Insulin Resistance

We are truly ‘Fearfully and Wonderfully Made’ (Psalm 139:14).  Even after 50 years of studying the human body and its intricate makeup, I continue to be in awe of the Creator’s design.  As I have tried to discover why there has been a such a tremendous increase in the cases of diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, hypertension, and cancer since I have been in practice, the evidence for a common thread is overwhelming.  It has nothing to do with a bad design.  Rather we should be stunned by the genius of the mechanisms embedded for our preservation.  So there is no need for a raft of medications to correct an underlying genetic flaw!  We merely need to understand the body's operation and work with the way that it was designed. 

 

The problem lies in ‘insulin resistance’.  Even though this term has hit the press many times in the past several years, little has been done to utilize the concept in preventing the calamity of these diseases for which it is responsible.  Perhaps this is a new term for you, so let me describe what it means. 

 

We have been created to manage the calories we ingest in our foods.  We need to either use them or store them.  The calories are needed for energy in every cell of our body in order to carry out the various functions.  Muscles cells use the calories for contraction, organs like liver and pancreas to make enzymes, the pituitary and adrenal to make hormones, and the brain and nervous system to carry out thought processes and transmit impulses. 

 

Using Calories

In order for calories to be used, they have to get into the cells that require them at the time.  Insulin is the major hormone to accomplish this. It basically opens the cells to allow the calories from glucose (sugar) to enter.  Once the glucose is in the cell, a metabolic manufacturing plant in the mitochondia turns it into energy in the form of ATP.   

 

Storing Calories

If the cell does not need energy, in a beautiful fashion, it becomes Insulin Resistant so only the cells that are working end up with the meal of glucose.  When all the cells are satisfied, there are two cell types that never say no to a free lunch: fat cells and cancer cells which have a greater number of insulin cell receptors on their surface. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC296896/)

What a wonderful system!  We use calories when we need them and store them when we don’t so that they will be available at times when food is not as plentiful or the time to eat is not available.  So how could anything go wrong?

Here is the dilemma!  When we have developed insulin resistance and go in to a storage mode of managing our calories (because we ate more than our fair share), insulin levels have had to increase to bring the blood level of glucose down.  Insulin is made in the pancreas.  If dietary sugars are chronically high (too much sugar and carbs in the diet and not enoughexercise to burn them off), it is a burden on the pancreas to manufacture the amount of insulin required.  Eventually the pancreas fatigues and insulin levels drop.  With lower insulin levels, the sugar starts to climb and the diagnosis of diabetes is made.  At the time the diagnosis is made, more than 50% of the pancreatic cells that make insulin are gone.  The basic problem inherent in Diabetes is that cells that do require energy from glucose, no longer can get it without the insulin to open the cells.  Cells starve.  Hence Diabetes is called ‘Starvation in the midst of plenty’.  Plenty of glucose available but it can’t get into the cell. 

A real tragedy is that the underlying problem causing the diabetes typically has been going on for 10 years before the sugar is found to elevate!  The best time to prevent a catastrophe is gone! 

So how about the other diseases I mentioned at the start (heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, and cancer)?  For now suffice it to say that these too are all related to the Insulin Resistance. There are two things that you absolutely need to know: 1. How can this be diagnosed ahead of time, and 2. What can we do to prevent it?  Tune in next week for the sequel. 

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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