Monday, December 24, 2007

Insulin Resistance- cause of ADD, diabetes, narcolepsy, etc etc

Insulin Resistance

Insulin Resistance

Have you been diagnosed with clinical depression? Heart disease? Type II, or adult, diabetes? Narcolepsy? Are you, or do you think you might be, an alcoholic? Do you gain weight around your middle in spite of faithfully dieting? Are you unable to lose weight? Does your child have ADHD? If you have any one of these symptoms, I wrote this article for you. Believe it or not, the same thing can cause all of the above symptoms.

I am not a medical professional. I am not a nutritionist. The conclusions I have drawn from my own experience and observations are not rocket science. A diagnosis of clinical depression is as ordinary as the common cold today. Prescriptions for Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, etc., are written every day. Genuine clinical depression is a very serious condition caused by serotonin levels in the brain. I am not certain, however, that every diagnosis of depression is the real thing. My guess is that about 10 percent of the people taking these drugs actually need them. I am not saying that the other 90 percent do not have real and very distressing symptoms! I am saying that I believe that 90 percent of the people diagnosed with clinical depression actually do have normal serotonin levels. They have a very real condition, all right, but it isn't depression.

The condition they have is called insulin resistance. Left untreated, it will cause weight gain (around the middle of the body) and depression-like symptoms. Over time, it will cause problems with concentration and alertness. In the worst cases, it will cause diabetes, heart disease, and eventually, death. The problem here is elementary physiology. The human body uses insulin to store glucose in cells (as fat). Most of us know that glucose is sugar, but very few of us know that the body cannot distinguish between starches and sugar. Your body cannot tell the difference between a piece of white bread and a handful of sugar. Whole wheat bread is better, but only because it is absorbed into the blood more slowly. All carbohydrates - including, but not limited to, rice, corn, potatoes, and even carrots - are converted into sugar in your body. In fact, there is a school of thought that says that a baked potato is actually worse for you than eating raw glucose. From my own experience, I think that school of thought is quite correct. In some people, particularly after years of abuse, the body stops utilizing insulin well. To compensate, the pancreas makes more insulin. The results include weight gain, an increase in triglycerides, lousy cholesterol ratios, climbing blood pressure. In extreme cases, the pancreas eventually becomes exhausted and insulin levels fall, creating Type II diabetes. In short, I am talking about a recipe for suicide.

Insulin resistance is deadly, but why does it also make you feel lousy? Blood sugar! First, you eat something that makes blood sugar rise - some sort of carbohydrate. Maybe it was a candy bar. Maybe it was a sandwich (two slices of bread!). Maybe it was a baked potato, or rice, or a serving of corn. Maybe it was a breakfast pastry or bowl of cereal. After you eat, blood sugar rises for about twenty minutes, which makes you feel quite good. Meanwhile, your body is busily trying to utilize this food. Wups! The insulin isn't working. Make more. And more. All of a sudden, you have too much insulin floating about and your blood sugar drops through the floor. You feel worse than sleepy. It's a groggy feeling, like you've taken a barbiturate - you can't keep your eyes open. If you can, you go to sleep. If you can't, you suffer. Either way, it's over eventually. Afterward, you actually have a slight hangover, like you've been poisoned. Well, your own body has poisoned you. Worse still, you are now ravenously hungry - so you do it again. If I have just described you, then you are insulin resistant and addicted to carbohydrates. It wasn't your fault. You did as you were told by the folks who should have known better. Don't beat yourself up about it. But it's going to kill you if you don't change it. The lousy feeling of low blood sugar mimics depression. That uncontrollable sleepiness mimics narcolepsy. But how does this explain alcoholism? As in the other two cases, it doesn't. Alcoholism, like clinical depression and narcolepsy, is a real and incurable disease. But carbohydrate addiction can certainly cause problem drinking! Nothing on this planet can be converted to pure sugar faster than alcohol, so nothing makes you feel better faster when your blood sugar is below the floor - very briefly. Then your blood sugar crashes, and you need another drink to feel better again. And another. And another. The next thing you know, you are looking at a DWI, which is totally bewildering because you did not set out to get drunk!

I would add that I think the mood problems stem not only from the quick spike in blood sugar, but over the longer term from the insulin resistance keeping sugar out of your muscles and brain and storing it all as fat instead. The worst of all possible worlds. There's also alot to be said for the many properties of cereal grains to affect our endocrine system in a negative way. Insulin resistance, specifically in the brain itself, is also a factor. I have many links on my blog to articles I've found tying many disorders to insulin resistance. Hope you stay and look around a bit!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like your thinking. I have been low carbing for over a year now and was actually diagnosed with diabetes 6 months into low carbing. I also have ADD and felt some releif from exercising and low carbing, BUT I have checked my BS when I though I was low but it just didn't pan out.

I have been reading Right Brained Children in a Left Brain World that explains ADD as people who have different strengths and who Left Brainers are forever trying to "fix".

I have this pattern that actually fits very well into the inattentive type of ADD, in that every afternoon I basically collapse from the effort of the morning, this has been going on for at least 10 years...anywhoo, I just wanted to comment because people tend to dismiss ADD ADHD as made up problems when the real problem, if you want to frame it as a problem is that some people are excessively right brained and process their thoughts and their world totally differently.

Anonymous said...

Scott:
I do think you have some things figured out in this life. I have some type of sleep disorder and at this time I do believe it is narcolepsy, but thank god I am not catalepic.
I do have a problem with insunlin resistance.
Often times when I am driving if I feel an attack coming on (yes, I can tell), I will often reach for something to keep as this will keep it at bay for a short time, but then the worst happens and when it hits, it takes me down along with the sugar drop. I am lucky that my attacks only last a minute, but sometimes I will have more than one.
I am so tired of going to drs. and them practicing their philosopy on me. I have had this problem for about 40 years and only within the last 10 have I been able to make headway.
So I am headed back to the diet and find out what I can eat and what I cannot. I believe you can "average" people's metabolisms, but everyone has something in particular that the body cannot handle. Boy! Will this take a long time in just keeping track of what I eat and categorizing it.

Scott Carlson in Chicago said...

I've noticed that carbs make me so sleepy, it becomes a problem with driving sometimes. I've made a few long distance trips (20 hours), and at this point I just fast for the duration of the trip. I'm so much more alert and awake it's not even funny. Some foods, especially pizza and sub sandwiches, are like a guaranteed knock out for me. I also wake up the next day with a hangover. It's interesting also, if I am very low carb for a good amount of time, and eat carbs, I can literally feel my face getting flush and my heartbeat increasing.

Scott Carlson in Chicago said...

I came across an amazing study, posted on the blog here. 40% of morbidly obese patients have ADD! That's an incredible figure! I was going to ADD meetings, and when one person mentioned diabetes, everyone chimed in with what meds they took for their diabetes. I also noticed that all the ADHD people were very thin, and all the ADD people overweight. I mean I know there are coincidences in life, but I really think there's something to this. I also posted a study here recently that showed that animals with the lowest metabolism were the most passive and shy, and the higher metabolism ones were more aggressive and outgoing.

Scott Carlson in Chicago said...

To the first commentator who said he felt run down but his blood sugar was normal, I suspect the answer is that although you had normal blood sugar, the energy isn't getting to your brain. Scientists have recently discovered that the brain is affected by insulin, and can also become insulin resistant. Couple this with insulin resistant cells in the body, and it could be that the energy just can't get to where it's needed. Going super low carb and going into ketosis is interesting, because your body runs on ketones then, and you bypass the sugar/insulin energy system. Check out some of the posts I have on ketones for more info.