Revisiting Insulin

Two very important diabetes research studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week, the ACCORD and ADVANCE studies. See this editorial reviewing this research or download both studies to read the complete articles.

The message is clear. Higher insulin levels lead to increased body weight, blood pressure, lipid abnormalities, and risk for heart attacks and strokes. It does not matter whether the insulin is from insulin injections or from medications which increase insulin production or sensitivity to insulin.

In the ACCORD study there was more aggressive use of insulin in combination with drugs that make you produce more insulin or make you more sensitive to insulin (thiazolidinediones). This combination was effective at lowering glucose but increased the risk of heart attacks and death leading to early termination of the study. In the ADVANCE study less insulin and medications increasing your insulin sensitivity were used and subsequently they did not see an increased risk of heart attack or weight gain. However, in the ADVANCE study they only saw kidney protection from tight control of glucose.

To prevent diabetes and its complications you want to lower insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity without medications. Insulin is an inducible growth hormone, meaning you can adjust the level of insulin with your food choices. Insulin sensitivity is also adjustable with diet and exercise. Polyunsaturated fats, such as omega 3 fats and intense exercise increase your sensitivity to insulin.

Your background set point for insulin sensitivity is determined during fetal development and early childhood. Malnutrition during pregnancy leading to small babies and rapid catch up growth from high calorie, high combined protein/sugar, and high saturated fat diets reduces insulin sensitivity for a lifetime.

Dairy, grain, and legumes (beans) produce more insulin than protein from animal meats. See Insulation from Insulin. Combining protein with sugar increases insulin release. Chronic high insulin levels promote insulin resistance especially during pregnancy and during early childhood but also later in life.

Remember the “Yellowstone Park Rule of Thumb.” Wild animals do not eat dairy but from their mother’s breast as a yearling. Wild animals do not eat grain or legumes. Wild animals exercise every day. And, wild animals do not get high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Go Wild with The Vitamin D Cure diet.