Do you have weight gain around the middle, tiredness, irritability, insomnia, poor mental function and inability to lose weight? If you answered yes, your lifestyle needs an overhaul as you are insulin resistant.
Insulin regulates blood sugar levels within the body. We associate insulin with diabetes – but there is a more insidious condition that happens when our blood sugar levels are “considered” normal, but our body quits responding normally to the insulin we produce – ie. Insulin resistance – which is a pre-diabetic condition affecting way too many of us.
Normally, insulin helps the body use blood sugar. When we consume too many foods that convert easily into sugar such as refined carbohydrates, our body has to make lots of insulin to utilize that sugar. Over time, our bodies quit responding to the insulin, we have to make more and more to get our cells to respond, and we end up with excess insulin in our blood.
Excess insulin is very dangerous to our health, particularly our cardiovascular health. Too much insulin increases salt and water retention leading to high blood pressure and weight gain. Insulin aggravates high blood pressure by making the arteries more susceptible to the effects of adrenaline (stress). High insulin levels affect neurotransmitters resulting in sleep disorders. Excess insulin is directly involved with cardiovascular health in that it creates atherosclerotic plaque. Insulin is the primary contributor to both high levels of triglycerides and low levels of good HDL cholesterol. Insulin also provokes the liver into producing more LDL cholesterol.
Even if we do not develop diabetes, insulin resistance is extremely harmful. When our bodies resist insulin, our blood sugar tends to be too high. High blood sugar damages our kidneys, eyes, nerves and skin. Note that your blood sugar may be within “normal” ranges – these need to be redefined for better health – I think fasting glucose over 90 is bad. Consider that all disease conditions will get worse in a high sugar / high insulin body.
If you have any of the symptoms discussed above, you will not get well until you address the underlying cause. There really are no pills that will get you well – it is all in diet and exercise
Again – no pills will get you well, but there are some supplements that will help balance the body so that diet and exercise changes are easier and work faster. Glucobalance is a great multivitamin that helps lower blood sugar and increase the body’s responsiveness to insulin. Other supplements that help lower blood sugar are fiber, cinnamon, gymnema, and juniper berries. Certain fats lower insulin resistance. These include omega 3 oils DHA and EPA, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Minerals that decrease insulin resistance are chromium, magnesium, potassium, vanadium and zinc. Other supplements that improve insulin metabolism include l-carnitine, coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, B vitamins biotin and inositol, and vitamins A, D and E. .
Regular exercise greatly benefits insulin metabolism. Both aerobic (walking) and isotonic (weight lifting) exercises will reduce insulin resistance.
Hopefully, after reading this, you will understand the connection between a diet high in refined carbohydrates and cardiovascular disease. If you are at risk, please take some action to bring your health into balance.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas. www.naturalcowgirl.wordpress.com