This is the fourth and final segment of this series discussing what we find on the Wiki page on hyperinsulinemia, and you’re invited to check out the previous 3 articles which you can find on the listings on our articles page.
The Wiki article on this is not a very long one although there’s a fair bit in there to talk about. We’re currently at the causes section, where it gives us what whoever wrote this thinks that causes this disease. It lists neoplasm, tumors of the pancreas here specifically, pancreatic cancer, PCOS, and trans fats.
Hyperinsulinemia actually causes PCOS, not the other way around, so that one doesn’t fit. It also stimulates excessive cellular growth so it may have played a role with the tumors and the cancers. The trans fats is interesting and trans fats are certainly not healthy, excessive fat oxidation is a problem for sure and this is the worst type for sure.
Is that it though? Why do 80% of people have this these days then? We don’t eat trans fats very much, not that many people have PCOS and that’s obviously a condition specific to women, as men don’t have ovaries, and not many people have pancreatic tumors or pancreatic cancer, although if you are on an incretin drug you do have pancreatic tumors to some degree as it causes these, every time actually.
So what’s missing here? How about overeating, and in particular, over-consuming carbs? We can produce hyperinsulinemia in the lab simply by feeding the subjects certain diets, high carb and high fat is the best way to go, but high carb alone will do it.
When we exceed our glucose intake, our demand, do you think that will raise insulin levels too much? Most of the time it does. So we measure people’s insulin levels and see that they are too high in diabetics, and they are also too high in overweight people, not always but in the great majority of cases. There are other things going on here as far as weight is concerned, and thyroid problems itself can make someone overweight even if they properly manage their insulin levels, but high insulin and being overweight go hand in hand.
So we eat too many carbs, it puts our insulin up too much, this goes on for years and we get fat and we often get diabetes as well, in addition to other metabolic disorders caused by hyperinsulinemia such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, fatty liver, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and so on.
The Eskimos never got diabetes until they were exposed to the high carb Western diet, they used to eat a very low carb diet for thousands of years and were fine. Today’s diet is even worse than in bygone days, and more and more people are becoming hyperinsulinemic and getting all the conditions that it causes.
The article claims that it’s hard to tell whether hyperinsulinemia causes obesity or the other way around. Now it’s true that being obese and in particular, having leptin resistance ultimately tends to worsen hyperinsulinemia, by inducing reduced glucagon suppression mostly, which results in higher blood sugar and higher insulin secretion.
Insulin is the storage hormone though, and high insulin produces obesity, we understand how it does so, and we can reproduce this in experiments. There is no question as to high insulin levels causing obesity.
The article discusses how being obese basically inhibits fat burning, and this is true to some extent, but what inhibits fat burning the most, by far, is hyperinsulinemia. There’s the other side as well, the fat storage part, which insulin drives, all by itself. So high insulin conserves, and does so by the very nature of insulin, that’s what insulin does, period.
I do have to give the article credit when it comes to their effects section, where they do mention some of the things that hyperinsulinemia leads to, including hyperglycemia, diabetes, PCOS, hypertriglyceridemia, hypertension, coronary artery disease, cardiovascular disease, and weight gain and lethargy.
We could add a few things to this list but that’s a pretty good one and hyperinsulinemia contributes very significantly to all of these conditions and then some. Virtually all of the conditions of modern life are caused by this or contributed to it, including cancer, which is pretty well known but not talked about all that much.
The article mentions some symptoms which are all associated with hypoglycemia, although in almost all cases of hyperinsulinemia, it does not present with hypoglycemia, because it is high due to blood sugar issues and not from some external cause, like tumors and such, or a congenital disorder.
Some people do experience hypoglycemic symptoms, what we call a false low, and this is due primarily to the higher insulin levels themselves, without low blood sugar being present. If one has hypoglycemic symptoms, it is always a good idea to test one’s blood sugar to see if this is real hypoglycemia or not, not just grab a snack every time without checking.
This snacking does raise blood sugar but you don’t want to do that if you aren’t low, and this type of eating leads to a worsening of hypoglycemia, which is why hypoglycemic diets go easier on the fast acting carbs that often provide symptomatic relief.
We now move on to their treatment recommendations, and they do rightly mention that the primary method of treatment is diet and exercise. Diet is the far more important of the two, because exercise doesn’t make that much of a difference, but having a healthy exercise regime is a good idea and can improve insulin sensitivity in many cases.
They mention metformin as a drug that can help, and this is true, although berberine works as well and doesn’t come with the nasty side effects. These substances work by reducing the amount of glucose secreted by the liver and therefore will lower insulin requirements and secretion. The article wisely recommends a low carb diet for this condition which is extremely important.
They also mention cinnamon, which can help as well, although cinnamon is just one among many supplements we can take to help manage hyperinsulinemia. People should not wait until they get diabetes to start worrying about all this though.
They do recommend one visit a dietitian though, although dietitians are part of the problem, not the solution, and the diets they recommend are not the ones that are going to be very successful in controlling hyperinsulinemia. They are taught that our carb requirements are quite a bit higher than they actually are, and even with diabetics, they prescribe a too high carb diet to be able to manage hyperinsulinemia very well.
They speak of reducing starches and sugars, although people consume way too much of this stuff and merely reducing that is not near enough. Drastically reducing carbohydrate intake would be a better recommendation, and eliminating things like sugar, starchy vegetables, and grains, whole or not, may be required, and has been shown to be more healthy regardless.
Overall, there’s some good stuff in this article, things that at least point us in the right direction, but this looks like a bunch of people have contributed to it with various degrees of understanding, from none to a decent amount.
Hyperinsulinemia is an epidemic, the biggest threat to our health by far, as it is behind the stuff we tend to worry about, and the diseases that wreck our health, either causing them directly or significantly contributing to them. If we are wise, we will pay a lot of attention to our insulin levels.