Disorders Caused by Insulin Resistance

Insulin Resistance: a beautiful system!

Insulin resistance is not a bad mechanism.  It becomes a problem only when it is overused. It is a beautiful system that God has designed to allow us to be able to store calories for times when we will need them.  A farmer provides a classic example of how this is intended to work. During the busy summer when he is working the long 12-15 hour days plowing, planting, pitching hay, and harvesting he uses more calories than he can possibly take in during the limited time he has for meals.  Fortunately he uses stored energy from calories he tucked away during that slow off-season. 

It is fascinating that during those times when we need to store calories, and insulin resistance developes, higher insulin levels cause us to crave.  Typically we crave calories that are conveniently stored in the grains, fruits, and vegetables that we harvested in the summer.  Carbohydrates have fewer calories per ounce than fat does but the body can take them and convert them to fat which is calorie dense. This provides plenty of stored energy waiting to be used in the spring.  So craving is a good thing!  If we didn't crave, we would never store up the calories necessary for the times when we might otherwise starve.  So it is a wonderful protective mechanism, designed for the survival of mankind.  Like anything, it can become a problem.  (More on obesity later).

Connection to disease

Insulin Resistance only becomes a problem if we stay in the storage mode for an excessive amount of time.  In the early stages of calorie storage, the energy is stored in subcutaneous fat.  This is the fat that forms in areas that you can feel and pinch between your fingers. For the most part this fat is readily available for the body to use for energy on short notice.  When we stay in this storage mode for longer periods, the calories then can be stored in the deeper visceral layers that surround the abdominal organs.  It is here in the visceral fat that inflammatory cytokines are generated and are implicated in the chronic metabolic disorders. More info on fat

Cytokines

Ah!  Finally we come to the culprit.  In our current culture, for many people, the storage mode is a way of life.  Their lifestyle never requires them to use their fat stores for energy.  Food is so readily available that even with a moderately active workload, the fat stores are not ever tapped.  In these instances, the body starts sending calories to Visceral fat.  This type of fat also known as Visceral Adipose Tissue (VAT) becomes the problem.  Especially if the amount of VAT becomes greater than 2 pounds, it starts to pump out pro-inflammatory cytokines. With a little study of Cytokines you will see that there is a balance between the anti-inflammatory cytokines and the pro-inflammatory cytokines.  When this balance favors inflammation, the trouble begins.  

 

How much VAT (Visceral Adipose Tissue) do you have?  Is it more than 2 pounds?  You can find out quickly with a Body Composition Study done by DEXA.  Find out more about Body Composition

As you will see in the next few blogs, you can avoid the calamities heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer, arthritis by changing your lifestyle. Even after these infirmities occur, there are still ways to reverse them! Tune in next week to discover how these cytokines are influencing your health.

Find out now if you have insulin resistance now.  Call 231-943-2002

In the meantime there is always hope.  God has given us simple and wonderful ways to reverse these metabolic disorders.  We are 'Fearfully and Wonderfully Made' and we pray for your good health.

Doug Wigton, DO

Author
Douglas J. Wigton, DO Osteopathic Family Practice Physician

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