Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Insulin - why it should matter to you.

Article written by Kally Frankson

Insulin is known to be the “Master Hormone” and is the key player in managing inflammation as well as the underpinning element in disease and autoimmune response.

Did you know: Carpal tunnel syndrome is an inflammatory response to insulin resistance? Control insulin and you can control conically high levels of inflammation and treat carpal tunnel syndrome.

Overconsumption of foods that are calorie dense, nutritionally-poor, phytochemical depleted, highly processed and rabidly absorbable has been shown to increase systemic inflammation and reduce insulin sensitivity and often results in metabolic syndrome, a physiological state encompassing a cluster of metabolic abnormalities including dyslipodemia, central obesity, hypertension and glucose tolerance. These are all independent risk factors for the development of type II diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Moreover, chronically high blood glucose levels, stress, lack of sleep… impair tissue sensitivity to insulin.

Insulin is also known as being a storage hormone as it lets things in and out of cells. Glycagon is then the counter hormone to insulin that releases fatty acid from storage in response to protein and hunger and acts to normalize energy levels and improve insulin sensitivity. This also plays an important factor in muscle gain, but once you go past the point of insulin sensitivity it becomes fat gain in the gut. If too much insulin is ingested at once, glycogen stores in the liver become full and it turns into fat. When insulin is high, nothing gets in or out of the cells to use as energy and you are not able to burn the fat that you already have. However, if fat is the predominate fuel source and insulin levels are low, people tend not to gain weight even when consuming large amounts of fat, as the fat is easily released from the cells as a source of fuel.

Insulin levels are also key to controlling cholesterol.
• If insulin levels are high, LDLs are small and dense (enabling them to get lodged into the vascular bed leading to an autoimmune response=BAD)
• If insulin levels are low, LDL are large and fluffy (enabling the body to manage them=GOOD). Monitoring insulin production by limiting intake of processed carbohydrates-not only sugars but also cultivated grains (even whole grains) allows you to succeed with long term body composition goals and avoid most common modern lifestyle related health problems and disease.

By adding the following to your meals, you can lower the glycemic index of the entire meal by as much as 30%: chutney, dills & sweet pickles, green olives, horse radish, lemon juice, lime juice, marinated vegetables, pickled veggies, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, tangy salsas, vinegar and oil.

Fish oil, fiber and glutamine can also be used throughout the day to help stabilize insulin levels.

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