Blood sugar and insulin
This is an excellent essay about blood sugar and insulin. As you become more insulin resistant, you gain more weight.
Scroll down to see the negative effects that insulin resistance has on MAGNESIUM!!
ONE SLICE OF TOAST by Jeff Cyr
A lot of you have become familiar with the work of the brilliant Dr. Joseph Kraft with his insulin assays. Insulin assays simply means that Kraft studied what insulin did when he gave test subjects a certain load of carbohydrate. This carbohydrate load was administered in the form of 100 grams of pure glucose. Then Dr. Kraft over a 5 hour period in 1 hour increments would measure what insulin and blood sugar did together. He measured how much insulin was needed to process this load of 100 grams of glucose and how long the insulin remained elevated. Dr. Kraft identified 5 different insulin patterns with his work. I am not going to go into all the details of his work but I will just compare the difference between what Kraft called pattern 1 and pattern 4.
Those that were identified as pattern 1 had a normal insulin response to the 100 gram glucose load. The highest their insulin levels went to after 1-2 hours was 50 units of insulin and then fell back to their normal fasting insulin levels (3-10) within 3-4 hours. Those that were identified as pattern 4, under the same 100 gram glucose load, their insulin levels climbed to 200 units of insulin after 1-2 hours. These people that were pattern 4 their insulin levels after 3-4 hours remained elevated at 80-100 units of insulin. Keep in mind that most of these people being tested were healthy non-diabetics with normal fasting levels of blood sugar and insulin.
Dr. Ron Rosedale while he was still in private practice some years ago , knowing the importance of measuring blood sugar along with insulin, would also preform a Kraft style test. Sometimes he would give these patients a glucose solution of 75 grams. Sometimes he gave them 1 slice of toast. He would label this “ The Toast Test”. He would hook up patients in his office to a glucose monitoring system and an insulin monitoring system. He would measure their fasting blood sugar and fasting insulin levels. He would then have these patients eat 1 slice of toast. I slice of bread has on average 25 grams of carbohydrate that will convert very quickly in the body to 25 grams of glucose. Some of these patients were as young as 12 years old. In these 12 year olds they had normal fasting blood sugar and normal fasting insulin levels. After they ate that slice of toast their blood sugar would raise a little maybe to 100-120 their insulin levels however would rise into the hundreds. Some of them their insulin levels would climb into the 200-300 unit range after 30-60 minutes. One patient he saw their insulin levels rose to 440 units!. After eating only 25 grams of fast acting carbohydrate their insulin rose to 440 units. And their insulin levels remained elevated for an extended period of time. Why is this important? Why should this even matter. After all we all need insulin right? Insulin is a good thing right?
Of course insulin is a good thing when everything is working as it should. Every cell inside of you has insulin receptors on them that senses the concentration of insulin. In other words the cells hear the signaling being given buy insulin. When one is insulin sensitive everything works as it should. The liver and pancreas listen to one another. Glucagon and insulin listen to one another and remain sensitive to one another. Glucagon listens to insulin and insulin listens to glucagon. Under these conditions one who is insulin sensitive can properly use glucose as their main fuel supply. They can process large amounts of carbohydrate and their blood sugar and insulin levels drop back down to the normal range very quickly. Everything in controlling their glucose homeostasis works as it should. What is glucose homeostasis?
Glucose homeostasis simply means this. The human body is required to maintain tight control of your blood sugar levels 70-110. It is required to do so to always have a constant glucose supply for the cells that can only use glucose. These cells are found in the brain, the red blood cells, a few in the kidneys, and your retinas. All of your other cells can run on glucose or fat. If your blood sugar falls to low your brain and kidneys and red blood cells will stop working. If your blood sugar goes much above 110 this starts to become very toxic to the body. Glucose is a very sticky substance think of dumping a cup of caramel syrup on your computers keyboard. High blood sugar is very toxic to all of your cells and organs. Your body will do whatever is necessary to maintain this tight control on your blood sugar levels.
Insulin and glucagon are the two hormones in charge of regulating this glucose homeostasis. There is always a certain level of both hormones in the bloodstream. When things are working as they should there are normal levels of both hormones in the bloodstream. What will determine if you burn primarily glucose or fat for energy will depend on the ratio between both hormones. If insulin is lower than glucagon then glucagon is in charge. When glucagon is heard over insulin your body is in the fat-burning mode. This releases fat from your fat stores. Glucagon is also in charge of gluconeogenesis. When glucose becomes scarce or low this signaling of glucagon over insulin tells the liver to produce more glucose (sugar). When insulin is heard over glucagon this will instantly stop gluconeogenesis by the liver. And it also shuts off fat burning. When we eat carbohydrate and our blood sugar levels rise this is a sign that we have more energy (glucose) than we can currently use. The pancreas releases insulin in large amounts and stores the excess glucose for times of future need. This quick rise in insulin from the pancreas stops glucagon production and release and it stops gluconeogenesis in the liver. When our blood sugar gets low glucagon signals the liver to start making and releasing new sugar (gluconeogenesis) This shuts off insulin release by the pancreas. When one is still insulin sensitive this all works as it should. The liver and pancreas both listen to insulin and glucagon. There is a very fine and delicate balance between insulin and glucagon. When one is insulin resistant is when this delicate balance in signaling between both hormones is lost.
All of your cells do not become resistant to insulin at the same time. Your liver cells are the first to become insulin resistant. The first pass of insulin from the pancreas is first received by the liver. This is when insulin is in its strongest form insulin weakens as it goes on down the line. The muscle cells are the second to become insulin resistant and the fat cells are last. Some cells never become insulin resistant like the endothelium cells in your blood vessels. In someone who is insulin resistant once their liver cells have become resistant to insulin this is when insulin levels and glucagon levels start to rise in the bloodstream. Now since insulin and glucagon are the two hormones in charge of regulating your glucose homeostasis once the signaling of insulin is no longer properly heard by the liver things will start to go haywire. The liver no longer listens to insulin. When your blood sugar reaches that higher level glucagon is being heard over insulin by the liver. One of insulins jobs is to stop gluconeogenesis in the liver. Your liver listens to glucagon and keeps on producing new sugar (glucose) even if your blood sugar is 120-200.
Your liver cells have become so resistant to insulin that you can no longer process carbohydrate very well. You cannot use the glucose floating in your bloodstream for energy so most of the excess glucose from carbohydrate gets converted by the liver into fat. Your fat cells are still very sensitive to insulin so this process continues, The process of your liver making triglycerides and storing them into your fat cells. Now back to the importance of insulin resistance.
Why is this important the level of insulin resistance. As the work of Dr. Kraft and Rosedale has shown the more resistant you are the more insulin the pancreas needs to pump out to try and maintain this glucose homeostasis. The higher your level of resistance the more insulin needed and this of course leads to an even higher level of insulin and an increase in the insulin resistance. These young boys that Rosedale gave the toast test to. Their pancreases still had all of their beta-calls and their pancreases were able to release large amounts of insulin very quickly in response to the carbohydrate load. They were resistant to insulin which is why so much insulin was released by the pancreas. When your blood sugar starts to rise your body will do what it needs to, to quickly bring your blood sugar levels back to normal. As long as your pancreas can pump out enough insulin quickly you will maintain normal blood sugars. However If you continue on this high carb diet the high levels of insulin that your cells will be continuously exposed to will eventually lead to, to much resistance for the pancreas to keep up with. Your pancreas will not be able to put out enough insulin. This is when you are diagnosed type 2 diabetic. This is when your fasting blood sugar begins to rise. Some of you that are insulin resistant may get diagnosed sooner rather than later. I was diagnosed very late in the game. I had fasting blood sugar of 300 and an A1C of 12.0. An A1c of 12.0 is an average blood sugar of 350. I am sure at this point I must have had constant insulin levels of 150-300 units of insulin. As far as controlling my blood sugar levels the insulin wasn`t doing much of anything. High insulin however was doing a lot of its dirty work in the background.
As toxic as high blood sugar is to the body insulin is just as toxic only in different ways. Remember insulin is a storage hormone. It is a sign of excess nutrients a sign of the fed state. High insulin signals the cells to multiply and proliferate. Here is a short list of the effects of high insulin
1- High insulin activates your sympathetic nervous system your fight or flight response. This constricts your blood vessels and reduces blood flow. This raises your blood pressure. And your body remains in this fight or flight mode as long as insulin is in control.
2- High insulin causes the liver to make more fat with the excess or unusable glucose . This leads to more triglycerides in the bloodstream because the liver is overwhelmed with the production of fat
3- More production of triglycerides by the liver leads to more VLDL cholesterol to transport the triglycerides into storage in your fat cells. This type of cholesterol is the small dense LDL
4- The higher your level of insulin resistance the more triglycerides the liver will make from carbohydrate
5- This will of course lead to fatty liver and the production of small dense cholesterol, the kind that can be oxidized.
6- High insulin causes the retention of sodium and water which will lead to high blood pressure.
7- Constant Sodium retention leads to congestive heart failure.
8- This constant exposure by the cells to these high levels of insulin will cause the cells to down-regulate the insulin receptors only leading to a higher level of insulin resistance.
9- Insulin stores magnesium in your cells. If your cells are resistant to insulin your cells can`t store magnesium and you end up losing magnesium through urination.
10- Magnesium is needed for the production and use of insulin
11- If magnesium can`t get into your cells your blood vessels constrict. This will inhibit insulin and glucose from getting inside the cell.
12- This constant high level of insulin leads to more insulin resistance and more production of insulin needed by the pancreas to try and maintain glucose homeostasis.
13- All of this will eventually lead to a lot of pancreatic beta cell burn out. Totally destruction of beta cells
14- Then you end up like me being diagnosed very late in the game with at least 50-60% total beta-cell burnout.
Everything I have talked about here should make you better understand why a type 2 diabetic or any one who is insulin resistant should follow some form of a LCHF diet. You are insulin resistant and can`t use glucose very well for energy. Fat is the one macro-nutrient which is neutral on blood sugar and insulin. Once you are converted from glucose burner to fat burner most of your cells can very easily use fat as their fuel source. And whatever glucose needed to maintain glucose homeostasis by the few cells that can only use glucose your liver can easily make with by-products of fat metabolism or with protein amino acids.