Insulin Resistance and Belly Fat

Insulin Resistance and BellyFat
In a normal metabolism, when we consume carbohydrates, the pancreas will release insulin that carries the glucose (broken down carbohydrates), into the cells to be used for energy output.
When the body has been exposed to prolonged, excessive carbohydrate intake, and the pancreas has had to pour out increased loads of insulin, eventually the cells become less and less sensitive to the insulin and will no longer allow the insulin to carry the glucose into the cells.  The result is that there are high levels of insulin in the blood, a condition known as hyperinsulinemia. This condition is not yet diabetes but left untreated, may become type 2 diabetes.

If the insulin cannot carry the glucose into the cells, the body senses that there is too much sugar in the blood and the pancreas produces yet more insulin, eventually wearing itself out, much like constantly revving your car engine. This becomes Type 2 diabetes.

High levels of insulin, even before the official diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, has far reaching and damaging effects on the body.

Insulin resistance plays a role in the following conditions.
– increased risk of prostate and breast cancer
– Hypertension
– Heart Disease
– Weight gain
– Difficulty losing weight
– Stroke
– Metabolic Syndrome
– Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (infertility)
– Increased triglycerides and decreased HDL
– Affects thyroid health

While factors such as exercise levels and obesity do play a part, not all insulin resistant individuals are obese. Other factors are involved, as greater than 50% of individuals with IRS are not obese, and individuals may have normalized insulin levels while still remaining overweight. The combination of genes and lifestyle may affect the individuals response to insulin.  Nutritional intake may play a huge role in either offering some protection against insulin resistance or indeed, propelling an individual towards this. Apparently, the ability of insulin to stimulate glucose uptake varies widely from person to person, with the degree of obesity only one factor, and each individual needs to be assessed with unique response in mind.

It is insufficient to simply look at fasting glucose to measure diabetes risk or status. Other factors need to be measured to fully understand the individual, particularly when the individual is experiencing symptoms such as:

– Belly fat
– Inability to lose weight no matter what the calorie intake
– Thyroid disturbances
– Sugar or carbohydrate cravings
– mid afternoon slump

What to do about it?

Consult a lifestyle coach or Functional Medicine Practitioner.  Correcting Insulin Resistance is not a linear approach and each person is different. Certain toxins such as mercury play havoc with Insulin as well as the receptor sites on the cell membrane, for example, as well as mistakes in eating timing and food choice.  Some basic minerals such as magnesium deficiency also affect the efficacy of Insulin and the integrity of the receptor site.
Once the status of the individual has been properly assessed, a program of nutritional and vitamin support that will re -sensitise the cells to insulin, plus an exercise regime that may easily be incorporated into the unique lifestyle of that individual, is required.  Stress is also a factor in managing insulin resistance, as well as the impact on the thyroid.  Success is elusive without a multi- pronged approach.

What can I do immediately, before consulting with a Functional Practitioner?

1. Increase Fibre
2. Drink more water

Turning 50

I recently turned 50 and it was as though I fell off a cliff.  One day all was going perfectly with my health and the next, I could barely read a paragraph of my novel without wondering who the people were, let alone study.  Measuring my hormones was a revelation.  I found I had almost zero Progesterone.  Who knows how long this had been dropping off.

I thought I would share the signs and symptoms of low Progesterone with you all… especially those of you who are 45 and older.

If you find you are ticking almost every box, there is hope! While hormones are not to be treated lightly and careful discussion with your doctor is required, as well as time well spent with a Functional Medicine Practitioner or nutritionist, there are several steps you can take for yourself, in order to ameliorate any symptoms you may be experiencing.

  1. Cut out sugars and high GI foods.  These inflame the body and make the brain fog, tension, anxiety and hot flushes worse.
  2. Remove alcohol.  A moderate intake of alcohol is 3 glasses a week. Anything more than that means the liver has to use up precious detoxification enzymes on neutralising the alcohol when these enzymes are better served helping the body process and remove hormone metabolites.  Estrogen dominance occurs when our estrogen levels are high in relation to out progesterone. It is even possible to be Estrogen Dominant with very low levels of Estrogen, simply because we may have even lower levels of Progesterone. Too much Estrogen that is not being metabolised, increases the risks of endometrial and breast cancer.
  3. Eat broccoli and cauliflower. They have a special phytonutrient called Indol-3-carbinol that is very protective against breast cancer.
  4. Add fibre to your diet.  A properly functioning gut will eliminate estrogen metabolites.
  5. Add freshly ground flaxseeds for their lignans.  Also protective against estrogen metabolites.
  6. Keep your weight down or make a special effort to lose weight.  Fat is able to synthesize Estrogen and if one is not eliminating Estrogen metabolites properly, the continual exposure to these metabolites will increase risk of cancer. Click here for a course on weight loss.
  7. Keep Insulin levels down.  Insulin promotes cellular proliferation, as does Estrogen and this contributes to increased risk of poor health.  See the free lecture on Insulin and how it impacts on your health:  Click Here.
  8. Add exercise to your day.  Even 10 minutes daily, while you are waiting for the dinner to cook, will positively impact on mood, well being, blood flow, insulin levels and sugar metabolism. Pump up the music and dance or run up and down stairs 10 x, or skip for 3 minutes.  These are all activities that require no equipment, just determination.
Gentle Exercise
Gentle Exercise

Signs and Symptoms of Pregesterone Deficiency

· sleep disorders
· anxiety
· irregular menses
· hair loss
· cramping
· acne
· low sex drive
· mood swings
· depression
· excessive bleeding
· Infertility
· Thyroid dysfunction or disorders
· Depression
· Fibrocystic breasts
· Weight gain
· Gallbladder disease
· Low blood sugar
· Panic attacks
· Water retention
· Irregular menstrual cycle
· Blood clots during menstruation
· Magnesium deficiency
· Vaginal dryness
· Breast tenderness
· Muscle cramps, sore muscles
· Insomnia
· Dry cracked heels
· Sugar cravings
· Low basal body temperatures
· Cold hands and feet

Turning 50
Hot flashes

Signs and Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Memory lapses
  • Difficult concentrating
  • Joint pain
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Dry skin (which can lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and brown age spots)
  • Loss of libido
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Vaginal infection
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Low self Esteem

My own experience has a happy ending. I responded very well to a bio-identical Progesterone cream which my doctor and I are continually monitoring.

Discuss the safety profile of synthetic hormones with your doctor. Synthetic hormones have a very poor safety profile, particularly unopposed estrogen, in other words a synthetic estrogen given with no progesterone.  If you are on an estrogen replacement, talk to your doctor about adding progesterone (not progestins.  These are synthetic and do not have a good safety profile).

I hope this post also helps you.

In Vitality

Jules