Is Insulin Good or Bad?

Many believe the only role of insulin is to lower blood sugar. In truth, this is only one of insulin’s many physiological roles in human metabolism.

With the massive increase in Type II Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome, insulin gets a pretty bad rap. So what’s the real deal? Is insulin good or bad?

WHAT IS INSULIN?

Insulin is an anabolic hormone used for growth and repair. Among the several important physiological roles is the storage of excess nutrients. Insulin is elevated anytime we consume energy substrates but it is especially elevated through the consumption of glucose, fructose and galactose.

Essentially, elevated blood sugar is a sign to our cells that we have more energy substrate available than we need in the present moment. Subsequently, insulin is released by the pancreas to take the sugar out of our blood and store it for future needs.

This was vital to us when we weren’t guaranteed a steady food supply. However, in an environment of excess caloric intake, processed foods, high carbohydrate consumption and deficient caloric expenditure, this genetic mechanism is harmful to our health and often times deadly.

EFFECTS OF SUSTAINED INSULIN 

What are the effects of sustained, elevated insulin on immunity, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, thyroid regulation, cancer, aging, inflammation, mental health, sex hormones and the stress response?

All hormones in the body release from glands in a “pulse” or “wave.” This allows our cells to remain sensitive to their effects via only receiving small quantities at a time. 

These hormones, including insulin, can be quite noxious to our cells in high or sustained quantities. So our cells are equipped to defend themselves by reducing the amount of receptors available to receive those hormones.

The Resistance

This is akin to loud or unwanted music causing you to cover your ears. Music is good to the ears but if it gets too loud or is heard at the wrong time it can be irritating. If the DJ wanted you to hear the music again they’d have to turn it up, you’d cover your ears more, they’d turn it up more, you’d cover more, etc.

Eventually, the function of your ears (CELLS) would change and the DJ (GLANDS) would become exhausted from trying to make the music (HORMONES) have the same effect.

This is essentially what happens in Type II Diabetes and Adrenal Fatigue. There are many people walking around with the symptoms of this process but who are not ACUTE enough to be diagnosed… eventually this builds into a CHRONIC degenerative condition.

THE HOW 

Virtually all of us are exposed to processed, non-fibrous, high glycemic foods on a daily basis. We know this leads to rapid increases in blood sugar and corresponding rapid increases in insulin production.

Elevated insulin on a sustained basis eventually develops into insulin receptor resistance, which leads to even higher blood sugar and blood insulin levels, and subsequently more resistance.

Sadly, this insulin receptor resistance is a major factor in all of the chronic lifestyle diseases that now represent the leading causes of death in our society.

It’s not just those individuals with Diabetes. I’m talking about EVERYONE. Virtually ALL OF US fall into this category.

No one “JUST” wakes up and has diabetes. No one “JUST” wakes up and has heart disease, or osteoporosis, or multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer’s. These conditions develop for years before a diagnosis. We are ALL susceptible.

Our genes are simply not equipped to deal with these types of foods and the sedentary living that leads to “The Resistance.”

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

Believe it or not, this part is actually pretty darn straight forward and the blueprint is something we’ve repeated over and over again.

1. Eat real food.

Focus on protein with every meal, quality fat consumption, fibrous carbohydrates and if you’re activity level is high to very high and you’re not currently suffering from Type II Diabetes or do not have signs of faulty blood sugar regulation, add in starchy carbohydrates to support your caloric needs.

2. Exercise vigorously.

Although walking is a wonderful first step, it’s not enough. Be sure you are incorporating a training program with appropriately scaled strength training and conditioning.

3. Sleep.

One of the most overlooked factors in the normal regulation of all hormones, including insulin, is rest.

4. Recovery.

Add in consistent recovery habits like Corrective Chiropractic, massage, and meditation that can play a positive role in normalizing the stress pathways in your body.

Problems with insulin regulation? What else have you tried that helped solve your problem?


22 Reasons To Take Rest More Seriously

Everyone knows that rest is important but is it really a matter of life or death?

For an activity we would all love to have more of, there’s far too much “lip service” and not enough action.

Here are 22 reasons to take rest seriously:

Rest Boosts Your Immune System 

The immune system is extremely energy dependent and taking a break allows your body to redistribute resources back to this high priority process. 

Rest Enhances Your Memory 

When you’re fatigued the brain cannot function at 100% and one of the big tradeoff’s is information recall. 

Rest Restores Your Energy Levels

You only have a limited amount of available energy for output and sleep is your opportunity to restore those levels to their capacity. 

Rest Stimulates Your Creativity 

Have you ever tried to stimulate new thoughts and ideas when you can barely keep your eyes from rolling back? 

Rest Aids With Weight Management

When you lack sleep the body shifts into survival mode and one adaptations is a down regulation of metabolism. The end result is a body resistant to reducing body fat for fear it may also lose access to valuable energy in a time of need. 

Rest Strengthens Your Mental Health 

Research shows depression is higher in cases where sleep debt is prevalent. 

Rest Normalizes The Aging Process

Lack of sleep is a major stress to anyone and the increase in your body’s stress chemistry speeds up the aging process…something we’d all love to avoid if possible. 

Rest Makes You Happier

Do you notice how peaceful and refreshed you feel when you wake up from a nice, restorative sleep? Imagine if this was a regular occurrence…smiles all around. 

Rest Reduces Your Caloric Needs

The more quality sleep you get, the less time you’re awake and needing energy. Add in how much more efficient the body performs when rested and you won’t find yourself pining for food all day long. 

Rest Improves Inflammation

It’s well known that inflammation is at the core of many chronic and serious health conditions. Adequate sleep helps to normalize the inflammatory process and take one more potential negative out of your health puzzle. 

Rest Stimulates Recovery 

Restorative sleep is named appropriately because it’s during this time that body has time and resources to focus on healing and repair. 

Rest Boosts Your Stress Adaptability

When you burn the candle at both ends, your body’s stress management systems get taxed making you weak and susceptible. 

Rest Is Associated With Longevity 

Assuming your enhanced lifespan was at super high quality…who wouldn’t want this massive benefit to sleep! 

Rest Increases Athletic Performance 

Athletes have known for a long time that plenty of rest prior to training or a competition increases their performance. Professional athlete or not, your performance in all areas of your life are better rested. 

Rest Decreases Pain Levels 

As sleep decreases, your body’s sensitivity levels go up and that means PAIN. The same stimulus under conditions of sleep deprivation will feel more painful that while rested.

In case you needed more convincing, adequate and quality rest also positively influences: 

  • Your Grades
  • Decreases Anxiety
  • Lowers Blood Pressure 
  • Decreases Your Diabetic Risk
  • Leads To Healthier Skin
  • Makes You More Productive

And what I think is the absolute best reason to take rest seriously… it feels AMAZING! 

Are you resting enough? Why not? What is the primary reason you don’t get the rest you need?

  


How This Greek Tragedy Can Save Your Life… Walking The Aftermath.

In the early morning hours of August 12, 1953 a devastating earthquake shook the Greek island of Kefalonia to it’s core.

It frantically sent the entire population of the island into the streets to avoid getting crushed by their own homes collapsing down on them and in the end, killed about 1,000 people and leveled almost every home on the island.

Israeli, British, and U.S. warships came to aid the inhabitants in bringing them food, supplies, and to ferry them to the mainland.

Although today the island has been drastically rebuilt, the remnants of this destruction can be seen in every village.

In this vlog, I lead you on a walking tour through it’s destruction, almost 65 years to the day, in a small village known as Tzanata.

What can this devastating and deadly earthquake teach us about ourselves and our own health?

 

 


How I Reset, Stay Healthy, and… Grow on Vacation… 11 Easy Tips!

Ever hear someone say… “I need a vacation after my last vacation?

There are many factors that would lead someone to feel exhausted after just having spent 5,7, or 10 days away somewhere that’s both beautiful and relaxing. Factors like having family where you are visiting would obligate you to shuffle from one visit to another, traveling with kids (enough said;), or a travel companion with a to-do list that would take you a month to complete… etc.

So, here are a few tips that I’ve tested, boiled down, and tested some more over the years to help you reset, stay healthy, and actually grow on your next vacation.

These simple tips will help you fulfill your body’s Movement, Fuel, and Thought requirements no matter what limitations you are presented with!

Movement

  • Rise Early and go for a Jog… Like killing 4 birds with 1 stone this simple strategy:
    • Gets you up early to begin exploring and orienting you to your surroundings
    • Allows you to fulfill your daily exercise requirement so it’s not hanging over your head for the rest of the day
    • Puts you in a positive, uplifting, accomplished mood before the day really begins
    • And… as a result keeps the rest of your decisions in check (ie. if your feeling great you probably won’t indulge in that daily ice cream, that 3rd or 4th cocktail, or that deep fried FILL IN THE BLANK that you can so easily talk yourself into “because your on vacation”;)

  • Walk Everyday…
    • Going for a long walk does not include strolling from one charming little boutique to the next;) Although taking it easy and relaxing/moving slow is important too, grabbing your travel companion or opting for a solo walk is a perfect way to reconnect with them or yourself, feel the calming peace of your environment, and both mentally and physically reset.
  • Take a Daily Nap
    • No. Don’t create an excuse… just lay down on your bed and close your eyes, stop thinking for a moment and enjoy this peace you’ve worked so hard for! I recommend planning your day’s activities into 2 parts: Early and Late day. You’ll be able to enjoy yourself more if you’re charged throughout the day instead of puttering in on fumes at day’s end. After all… that’s what you do back home!
  • Plan to Workout 3/4 of the Days you are Away… but don’t get made at yourself if you don’t. Remember, your job is to rest and not feel guilty about it.

Fuel

  • Eat Protein / Good Fat with Every Meal
    • Remember, when you’re hungry, your body is calling out for high quality fuel to consume: choosing high quality protein or good fats will allow you to burn them off slowly (like long-lasting diesel fuel) and will give your body the macro and micro nutrients it requires to feel great and perform at its best!
    • Choosing simple sugars or simple carbs will deliver often little nutrition, cause you to gain weight, and keep you searching for more. Ever said to yourself, “I can’t believe I gained so much weight on vacation…
  • Daily Omega 3’s… (Fish Oil)
    • Even on vacation, inflammation is important to think about. Whether it’s that gelato, fried calamari, or whatever you indulged in, keeping on your Omega 3 (Fish Oil) regiment will help your body continue to perform at it’s best! Remember, a requirement is a requirement, whether you’re on vacation or not!
  • Turmeric: ***Golden Tip Here!
    • So, here’s the thing, my Polish skin will always burn a bit before my Italian tan comes out. I found that no matter how much I protect myself, this is the reality. So, I always take turmeric daily on vacation to help protect me from inflammation and the pain, discomfort, and damage of a sunburn!
  • When Dining…
    • Get outside your comfort zone. If traveling overseas, ask the server what they are known for, try local cuisine, enjoy your coffee whatever way the locals make it, try local wine/beer (in moderation;)… and remember your job is to relax and grow… this just so happens to be the tastiest way of doing it!

Thought

  • Plan Each Day
    • Be like a kid and plan activities that quench your curiosity, allow you to explore the world, push your boundaries, and create memories for a lifetime!
  • Be Intentionally Grateful
    • Before going to bed each day, write down 3 things you were grateful for that day in your journal or phone app (I like the 5 Minute Journal app)
    • Hint…You will review this on the flight home and keep it visible over the next few weeks after you return home from your trip. Why? Once you return home, it’s easy to fall back into an old negative or scarcity mindset. Leaving your daily gratitude list visible will be a constant reminder to audit what’s most important in your life.
  • Plan your Next Move(s) in Life!
    • Think about it. It’s difficult to construct the life you want when you’re under stress and just “getting through the week” back home. So, use this time outside your typical day-to-day life to design the life you want for yourself and strategize about how you will become the person you’d like to be.

Ultimately, design your days to feed this growth process and Move, Eat, Think, and Vacation with purpose!

Healthy Travels!

Dr. Rob