Help Prevent Diabetes, Dementia and Metabolic Damage by Understanding Insulin

If diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, metabolic issues or excess body fat are concerns for you, insulinis something you’re going to want to understand.

What is insulin?

We all secrete insulin every day, and for good reason — we need it to live! It’s a shame that it has gotten such a bad rap over the years, because insulin is a beautiful hormone that brings energy (glucose and amino acids) into our cells so we can use it. The problem is in chronically-elevated insulin levels, all day, every day. Just like anything else with the body, we need an ebb and flow, rise and fall — never too much of one thing for too long.

When you have chronically-high insulin, a myriad of issues ensue.

The first thing is insulin resistance. Constantly elevated blood glucose (sugar) levels means constantly secreted insulin; it’s working hard to bring this fuel into our cells. Eventually the cells become resistant to insulin, even though there’s an abundance of it in the bloodstream. A staggering number of Americans have insulin resistance, yet symptoms don’t usually show until diabetes develops.

This is a precursor to prediabetes. One out of every three adults has prediabetes in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 90 percent of people with prediabetes are not aware that they have the condition. Without treatment, this usually leads to type 2 diabetes within five years.

Once the pancreas can’t keep up with the insulin demands, you have type 2 diabetes. More than 100 million adults living in the U.S. have diabetes or prediabetes, costing us $327 billion in 2017. As of 2015, diabetes was listed as the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S.

So many people have this disease or the precursors for it, yet there’s still not adequate education about how diabetes can often be prevented by managing blood sugar levels. Even diabetes.org is hesitant to mention that food affects insulin, and by changing the food you eat you can change the insulin levels in your body.

However, that’s not the only bad thing about insulin resistance.

Misfolding Proteins

Insulin resistance causes misfolded proteins called amylin to increase in the pancreas. If you’ve heard of amyloid plaques as the hallmark of Alzheimer’s, this is very similar. There are over 30 misfolding protein diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, caused by the accumulation of these misfolded proteins.

These proteins can travel to other areas in the body and cross-seed and augment the growth of more misfolded proteins; amylin from the pancreas can travel to the brain and encourage amyloid beta to increase in Alzheimer’s patients.There’s more to the genesis of these diseases, but it’s safe to say that you want to avoid accumulating misfolded proteins.

What Can You Do?

Let your insulin drop! Sugar causes the highest insulin spike. Combining sugar with protein (think white bread and meat, or a soda with any meal) makes this spike even higher. You don’t need to cut these out completely, just be mindful if every meal and snack you eat looks like this. Switch it up with a lower carbohydrate option like a salador a simple combo of vegetables and protein once a day. Practice intermittent fasting to let insulin finally fall.

And maybe take a hit … ?

Cannabis Benefits

Surprisingly, cannabis use has been correlated with less insulin resistance and smaller waist circumference.

Previous epidemiologic studies have found lower prevalence rates of obesity and diabetes in marijuana users,” says Murray Mittleman, M.D., “ … even after accounting for other behavioral and clinical characteristics.” The data suggests that cannabis improves blood sugar control, which isn’t surprising, as the endocannabinoid system is so involved in our metabolism.

Of course, you can never out-supplement (or out-smoke) a bad diet, but knowing that cannabis can help your insulin levels is certainly a bonus!

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