Eoin Roe, Chiropractic
Call 087 958 2362
Many chronic health problems are caused or exaggerated by high levels of blood sugar and insulin resistance. Diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain, hormone imbalances, autoimmunity and Alzheimer’s are just a few of the conditions that are impacted by high levels of blood sugar and insulin.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. Its job is to take glucose (sugar) out of the blood stream, put it into cells and convert the excess into fat.
This insulin/glucose transport system is a part of normal physiology but when it is triggered consistently the insulin receptors on cells can become unresponsive hence the term insulin resistance.
The result of this is that there is too much glucose in the blood and a further elevation of insulin which causes inflammation. This inflammation can affect hormone balance and even cause brain problems like fatigue and brain fog.
There are many symptoms related to insulin resistance, perhaps the most important of these is noticing how you feel after eating. If you eat a meal and feel tired or fatigued, this is a sign that you may be suffering from insulin resistance. Other symptoms include constant hunger, craving for sweets after meals, frequent urination, trouble falling asleep and migrating aches and pains.
From a clinical point of view there is no specific diagnostic test, but on a blood test you may notice LDL levels elevating and a decrease in HDL and, in later stages, an elevation in fasting blood glucose and triglycerides. Elevated blood pressure and a waist girth larger than hip girth are all indicators that insulin resistance is possible.
What is the cause of insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance is rooted in a diet that is too high in processed carbohydrate and sugar. The other obvious result of this is weight increase; this is problematic because the fat itself produces inflammatory compounds that can impact every part of your body.
The resulting surges in insulin and inflammatory compounds are also very problematic for the brain to handle and are related to an increase risk for Alzheimer’s Disease and other form of cognitive decline in old age.
Hormone balance with insulin resistance
This affects both men and women. In men, excess insulin can cause an elevation in oestrogen. In women the opposite happens and they can produce more testosterone. An elevation of testosterone is very problematic because it can reinforce the insulin resistance – elevated levels of testosterone directly affect the insulin binding sites on cells. Elevated levels of insulin are also a significant factor in PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), which is a leading cause of infertility and other hormone symptoms like hair loss and even anxiety and depression.
How to overcome insulin resistance?
There is only one way to overcome insulin resistance and that is to change your diet, away from processed carbohydrates and sugar to one which is high in fibre, good fat and protein.
Additionally, one of the most important things to understand is your level of tolerance to carbohydrates.
Genetic factors, stress levels and amounts of exercise can make a difference in how much carbohydrate and sugar an individual can handle. The best way I have found to work this out is to undertake a carbohydrate exclusion for two weeks. Details for an ebook on this can be found at the following link: https://www.roehealth.ie/2-week-carb-exclusion-sign-up-form
This is not a diet for life, it is a test, and you are using it to work out how much carbs you can handle – once you have figured that out you need to stick to it and not overeat carbohydrate and sugar.
You must also stop relying on coffee or sugary snacks to get you through the day. Instead think of high fibre, protein, or fat options as snacks.
And lastly the old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is true. You should aim to eat a high protein breakfast such as eggs within one hour of waking.
Eoin Roe is a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and Chiropractor based in Skibbereen. Please feel free to contact him through the website www.roehealth.ie or call 087 9582362.