Insulin Resistance: What does that mean?
Many people have been told that they have 'insulin resistance.' Those people may believe it has something to do with diabetes, and then they are content to be managed by a medication or an insulin pump. But it is important to understand what it truly means to be insulin resistant.
Insulin is a growth and repair hormone. Most people think that the role of insulin is just to lower blood sugar. But that is only one of many critical roles insulin plays in human metabolism.
Insulin resistance happens at a cellular level. Cell receptors receive communications from hormones, proteins, enzymes and nutrients. The receptors become insulin resistant as a protective measure from the toxic effects from too much insulin. The cells decrease the number and activity of their receptors. When the cell no longer receives as much insulin (amongst all other communications) then the pancreas is forced to produce more in order to get the same job done. Eventually the pancreas gets fatigued and wears out.
Virtually all of us are exposed to foods that increase our blood sugars beyond what we were designed to tolerate. Eating this way leads to both toxicity and deficiency on a chemical basis leading to the fight-or-flight response as discussed in prior articles. Here are some effects of insulin resistance:
Insulin determines the storage of fat and which fuels to use for energy. High insulin levels increase abnormal fat stores (belly, hips & thighs) and decreases fuel-burning efficiency. High insulin decreases the immune system by increasing the stress hormone, cortisol. It also decreases cellular reception of Vitamin C.
Insulin stores all sorts of nutrients, but when cells become resistant the insulin dumps nutrients into the urine. Some of those vital nutrients (like magnesium) when decreased cause high blood pressure and decreased energy production. These produce a vicious cycle of stress and decreased health.
High insulin increases LDL cholesterol, which can lead to plaque in the arteries. Insulin causes some cells to replicate faster, but not all, which leads to an imbalance in most organ systems. It causes blood to clot too readily. It increases osteoporosis by interfering with growth hormone and liver function preventing the bones from utilizing available calcium.
There are many other major organs, hormones and functions that insulin directly affects. In fact, there is not a hormone in the body that insulin doesn't affect or directly control. And you cannot feel insulin working correctly nor feel insulin resistance happening. Obviously it needs to be respected instead of neglected. Perhaps the most important thing to know is that insulin resistance is not a cause of any issue, it is simply the effect of a poor diet and lifestyle. And luckily those can be changed starting now. I hope you are ready to ask me how.
Northwood Health Center
599 Glatt Circle
Woodburn, OR 97071