Earth, air, water, space and fire; five elements forming life and matter. When in balance, growth and vitality are evident. When not in balance there is sickness, aging and death. Currently we have an excess of the fire element. Puffed out from nearly one billion automobiles we are witness to an era of potentially catastrophic personal and global change.
Not coincidentally, as is often the case, internal and external worlds mirror each other. The reflection I’m referring to in this month's newsletter is fueled by the annual 160 pounds of sugar westerners typically consume - and the metabolic inflammatory response that results - leading to what I call Diabetic Syndrome (DS). This is a serious health concern impacting nearly two thirds of the U.S. population.
Dr. Jon Dunn, Licensed Naturopathic Physician
Natural Health News
Insulin is a pancreatic hormone produced to complex with sugar in the blood stream. Once bound, insulin presents sugar molecules to the cell receptors throughout the body to be absorbed for energy production. When the receptors become resistant to insulin, that sugar has to go elsewhere.
People with DS are subject to weight gain which is unresponsive to standard dietary measures, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and other inflammatory related ailments including cancer.
Here’s what is happening at the microscopic level. Diabetic Syndrome occurs when cell receptors on muscle, liver and other tissues, damaged by inflammation, no longer respond properly to insulin. Insulin is a pancreatic hormone produced to complex with sugar in the blood stream.
Once bound, insulin presents sugar molecules to the cell receptors throughout the body to be absorbed for energy production. When the receptors become resistant to insulin, that sugar has to go elsewhere.
Most excess sugar is transformed into cholesterol and triglycerides. These two fats are essential for health, yet pro-inflammatory when elevated causing liver damage, irritation to blood vessel walls, plaque build-up and clots that can stop your heart and cause strokes. This additional inflammatory load further aggravates the underlying insulin resistant concern that initiated DS.
C - reactive protein (CRP) is an inflammatory marker that becomes elevated with DS. CRP damages blood vessel walls and increases your risk of heart attack and stroke up to 8 fold. Irritated blood vessels due to elevated cholesterol, triglycerides and CRP plus excess weight leads to hypertension, another facet of DS.
In addition to damaging blood vessels excess triglycerides are absorbed into fat cells causing them to swell and produce excess body weight. Overstuffed fat cells further compound the inflammatory problem by secreting a hormone called resistan. Resistan inhibits cell receptor response to insulin. The down-regulating of receptor response to sugar laden insulin is why it becomes doubly hard to loose weight for many individuals even with proper diet and exercise. A high protein diet, which may lead to decreased weight for some, typically fails once a normal diet is resumed. The inflammation caused by a high protein diet causes insulin receptor resistance and once a normal diet resumes so does the refilling of fat cells.
Here’s a profile of those at risk for Diabetic Syndrome. You’ll notice many traits related to blood sugar imbalance.
•Sugar cravings and carbohydrate ‘addiction’ •Sleepiness after a meal; insomnia relieved by snacking •Increased appetite, usually after a carbohydrate meal •Fatigue after high-carbohydrate meals •Pattern of nighttime eating •High stress •Abdominal obesity: waist circumference greater then
40 inches for men, or 34.5 inches for women
•Dietary history of high-refined carbohydrate intake •Weight loss resistance •Excess hair, acne and menstrual irregularities
From your doctor:
•Triglyceride levels above 150 mg/dl •Low HDL blood levels: less then 40 mg/dl for men and
50 mg/dl for women
•Fasting glucose greater then 110 mg/dl •Blood pressure in excess of 130/85 •Elevated insulin levels. Elevated fasting insulin may show
up years before adult onset diabetes manifests
What you may be realizing by now is that you may fall into this category of high risk for DS, even if you are not overweight. Most people in the U.S. do.
The treatment key is to control the fire element/inflammation that sets the process of DS in motion; the inflammation that disrupts insulin receptor integrity. By ensuring the integrity of cell membranes you can assure healthy receptor status. Cell membranes consist primarily of various fats.
Don’t Smoke! Laugh often. Maintain positive mental attitude. Get adequate rest. Exercise regularly. Adapt moderation with alcohol. Manage stress.
Trans fatty acids or trans fats (may be equal to cigarettes in damaging cells), hydrogenated oils, deep fried foods, oil that smokes during cooking, margarine, sugar, white flour products and processed foods, frequent non-organic meat consumption, additional salt added to your meals and any product with a longer shelf life then you.
•A “rainbow” assortment of fruits and vegetables. Nuts, legumes, whole grains, wild salmon, and herbs such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, onion, dill and rosemary. •Adequate water (filtered or bottled) intake: about one half your weight in ounces daily. •Green tea (1-3 cups a day). The catechins in green tea help restore and maintain cell receptor status for insulin. If you are sensitive to green tea (keeps you awake when you need to sleep, or aggravates your acid reflux) consider encapsulated green tea extracts to get the benefit without side effects.
Fish oil (1,200mg 1-2times daily; middle of meal) or Flax oil or even better, Hemp Oil: 1 tbs. daily (keep cool and don’t heat Flax or Hemp oil)
Chromium: 200 mcg twice a day, with lunch and dinner. Chromium helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings.
Good quality multiple vitamin and mineral: not from a drugstore. For adults the typical dose would be 2, twice a day with food: follow the label instructions.
By engaging in healthy lifestyle habits and following the nutrient suggestions above, the silent inflammatory condition of Diabetic Syndrome can be prevented or corrected. If you’re not finding the response you’d like with the above suggestions, a consult may be indicated to address hormone imbalance, food allergy, stress management or the need for additional tests. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if questions.
Happy New Year!
Jon Dunn, ND