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Insulin Resistance + High Insulin {Episode 240}

Blood Sugar, Insulin, Diabetes, Health, Stress, Insulin Resistance

Insulin Resistance + High Insulin {Episode 240}


You are listening to Functional Nutrition Radio, with me as your host, Lahana Vigliano, the owner of Nuvitru Wellness and a board-certified clinical nutritionist. Hello!! I am so excited for today’s episode on high insulin and insulin resistance. I have been so inspired by my clients lately on what they need and I just can’t wait to speak about all these topics. And yes, I am doing an episode on this because if you have questions, other people have questions. Now, we’re not just talking about high insulin, insulin resistance on how it relates to sugar and carbohydrate intake because you guys can Google that honestly.

I think that there is so much more to the picture and that it’s not being talked about enough, and that’s what I wanted to talk about today. Let’s not talk about diet.

But there are things that have nothing to do with eating that I want to bring up to your attention because if you struggle with this, you need to be focusing on all these different areas.

And this can feel very overwhelming. But that is the purpose of having us if you need to hire a dietitan, a nutritionist, and our team to help guide you through this, so we make it not as that is overwhelming and walking you through step by one step at a time, because this can be very overwhelming. So let’s start with some of the basics. Just the very, very basics.

Insulin Basics

Let’s talk about insulin’s job. Insulin is made in the pancreas by the beta cells. Its job is to shuttle glucose into your cells. Cells are your home. Cell receptors are the door to your home. So it’s just like your front door. Insulin is the chauffeur, which the key to the door and blood sugar is your visitor. The whole job is that when we have blood sugar roaming around in our blood, our insulin walks up and says, hey, I think you need to get into your home. It unlocks the cell receptor door and opens it up and says, come on inside. Then, it closes the door. And that’s the relationship, basically. So its job is to bring that glucose into the cell.

Now, over time, with some of the habits we’ll talk about today and then also with diet not having an ideal diet, such as lots of refined carbs and sugars, and you have this constant high blood sugar, your pancreas will release insulin to take care of that because its goal is to say, whoa, there’s too much sugar in the blood, which that can be very dangerous. Let’s shuttle glucose into the cells so it can go through that citric acid cycle and glycolysis and make all the ATP energy. So eventually, though, the pancreas, it’s hard to keep up with after a long period of time with constant demand. Another issue is that the key insulin can’t open the door to the cell. The cell receptor isn’t listening anymore.

Pancreas stops communication. It can’t keep up with the constant demand. The cells just shut it out. So you’re left with high sugar in your blood and insulin in your blood. And that’s not good. Now, the thing is, with insulin, it’s a sneaky little thing. It is so sneaky. And what I mean by that is usually before you get diabetes, insulin is creeping up very silently, very sneaky without any symptoms. Let me repeat that. Without any symptoms, you will not know unless you test. And I don’t care who you are, that needs to be a part of your normal yearly blood work. And I don’t know how many people that I’ve seen have higher than optimal blood insulin levels. And we could totally avoid the whole scary road going all the way down to diabetes. So let’s start talking what are the things that are not diet-related that can cause higher blood sugars and higher insulin?

Stress + Insulin

Hopping on my soapbox, because you guessed it, STRESS!

When we’re stressed, it tells the stored glucose to be released into the bloodstream so your body can have this energy source for that fight or flight response. When you’re releasing the stored glucose into the bloodstream has nothing to do with eating.

In response insulin is, of course, released because it’s noticing that there’s a higher amount of blood sugar in your blood and it needs to do its job.

And let’s sit back and think how often are you stressed? All the time, every day, throughout the day? Because guess what? This has nothing to do with diet. Let’s pretend you’re eating the most perfect diet in the whole entire world and I mean the optimal diet. But how often are you stressed? Guess what’s always going to be high? Your blood sugar, because your body always does something for a reason, so it knows you’re stressed. It doesn’t know that it’s not a tiger that you’re running from, but it will give you the response as if it was a tiger. It’s releasing the stored glucose into your bloodstream, so you can fight or flight and get out of there. So you are consistently putting glucose in your bloodstream. Therefore, you are constantly releasing insulin. So eventually that’s when things just don’t start communicating. Cell receptors start being desensitized and your pancreas can say, “yeah, can’t keep up with it.”

Yes, you can potentially see a diagnosis of diabetes with the perfect diet, but you’re stressed out to the max all the time. Stress, stress, stress. I’ll hop off my soapbox in a second. This is something we have to address. It’s just something that we have to focus on. The DUTCH test is a great test to get a feel for what your adrenals are doing. That’s helpful. You know your body the best. So, you know if you’re stressed or not.

stress and insulin resistance, nutrients to support insulin

Micronutrient Deficiences

Number two. Micronutrient deficiences. This one is indirectly related to diet, not like eating sugar or carbs, but if we’re providing our body with the fuel it needs. Let’s start with this. Every process of the body is so nutrient-dense. We don’t have nutrients. Nothing else works. Nutrient deficiencies impact blood glucose getting into the cell. A couple of nutrients that are rock stars in this blood sugar insulin regulation is magnesium, chromium, manganese and alpha lipoic acid. And you guys, there’s more.

But I just really want to hit home on these four. Magnesium is so essential because it’s a huge part of metabolism of carbohydrates, but it can also increase insulin and it being effective. It has been found that if you’re deficient in magnesium, this can cause insulin resistance. Wait, so you mean like a good diet, but maybe, you know, you’re not eating enough magnesium or whatnot. Maybe the demand is really high and just can’t keep up with diet. So you do not supplement enough or whatever it is. But you’re telling me if I’m deficient in magnesium, this can cause insulin resistance?! Yes!

Chromium is also a big part of carb and fat metabolism. This plays a role in insulin signalling and causes increase in insulin receptors. So guess what? If you’re low on chromium, tada, now we’re having issues with insulin receptors. There definitely is a connection between insulin sensitivity and intakes of manganese and alpha lipoic acid.

One thing that I will say is while you’re like, “all right, well, I struggle with insulin resistance, so I’m going to go on Lahana’s sweet Fullscript account and go buy some really good magnesium and chromium.” Yeah, that’s something you can do. But is it a waste of money? Honestly, you are just kind of throwing stuff to the wall and seeing what sticks. We spend so much money on so many other things in life and we just it’s all about priorities and lab testing should be a priority.

Stop guessing and hit it home, get things tested, see if these are an issue, because if they’re not, it could be stress, it could be all the other things that we’re talking about versus a micronutrient deficiency.

Lack of Sleep / Circadian Rhythm + Insulin

The third thing is lack of sleep or impaired circadian rhythm. That is our biological clock. Let’s refer back to the stress talk real quick. When we have lack of sleep, our cortisol is usually higher. It’s very stressful to be up. Sleep is very therapeutic. Your circadian rhythm also, when it’s misaligned, can cause insulin resistance. There are times where your cells are more or less sensitive to insulin, the circadian rhythm.

I bet a question you’ll ask is like, “what can throw it off one?” I feel so bad, but those nightshift workers and their shifts aren’t ideal. It’s very unnatural for us and some of the night shift workers are very essential.

That might be something NOT so easy that you can change, but basically not sleeping on a schedule can hurt your circadian rhythm. The more you have your sleep on schedule, waking up the same time, going to bed at the same time every single day – it helps so much! I’m just talking about like some people have daily habits or weekly habits, I should say, of sleeping really good in the week. And then weekends are so off. And then, of course, sleep issues like insomnia, sleep apnea, caffeine late in the day, that will also throw it off and then think of your environment, too.

But circadian rhythm was shown to straight up damage your beta cell function. Remember, this is in your pancreas. Something that I want to note about sleep is that this is not like, “oh, yeah, I had like a couple of months of bad sleep. Yeah, it affected me. No, guys, not a couple of months. One night. One night. One night of sleep, total sleep deprivation, lowered insulin sensitivity. So if you are struggling with insomnia, this is something that is high priority!

Gut Health + Insulin

I found an awesome study that showed the microbiota, which is like all your bugs good and bad, just your community of bugs in your gut. It’s very different between diabetes patients and regular patients. And it’s kind of chicken or egg scenario, you guys. Does having diabetes cause this? Or did this happen before diabetes?

It was very cool to see that the microbiome is very different between a regular person and a patient with diabetes. But imbalances in your gut called dysbiosis, which is an imbalance of good and bad bacteria. Bad bacteria can secrete what’s called LPS, which is lipopolysaccharides. LPS increases inflammation and when I say inflammation, this is your cytokines, interleukins, TNF-alpha, all these inflammatory markers. Inflammation impairs your insulin receptors.

Now I’m talking in terms of gut health, but this also can be food sensitivities and this can be anywhere that inflammation is stemming in your body. You’ve really got to get that down. If inflammation is an issue, we got to get down to the reason why inflammation is happening.

That’s basically why we talk about gut health, super short and sweet, but it really boils down to inflammation. While there are some obvious sources of inflammation, in some people, it’s not always something that you just constantly feel.

I actually had clients where we did a stool test and, you know, I was like, yeah, I have a little bit of imbalance, but shouldn’t be too intense. Then, they have like the craziest inflammation levels I’ve ever seen. I was like, whoa, was not expecting that. So, it’s not always going to be super obvious.

Toxins + Heavy Metals

And then last but not least, that definitely deserves a little bit of time are toxins and heavy metals. And we’re just getting into this because we’re doing and toxin urine testing. And I did myself, which was awesome.

I highly recommend and this is coming from a girl who has lives a pretty clean lifestyle, but I still had a pesticide at high levels and phthalates.

This can also show how your liver functions. I wanted to be aware of what was high on my body. Is there something that I’m missing? And then how can we improve detox? Because let’s be honest, we live in a really toxic world!

It’s impossible to avoid all the toxins, but it’s how we can build our body up to handle them and get rid of them. So, let’s talk about some of the toxins that are related to insulin. There’s BPA. You all know BPA.

BPA blocks insulin receptor sites. That’s insulin resistance. That’s in plastics and stuff. OK, now persistent organic pollutants also called POPS.

POPs also blocks insulin receptor sites and it can decrease a transporter, a glucose transporter called GLUT-4 on your muscles. That transporter is located on the cell and helps increase glucose uptake into the cell.

People with higher levels of phthalates were twice as likely to develop Type two diabetes. Phthalates is a really popular chemical used in everything.

You probably have heard of it if you’re used to looking for cleaning products or beauty products. “Free phathalates! Free parabens!” But I want to say phthalates were high on my end, which is crazy because I don’t wear perfume and I’m very conscious of everything.

So another thing that has nothing to do with insulin, but it’s a side note, is phthalates also inhibited beta-oxidation, beta-oxidation is just simply how we’re able to break down and use our fatty acids, which would be located inside the mitochondria. But, phthalates inhibited this process by 50 percent. So, now we have issues with being able to utilize fatty acids to make energy. And this is an issue because if we’re not able to utilize fatty acids, which we do use our fat, this is another way and reason why we don’t have to consistently eat all the time because we have our fatty acids that we can use to make energy through bad oxidation. But if we’re not able to use our fatty acids to make energy, this is a big deal.

And then people can start going through blood sugar lows and just not feeling well and not being able to use our fatty acids.. And then also there were other things, heavy metal arsenic that was connected to damaged pancreas beta cells, and that is where insulin is made.

Overwhelmed + Need Help?

Obviously, there is a lot to look all around holistically right at the person, more so than just diet. And so if you’re feeling defeated, if you feel like you’re getting the diet right, it’s perfect and you haven’t explored any of these things, reach out to us because there are labs for all of us that you don’t have to guess anymore. And you can figure out exactly what’s going on in your life.

And if you’re not ready for that, you can at least start working on these essentials. Sleep, stress, make sure you are good. Of course, getting on a schedule, no blue lights at night, cleaning up your environment as much as you can. There’s so much that you can do even without our help. But if you’re just sick and tired, sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, reach out to us because we can do some of the stuff and figure out how can we support you using food and how can we help you clean up your environment. That’s so important. So thank you guys for listening.

The best place if you have any questions specifically on this podcast is finding us over on Instagram. And I am starting to post some audio clips of the podcast. So, if you find that post for this podcast and it will say high insulin and insulin resistance. You can comment on that if you have any questions. And I will see you over there. All right. I have got to finish up my day. So thank you guys for spending some time with me. And I will talk with you soon.

Lahana Vigliano, CCN

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Lahana Vigliano

Lahana Vigliano is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and CEO of Nuvitru Wellness. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition Science and Masters Degree in Nutrition Science and Functional Medicine. She is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in Clinical Nutrition. Lahana and her team help support women who struggle with weight loss, hormonal imbalances, digestive issues, chronic fatigue, and many other lingering issues that leaves women not feeling their best. She uses food as medicine, as well as herbs and supplements when needed, to support her clients. She looks at the whole body holistically making sure women are understanding how nutrition, sleep, stress, and their environment impact their health. Connect with her on Facebook + Instagram (@nuvitruwellness).