where was your yellow light?! In my opinion, neither situation is fair.
Insulin Resistance Is Worse Than You Think
Would it have been helpful to learn you had insulin resistance before you found out you had pre-diabetes or full-fledged diabetes? Pre-diabetes occurs once your body’s back-up mechanisms no longer compensate for the elevated blood sugar levels by producing excessive amounts of insulin. That causes glucose levels to rise. Your labs start to show increasing levels, but they are not high enough to call diabetes. Sadly, if this self-perpetuating process is not stopped, it WILL progress to diabetes. It’s only a matter of time.
Research now shows that insulin resistance can initiate the formation of the plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. Additionally, those with diabetes are at least twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s and obese people are at a much greater risk of impaired brain function. High blood sugars spark a biological reaction whereby sugar molecules bind to proteins and certain fats to form lethal new structures, which more than any other factors contribute to the degeneration of the brain and cognitive function. To be clear, diabetes does not directly cause Alzheimer’s disease. Nonetheless, the two share the same origin. Diabetes and Alzheimer’s both result from a dietary onslaught to the body forcing it to develop back-up mechanisms that can’t handle the workload and eventually lead to illness.
At The Heart Of Diabetes:
Diabetes is what finally ensues when the elevated blood sugars are high enough to be considered out of range. One visit you don’t have diabetes and the next you do. However, you now know that diabetes does not happen overnight. The system is flawed and you are the one who has to suffer.
Diabetes and heart disease are now the primary cause of sickness and death worldwide. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that the single biggest risk factor for coronary artery disease is insulin resistance. It is responsible for a whopping 42% of heart attacks! Yes, I said insulin resistance is the biggest risk factor. That means you may have a heart attack before ever progressing to diabetes.
You Do Not Have To Become A Statistic!
In the United States today, someone dies from complications related to diabetes every 10 seconds!! Diabetes is the leading cause of early death, heart disease, strokes, kidney failure, blindness and neurological disorders. In addition, people with diabetes have a 50 percent higher risk of cancer, eye problems, energy & memory loss, painful neuropathies and amputations of toes and feet.
The Eye Of The Storm
Imagine this sentence is the last thing you ever saw. You never again saw the smiling faces of your spouse or children. No more beautiful sunsets, oceans or landscapes. All you see is darkness. This is the frightening truth for many people with diabetes, since it is the number one cause of blindness. Your freedom would be stripped from you. You would need help to take care of yourself, to go anywhere and to do anything. Your life would be completely different.
The BioDesign Way
At BioDesign Wellness Center, we want to empower you with the correct knowledge, order the proper tests and give you the opportunity to make positive changes no matter if you have the beginning stages of insulin resistance or if you already have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Don’t lose hope! This diagnosis does not have to be a death sentence. Our functional medicine team will teach you strategies and provide you with lifelong tools and solutions, and in many cases, this approach can reverse your diabetes and its complications.