In this series we’ve been looking at the Wiki article on hyperinsulinemia to see how well the article understands this condition and to also share some of my own views of this based upon my own research.
We left off talking about how so many people and so many papers confuse the disease of hyperinsulinemia with the condition of insulin resistance, and they may refer to all this as just a matter of insulin resistance. In all cases though it’s the hyperinsulinemia driving this, the damage that it causes at the cellular level, these aren’t phenomena that insulin resistance causes at all, and the insulin resistance serves to protect us against this stuff actually, even though only to relative degrees of success.
So the damage would be worse if not for the insulin resistance, and this is even true with organ insulin resistance as well. The hallmark of type 2 diabetes is the damage caused in the alpha cells of the pancreas, and people will say, these cells have lost their insulin sensitivity, and they have, but they resist insulin because they are looking to protect themselves from even more toxicity. Insulin doesn’t just enter the cell alone, it opens the door for nutrients, glucose and fat, and these are the primary drivers of the toxicities, more nutrients than they can handle, and especially ceramide, a poison that is raised directly by hyperinsulinemia, by too much lipogenesis that hyperinsulinemia causes.
There’s a remark in this article though that I really like and it’s pointing out that hyperinsulinemia is implicated in obesity caused by high fat diets. Because insulin drives the uptake of nutrients, and because in excess you’re going to get an excessive amount of this, both carbs and fat make you fat with high insulin.
This is why it’s actually worse to eat a diet high both in carbs and fat together, because this so often leads to high insulin levels and insulin is going to store both macros excessively. There’s also some other interactions here with high insulin and high fat and this is not a good combination.
On the other hand, if you can control your insulin levels, by not overcomsuming carbs, then you can eat a high fat diet and do very well on it. This is how the keto people make their diet work, it’s extremely high fat but extremely low carb, their insulin levels are great, and they lose weight and keep it off generally.
If you are hyperinsulinemic though, then whatever you eat is going to be a problem. You’re actually better off doing higher carb lower fat in this state, weight wise, and diabetes wise as well, although this won’t fix your hyperinsulinemia. To do that, we have to reduce our carb intake such that the excessive insulin secretion we have can be lowered to more healthy levels.
A friend mentioned a little while back on a forum that given the choice between a glucometer and an insulin meter, he’d pick the insulin meter, and this warmed my heart, as there are so few people out there who get the importance of insulin levels, even though there’s a huge amount of science that tells us how important this is,
If someone told me my insulin levels are fine I’m not worried at all about not knowing what my blood sugar is, or my blood pressure, or my lipids, and a number of other things, because high insulin really is behind all this stuff and I’m going to be fine if mine isn’t high, as long as I’m not a type 1 of course.
The biggest thing that you see when you see discussions about hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance is the idea that the amount of glucose in our blood is always supposed to be cleared and it belongs in the cells, and when it isn’t cleared the cells need help to uptake it.
I can’t tell you how stupid this is and it results from an abject lack of understanding about diabetes. The problem is that there is too much glucose put into our blood, not that we aren’t taking in enough. Their view is like telling an alcoholic that their liver isn’t processing the alcohol fast enough when they drink all day so they need a liver transplant. If you gave them one, the new liver wouldn’t be able to process it fast enough either to keep from being drunk all the time, the liver has a certain capacity and the guy is just grossly exceeding it all the time leading to toxicity.
Once you get that type 2 diabetes is a glucose regulatory issue, over regulating the amount of glucose our liver and kidneys put into our blood, thinking we’re too low when we’re too high and increasing blood sugar further, then and only then can you begin to understand the disease. This will put an end to the ridiculous claims you see like we have a relative lack of insulin because our requirements are higher due to high blood sugar.
This is a very dangerous idea actually but it’s the one that drives conventional medical practice, and they don’t teach these people about diabetes at all actually, they just tell them, high blood sugar, you prescribe, and you keep prescribing.
The article also mentions hyperplasia of the beta cells, although it refers to it in a congenital condition, this is when the beta cells grow in size in response to greater demands put upon them. This happens when blood sugar starts to rise and more insulin is needed to seek to normalize blood sugar.
What happens as blood sugar management becomes more difficult is that the beta cells downregulate, and this is a protective mechanism actually, otherwise this would end up killing us much faster from even more excessive beta cell secretion.
So people will say, well we lose beta cells, by way of cellular toxicity, they are exposed to too much glucose and too much fat and choke on that as all of our cells do in this state, and this does cause beta cell loss, but it also downregulates secretion.
The cells that we’re left with when we lose some have to do more work though and this is where the hyperplasia comes in, they grow in other words to be able to secrete more.
So now someone comes along and says, let’s measure beta cell function, let’s test how much is secreted with a given input of glucose, and they see that we secrete less in direct response to glucose. Aha, insulin deficiency, let’s give them some to make up for this.
This sounds reasonable on the face of it but these cells are downregulated for a reason, and the reason is that they are seeking to not poison us to much. It’s no secret that type 2 diabetics have a delayed insulin response, but this is because they are churning out insulin day and night due to higher blood sugar day and night.
So if we dare to measure how much is in our blood we may be in for a surprise here as we’ll see it higher than normal, hyperinsulinemic actually. Why is that? It’s because they churn out continually and the total amount is greater. The acute amount is too but you have to wait a while to see that, up to 4 hours later instead of just within the first hour with a non diabetic. So they get tricked into thinking our insulin secretion is too low when it’s actually too high, although those who bother to actually measure the levels aren’t fooled.
Now we’re taking someone who is hyperinsulinemic, the disease behind all this mess, and treating them like they are hypoinsulimemic, increasing their insulin. This is like, as Dr. Jason Fung puts it, like giving an alcoholic more alcohol and expecting this to cure them. I love Dr. Fung’s simple analogies and they are dead on.
We’re going to need a Part 4 for this as there’s more to talk about in reference to this article.