Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How Much Insulin Is Too Much?

I want to help diabetics understand that the problem with their bodies is that they can not use carbohydrates like a non-diabetic.  Also, to understand that in most cases it is not a lack of insulin that is causing them problems, rather it is excessive insulin.  Hyperinsulinemia is a fancy $50 word for more insulin than the body needs or can ever use. 

Before:  Mary and Dick 2002 
After reading Dr. Bernstein's book, "Diabetes Solution" and Gary Taubes books, "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and "Why We Get Fat" and learning from a number of other low carb doctors that excessive insulin is the root cause of so many of the debilitating affects of diabetes, I cringe every time I see an article that encourages diabetics to simply use more insulin to cover the carbs they are eating.  UGH!

Insulin is one of,  if not thee, strongest hormones in the body.  Insulin reacts to and only to carbohydrates.  Insulin does have a minor reaction to protein however, the insulin response is significantly less making protein's impact nominal.

Insulin's main job is to rid the body of glucose primarily by getting it into the cells to be used for energy.  Failing that, it must find a place to store the glucose somewhere outside of the bloodstream. The other glucose storage areas will be discussed in a coming blog.

Blood cells have what could best be described as "doors."  These doors called receptors lay flat against the cells exterior walls.  These receptors are the gatekeepers for the cells.  

Insulin takes it's job very seriously.  The moment you eat carbohydrates, insulin goes into action.  It initially knocks on the doors/receptors of the cells to prod and activate those receptors to open.  Ideally, when insulin comes knocking,  the receptor doors open and allow the much needed glucose to enter.   Glucose brings vital energy to the cells enabling them to function properly.

However, the cells only require a tiny amount of glucose.  As in life, cells can get too much of a good thing.  When you consistently eat more carbohydrates than your body requires, you continue to flood those cells and their receptors with insulin.  This rampant flow of insulin is constantly "knocking" on the receptors of your cells trying to get them to open.

Cells need the glucose that insulin brings.  They are in many cases starved for glucose.   But, because of the continuous "flood" of insulin they have become...wait for it...insulin resistant.   Insulin resistant is a term most type 2 diabetics hear from their doctors but haven't a clue as to what it means.  Now you know.

The end result of this dance between excessive carbohydrates and insulin is that you are an insulin resistant type 2 diabetic.

Simply put, excessive insulin is like the boy who cried wolf -- the receptors on the cells, is like the people in the boy's village.  The receptors/villagers just stop believing that there is a glucose / wolf at the door.  They refuse to open.  

You "love carbs" because you have become addicted to them.  The same center in the brain that causes addiction to cocaine and other drugs, reacts to carbohydrates in the same manner.  The exception here is that the addiction to carbs is actually stronger than the addiction to narcotic drugs.

After:  Mary and Dick 2004
Carbohydrates act like a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI's). Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that makes you feel good, very, very good.  Carbs give you that good feeling, that high that you are looking for, that high that you crave in that moment.  Often within a short time after eating those carbs, your high diminishes and you are left with the urge to find more of that "stuff" that will make you feel good again.  You are addicted to carbs!

In 2002, my husband, (who, at that time, had been suffering with type 2 diabetes for over 20 years) was on 43 units of insulin, had severe, painful neuropathy in both his feet that limited his ability to walk more than 75 feet at one time because of the pain.  He was on Neurotin for over 15 years for the pain from the neuropathy.  His weight ballooned to 280 pounds (he's 5' 9").  And this is the short version of his story.  He was miserable.  

9:15 A.M. at Disney World 2012

Through much research and study including Dr. Bernstein's and Gary Taubes books,  we developed a program for him that we call "How We Beat Diabetes."  Within 3 months on our program, he came off the insulin completely and has never gone back.  He lost 80 pounds within the first 9 months and has since lost another 20 making the total weight loss 100 pounds.  Neuropathy is gone. He's walked in 2 5K races and finished.

We were in Disney World this summer and he walked the park from 8:30 a.m. until 11:45 p.m. with only a 2 hour break in the afternoon to refresh.

His energy levels which were near zero are now seemingly unlimited.  He's like the energizer bunny!  And we are now going on over 10 years of the low carb way of life.

While everyone is different in many respects, human physiology is the same. Physiologically, beta cells job is to produce insulin.  
11:45 P.M Dick and Mary Ann (cousin) getting off Monorail

The beta cells of the pancreas respond to carbohydrates and ONLY to carbohydrates.  Excess carbohydrates in, excess insulin out. 

Excess insulin results in inflammation, weight gain, insulin resistance and more.  Balance your carbohydrate intake with your insulin output and watch the amazing results.

I am no doctor, I am not a nutritionist, nor do I hold any medical license.  I am sharing what I have learned from reading and the study of how I could help my husband.  I am sharing with you what we've learned and experienced in these past 10 years. 

 You ALWAYS need to check with your physician before making any changes to your diet or exercise.  Your physician is the only person who is qualified to guide you in the management of your diabetes.  

That said, however, you need to take responsibility for your own health.  You need to become an empowered patient.  An empowered patient is one who is fully knowledgable about their health condition and becomes a proactive partner with their physician in their own healthcare.

Question everything your doctor tells you.  Why do I need this medication?  What are the side affects that I should know about?  When and how can I come off of this medication?  If I have not had a heart attack and I don't have a heart condition, then why am I on statin medication?  

Then go home and check the "magic box" AKA your computer.  Find out about your meds from reliable sources.  Call your pharmacist and question her about the medication you are taking.  It's your health for goodness sake!  Why wouldn't you exercise a proactive attitude about protecting it?

Our program How We Beat Diabetes has helped so many people because we share with them what happened to us.  It is almost always directly the opposite of what they are currently doing.  It is so gratifying to see lightbulbs go off as people begin to really understand diabetes and embrace the fact that they are responsible for their healthcare.

And for those who might ask; my husband is 73 years old.  We will be celebrating our 52nd Wedding Anniversary in October, 2012.  Whooo Hooo!

Oh yes, and he's out of the house right now, playing golf!  :D