Insulin and Blood Sugar Imbalances

By March 7, 2017Uncategorized

The body needs two things to survive, fuel and activation.  Fuel comes in the form of glucose and oxygen.  Having a disruption in our blood sugar balance can have profound effects on our health.  For example, let’s take someone with insulin resistance (pre-diabetic) and see some of the impacts that their blood sugar imbalance can have on their health.  First, we must realize that while glucose is required for fuel, too much fuel, just like too much of anything can cause a disruption in our physiological balance.  Normally glucose enters the cells of the body after insulin binds to a cell’s membrane at insulin receptor sites.  Without insulin binding to the insulin receptor site, glucose cannot enter the cell to provide fuel and stays in the blood stream.  Unfortunately, free glucose in our bloodstream is anything but good.  It has the potential to increase the amount and duration of glycosylation in our bodies which leads to tissue destruction and can cause major problems.  Diabetics often experience the effects of increased and prolonged glycosylation in their peripheral nerves which can lead to diabetic neuropathy.  They may attack organs such as their kidneys which can result in kidney failure and the need for dialysis or their retinas leading to diabetic retinopathy and ultimately blindness. (doi: 10.2337/diabetes.54.6.1615 Diabetes June 2005 vol. 54 no. 6 1615-1625)

Let’s consider one of my relatives who enjoyed all the blessings and curses of the typical Standard American Diet.  He flooded his blood with glucose so often that their pancreas worked overtime producing insulin to bind to the cells and allow glucose to enter the cells.  At first all was well, but very quickly his cells realized something that he did not.  They figured out that he didn’t need all that glucose.  In fact, they very quickly became insulin resistant.  Let’s look at it differently.  Imagine you have a neighbor and they call you up and ask you if you would watch their baby, Glucose, for an hour while they run to the store.  You are a nice neighbor and agree.  They drop off the baby, Glucose, and are on their way.  But then something unexpected happens, the doorbell rings again and it is Insulin again dropping off another baby, Glucose #2.  Reluctantly you take in the second baby.  Then a minute later the doorbell rings a third time and Insulin drops off baby #3.  Now how long does this have to happen before you stop answering the door?  Your cells aren’t stupid either, they stop letting insulin bind to the insulin receptor sites and you wind up with glucose running free through your bloodstream.  Your body knows that increased and prolonged glycosylation will destroy your nerves, kidneys and eyes, (not to mention you skin, and your brain) so it chooses to turn your glucose into stored energy, namely fats called triglycerides.  This requires a lot of energy and that leaves you feeling like you need a nap.  It also increases your fat stores and lowers your energy. If this sounds familiar then you may be insulin resistant.  The story only gets more interesting from this point.  Imagine this cycle repeating itself over and over.  We may have someone whose cells are practically starving, while glucose floats through the bloodstream, unable to get in because of their down regulation of insulin receptor sites.  The body knows that the free glucose in the blood stream will destroy organs so it turns it into more fat. All this can be a consequence of poor diet and lifestyle or genetics. Skinny Seattle’s New You Program identifies the stressors that might be contributing to your blood sugar dys-regulation and identifies what support may be helpful.

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