Does Insulin Really Cause Insulin Resistance?

insulin resistance






I’ve been talking about high insulin levels and their role in type 2 diabetes over the last few articles, but I don’t want you to get the idea that this is all I’m going to be talking about, as if this were a high insulin beware site.  I know there’s a lot of web sites on diabetes that focus on one thing primarily, like hyperinsulinemia, like low carb, or whatever, but this isn’t what I’m looking to do with this one.

However, I feel that hyperinsulinemia, the disease of high insulin levels, is fundamental to any discussion of diabetes, it’s the cornerstone of type 2 diabetes just as much as insulin resistance is, and you don’t see it talked about very much at all in the popular media, although we have lots of science showing the connections here.

So even before I get to articles like so you’ve been recently diagnosed so here’s what you need to think about, you really need to start thinking about a few things first, just so when I talk about diabetes you will know what I am referring to.

So we defined diabetes by a few different things and now we can sum all of this up and say that it’s the condition of hyperinsulinemia leading to the symptom of hyperglycemia, which may eventually lead to hypoinsulinemia, too low insulin, as the disease plays itself out over years and even decades.

I hear all sorts of denials about this though, like for instance we may have high insulin prior to diabetes but when we get diabetes it’s not high anymore it’s low, this simply is not the case though, they are guessing and it’s a very poor guess.

You even hear people claim that high insulin doesn’t cause insulin resistance, it’s from other things, and when we inject it, well that kind of insulin certainly doesn’t cause insulin resistance, as if it were some magical formulation.

The truth is, all insulin, natural or synthetic, causes insulin resistance when in excess.  One of my favorite articles on this that are directed toward the general public is this one from Dr. Jason Fung, who is one of the few medical doctors who has actually read the science of all this and gets it.

This is a very good article and the thing about Dr. Fung is that he just doesn’t say it, he backs it up with science.  There are three levels of evidence that we can have for things.  The first one is knowing how these things work on a biochemical level, like for instance how too much insulin downregulates insulin receptors and we see cells become resistant to it.  Check.

The next level is to observe people with insulin resistance and see a correlation with high levels of insulin and high levels of insulin resistance, to show this actually happens in real life and not just in the lab.  Check.

Finally, we can do controlled studies to elevate people’s insulin and then measure how this affected their insulin resistance, and when we see both go up, this shows that there’s no doubt.  Check

So it’s this third one, the one that is the most convincing, that Dr. Fung references in his article, where they look at various studies and see that high levels of insulin do indeed cause more insulin resistance, something we could have actually figured out just by thinking about this a little and knowing a little about how the body resists things, and they don’t resist because there is too little, they instead resist because there is too much and more than it can handle.

This just isn’t true of diabetics or people with broken glucose metabolisms, they have taken completely normal individuals with no history of any of these problems, given them more insulin, and seen significant amounts of insulin resistance caused.

Dr. Fung claims that he can make anyone insulin resistant, all he has to do is give them insulin.  There is every reason to believe this is true in fact and no good reason not to.  This is simply what too much insulin does to you.

So I hope that through this discussion on hyperinsulinemia this has at least shaken the beliefs you may have had about all of this up at least somewhat, I’m not out to convince anyone of anything here though, I just want to present some views on certain aspects of diabetes and then people will come to whatever conclusions they want to.

I do want to point out that high insulin isn’t the only cause of insulin resistance, and there are certainly other things that effect it, and we’ll be talking plenty about those later, but insulin surely is one, and the major one, because while these other factors may or may not be present in people with insulin resistance, high insulin works every time.

I do want you to consider though, that, at least maybe, the conventional view of diabetes being just high blood sugar where insulin levels only matter if they are high enough may be a little out of touch.  Jason Fung sure thinks so, as do quite a few others, including myself.

Next: The Diabetes Continuum

Previous: Insulin Testing

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