In honor of World Diabetes Day, I share with you great information from Dr. Brain Mowll as my gift to you looking at the root of Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance.
What’s At The Root Of Type 2 Diabetes?
There are several types of diabetes, including type 1, type 2, gestational, and pre- diabetes. With the exception of type 1, which is typically due to damaged beta cells in the pancreas, which make insulin, the majority of diabetes cases start with insulin resistance in the liver, muscles, and other organs.
- Insulin resistance is a pervasive condition that is associated with not only diabetes, but weight gain, hormone problems, brain dementia, and cancer. It is typically present for years or even decades prior to someone becoming officially diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the type that used to be called “adult onset” diabetes because it usually occurs later in life and is more associated with lifestyle habits than genetics.
There is many causes and contributors to insulin resistance, and usually several factors are at work. Among the biggest reasons why someone develops insulin resistance are:
- a poor diet, rich in processed carbohydrates, that leads to increased insulin secretion
- being overweight or obese, particularly central adiposity (apple-shape weight gain)
- some genetic factors (meaning they have inherited the trait that leads to IR)
- a stressful lifestyle which stimulates cortisol release that raises blood sugar
- lack of optimal physical activity and/or sedentary lifestyle
- improvarious illnesses, infections, and immune dysfunction (gut problems are a common problem)
- certain medications can also add to growing insulin problems Insulin resistance is a major contributor to a condition referred to as “metabolic syndrome”. When someone is diagnosed with having metabolic syndrome, this usually means they are experiencing problems managing blood sugar levels, are likely overweight, and may have high blood pressure or cholesterol. Often the biggest causes of metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and eventually type 2 diabetes is being overweight and eating a poor diet that is high in sugar and processed foods. These foods increase inflammation throughout the body, which causes the body to react by creating chemicals (called cytokines) that block insulin from properly doing its job. An inflammatory diet consists of refined carbohydrates (pasta, bread, white potato products, and cereal for example) and foods high in processed ingredients and sugar (ice cream, candy, cookies, and soda for example). Insulin is an important hormone in our body that is responsible for controlling how much sugar remains in our blood after we eat something. Insulin is made by the pancreas exclusively and its most important job is to remove glucose (from
carbohydrates in food as well as the sugar release by the liver) away from the blood and feeds it to the muscles and cells so they can use the sugar as energy, keeping our bodies functioning and moving.
When someone starts to experience resistance to insulin, they are no longer able to properly respond to the hormone. To compensate, the pancreas produces more and more insulin until it can no longer keep up. Eventually, even high levels of insulin are not enough to remove and use sugar from the blood properly, so the blood sugar spikes very easily and can remain high for a dangerous amount of time, causing pre- diabetes,and type 2 diabetes. In addition, this leads to more weight gain (insulin causes the body to store fat), inflammation in the blood vessels, heart disease and stroke risk, and damage to the small blood vessels in the eyes, kidneys, and feet.
To prevent or reverse pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, it’s essential to increase sensitivity to insulin. Once there is less insulin resistance, insulin levels can fall, and it can become easier to lose weight, reduce inflammation, and control blood sugar.