I was watching TV and saw a commercial for Trulicity, which is one of several GLP-1 agonists. By the way, as type 2 diabetics, we tend to have an excess of GLP-1, not a deficiency, but we actually have to test ourselves to see this, and GLP-1 tests are never done by practitioners, only by scientists who ask a whole lot more questions about things than practitioners do.
As the thinking goes, GLP-1 can lower blood sugar, your blood sugar is too high, let’s give you some and lower your blood sugar. This seems logical enough to a lot of people, but if we already have an excess of a hormone, what will happen if we increase this excess?
The answer is of course that we will worsen the hormonal resistance, and that’s what happens with GLP-1 agonists and other incretin drugs, they work for a while and stop working and then since we’re more resistant to the hormone, we end up in the end even more resistant to our own.
No problem though, all we have to do is take another drug, and more and more drugs are in our future because all these drugs lead us down the same path, where the drug fails and we either need to keep increasing the dosage, add more drugs, or if you are in the business of selling the drugs, preferably both.
The ad proclaims that we can make our own insulin, and this drug will help us make more, and this is all true. GLP-1 does increase insulin secretion, and more insulin at least temporarily lowers blood sugar, so this all might sound good.
It is also true that type 2 diabetics secrete less insulin per carbohydrate load than non diabetics, in the first couple of hours that is, so that part fits in as well, or seems to at least. From this, we might want to say that we have a problem of not secreting as much insulin, enough perhaps, compared to non diabetics, our blood sugar is much higher, and insulin lowers blood sugar generally.
This sounds like a great plan actually, so what could the problem be with all this? As it turns out, this is a terribly misguided plan and is certain to make things worse.
Consider the following seemingly contradictory evidence. Sure, we tend to secrete less insulin per given glucose load over the first 2 hours. However, when we measure the amount of insulin circulating in us at any given time, our insulin levels are much higher than normal or what is healthy.
What do you think will happen when we increase our insulin levels beyond this? We’re going to become even more insulin resistant you might think, but that’s only part of the problem and not even the real problem.
The pointy end of type 2 diabetes is what happens in our cells. When we are exposed to excess insulin, this causes an excess of nutrition, and insulin resistance is actually a defensive mechanism designed to protect us somewhat against these toxicities.
Insulin resistance can only protect us so much though, but if we look to increase our insulin levels when they are already too high, that’s going to just mess us up even more.
People speak of looking to avoid glucotoxicity, which is why people are concerned about their blood sugar in the first place, and the other main toxicity associated with T2 diabetes, lipotoxicity, is even more menacing, and it’s lipotoxicity that causes and worsens type 2 diabetes itself, in addition to all the other damage it causes.
High insulin itself is quite toxic as well, and for instance this has been shown to be the major cause of a number of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease. It’s not that we eat fat that is the problem with fat, and dietary fat is pretty much harmless, but the fat that high insulin causes our livers to make in excess, combined with the propensity of insulin to stuff it in our cells way beyond their capacity, in addition to insulin in excess damaging blood vessels directly, is another story altogether.
So, while it is true that we can make our own insulin and can make more than we do under the influence of prescription drugs, this does not mean that we want to be doing that, or even considering this. The goal, if we want to stop making ourselves worse and try to turn this and all the other hyperinsulin driven diseases around, is to look to correct this imbalance, to seek healthy insulin levels, not seek more unhealthy ones.
Hormonal imbalances are a huge deal and greatly impact all areas of our health. We need to focus on fixing the imbalances, which means that we need to measure our hormone levels to even know where we are at. Traditional practitioners are not interested in any of this, they just want to prescribe, that’s all they do really.
Let’s go back to our seeming contradiction, the one that tells us that we don’t secrete as much insulin as a healthy pancreas, but in spite of that, we clearly have way too much insulin in our blood.
Diabetic pancreases do secrete a lot of insulin and this is because all the extra glucose that our livers secrete have our beta cells on high alert 24 hours a day. When stimulated by glucose, we will secrete less in the first couple of hours, which is the time line that these studies use, because we don’t have the insulin in reserve that non diabetics have. Ours gets sent out to battle as soon as it is made.
If we look at the area under the curve though, one’s 24 hour insulin secretion for instance, we find that we do secrete even more than non diabetics, and quite a bit more. I should say quite a bit more than those with healthy insulin secretion since high insulin is the norm these days with all the carbs and snacks people eat all day long. This is leading to people getting fatter and fatter, sicker and sicker, and more and more people are getting diabetes as a result as well.
The part that is not so easily figured out is the fact that one of the big reasons why we have so much insulin in our blood is because we don’t clear insulin from our blood like we’re supposed to. This is the job of the liver, but in a diabetic liver, there is a war going on there, with all of the things that go wrong, and it just is too busy with other things like making a whole bunch of extra glucose and extra fat to do a good job managing this.
Liver health is super important to diabetes, and while many know this, they usually don’t appreciate the full extent of this.
There are a few things that you can take to improve insulin clearing, but the best may be ginkgo biloba. In one study, where it was shown that ginkgo does a good job of clearing insulin, the conclusion was that type 2 diabetics should avoid this, since we of course do not want this due to our supposedly not having enough insulin in our blood. This is a bad guess though, but one that just about everyone makes.
Lowering our insulin is the only goal here, period, and if something will help us clear it better, this is actually a big advantage, not something to be avoided.
Sure, we can make our own insulin, but we need to worry about making less, not more, because we are choking on it, getting poisoned by it, more and more, and if you want to get un-poisoned, we need to reduce the amount of poison, period.