INSULIN RESISTANCE –PREVENTABLE AND REVERSIBLE CAUSE OF ACCELERATED AGING AND ABDOMINAL OBESITY
Accelerated aging and inability to lose weight around your waistline surprisingly have one common cause: Insulin resistance. Furthermore, many other detrimental diseases can be an expression of this condition.One of the manifestations of Insulin resistance- diabetes type 2 increased nearly sevenfold, from 35 million to 240 million from 1983 to 2008, and 2030 it will be 552 million cases! National survey data suggest the insulin resistance syndrome is very common, affecting about 24% of US adults aged greater than 20 years.
INSULIN RESISTANCE ( IR) spectrum of symptoms & diseases
The reason why so many systems suffer when Insulin resistance develops is coming from the range of function that insulin has in our body. These are:
- Glucose metabolism and maintaining normal glucose homeostasis
- Fat mobilization and synthesis
- Protein metabolism
- Oxidative stress and inflammatory response
- Mitochondrial function and energy production
- Cytokine synthesis involved in abdominal obesity
- Adrenal and sex hormone metabolism
The diversity of these functions explains why someone suffering from Insulin resistance can have simultaneously deferent symptoms and signs. Inability to lose abdominal fat, fatigue, diabetes type 2 and sleep apnea can manifest in one individual, or another person could have fatigue with insomnia, adult acne, depression and irregular menstrual period. In some patients cardio- metabolic involvement with hypertension and cholesterol problem would be the first sign of Insulin resistance. Often inability to build muscle while going to the gym regularly with carrying some extra fat around waistline can be the only sign. In some, however, breast, ovarian, endometrial, colon, prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s could be the only and detrimental manifestation of Insulin resistance. There are more than 5000 studies about the connection between IR and Alzheimer’s, and more than 7000 reviews about IR being a cause of cardio-metabolic syndrome and heart attack. The association with breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer opened a suggestion for vigorous screening in Insulin resistant women. Interestingly there are more than 300 studies explaining that very first sign of insulin resistance could be an erectile dysfunction. Studies also show that epidemic of PCOS is Insulin resistance related. With all the above, accelerated aging and premature skin aging are accompanying symptoms caused by the formation of Advanced Glycation End Products ( AGEs) during hyperglycemia or excessive sugar intake.
Multiple ways in which Insulin resistance can present
■ Type 2 diabetes
■ Dyslipidemia and cardio-metabolic syndrome
■ Abdominal obesity and inability to lose weight
■ Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
■ Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease(NFLD)
■ Adult onset acne
■ Cognitive decline (diabetes type 3) –Alzheimer’s
■ Erectile dysfunction
■ Sleep apnea
■ Cancer (breast, prostate, colon, endometrial cancer)
■ End-stage renal disease (ESRD)
Difficulties in treating Insulin resistance effectively, come from not recognizing or not investigating all possible causes of this epidemic condition.
Causes of Insulin Resistance:
- Excess energy intake overwhelming metabolic pathways in glucose metabolism. This means inadequate diet: an excessive intake of sugar, carbohydrate, and trans-fatty acid by the individual whose life is mostly sedentary.
- Stress: nutritional, emotional, chemical, physical, etc. There are 4 counter-regulatory hormones to Insulin of which Cortisol is the most important in keeping glucose hemostasis and creating unnecessary visceral fat as a “back up” during prolonged stress. Under the ongoing influence of high Cortisol during stress, visceral fat grows further and through inflammatory cytokines create the whole body Insulin resistance that is very difficult to treat (if stress is persisting). Unfortunately, without addressing visceral fat as a “factory” for IR we will be unable to control not just abdominal obesity but all diseases and premature aging that comes with IR.
- Persistent organic pollutants in our environment (heavy metals and toxins). There is an extensive research in this field confirming that our environment is largely contributing to Insulin Resistance. That is the reason why removing these toxins and replenishing own body’s capacity to detox sufficiently is one of the requirements for an effective outcome.
- Genetic predisposition. Many scientific publications have found the important role of our Genetic makeup in the manifestation of IR, cardio-metabolic syndrome and diabetes type 2 (PPRgama, PPRalfa, FEBP2, FTO, GBN3, LEP, LEPR, etc.). Genes can contribute to earlier manifestation and more obstinate IR. Identifying these genes can help a physician to apply tailored treatments and lifestyle intervention to each, hence better outcome.
- Gut endotoxemia and altered gut microbiome are playing a significant role in developing IR. One recent study showed that Intake of L.acidophilus NCFM for 4 weeks preserved insulin sensitivity compared with placebo. Gut microbiome support and identifying Gut pathologies are now a crucial part of treating IR efficiently.
- Vitamin D, C, and microelements Mg and Chromium deficiencies are designated as a contributing cause of IR as they are involved in glucose homeostasis. Contrary to believe that we are depleted from these “good” only by not taking adequate food is now changed by finding that high sugar intake is depleting them in our bodies. High sugar intake affects enzymes, and kidney reabsorption and excretion of these important elements making us responsible for these events.7
- Sleep deprivation. Many studies are concluding the important role of insomnia in IR induction. Even a partial sleep deprivation during only a single night can induce IR in multiple metabolic pathways in otherwise healthy individuals.
Investigations and treatment of IR
From the Integrative and Functional Medicine point of view, the only successful treatment of the disease is a complete reversal to health. Insulin resistance is one of health issues that if diagnosed early it can be prevented and completely reversed. Integrative Medicine approach aims to identify causes and address them rather than treat the symptoms. Understanding genetic makeup and environmental and epigenetic effects are crucial to prescribe tailored intervention to each. That is the essence of personalised medicine done by a physician trained in Integrative and Functional Medicine and the only way to address IR.
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