Updated: 9:20 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, 2012 | Posted: 9:19 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, 2012

Keep insulin levels balanced for good health

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By Marjie Gilliam

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it properly. When excess glucose builds up in the blood, this sets the stage for diabetes. Many people with insulin resistance have high levels of glucose and insulin in their blood at the same time.

Physician, health advocate and author of “The Blood Sugar Solution,” Dr. Mark Hyman maintains insulin resistance is the biologic cause of obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes, and has developed a scientifically based program for obliterating this cause and maintaining balanced insulin levels.

The program is designed to help all individuals, whether or not they are obese or diabetic, to take back their health and enable their bodies to function at maximum level. 

“The disease burden of what I like to call ‘diabesity’ is vast, but so is the economic burden of chronic-related diseases weighing us down at over $2 trillion a year.  And pills and stomach or cardiac bypass surgeries are not going to solve this problem,” Hyman states. “And contrary to popular belief, even those who are not overweight can be afflicted. These are the ‘skinny fat’ people, who are ‘under lean’ and don’t have enough muscle.”

Making matters worse, he says, there are “no national screening recommendations, no treatment guidelines, no approved medications, and no reimbursement to health care providers for diagnosing and treating anything other than full-blown diabetes. Doctors are not expected, trained or paid to diagnose and treat the single biggest chronic disease in America.”

In “The Blood Sugar Solution,” available Feb. 28, he describes and explains his belief that preventing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia and cancer lies with balanced insulin levels.

His seven keys to Ultra Wellness include:

Boosting nutrition: Our current American diet is a problem for what it contains — too much sugar, processed fats, salt, additives, hormones, pesticides and genetically altered inflammatory proteins — and for what it doesn’t contain — omega-3 fats, fiber, magnesium, zinc, B and D vitamins, antioxidants, and more. “What is at the end of our fork is more important than what is at the bottom of any pill bottle,” Dr. Hyman says. “Our grocery store should be our pharmacy.” 

Regulating hormones: All our hormones — insulin hormone, sex hormones, adrenal or stress hormones, and thyroid hormones — are interconnected, he explains. They interact with one another “like a big musical symphony. When this symphony is out of tune, problems arise.  A critical key to health is proper balance and regulation of hormones.

Reducing inflammation: Anything that causes inflammation will, in turn, cause insulin resistance. And anything that causes insulin resistance will cause inflammation. This “dangerous spiral is at the root of so many of our 21st century chronic maladies,” he says. Finding and eliminating the causes of inflammation along with supporting normal immune function is key to health and longevity.

Optimizing digestion: Our diet has changed dramatically in the last 10,000 years, and even more so in the last 100 years with the industrialization of our food supply. This highly processed, high-sugar, high-fat, low-fiber diet has substantially altered the bacteria that historically grew in our digestive tracts, and the change has been linked to weight gain and diabetes. Moreover, modern inventions such as antibiotics, acid blockers, steroids, anti-inflammatory medicines and more all injure the gut, alter our gut flora, and lead to systemic inflammation.  Fixing the digestion is key to health.

Enhancing detoxification: Everyone is focused on lifestyle, calories in/calories out and medication for diabetes. But scientific data shows that environmental toxins interfere with blood sugar and cholesterol metabolism and cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Specific strategies to enhance detoxification help to support health and weight loss.

Maximizing energy metabolism: Our metabolism turns calories and oxygen into the energy that fuels every cell in our body. This energy is made in little factories in our cells called mitochondria. When these are not working properly, you suffer all the symptoms of low energy: fatigue, slow metabolism, weight gain, memory loss, pain, rapid aging and more. There are specific ways to protect your energy system and boost metabolism.

Soothing your mind: In the face of chronic stress, our levels of insulin, cortisol and inflammatory compounds called cytokines all increase. This drives the relentless metabolic dysfunction that leads to weight gain, insulin resistance and ultimately diabetes. Soothing the mind is a key strategy to maintain optimal well being.

To put these keys into action, the book provides a six-week healthy-living program. 

Marjie Gilliam is an International Sports Sciences Master certified personal trainer and fitness consultant. Write to her in care of the Dayton Daily News, call her at (937) 878-9018 or send email to marjie@ ohtrainer.com.

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