There exists two hormones in our bodies that wreak more havoc and contribute more to the development of disease than imaginable.
Common warning signs of an imbalance in these two essential hormones include:
*Lack of restorative sleep
*Declining sex drive and/or function
*Loss of energy
*Sugar and salt cravings
The above common symptoms are linked with out of control production of these two important hormones.
Both of these two hormones are absolutely essential for human life (albeit in small short increments).
One of most impressive aspects about these two hormones is that each of us has an incredible amount of control over their production.
The first hormone, insulin, is the primary hormone of interest in the development of adult onset Diabetes. As our weight increases, we become resistant to insulin whose primary role is to control blood sugar.
Over time, as insulin levels continue to rise to compensate for the increasing demand, the organ that produces insulin, called the Pancreas, quite simply ‘wears out’ and eventually blood sugar begins to rise above normal levels.
Eventually Diabetes occurs.
Even if you have seen your primary doctor and had a blood test that showed normal blood sugar, you still may have early warning signs of Diabetes.
This is because the process that leads to type II Diabetes begins years or even decades before your blood sugar is elevated.
One thing to remember about Insulin is that it is a building hormone. Its effects increase the storage of our food as fat or glycogen.
Normally, insulin would be produced in short bursts that on a small scale help our bodies control blood sugar in a fairly tight range.
The problem we face today is our insulin levels are always elevated.
Let’s analyze a typical “healthy breakfast” to help understand why…
You wake up in the morning and have a couple eggs, two slices of toast, a glass of orange juice. Now, two out of three of these choices (underlined) are made up of simple carbohydrates that break down quickly into sugar causing a spike in insulin.
Insulin is unlike blood sugar which can fluctuate wildly throughout the day.
Insulin actually has a longer lifespan in the blood often lasting hours after it is produced. In fact, our standard American diet continually leads to massive spikes in insulin that can even overshoot creating sugar drops and cravings within hours after our last meal.
In our example, insulin is most likely elevated for much of the morning (and even early afternoon).
In fact, it most likely stays elevated until the midmorning snack or lunch at which time we head out for pizza, hamburger, or pasta.
Ok. So you recognize the trend here.
One primary problem with this is that Insulin is pro-inflammatory when elevated to high levels for extended periods.
Chronic inflammation is strongly and specifically linked with the development of most of the common diseases in our country including autoimmune disease, heart disease and cancer.
It’s amazing this one hormone can cause so much destruction!
I can feel the collective outrage as you read this saying, “So what the %#@! do I eat?”.
Well the truth is there is simple formula to use that will help you control insulin and unleash your fat stores for use as energy leading weight loss, improved energy, and in the long run, help reduce your risk for the mentioned diseases. It’s as simple as 1-2-3
1. Avoid process foods (those that come in a box, can, or are prepackaged in any way.
2. Avoid the four whites: pasta, bread, white rice, and potatoes (they all are devoid of nutrition and break down quickly into sugar)
3. Eat a diet rich with (preferably organic) vegetables, raw nuts, beans, & lean meats (you can get use to this, I promise!)
Try sticking to this for one full week! Go out and buy whatever you need for the week. Try to eat something every three hours or so. Be conscious that you will have some powerful cravings.
These cravings will go away with time.
It is important to remove temptations also. Any crackers chips, candy, etc. should be removed from your home and office.
There is no question that some discipline is needed but the rewards are can be truly profound.
Please also remember that insulin control is only one part of a collective biochemical puzzle that contributes to weight gain and other associated health problems in our country. Other factors (i.e. associated disease, hormonal imbalance or deficiency, lifestyle, chronic exposure to environmental toxins, medications, genetics, & family history) should be considered in a complete approach to each individual’s health.
Your unique biochemical individuality will determine your successes and/or failures in health.
I recommend a collective approach to each individual’s optimum health plan.
Please stay tuned for Part II of ‘A Tale of Two Hormones’ when I’ll discuss the other hormone that unnecessarily wreaks havoc in our bodies and leads to early health problems including muscle wasting, depression, chronic fatigue and insomnia.
TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH!
Brian Lamkin, D.O.