Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Insulin Insensitivity

This issue is high on the list because it is so common—and it responds very well to nutritional therapy. It encompasses three conditions: metabolic syndrome (sometimes called syndrome X), adult onset diabetes and people who are insulin insensitive, but have not developed these conditions yet. Insulin has a lot to do with weight gain and so many other common health problems you see in your office. Sugar and insulin are involved with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, type 2 diabetes, menstrual problems, heart disease, pain, inflammation, depression and even polycystic ovaries. With simple lifestyle changes and some good nutritional products you can help people to easily lose weight and help them with a lot of other health problems. This is easy and it works.
Symptoms of insulin resistance include fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, carbohydrate craving, and periods of hypoglycemia after a high carbohydrate meal (often needing a nap after eating). Approximately 50% of your hypertensive patients are insulin insensitive. Approximately 30% of American adults are insulin insensitive and 25% have Syndrome X. The Journal of the American Medical Association states that if a patient has three or more of the following symptoms then Syndrome X is present.: waist measurement greater than 40” in men (35” in women); triglycerides greater than 150 mg/dl; HDL lower than 40 mg/dl; blood pressure greater than 135/85; or fasting glucose of 110 mg/dl.
Problems with sugar and insulin cause weight gain, along with a variety of other health problems. In general, these patients will have a BMI greater than 30. They carry weight around their abdominal area and crave sugar and starch. Getting insulin production under control is the key to weight loss—and there are some products that will help you to do this.
Dietary changes are, of course, necessary. Patients need to go on a low glycemic diet—avoiding high glycemic foods like refined carbohydrates. Have them follow a low glycemic diet; avoid refined foods, hydrogenated oils and additives. They should eat a large breakfast—with protein. They should eat a lot of fresh produce. You may have some problems with compliance—sugar is addictive. The supplementation should help with cravings. If patients have compliance issues, be patient but be firm in telling them that they need to change their habits. One of the keys to this is getting them to control when they eat (see the next paragraph). They should eat slowly and eat until they are full. They should only eat three meals per day.
Patients need to exercise regularly. They also need to stop snacking. The snacking issue is a tough one; many of these patients are labeled as hypoglycemic. Some feel weak or shaky if meals are delayed or feel the need to snack every two hours (or have been told to do so). You need to wean them from this by increasing the time between snacks. When you first eat, you produce insulin which helps to store the calories of the meal. As time goes on, you produce glucagon, which helps to burn the stored calories. The first three hours after eating, insulin is dominant; after three hours glucagon becomes dominant. You cannot lose weight if you keep producing insulin and snacking makes you produce insulin. It is especially important not to eat between dinner and bedtime.

The dietary changes are difficult, but necessary. Fortunately there are products that help to bring insulin under control and to help with cravings.

A multivitamin (designed for glycemic control): Many of the companies who sell to chiropractors sell a product that has a lot of chromium, B vitamins, magnesium and other nutrients to help the patient will glycemic control.
Fish oil: One of the many good things that fish oil does is to help with glycemic control; it also helps to lower cholesterol.
Phosphatidyl choline Works like a fat detergent; it also helps with adrenal issues. Many of your patients needing to lose weight have high cortisol production. Interesting side note—this is good for exercise-induced asthma (as is fish oil).
Phosphorus: Insulin insensitivity is an acidic condition; phosphates help to buffer. Phosphorus also helps with bone loss (a lot of osteoporotic women love their carbs). Sugar upsets the balance between calcium and phosphorus.
Magnesium: Magnesium is also nature’s muscle relaxer, so give it to patients with tight muscles. A woman who is magnesium deficient often will have tender breasts and mood swings related to her cycle. Magnesium causes the stools to soften, so if the patient gets diarrhea, lower the dosage.
Beta TCP or Betafood: Biotics and Standard Process are the only companies (I know of) that make a product like this. It is an extract from beets; it thins bile. Think of it as a detergent for fat (people with Syndrome X tend to get fatty liver).

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