I do try to keep the length of my articles down to make them at least fairly easily digestible in a single meal, and I just completed one on AMPK and Type 2 Diabetes, but there’s much more to be said about the role AMPK plays in both diabetes and one’s health generally, so I decided not to wait to do another one on this topic.
Although we do have a good idea about how we end up as type 2 diabetics, and why type 2 diabetes is exploding over the last few years, it turns out that lack of proper AMPK expression is probably a leading culprit and maybe even the main culprit.
We often cite the increase in carbohydrates that our diets have taken on lately, both in terms of percentage of calories and overall. This has been especially true since so called health authorities have so strongly recommended that we limit our fat intake so much, these calories have to be replaced by something and you can only eat so much protein, and they recommend you don’t eat too much of that to, so increased carbohydrate intake is needed if you are to listen to these fools, as most people do.
What happens when you consume excess carbohydrates is that you elevate insulin levels, and most people now have insulin levels so high that they actually have the disease of hyperinsulinemia, the father of diabetes actually. Not everyone with high insulin gets diabetes, but this increases your risk for it like nothing else, and this is what is behind insulin resistance.
The two go together, high insulin over time increases insulin resistance, which if it gets bad enough progresses to where we can no longer maintain normal blood sugar in the face of all this, leading to pre-diabetes and then full blown type 2 diabetes.
Eating too much in general also contributes to this, and this also decreases AMPK levels, independently of the high levels of insulin, that most of us have, decreasing AMPK. The two lower this enzyme by similar mechanisms, as they both result in an oversupply of nutrients, by eating too much and also by having too much insulin wanting to cram too many nutrients into cells.
Conversely, both lowering insulin levels and caloric restriction are great ways to raise AMPK to more normal levels, as now the cells don’t have to downregulate their intake of nutrients to combat oversupply, and it’s this downregulating that also downregulates AMPK and causes the negative effects of low AMPK to manifest elsewhere in the body.
So as a general rule, anything that increases the demand in cells, upregulates cellular metabolism in other words, helps AMPK levels, and anything that decreases the demand, independent of how many nutrients are actually getting to cells, will downregulate AMPK.
One of the big things that downregulates cellular metabolism is lack of T3, the active form of thyroid hormone. Thyroid disorders have skyrocketed, due to a number of reasons, which result from our ingesting higher levels of substances that decrease both T4 and its conversion in the liver to the active T3, including an explosion of autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s, things that interfere with thyroid function such as BPH in plastics, fluoride in drinking water, bromide, and a host of other things, in addition to poor nutrition and in particular, worsening iodine deficiency.
Lack of T3 of course downregulates metabolism and therefore downregulates AMPK. The utter explosion of obesity that we now see is a combination of higher insulin levels and lower T3 levels, and also, notably, a decrease in AMPK levels. Both higher insulin and lower T3 decrease AMPK, so low AMPK is even more at the heart of the problem.
Raising AMPK back up though increases our metabolism and allows us to maintain a more healthy body weight as well as be more healthy generally, in addition to allowing us to maintain better blood sugar.
Part of the reason for this is its allowing us to burn sugar more effectively, and this also increases energy levels. By increasing metabolism, AMPK also has us burning fat more efficiently. Our mitochondria, the engines of the cells, become not only more efficient but more numerous as well.
AMPK is also an antioxidant, and as such, is great for inflammation. Conversely, low AMPK results in excess inflammation, and excess inflammation itself lowers AMPK, creating a vicious cycle. Type 2 diabetics have real issues with oxidation and inflammation, and high blood sugar itself worsens both, producing another vicious cycle.
The reason why exercise benefits us is that it increases AMPK, since it increases the demand by our cells, and things that do that put AMPK up, similar to things that decrease the demand or result in downregulation leading to a downregulation of AMPK production as well.
AMPK also increases blood flow by increasing nitric oxide levels, which is a vasodilator. Diabetics tend to suffer from low nitric oxide levels and decreased blood flow so this is particularly important for us. Low nitric oxide levels are caused by low AMPK as well.
Men will also be glad to know that raising AMPK raises testosterone, and low AMPK will also lower testosterone, and many of the metabolic effects of low T, such as decreased energy and increased body fat are due to low AMPK primarily, and the low testosterone is mostly along for the ride here.
Decreasing your insulin levels will in itself bring up AMPK, and this is one of the ways that controlling this helps our blood sugar, and this should make us shudder even more at the approach of conventional medicine which is primarily focused on increasing our excessive insulin levels even more.
So our livers pump out more and more glucose over time as our insulin levels rise, and a big part of the reason is that AMPK levels decline more and more when we continue to jack up our insulin levels more and more, and it’s no wonder that we get sicker and sicker, our diabetes gets worse and worse, and we need more and more medication to combat it, a stupid yet very popular way to treat type 2 diabetes, stupid that is unless you are in the business of getting people to spend their money on these meds, and these people are as smart as a fox actually.
So we want to bring up levels of AMPK, restore them to healthy levels, and there are a number of things you can do and take for this, but it all starts with the diet actually, not eating too much and especially not consuming too much carbohydrate.
There are a host of natural medicines you can take to help raise AMPK, including such things as berberine, gynostemma, quercetin, alpha lipoic acid, creatine, and resveratrol, in addition to a number of other things that have at least some positive effect on this, but these are the main ones.
Of course getting a good amount of exercise is important as well, and when we don’t, our metabolism and AMPK gets downregulated, but exercise increases metabolism, and all diabetics as well as all people should do their best to get at least a decent amount of exercise.
The key to beating diabetes comes down to a very large degree to how well we manage our AMPK levels, and the better we do with this, the better and more healthy we will become.