It's well known that hyperinsulinemia, or high levels of insulin in the blood, make people fat. A lot of times though this gets passed off as insulin resistance, as if it were the insulin resistance that is making us fat. That's not only false, it's ridiculous, as insulin resistance actually protects us from this stuff, or at least tries to, but in the wrestling match that ensues, high insulin does end up having its way with insulin resistance to some degree, although it's true that the insulin resistance does help limit the damage.
So we even see a lot of references to the pathology of insulin resistance in scientific journals, where they may for instance speak of insulin resistance causing fatty liver, and there's no doubt about this, but it's not the insulin resistance that does it, it's the high insulin that ensues when you have insulin resistance, provided that the pancreas is still capable of it, which is the case with type 2's until the late stages of the disease when the pancreas gives out and insulin is then required.
Even then though, we tend to overdose it, and if we are using exogenous insulin alone to treat high blood sugar, well we know that if we have insulin resistance, and all type 2's do, then we will typically need abnormally high levels of insulin to achieve good control, if that's all we're doing for these people.
So when you see insulin resistance causing things, you can substitute hyperinsulinemia, this is the crook in the story, the villain, and the insulin resistance is actually the cell's security force, trying to prevent our cells from being poisoned, from too much glucose and too much fat, although they can only do so much.
This isn't even that big of a deal with our cells generally, they do get overfed with this stuff but not terribly so, they do get inflamed but this isn't a real big deal, but with things like the liver and the pancreas, well this is the machinery that runs our glucose metabolism, so that's a whole different story.
I want to talk a little about the liver here, fatty liver in particular, although the same thing happens with the pancreas, and high insulin levels cause fatty pancreas as well. This is something that we know a great deal about, it's not that there's any real doubt that hyperinsulinemia causes fatty organs, or fat people for that matter, but we don't tend to talk about this stuff very much, although that needs to change.
Improving fatty organs has been shown to have profound effects upon diabetics, for instance that's what's behind the Newcastle diet, and it reduces excess fat from the liver and pancreas and people's diabetes even gets reversed. Fasting has been shown to do the same thing, and low carb diets help with this as well, as well as things like bariatric surgery.
How these things help us though is by reducing insulin levels, bringing them way down, getting rid of the hyperinsulinemia for a time in other words, and the organs lose their fat and regain more of their health. The pancreas and liver are not places in your body you want to be carrying fat in by the way, especially if you are a diabetic.
There are also some supplements you can take to help this, but that's another story for another day, what I'm out to talk about today is the way we ignore our insulin levels and fatty liver is just one of the ways this messes us up, although it's a big one for sure.
Hyperinsulinemia precedes type 2 diabetes though of course, and people often wonder what takes us to the point where we go from just having high insulin, insulin resistance, and getting fat, to where our blood sugar actually gets messed up further to the point where we become diabetic.
What happens is that the organs that control glucose metabolism, the pancreas and liver, end up getting fat as well, and this also precedes the diagnosis of diabetes. So we can see the pattern now, which is high insulin leading to fatty liver and pancreas, leading to diabetes.
So we have studies now, like this one for instance, that show that high insulin levels cause fatty liver, independent of diabetes, and actually cause it in non diabetics as well. Of course a lot of people with high insulin and fatty liver will get diabetes in time, as both play a significant role in it, and in fact with what we know about insulin, which is a lot, it causes both a higher rate of fat production in the liver when in excessive amounts, and also makes it harder for the liver to lose this extra fat so to speak.
So in other words it fattens our livers and keeps our livers from losing fat, that's a bad combination. Of course, excessive consumption of carbohydrates is behind a lot of this, and they force feed geese a lot of carbs in fact to give them real fatty livers, which are then eaten as foie gras, with is French for fatty liver actually.
The carbs themselves don't fatten the livers directly of course, this happens by way of de novo lipogenesis, and the combination of too many carbs, and the too much insulin that it ends up secreting, is the perfect recipe for this.
So once again, we need to worry about lowering insulin levels when they are too high, instead of not worrying about them at all and just blindly raising them to reduce blood sugar, as we tend to do.