I got the idea of this title from a search that I noticed I got today, and I do pay a little attention at least to what people are searching for in order to get a feel for what people are wanting to see. By the way if anyone is reading this and has a topic in mind they are welcome to post their suggestions in the comments.
It’s no surprise that I get people searching for hyperinsulinemia being directed here as there may not be another website that discuss this topic more in depth than I have already on here, and I’m far from finished. Maybe Dr. Jason Fung’s site, his site has been up longer than mine and he’s also a champion of this topic, but most of his stuff is on diet and as strong as his views are on high insulin I don’t think he’s got as many articles on this particular topic.
There’s some people on a diabetic forum that I hang out from time to time on that actually think that the idea that high insulin is dangerous and plays such a big role in modern diseases like diabetes is somehow my idea, but this is of course nonsense and this goes back all the way to the 1950’s, and more and more people are becoming aware of this colossal health problem all the time, but if someone isn’t aware of what the hell is going on with diabetes and just go to their doctor and fills prescriptions, and go to a few popular diabetes sites, well you just aren’t going to learn much.
In this article I want to discuss both forms of insulin imbalance, and I don’t talk about the condition of hypoinsulinemia, abnormally low insulin levels, anywhere near as much as I speak about hyperinsulinemia, the condition of abnormally high insulin levels.
When we speak of abnormal here, we just don’t mean marginally higher or lower, we mean high enough or low enough to represent a real medical condition, with known negative health consequences.
Untreated type 1 diabetes presents with hypoinsulinemia, due to the immune system attacking the body such that this produces beta cell dysfunction. It’s not that it attacks the beta cells directly, it interferes with the conversion of glutamate to GABA, and GABA levels decline enough that beta cells don’t work anymore.
This is why we’ve looked into the use of GABA supplementation in looking to improve type 1, and this has been successful in rats, although we haven’t studied it much in humans, for whatever reason, and the only real question is whether a meaningful improvement can be found with the dosages that we would use in people.
Anyway, this is what goes wrong with type 1.5 diabetics as well, and raising GABA isn’t the only strategy here to treat this naturally, an even bigger issue is the autoimmune response itself, and we know quite a bit about what causes this, leaky gut syndrome in particular, which allows our bloodstream to be overrun with all sorts of things that should have been not allowed to enter, undigested food in particular, and this really wreaks havoc on our immune system and causes autoimmunity among other things.
So what a concept, look to discover what is behind a disease and then look to fix it. That would certainly be a novel idea within the conventional medical community, and if we think on what conditions they actually even attempt to treat, not treating just the symptoms but the actual causes, well I can’t think of any actually.
This is the difference between conventional and functional medicine, as functional medicine does seek to treat conditions, not just symptoms, and therefore we should be calling the other kind dysfunctional medicine, and that would be a perfect term actually.
The problem with hypoinsulinemia isn’t that we don’t get glucose into our cells, which is a widely held myth actually, even though Roger Unger proved this to be false many years ago when he destroyed the beta cells of rats, and in spite of having no insulin at all, they maintained normal blood sugar, and all he had to do is to suppress glucagon.
So the cells took in a normal amount of glucose, without insulin, and the idea that we need a certain amount of it for this is just false. Now insulin does increase glucose uptake in cells, when there’s too much glucose in the blood, to store it, and when it’s high it puts too much glucose into cells actually, and this is one of the problems with diabetes, too much glucose in the cells, that’s what they call glucotoxicity.
So if you have too much glucose in your blood, a normal amount of insulin will store it, and that part isn’t too bad, but when you have too much in your blood and way too much insulin as well, well this just doesn’t end well.
Somehow people have reasoned that too much glucose in the blood is the worry here, so they use excess insulin to shunt it into the cells and then say, no worries now about glucotoxicity, blood sugar is normal or it’s lower, the cells become poisoned, and that’s what glucotoxicity is, and they get poisoned more by too much fat too, lipotoxicity, which is even worse.
This is all just pure stupidity in action actually, but that’s a condition that is very evident in our thinking about diabetes generally.
The issue with low insulin is that when it is low, this affects the insulin to glucagon ratio that the liver uses to decide whether we need more glucose, and when insulin is too low, a normal amount of glucagon will produce too much glucose secretion by the liver. If it is very low, like we see in type 1’s, then the ratio is extreme and we see massive glucose secretion, and this is what does them in.
While we may be able to take in normal amounts of glucose without insulin, we cannot take in massive amounts, the massive amounts you get when your insulin to glucagon ratio is so low. So we give them insulin and this at least corrects the insulin to glucagon ratio somewhat, although we need to induce the condition of hyperinsulinemia to accomplish this.
With type 2, we see high levels of insulin, and even higher levels of glucagon, so the insulin to glucagon ratio is out of whack here as well, and this is what causes high blood sugar period, it’s not the cells not taking in enough. So we end up with too much glucose in our blood in all forms of diabetes, and there just isn’t a good place for this to go, because there’s just too much glucose flowing around period.
The hyperinsulinemia that we see in type 2 causes a number of problems that takes us on the way to diabetes, but the primary dysfunction and the one that does us in here is its poisoning our glucagon secreting alpha cells in our pancreas by way of both glucotoxicity and lipotoxicity, such that our alpha cells lose their sensitivity to react to glucose and think we are low when we are high, and secrete glucagon to put us up, because they think we are in a hypoglycemic state.
Even though type 2 diabetics lose beta cell mass, and see their beta cell function reduce, when you’re secreting abnormally high amounts of insulin, this is not low insulin, this is not lack of beta cell function, this is the opposite, but many people mistakenly believe this and focus on restoring beta cells just as if we had the opposite condition, hypoinsulinemia.
Of the people with diabetes, only about 1 in 10 have hypoinsulinemia, and this is very easy to diagnose, you just test their insulin levels, instead of just making ignorant assumptions about it, as we love to do. This is especially important since the cases of hypoinsulinemia may all be related to autoimmunity, type 1 or type 1.5, and if that’s the case, we need to be treating the immune system, and if it’s hyperinsulinemia, we certainly don’t want to be making this condition worse by raising insulin further.
Joseph Kraft is right as far as his calling people with either hypoinsulinemia or hyperinsulinemia diabetics, because diabetes isn’t just high blood sugar, it’s the disease of dysfunctional glucose metabolism. So based upon his work, 9 out of 10 people are diabetic. It may be worse than that now actually since his data is now somewhat dated, and this has all gotten worse not better, and we don’t have to look any further than the trends in weight management to see that.
It’s not just people having higher and higher insulin levels and getting fatter and fatter either. Autoimmune diseases have exploded as well, in step with our rapidly declining gastrointestinal health, and we probably will see a lot more hypoinsulinemia in the future as well on account of this, more type 1.5 in particular, which often results from a type 2 having an autoimmune attack on their beta cells, which is what type 1.5 is, both type 2 and type 1 at the same time, double diabetes they call it.
Our management of diabetes has been pretty pathetic thus far in human history, sure we can keep type 1’s alive now with insulin therapy but that’s about the only thing we have to be proud of and we pulled this off 100 years ago. Things have gone more and more downhill ever since, and without a proper understanding of what the hell is going on here, or even caring to look, nothing will ever change.