Many Diseases Linked to High Insulin – The Longer Story

Readers:  This is the EXTENDED article that papers could not print due to space considerations.

Dear Pharmacist,
I really need your help because I am now up to 14 medications for the following problems:  High cholesterol, heart disease, pre-diabetes, cataracts, arrhythmias, allergies, memory problems and enlarged prostate (BPH).  The medications make me sick and sleepy.  The reason I am writing to you is because you always have a fresh perspective.  Can you help me get off these medications?
– C.P.  Kansas City, Kansas

Answer:  Fresh perspective is my middle name.  I would never tell you to stop taking your medications, but your doctor might in the coming months, as you get well. How to get you well is my major concern but since I’m not a doctor, I will just give you advice to take back and discuss.  Currently you take a lot of medicine for many conditions, which makes me wonder why they call it the “golden” years. Regardless, I’ve got big news about something you’ve probably never heard of before.

In the email you sent me, something stood out.  No one has measured your serum insulin! You should ask your doctor to measure this for you. Based on my studies, I suspect that high insulin is one common denominator for many, if not all, of your medical concerns. There are numerous studies available on pubmed and printed in respected journals that show an association to high insulin and the very disorders that you have.

For those who don’t realize, insulin is a pancreatic hormone that reduces blood sugar which rises in response to eating. Many physicians routinely measure your blood glucose, but not your insulin.  The ratio of glucose to insulin is more valuable than the level of either one alone.  That’s a very important statement and it often comes as a surprise to folks who are used to having their blood glucose measured (FBS) but not their insulin.  Just because your blood glucose is normal (and you are sent home with the good news that you do NOT have diabetes) does not mean that everything is hunky dory.

The following information is hard to find, and I’m happy to share it with you.  A person’s insulin  levels may be SKY HIGH because the pancreas could be working on overdrive to push the blood sugar into the cell.  Remember, insulin puts sugar into the cell, so if you have a lot of sugar on board (from eating the typical American diet or lots of carbs) then your insulin can be very high  for many years while your blood sugar is normal.  This is a dangerous place to be, and many doctors never think to measure a person’s insulin.   The insulin can be high because the pancreas is pumping it out all day long to push the sugar into the cell.   Good time to tell you that insulin makes a person fat.  The more insulin, the more weight gain.  So as a side note, if you are dealing with stubborn weight that refuses to come off, you may have high insulin.

So you see now, why it’s the ratio of glucose to insulin that is so important.  High insulin gives you a higher risk for many diseases.

Serum insulin levels should be measured by the blood.  If it’s high, we need to talk.  Chronically elevated insulin causes a cascade of inflammatory chemicals and high cortisol which lead to major diseases some of which you already have. If I was a physician, I would have my patients take this blood test as part of their annual physical, or at the onset of any major disease.  This is very important, I think taking the test twice in one day might be useful to certain patients.

That probably sounds odd, allow me to explain. The first test would be taken on an empty stomach (fasting) and then you would eat a meal (or drink a sugary sweet drink offered by the lab facility, which tastes fairly nasty to be honest) and then you would take your second test 2 hours after that. What I’ve described is called a “post-prandial” test.    So to summarize, some people can just do one test which evaluates two parameters (fasting serum insulin AND fasting blood glucose) while other people may need to be evaluated more fully and take two tests.  In this case, they would do the fasting tests and also a  “2 hour post-prandial test” which evaluates two parameters (serum insulin and blood glucose).  Why?  Because some people are perfect when a fasting test is performed, but when they eat, their body goes haywire with the insulin and glucose.  You wouldn’t see this on a fasting test.

I realize this is somewhat complicated but I’m here to help you, and if I don’t share these intricate details, you might fall through the cracks. I care to much to let that happen.  So if this was hard to understand, re-read it, or print it for your doctor to see if you need to be tested in this way.  These are blood tests (not saliva or stool).

Here are the ranges to help you/your doctor and please note that this is just a guideline, it’s not the be-all, end-all… there are many tests that your physician will suggest to help you get better.  Here’s one of them.
Fasting Serum Insulin: Serum insulin levels should be 5 – 10 microunits/ml.  Optimally speaking, they should be less than 5.   As a general rule, if your levels are higher than 10, your risk for developing diabetes increases. Above 25, and I think it’s a slam dunk for diabetes and other major disabilities.
2 hour post-prandial serum insulin should be less than 25.
________________
Fasting glucose: Optimal 70 – 100 mg/dl
2 hour post-prandial blood glucose: 70 – 145 mg/dl

Here’s the big deal:  The ratio of glucose to insulin should be less than 10:1.
For example, if your blood sugar is 170 and your insulin is 8, then your ratio is 21  (NOT GOOD).  You want the ratio to be less than 10:1.     Here’s another example,  your blood glucose is 85 and your insulin is 6 then your ratio is 14.   It’s BETTER than 21, but more
work that needs to occur.

Chronically elevated insulin hormone has also been associated with Parkinson’s disease, nerve pain, and autoimmune diseases like lupus and cancer.  Yes, cancer!  Breast cancer and pancreatic cancer are connected to high insulin.  And according to an August 2009 study published in The Journal of The National Cancer Institute – elevated insulin increases the risk for prostate cancer too.  Here’s their conclusion:

Elevated fasting levels of serum insulin (but not glucose) … appear to be associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer.

That’s straight out of the National Cancer Institute’s own journal.  By now you may be wondering, how does one reduce insulin?  The simplest way is free and totally up to you.  Lose weight!  Exercising helps you to reduce blood glucose levels.  Even better, exercising makes your cells happy to see insulin, which improves insulin sensitivity.

Now, I’m going to say the unthinkable to many of you reading this.  Eat a vegan diet, including more raw foods for just 30 days and see what glorious things take place.  Caloric restriction and the consumption of nourishing foods (rather than soda, fast food and candy bars) can reduce insulin and pain-causing chemicals. It’s really not as hard as it sounds, and maybe a healthy diet is the solution for you, considering the current path you’re facing. With dietary compliance, your doctor may be able to discontinue some of your medications.

Certain supplements drive biochemical pathways in the body which tell your cells to burn fat and sugar, and that reduces insulin levels.  These supplements include vitamin D, resveratrol, quercetin, lipoic acid, curcumin and L-arginine.  Let’s take a look at each supplement so that you can decide (with your physician) which of these are right for you:

Vitamin D: This is affectionately dubbed the “sunshine” vitamin because sunlight sparks a reaction in the skin to begin the formation of active vitamin D.  It is your liver and kidneys which fully activate the D to a hormone which has far-reaching effects in the body.  One of these effects is that D can improve insulin sensitivity.   The effect is fairly dramatic.  There are many studies, one appeared in “Diabetic Medicine” in January 2009 (References below).   If your doctor approves, buy an over-the-counter version because it is more natural to the body (compared to prescribed sources) and look for “Vitamin D3” or “Cholecalciferol.”   A suggested dose would be about 5,000 IU per day in the morning (with food/snack).

Resveratrol: This is best known as the heart-healthy antioxidant from red wine.  You an buy pure supplements of resveratrol and that is my recommendation.  It is thought to work by awakening a longevity gene.  Yes, it appears that we are not ruled by our genes!  The gene is in charge of burning fat so in this case, resveratrol appears to help a person burn fat by triggering a lazy gene (called PGC1-alpha).  Don’t worry about the technicalities, okay, the point is that this antioxidant has important effects like doing good housekeeping on your cells, and waking up your lazy sluggish genes which then start to holler, “Burn the fat!  I said get the fat and sugar out of this cell right now!”

When buying resveratrol supplements, be choosy.  The better form of resveratrol is the “trans” resveratrol, and dosages vary widely.  I’d suggest about 100 – 500 mg daily, in the morning (on an empty stomach meaning no food, but fine with other supplements that you take).   Resveratrol is often combined with another grape-derived extract called quercetin or grape seed extract, those types of combos are fine with me.

Quercetin: A citrus “bioflavonoid” this is a potent antioxidant that comes from citrus plants as well as the skin of grapes and apples.  It is best known as nature’s antihistamine, and it helps prevent easy bruising by protecting capillaries.  Quercetin makes vitamin C work better and it also happens to upregulate your genes and get some fat-burning action to occur. It’s all subtle, these supplements are not magic bullets. Some naturopaths suggested quercetin to help reduce LDL cholesterol.   In this case, you can take it as part of a resveratrol formula (see above) or you can take it by itself.  Dosages are typically 500 mg and you take it once or twice daily (with food/snack).

Lipoic Acid: I could write a book on this one!   It’s a powerful antioxidant that penetrates both the fat-loving (lipophilic) and the water-loving (hydrophilic) cells of your body.  This means it gets into your kidneys, liver, pancreas, heart, brain, lungs, everywhere!   No organ can hide from lipoic acid.  It sweeps away free radicals.  I’ve included the nutrient in my list to lower insulin because it has a rarely known talent.  Lipoic acid happens to prod some transcription factors in your body, which in turn awaken a gene called PGC1-alpha.  When you wake up this gene, your cells are awakened and the little fat-burning organelles inside your cells (called “mitochondria”) start the party.

The party consists of burning up a lot of fat and sugar that is making you unhealthy.   So lipoic acid basically gets these mitochondria working harder and that helps you lose weight.   Now be sensible, you’ll have to sweat a little too, lipoic acid is not a magic bullet, it’s just a helping hand. I like the R-lipoic acid version (over the “alpha” version) and the dose is approximately 200 mg two to four times daily.  Another interesting physician-exclusive formula is called “ALAMax CR” and this is available from doctors or online sellers of Xymogen products.  It is a 300mg dose, so it is taken once or twice daily.   Be warned, lipoic acid makes your urine smell like cooked asparagus

L-arginine: It’s almost the same type of “party” as described above for lipoic acid.  L-arginine is an amino acid which works to awaken the same longevity gene I discussed above.  This begins a cascade of signaling which could help you lose weight.  L-arginine is found in many sex formulas too, because it widens blood vessels and sends blood flowing down South.  In addition to helping one with pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and angina, it may very well be the best bedroom secret known to men.  Dosages vary tremendously:  1,000 – 3,000 (or much more if your doctor suggests) taken one to four times daily.  There isn’t a lot of counterfeiting/contamination with arginine (as compared to other dietary supplements) so just use your best judgement in picking a  formula.  One that I am sure of is high-quality is sold at CVS, by “Life Fitness” makers and it’s called “Arginine TR” but there are many others, sold at health food stores. Please ask your doctor if arginine is right for you because it can lower blood pressure, and there are some studies that suggest it is not right for people who have already had a heart attack. Be warned, taking too much may increase your risk for an outbreak of shingles or fever blisters or any type of herpes-driven infection.

Curcumin: Found in the spice turmeric and curry, this is a powerful herb and it is pretty well known in the scientific community to improve insulin sensitivity (by increasing adiponectin levels which is a good thing).  The big, huge deal with curcumin is that there are well-designed trials and positive emerging studies that suggest curcumin plays a role in preventing and possibly treating various cancers.  It has an effect of lowering inflammatory chemicals which cause swelling, pain and inflammation all over the body.  Curcumin has many other effects too, such as lowering levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF alpha) which in some cases causes damage to your heart and pancreas.  There are several high-quality versions of this herb sold nationwide but unfortunately, with curcumin, there is a lot of garbage out there. This frustrates me because some people buy this supplement to prevent/treat serious cancers so I wish there was better regulation.  Regardless, it’s impossible to list all the good brands out there, but I don’t mind telling you the formulas that I have taken myself and trust for my family:
New Chapter’s TurmericForce
Good Health Naturally “Curcumin 98”
Thorne Research’s Meriva SR sold online

If you would like to gain lifetime access to 30 hours of informative talks by world leading experts, Learn more her The Diabetes Summit It is brand new for 2015. Don’t miss out on this event.

I also wrote the book on this topic “Diabetes Without Drugs” Click Here to learn more.

If you have read all the way to this point, you must enjoy my writing style so please remember to sign up for your free health newsletter at the top right hand portion of this page 🙂

Did You Know?
Caffeine-related jitters are intensified by birth control and synthetic estrogen-containing hormones used for menopause.

Just a few references, more can be obtained from pubmed and peer-reviewed journals:

http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/djp260

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19125756?ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSumhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19125756?ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12800453?ordinalpos=9&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

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2014-06-15T20:08:51+00:00

22 Comments

  1. Vivien January 24, 2015 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    Just to let you know I am taking something called Sugar Solve 24/7, it is amazing. I stopped taking Metformin about 3 months ago when I found out you can get Bladder Cancer. My fasting was around 161 every morning so I started serching as to what I can take. I found the Sugar 24/7 within 7 days my blood glucose came down to 121 this morning 110. I am so impressed with this product.
    As for my Thyroid I was given this juicing receipe from someone in South Africa. It has been amazing I feel like a different person. I am 70 years old and stil work 24/7 I take care of people with Alzheimer’s. 6 carrots, 1 cucumber, half a lemon, 2 slices of pineapple, 8 radishes I add 1 tespoon of super greens to that as well as 2 T apple cider vinegar. I really feel better than what I have in a long time. I am on no medicatons at present only supplements. I still get very sad at times so maybe you can help with that. If you need me to send you the full receipe for that juice I will gladly send it, it tells you exaxtly what each thing does for your Thyroid. I have lost 15 LBS since using the juice.
    Take care love all your articles

    • Donna January 25, 2015 at 3:56 am - Reply

      Hi Vivien..so glad to here you are off your meds..I would like for you to send the complete recipe for the juice you make. Also, where do you get the Sugar Solve 24/7? Thank You and good luck with the work you do for Alzheimer’s.

    • Jan January 26, 2015 at 3:04 am - Reply

      Hello Vivien, I would like to know where you buy sugar solve from, and would like to get the recipe for the thyroid juice, I pray for your hearings. Thanks jan

    • David January 26, 2015 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      Vivian,

      I, too, would like your recipe. If you send it to me and want me to do so, I would place on my blog. Then we could direct the other interested people to the blog and save some effort on your part. My blog is not a health blog but rather it covers any topic I feel like writing about. If you prefer you could write an article and post it as a guest author. david at deedon dot us

      David

    • pooja August 25, 2015 at 11:34 am - Reply

      Hi Vivien,

      I am Pooja.I am suffering from infertility from past two years(since I am married)
      My fasting insulin is normal and my glucose levels are normal(both fasting and pp).
      But my insulin pp is 95.
      Doctor suggested Metformin 500 twice daily.

      Is there anything you can help me out in normalizing my insulin level as I am really scared of diabetes as this silent killer had killed my father.

      • Suzy Cohen August 25, 2015 at 4:57 pm - Reply

        Have you seen the article I just wrote on diabetes and thyroid disease? The link is on the home page. Please read that, and you can also use my search box. And you should absolutely buy a copy of my Diabetes Without Drugs book, the link for that is on “Shop” tab. I have been educating on this topic for years.

  2. aurora wagar January 25, 2015 at 12:14 am - Reply

    please send me the receipe for the juice.

    Thank you

    Aurora

  3. Lola January 25, 2015 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Hi!
    Thank you so much for this post and for all info you are providing us. I love reading all your articles!

    Vivien, Thank you too for your info about juicing. May I kindly ask you too, for your juice recipe you make? Thank you in advance and the best of health to all.

    Lola

  4. Wink January 25, 2015 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    I would be interested in the receipe for the juice also.
    Thanks

  5. Kathy January 25, 2015 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Could I please have a copy of the juice recipe for the thyroid? Thanks! Kathy

  6. Yvonne January 26, 2015 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Hello Suzy,
    I found your article to be very informative. I have had a history of my blood glucose being on the high end and a times just over a 100. My A1c has been a 6. Can you recommend a health professional or professionals in the Philadelphia area. I would like to get my blood sugar under control. Thank you, Yvonne

  7. Jean January 26, 2015 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    Hey everyone,
    you can google this recipe, I found it on a bunch of websites, one of them being pinterest. just type in Thyroid juice recipe 1 carrot and it comes up, also you can type in thyroid tonic and it comes up. have a healthy one!!

  8. Kobus January 27, 2015 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    When can we expect a single pill to fix all these problems. I am currently using MsM, Omega3, Glucosamine, Resveratrol, Magnesium pills, Cod liver oil and i still need hundreds more. What is the simplest way to improve our health and most cost efective. Does it make sense what i am saying.

  9. Suzy February 5, 2015 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    I will try this juice. Struggling with diabetes for years. On insulin 3xday. hormones all over the place. just had 1 year ultrasound for thyroid nodules. nothing has grown. I have all symptoms of hypothyroidism yet doctors say I’m fine. numbers are ok. well I’m not FINE. I TICK off all the symptoms for it . they are not listening. I’m sick of this. what should I do. I also have high blood pressure. I know I need to exercise more. thanks for listening.

  10. Sreenivas Vulli February 24, 2015 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    Hi Suzy,

    you are amazing lady. I was diagnosed with diabetics exactly a year ago (fasting glucose 150 and A1C 7.1).
    I read your book “Diabetes Without Drugs” soon after my test results came out.
    I followed the instructions you have given up to 90% of it. After 6 months I went for the blood test again (fasting 113 and a1c 6.5).
    One week ago I tested again with fasting 95 and A1C 5.6. based on your book it’s still high.
    With recent test I also asked by doctor to test the insulin levels. It came back as 4.4.
    My question is based on your book glucose to insulin should be less than 10. Does that mean my insulin too low or my glucose levels are too high? even if my glucose level is say 85, still the ratio is going to be too high. I am worried if I have any damage to pancreas or my beta cells had enough damage already. Please help me to clarify.
    Thanks
    sr

    • Suzy Cohen February 25, 2015 at 3:27 am - Reply

      Wow you are doing AMAZING! I’m so proud of you, look at what you’ve done to your life! Just a little ways to go.
      Glucose 95 over Insulin 4.4 equals 21 (I’m okay with that, but you can do a little bitter), get that glucose down just a touch more! Good luck!

  11. Chris August 15, 2015 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    Hi Suzy, Thanks for the article. It motivated me to go to the doctor for my sweating and fatigue issues (again). I also dusted off my mom’s old glucose meter and stabber to test my own blood glucose. The doctor’s test was again in the 90’s (fasting), and now I know the meter reads 20 points higher than that, with morning glucose reading (corrected) 125 sometimes, but usually 95).
    My problem is that when I asked my doctor about testing insulin level, she said that “We don’t test insulin here. Only the endocrinologists do that.”
    Now, I’ve self-treated for Lyme (the bullseye rash) and I’m concerned about babesia (the sweats, the nerve symptoms, sleep issues), but the plan my doctor pursues leans toward sleep disorder to start with (I wake up with numb feet and hands).
    Where does one go when the doctors don’t seem to be looking for the same things that you are, and at what point do you tell the doctor that you are testing your own blood sugar already, and how do I get them to test for parasites without sounding like a hypochondriac?
    P.S. the only thing that seems to show up on my blood tests as abnormal is low vitamin D, which is strange because I’m out in the sun a lot, but can’t take much supplemental D3 because I get a rash.
    Is the rash possibly a herx? Is the low vitamin D masking my Lyme symptoms that seemed to go away with a course of Lymogen?
    54 y.o. male.
    I’m not expecting your answers to override my doctor’s plan (which is now in work), but to supplement what we are doing and help with communication.

    • Suzy Cohen August 15, 2015 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      Hi Chris
      I have compassion for your suffering, both physical and emotional due to all the limitations in your life, and misunderstandings by your physician. ILADS.org may help you find a physician that believes in Lyme and knows how to treat it.
      Maybe the D supplement you are taking has a filler or additive that you are allergic too. Also, some Lymies have high intracellular D, but low serum D so that any supplement makes them feel worse (it becomes pro-inflammatory). You will like my article on D here: http://suzycohen.com/articles/vitamin-d-testing-should-be-more-thorough/
      Please use my search box to look up related topics, this isn’t the first time I’ve addressed Lyme (and/or Babesia).
      I believe you, and you are not a hypochondriac, don’t ever say that again!!!

      • Chris August 15, 2015 at 11:05 pm - Reply

        Thanks for the help, Suzy. I am pretty familiar with the other articles and thank you for those, too. The dopamine vs trauma vs sleep is also applicable, and not sure what chicken or which egg to beat first, so the fatigue and sweats are first priority right now in order to find enough energy to get my work done AND get better: hopefully.
        My wife is tired of my complaining… 😉

  12. helene August 25, 2015 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    if the high insulin prevents weight loss how am i supposed to do the magic thing needed which is lose weight???
    signed,
    very frustrated

  13. helene August 25, 2015 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    also, looking at the numbers, even a level of 4.5 for insulin and 70 for glucose is a ratio of 15. i know myself i dont feel good at less than 75. so how in the world would you get your insulin levels down far enough to get the ratio under 10?
    wait, if my insulin was 7.5 then my ratio would be 10!! but my insulin would be over 5…
    im not understanding the numbers.

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