In the diabetic world, insulin is often looked at as a wonder drug and for all reasonable circumstances that is true. Insulin is the”key” that allows glucose to get into the cell. For type I diabetics, they no longer make insulin and it is essential that they use insulin for proper blood sugar regulation. For type II diabetics they essentially have run out of insulin and their pancreas has down regulated the production of it. This is what can lead to the need to use insulin as a therapeutic tool. For type I diabetics you will be taking insulin as part of your lifelong treatment. For type II diabetics, insulin often becomes the last option after oral drug therapies have failed to improve the blood sugar numbers. Once insulin is prescribed for either type I or II diabetics, the unfortunate outcome from the prescribing doctor is a complete ignorance to the educational process that should be happening with regards to insulin use. There is no real guidance that patients get on the importance of maintaining low levels insulin.
Patients are often instructed to change their insulin use as their carbohydrate count (grams) changes through the day which is accurate. They will also be instructed to change their insulin use based on the elevation (or depression) of their glucose readings, which is also accurate. While this is a logical approach to managing insulin use, what is missing is the instruction to maintain the least amount of insulin use overall. What patients are also often not instructed on is the other effects that insulin has on the body.
Insulin on one hand is very anabolic, meaning it allow things to build in the body. We can understand this by the fact that insulin allows glucose to get into the cells. This anabolic state also allows for adipose (fat) tissue to accumulate at a much higher degree. So for some patients who are using more insulin, the ability to lose weight comes with much greater obstacles. Insulin on the other hand is also very catabolic, meaning it breaks the body down. This I have observed from more of a clinical standpoint. Patients that I have seen who are on greater amounts of insulin, have much higher inflammation levels in their body’s. This inflammation that is created wears the individual down and causes of multitude of symptoms such as increased pain, decreased energy, anxiety, depression and many more.
The last clinical finding that I would like to discuss is my observation with regards to controlling blood sugar and the fact that the more insulin one takes, the farther away they get from having managed and optimal blood sugar levels. Diabetics are always interested in working to get their blood sugars into optimal ranges. The unfortunate circumstance is that the more you add insulin into the body, the more difficult this becomes due to the extraneous effects insulin creates.
The focus of this article is to educate you about the importance of managing your insulin appropriately while working to take the least amount of it that you can safely. Talk to your doctor about this information and begin working towards better health.