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Insulin resistance

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Insulin resistance (IR) is defined as the inability to activate receptor sites on

cells to receive glucose. In other words the cells are not responding to the
message of insulin, which is needed before any glucose can enter a cell.
The beta-cells in the pancreas produce more insulin than is needed, in spite of
normal or near normal blood glucose levels, a condition known as
hyperinsulinaemia. This could be due to increased sensitivity of the pancreas.
There could also be decreased clearance of insulin by the liver.
Insulin resistance is a syndrome where blood glucose levels are normal to
slightly high. The significant result in any test is whether there is an impaired
glucose response. Insulin levels can vary, but are normally elevated,
particularly if insulin resistance is severe.
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for information on an Energy Boost Formula
'Metabolic syndrome', 'Syndrome X', 'Reaven's syndrome', is an
intermediate stage between insulin resistance and diabetes. Glucose and
insulin levels are high.
Diabetes is a disease where blood glucose levels are high and insulin high,
low or absent.
Insulin resistance can lead to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart
disease, stroke, poly cystic ovaries, obesity. Unfortunately once these have
developed, insulin resistance doesn't simply 'go away', it is still present,
compounding the problem.
IR is also associated with anovulation, erratic periods, increased inflammatory
cytokine levels, increased clotting, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol,
high triglycerides, excess weight around the waist, muscle weakness, brain
fog, an inability to concentrate, to focus, to think clearly and high blood
IR prevents the formation of glycogen (the storage form of glucose) in the
liver. It causes the liver, adrenals, thyroid, gut etc to malfunction and slow
High levels of blood glucose leads to increased glycation of proteins which
causes changes in protein function in the body. Glycation leads to advanced
glycation endproducts (AGEs), resulting in oxidative stress. This in turn leads
to inflammation.
Estimates vary between 30-80% of individuals living in developed countries
having it.

Although many authorities say the cause of insulin resistance is unknown,

there are a number of known factors which do cause it.
Insulin resistance can be caused or affected by the following...

Oxidative stress


A diet high in carbohydrates, particularly sugar, glucose, fructose,

wheat which lead to glycation

A lack of vitamin D

An increase in parathyroid hormone


Drugs including the contraceptive pill and HRT

Glucocorticoids have been implicated

Growth hormone replacement therapy

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-) released during pregnancy and


Inefficient leptin action

Inefficient adiponectin action

Glucosamine, used to treat osteoarthritis

Pollution, particularly persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

Bisphenol A and phthalate metabolites, both oestrogenic

environmental contaminants

For references on factors influencing IR please see here.

Possible symptoms of insulin resistance...

abdominal bloating


addictions, alcohol abuse or craving


anger, mood swings, irrational behaviour, aggression

anxiety, agitation, nervousness, constant worry, tension, panic attacks,


caffeine needed to get going in the morning


constant hunger, appetite high, inability to tolerate long intervals

without food

cramping in legs

cravings/binges for sweet things; sugar, breads, cakes etc



dry and itching skin

easily upset, quick to cry

excessive facial and body hair on women

excessive yawning

exhaustion, chronic fatigue, tired all the time, stamina decreased

frequent infections, poor skin healing

fuzzy brain, mental confusion, inability to concentrate


high blood pressure

high cholesterol, non-alcoholic fatty liver

hot flushes, night sweats

hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)

inability to eat breakfast

increased abdominal fat

infertility, difficulty in falling pregnant


irritable, jittery, weak, tired or depressed if meals are skipped

muscle weakness

nausea, particularly in the morning

palpitations, shaking, trembling

PCO (poly cystic ovarian disease)

swollen feet and/or ankles

tendency to feel cold

tight chest

water retention

weight gain, inability to loose weight

Blood sugar control

When food is eaten it travels through the gut, where it is broken down by
various acids and enzymes, until it is reduced to a size small enough to pass
through the gut wall into the blood stream.
In response to a carbohydrate meal, the beta cells in the pancreas secrete the
hormone insulin to activate the cells into accepting the glucose.
Very simply, insulin is needed to shunt blood sugar or more correctly blood
glucose into the cells for energy. If the cells are unresponsive to this 'knock on
the door', the individual becomes tired, mentally and physically, as very little
'fuel' is getting into the cells for conversion to energy.
The rise in insulin is also a signal to the liver to convert glucose into glycogen,
the stored form of glucose. This can be released instantly should it be needed.
Unfortunately, with a trigger happy pancreas, releasing more insulin than is
required, the liver will continue to convert the glucose into glycogen, but when
it's storage capacity is full, it releases the glycogen into the blood stream. It is
then absorbed by adipose (fat) cells, to store until times of famine occur.
This function is a leftover from the past and was in fact life saving. In times of
famine we could live of the fat, now we no longer have famine, but we still
have the same function and we live with the fat. Interestingly there are
individuals with IR who do not put on weight, the reason for this is not known.
Although possibly it's due to metabolism. There are some individuals who
have a fast cellular metabolism, they respond badly to starchy, sugary foods
and tend to put on weight easily if these are eaten.

With the glucose being absorbed by the liver and fat cells, the cells
themselves unresponsive to insulin, the result is fatigue.

Medical treatment
The normal recommendation is weight loss and exercise. Difficult when two of
the main symptoms are cravings and tiredness.
The anti-diabetic drug glucophage (Metformin), although only approved for
diabetes, is frequently used for IR and PCO.

Natural Treatment
The idea is to reverse the insulin resistance before diabetes, etc becomes a
reality. It is possible to reverse it naturally, without resorting to the use of

No amount of good food or exercise helps, the cells

simply aren't getting the food they need.
A combination of amino acids, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants are all needed
to reverse it, aid in the insulin response, prevent tiredness, cravings and
weight gain, lower triglycerides and assist in the energy transfer within the
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This video is a 'must see'. Sugar: The Bitter Truth...

Progesterone is neuroprotective, it prevents lipid peroxidation and confers
vascular protection.
Both the endogenous steroid cortisol and the widely prescribed glucocorticoid
prednisolone, increases cholesteryl ester (CE) formation, leading to
atherosclerosis, progesterone blocks this increase. In contrast to progesterone,
estradiol was ineffective.
As an anti-inflammatory agent, progesterone has been shown to reduce the
response of natural killer cells, the Th1 cytokine response, as well as other
known initiators of inflammation.
Progesterone suppresses oestrogen, which is an excitatory hormone, a known
initiator of inflammation.
Progesterone stimulates the production of IL-4 and IL-10, anti-inflammatory

Progesterone increases levels of reduced glutathione and superoxide

dismutase. Both powerful antioxidants.
Tumor necrosis factor-alpha is an inflammatory cytokine. Progesterone
decreases both intracellular and secreted TNF-alpha, oestrogen has no effect.
If any emotional stress is being experienced, progesterone is excellent, as it
activates the GABA receptor sites. This is an amino acid and also one of our
most calming neurotransmitters. GABA itself is difficult to use, too much and
symptoms return, it's far easier to use progesterone.
Taurine is another of our most calming neurotransmitters, a powerful sulphur
amino acid like cysteine, it is also vital for the immune system, this should be
considered too. It's vital for bile production, without it fats accumulate in the
Progesterone is involved in the regulation of hypoglycaemia.
Women should use between 100-200mg of progesterone daily, men should

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