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Insulin Resistance 4 Steps To Curing The Common Condition Your Doctor May Be Overlooking
by Dr. Jonathan Wright, MD on April 11, 2011

At least three to four times a month, I see patients with a condition that their primary care doctors have completely missed. In fact, I saw this easy diagnosis completely ignored againtwicejust last week. And along with the missed diagnosis goes the wrong type of treatment for some of its symptoms. This doesnt help the real problem at all but actually allows it to progress and lead to a whole new set of symptoms and health concerns. Im talking about the ever-increasing instances of a condition known as insulin resistance. When Mrs. Williams* came to the Tahoma Clinic with this problem, she had a pretty typical case. Her doctor had given her a statin drug for high cholesterol and an ACE inhibitor for high blood pressure. He told her that these problems were caused by her obesity, and that she should go onto a low-fat, caloriecontrolled diet to lose weight.

Learn More About Dr. Wright and the Tahoma Clinic - Seattle, WA Shed tried very conscientiously, and brought in the diet records to prove it. Over several months shed lost only three pounds, and was very frustrated. Her cholesterol and blood pressure were lower, likely due to the patent medications, but she just didnt feel right and wanted to know if there were any vitamins, minerals, or herbs that would control her cholesterol and blood pressure just as well. I asked her if any of her relatives had type 2 diabetes, and she said yes, her mothers sister, but her own blood sugar was normal, so that wasnt her problem. Then I asked her if the doctor whod prescribed the patent medications had checked her for insulin resistance or explained Syndrome X to her. She looked puzzled, and said nohe hadnt mentioned diabetes at all. So I explained to her that her high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even her obesity were probably secondary problems, and that her primary problem was very, very likely a case of undiagnosed and mistreated insulin resistance. The patent medications shed been given made as much sense as water to prevent it from boiling over, instead of turning down the heat.

But there are better solutions for alleviating these symptomsones that address the underlying cause safely and naturally. When her test results came back positive for insulin resistance, Mrs. Williams started using them: Im happy to report that shes already making great progress. And so can you. In fact, implementing these strategies now will not only lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight, but theyll also reduceeven eliminateyour risk of type 2 diabetes. Getting rid of the problem that just wont go away Weve covered insulin resistance in bits and pieces before (Nutrition & Healing July and August 2001, and June 2004) but since cases are increasing rather than decreasing, and since mainstream physicians simply wont diagnose it (or perhaps dont know how to), its time to go over it more completely. Like many other health problems, insulin resistance has both a genetic and an environmental component. If you have these genetics (and estimates are that over 90 million Americans do), and you eat sugar on or in anything, your body respondsand not favorably. Lets go over some of the mechanics involved: When you eat or drink rened sugarespecially fructose, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and dextroseyour blood sugar goes much higher than it does when you eat the sugar as part of its original package (whole fruit, whole corn, or sugar cane). Your pancreas cranks up in response to this sugar overload and makes an overly large quantity of insulin to help clear the excess sugar from the blood stream. Nearly everyones metabolic response to rened sugar follows this pattern. People with a genetic disposition towards insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes also have an extra burden in terms of diet: Simply eating too many carbs overalleven if they are from whole, natural sourcescan lead to insulin resistance, too, even though it denitely takes longer than it would from eating sugar and rened carbohydrates. If youve inherited the genetics for insulin resistance, and this pattern happens over and over again, your cells that receive insulin become resistant to repeated exposures. Because of this resistance, as the years go by, your pancreas is forced to make more and more insulin to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Those higher levels of insulin work for awhile, but then the receiver cells become even more resistant, so your pancreas must make even more insulin, and the more insulin/more resistance/even more insulin/even more resistance spiral continues ever upward, until the insulin simply cant overcome the resistance at all. At that point, the blood sugar cant be regulated, and type 2 diabetes is the ultimate result. While theyre on the way up, those ever-increasing levels of insulin can cause other problems as well: They can cause your livers production of LDL (bad) cholesterol to increase and its production of HDL (good) cholesterol to decrease. They can also prompt the kidneys to retain sodium, or the adrenal glands to secrete too much adrenalin, (or both), resulting in higher and higher blood pressure. Most noticeably, the combination of rened sugar and carbohydrateor simply carbohydrateconsumption and the excess insulin secretion commonly results in increased synthesis of triglycerides (the fat inside body cells), resulting in obesity. You could wind up with just one of these problems, a combination, or, like Mrs. Williams, all of them. Mainstream treatment is masking the problemnot solving it But instead of looking at these conditions as symptoms of one overall condition and addressing them at the source, nearly all mainstream doctors respond by prescribing patent anti-hypertensive and statin medications, as if high blood pressure and cholesterol are always due to patent medication deciency. Then, when type 2 diabetes ultimately shows up in these individuals, they prescribe yet another patent medication to control blood sugar, usually adding it to the diet of anti-hypertensive and lipid-

lowering patent medications already prescribed. Patent medication companies are increasing the pressure on mainstream doctors to prescribe in this way. In July, a panel of experts from the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health issued new guidelines for the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs that would increase the number of Americans eligible for them from approximately 36 million to approximately 43 million. But the nine-expert panel neglected to disclose that eight of them had received money from some of the biggest patent medicine companies, including Pzer, Merck, Squibb, and AstraZeneca. Disclosure of these ties came only after an outcry by consumer groups. Similarly, experts are also urging mainstream physicians to prescribe ever-increasing quantities of patented anti-hypertensives, as guidelines for healthy blood pressure call for lower and lower blood pressure readings. And the pressure isnt just on physicians: Who hasnt seen a TV commercial (usually featuring smiling senior citizens) telling us hat the way to control cholesterol or high blood pressure is the patent medication theyre touting? Your step-by-step guide for changing the channel on insulin resistance So its time to change the channel once and for all and get to the root of the problem. Here are the steps for doing just that: 1.) Diagnosing insulin resistance Youve probably heard of the glucose tolerance test. Its the standard tool used to diagnose diabetes. Insulin resistance is diagnosed in exactly the same way, but with an extra step taken by the laboratory. Each time one of the blood specimens is tested for glucose, its also tested for insulin, which is why its called the glucose tolerance insulin resistance test (GT-IRT). The lab technicians look for several different patterns of higher insulin that are unique to people with insulin resistance.1 (For further details about testing for insulin resistance, see Nutrition & Healing July 2001) If your GT-IRT shows you do have insulin resistance, that means youre also at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is always preceded by insulin resistance. But it takes decades before it results in the actual onset of the disease: Ive seen positive insulin resistance tests in teenagers, and children as young as eight. So theres absolutely no reason at all for type 2 diabetes to sneak up on anyone; it can always be predicted by a positive insulin resistance test. And you can avoid it altogether by implementing the next few steps. 2.) Toss the sugar and rened carbs Eliminating all refined sugars is priority No. 1. Although refined carbohydrates dont cause damage as fast, they still cause the same problems, and must be eliminated too. Even if you dont have the genetics for developing insulin resistance, refined sugar will cause you health problemsat the very least accelerated aging. Remember, humans are designed to digest and metabolize whole, natural foods, not rened foods. All of our ancestors for hundreds of thousands of years ate absolutely no rened food of any kind. Admittedly, these are probably the hardest steps of the bunch: Over the years, rened sugar and our have made their way into more foods than you can even imagine. But it is possible, and there are a few tricks you can use to make it a bit simpler. First, reading labelsand knowing what to look for on themis crucial. Look for ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and enriched our. If the product contains any of these, dont buy it. In fact, youll be better off avoiding packaged foods altogether, which explains why this step can be so difcult: Supermarket shelves are stocked primarily with processed, packaged foods, and Id be willing to bet that 90 percent of them contain some sort of rened sugar or carb.

Shopping along the outer edges of the grocery storewhere fruits, vegetables, and meats are usually locatedwill make avoiding the packaged stuff a little easier. And you may also want to nd a natural food store in your area.While not everything these stores carry is truly healthy, they often have more options in terms of products made without rened ingredients. These methods of shopping will also help you transition into the next step: 3.) Eat a high-protein, low-carb diet My No. 1 recommendation is the original human diet, which I outlined in the January 2003 issue of Nutrition & Healingor the versions of it explained in the books The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., and The Paleolithic Diet Prescription by S. Boyd Eaton, Ph.D., Marjorie Shostak, and Melvin Konner, Ph.D. Regular high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet plans are OK too. The point is to regulate your blood sugar swings to avoid the release of excess insulin. Limiting your carb intake is the best way to do that no matter which specic diet plan you choose. 4.) Take your vitamins I wrote about supplements to reduce insulin resistance at length in the August 2001 Nutrition & Healing issue and you may contact the Tahoma Dispensary for a list of these supplements by calling 425-264-0051. Each of them should be taken daily. However, you probably wont need to take each of these items separately, since many of them can be found together in good multiple formulations. Two formulas I have recommended to patients with success are Glucobalance and Blood Sugar Improvement Formula. There are other good multiple formulas available too; check your natural food store to see what they carry and compare the labels to the list of nutrients to the right to nd the best one. So far, I havent seen any single formula that contains all of the items listed in the amounts noted, so youll probably need to take at least a few of them separately to make up for the ones your multi doesnt contain (or doesnt contain enough of). 5.) Get moving Last, but not least, dont forget to exercise. After all, you cant expect eating right and supplementing to do all the work: Giving your food and supplements a t, healthy environment to do their jobs will help your progress along even more. And you dont have to devote hours on end each day to high-impact aerobics classes. Even a 30-minute walk three times a week may be enough to make a difference. Check with your doctor about the right amount of exercise for you. Find the real problem and eliminate many others Im sure youve noticed all the references to prior issues of Nutrition & Healing, and may be wondering why Im covering this material again. Unfortunately, the word just doesnt seem to have gotten out about insulin resistanceeven though it was rst described over 20 years ago. Im seeing more people than ever whove been given patent medications to treat its symptoms (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides) with no attention paid at all to the diagnosing and treating the real problem. And symptom treatment just doesnt cut it when it comes to preventing the ultimate onset of type 2 diabetesand stopping the burgeoning epidemic of this disease. So take a minute to see if any of the following criteria apply to you:high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high blood pressure; overweight; a personal history of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar); a family history of type 2 diabetes; or any combination of these problems. Of course, there are other reasons besides insulin resistance for elevated blood pressure, cholesterol,

triglycerides, weight, and so on. But since insulin resistance is at the top of the cause list for these problems, it should always be checked. The more of these problems you have, or are in your family, the more likely it is you have insulin resistance. So dont let your doctor shrug you off with prescriptions for patented anti-hypertensive or statin medications. Look for a doctor skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine, who can help you with the GT-IRT test and any necessary recommendations. If your test is positive, diet, exercise, and appropriate supplementation will help you control or eliminate all these problemsand may just help prevent many others, too. Learn More About Testing For Insulin Resistance JVW Facebook comments:

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