Move Over Diabetes, What Is Insulin Resistance?

Apparently Singapore has declared a war on diabetes.  Why does it have to be a war?  Diabetes is not a military attacker.  It is the result of our bodies' coping with the high sugar and sedentary lifestyle we pile onto it. 

If we remember how to live well, our bodies would not be compensating erratically, and there would be no diabetes.  And there would be no war.

Read on, to understand how you can test and work on your health upstream, to prevent this metabolic disease years before it takes hold.
 

Photo by Ankabala/iStock / Getty Images


What is Insulin?

Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by beta cells of pancreas. It is considered the main anabolic hormone of the body and plays a major role in metabolism. This hormone allows your body to use glucose for energy. Thus, balancing the glucose levels in blood. In case of excess blood glucose level, insulin signals your body to store it in the liver for later use.


Diabetes

Two main types of diabetes exist, type 1 diabetes (Insulin dependent) is an autoimmune disease in which the body abnormally destroys pancreatic cells and therefore it cannot make insulin.  It usually starts from childhood and kids require insulin injections.  

In type 2 diabetes (Non-insulin dependent diabetes), over years, the body become resistant to persistently high levels of insulin in the body.  Once the pancreas gets tired of producing higher and higher amounts of insulin, production slows down and we require insulin injections to replace a failing pancreatic gland.

Insulin Resistance

When the body cells become unable to respond to the action of insulin, it becomes resistant to insulin.  In insulin resistance, muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond to insulin in a proper way causing difficulty in glucose absorption from the bloodstream. This results in the increase demand of insulin to help glucose enter cells.


Overproduction of insulin begins with the pancreatic beta cells. This keeps blood glucose level in the healthy range as long as the beta cells are able to produce enough insulin. Insulin resistance typically develops with obesity and in severe conditions it may results in the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Insulin Resistance leads to prediabetes and diabetes.

Insulin resistance is a prediabetic state.  Insulin levels are high.  When this goes on for longer, the pancreas begins to tire out, producing less and less insulin.  This is the road towards diabetes, where eventually insulin has to be replaced, usually with a self injection.

How to prevent Insulin Resistance

The primary factors mentioned by scientists as the major contributors to insulin resistance are excess weight and physical inactivity. While other factors like sleep problems, cigarette smoking, inflammation etc. as shown below might results in insulin resistance as well.

How to check for Insulin resistance?

Check your fasting insulin levels!


About Dr Cheryl Kam

Dr Kam puts the value back into healthcare by focussing on prevention and optimising your wellness today, to prevent expensive illnesses tomorrow.   

Schedule an appointment to begin your journey to wellness!

5 Musts for Optimal Brain Function

Just like how the mitochondria is a powerhouse of a cell, our brain is known for masterminding the whole body. It is the organ in the body that controls all the other organs of the body.

Perception, critical thinking, drive and motivation, memory and learning are all controlled by this mighty thing.  Even our physical balance and sports performance hinges on the health of our mind.  

Photo by eli_asenova/iStock / Getty Images

With increasing age and mounting workload, brain cells (neurons) deteriorate and neurons once damaged cannot easily be repaired.  Since they lack stem cells, they have little regeneration capabilities unlike other cells of the body. The only way through this is to protect the brain cells and ensure adequete raw materials for neurotransmitter formation.

In this article I have compiled five essentials that will keep your brain sharp and clear thinking

1. Stock up on eggs
Eggs (egg white plus yolk) have a number of nutritional benefits. They are rich in proteins. They also help to maintain cholesterol level. They have plenty of choline, which is a micronutrient required in the formation of a key neurotransmitter, Acetylcholine. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals necessary for nerve coordination. So to retain brain function and improve coordination and memory, 1-2 eggs a day are fine and in fact, essential.

Ya kun kaya eggs are my personal favorite, slurped up first thing in the morning.   

2. Salmon
Salmon is rich in omega-3. Omega-3 essential fats constitutes 8% of the weight of brain. They stimulate the tissue development in brain and for that reason they are known to improve mental skills and halt memory loss. Besides, Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory.

A 4-ounce serving, two to three times a week is recommended to keep the gears well oiled.

3. Sleep
Sleep deprivation may lead to loss of some brain function. It is associated with depression and affects thinking capability and creativity. During sleep hours, toxins are removed from the brain which otherwise promote Alzheimer’s.

Adequete sleep strengthens our long-term memory and it also filters out the un-necessary data from the important ones. The important information is stored for use in future.

7-9 hour sleep is a necessity.

For more information on the importance of sleep in our children read this.   

4. The role of phytonutrients, herbs and vitamins
A diet full of phytonutrients and herbs protect brain cells and prevent DNA damage. They improve cognitive skills and long-term memory.

Ginseng, Matcha, Turmeric, Black pepper and Rosemary are some examples and the more diverse the diet the better.

Good quality vitamins delay the deterioration of brain function through many mechanisms. They neutralize free radicles and other toxins. They assist in the production of neurotransmitters, thus resulting in efficient coordination between brain and body. They are cofactors for the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These three neurotransmitters are vital for good mood.

So, consider a prescription-only quality multivitamin.

5. Accept the present moment
Focusing on peace and purpose will keep anxiety and stress at bay. Eat humble pie when you are mistaken. Slow down, forgive, and accept. Find ways to simplify your life, not complicate it. This will consequently relax your brain and optimize it.

Let's talk about optimising brain health - schedule a consult today to discuss your options!

Sleep Nutrients – Are they really vital?

Sleep is an important factor for our health and survival. 

Even if you don't eat extremely well, you can still hope to live around 75 years.

But in the case of sleep, the Guinness World Record for the sleep deprivation is only 11 days.

In my years of practice, we will reach a road block if we optimise everything but don't address the causes of bad sleep.  Quantity and quality count.  

iStock-677030428.jpg


IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP

Increased Productivity-  Sleep deprivation has been shown to effect brain functioning while good sleep can enhance memory and problem-solving skills. 

Lower Risk of Heart Disease- Increased risk of heart diseases and stroke is linked with less than 7-8 hours of sleeping. 

Improved Immune System- Regularly having 8 hours of good sleep improves immune function and reduces incidences of the common cold.
 

Restore and heal body functions- Human Growth hormone is released during deep sleep and this helps the body recover from injuries such as sore muscles or wounds.  


NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES LINKED TO SLEEP PROBLEMS

Among various reasons of not being able to get enough sleep, one of the primary reason is nutrient deficiency (such as magnesium). Main sleeping problems linked with lack of nutrients include:

Insomnia- Magnesium or calcium deficiency can cause trouble in getting enough sleep as it leads to anxiety and nervousness making it hard to sleep.

Fatigue & Lethargy- Being torpid or tired during the day has been found to be link with vitamin D deficiency. 

Sleeping Too Much- Deficiency of iron, folic acid or Vitamin B12 could result is expanded sleeping hours.  This is because anaemia causes extreme fatigue, muscle weakness and wooziness. 
 

4 NUTRIENTS TO HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER

Right nutritional requirements must be fulfilled in order to get good night’s sleep.

The nutrients that can help you sleep better include:

Magnesium- Low level of magnesium is found to be linked with sleeping disorders. It is an important nutrient of human body, involved in many physiological functions such as muscle relaxation and energy production. It is a vital component of many biochemical enzymes as well. Major sources of magnesium are green leafy vegetable, beans and nuts.

Valerian- The root of this herb has been used for centuries and proven itself highly effective towards treating insomia and anxiety. It achieves this by raising Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) in the brain.  GABa is the neurotransmitter which signals the brain to calm down, helping the body to get sleepy naturally.

L-theanine- This amino acid is found most abundantly in teas, especially green tea. It is able to down regulate anxiety in the brain, thus promoting relaxation; aiding in falling asleep quicker and also, lengthening the duration of a deep sleep.

Melatonin- A natural hormone best known for regulating sleep and wake cycles in the body. Optimally, melatonin levels rise after sunset to help fall asleep, and drops when the sun rise to prepare the body to wake. However, stress, artificial lighting, jet lag or late activities forces our body to defy its own internal sleeping clock.  Short term use of Melatonin is key to resetting this internal clock back to its natural sleep cycle.

Schedule an appointment to optimise your sleep!