Insulin resistance diabetes
By Dr. David Ryan
If you are having trouble losing weight, then you may have insulin resistance diabetes or IR. This is a form of diabetes where the body fails to respond to the hormone insulin.
Failure to obtain an accurate diagnosis of this condition will result in an inability to lose weight by normal attempts of diet and exercise. If left untreated, the patient can become a significant risk for obesity and many serious medical conditions including diabetes mellitus type 2, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart attack and/or stroke.
Insulin acts like a vacuum cleaner and removes sugar from the blood stream and places it into the cells to be used as energy. When the condition of IR is present the insulin vacuum cleaner isn’t working and the sugar is not removed from the blood stream.
The failure of sugar removal from the blood results in damage to the blood vessel walls. High blood sugar levels prevent the body from using fat storage as a primary energy source during longer duration exercises.
A typical exercise pattern noted by most people will allow the burning of fats after approximately 5 minutes of constant exercise. Anyone suffering with IR will not burn fats normally. Their body is constantly drawing energy from the excessive blood sugars floating around.
The main causes of IR are diet, genetic factors, disease, some medications and a sedentary lifestyle. Diet is the main cause of IR and commonly associated with the ingestion of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), saturated fats, trans fats, polysaturated fats, high starch diets (high gluten or potato) and foods that are high glycemic index foods.
High starch diets result in an excessive production of insulin, which over a period of time causes the body to become resistant. A simple candy bar will spike your insulin for 5-15 min. A large serving of bread will elevate your insulin for over 3-4 hours.
The actual mechanism associated with HFCS is still being studied, but it appears to be linked to the bypassing of the liver and the recognition of the sugar causing a short-circuit in the insulin production. Alcoholic drinks sweetened with HFCS are specifically harmful to the individual and quickly show a trend towards IR.
Eating lots of saturated, polysaturated, monounstaturated and trans fats results in higher levels of visceral fat. This actually results in an inflammatory condition that causes a whole-body insulin resistance. Once the body has turned IR into type 2 diabetes, the use of Omega 3’s is not as useful.
Getting the right diagnosis starts at your physician’s office with a simple blood test. Fasting insulin levels and glucose tolerance testing are both major indicators of the IR. Glucose tolerance testing determines how quickly your body will remove blood sugar.
The treatment of IR begins with the low glycemic diet. The main improvement with most IR individuals is from the removal of many of the starchy foods and foods that spike insulin, such as candies, cakes and other high sugar foods.
In some extreme cases, medications such as metformin, exenatide (from the saliva of the Gila monster) and thiazolidinediones will improve insulin resistance. Different drugs have different mechanisms of action. Depending on your particular body type, results of your blood test, and your dietary habits, a physician will have to determine which medication would be best for you. Some trial and retesting is likely necessary.
Typically, standard aerobic exercise does not benefit the IR patient. Most will have to participate for well over 2-3 hours before the blood sugar drops low enough to actually begin the fat burning process. This is extremely taxing to the body and often results in mental fatigue as well as other physical complications.
Interval training produces the best format of response from the IR patient. Any type of exercise shows some degree of improvement with reversing the insulin resistance, but interval training provides the clearest successful response.
Improvement has been shown in many individuals by training as little as one day per week. The improvement is exponentially increased as the individual improves their physical activity.
Interestingly enough, the whole issue of IR helps answer an age-old question relative to eating prior to working out. When someone ingests a drink or food that has a lot of sugar associated with it, the body doesn’t begin the normal process of burning fats in the usual 5-10 minutes. The higher blood sugar content often results in a limitation of the fat burning process and the body can literally store more fats as a result of the higher blood glucose.
Many people are seeing success with the proper treatment of IR. One of my patients, Ginger, had successfully lost 30 lbs in 6 months, but her weight stayed the same for the next 6-8 months. Once she had a blood test and was diagnosed as having IR and after a medication was prescribed and an additional 40 lbs was lost in less than 3 months.
Yours in Health!
Columbus Chiropractic Center Director
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