This great post was written by Dr. Navaz Habib. I encourage you to go check out his website and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Did you know that there is one single factor that you can control, which would help you take back your health? There is a single important chemical in the body which manages a variety of processes and levels in the blood and the entire body.  This single master control is called Insulin and controlling your Insulin is the key to your health. 

My History With Insulin Control

When I was 75 pounds heavier, I was not in control of my Insulin levels. I was significantly heavier. I was always feeling tired and run down. I was snoring and even stopped breathing at multiple times during the night (a condition called Sleep Apnea). I felt like I needed high calorie, high sugar and caffeinated foods to give me an energy boost at every meal and even between meals. I was not in control of my Insulin, and this was messing with the rest of my bodily functions.

Hormones are chemical messengers produced by certain organs and cells in our body. They are stimulated and secreted in order to maintain a balance of many factors related to metabolism, stress and energy production. This balance is called “Homeostasis”.

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Insulin: The Master Hormone

Insulin is considered the “master hormone” of the body. It is a chemical messenger which is produced and secreted by cells of the Pancreas (Beta-cells) in response to eating food, but most notably, in response to carbohydrates. Insulin facilitates the movement of all macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) out of the bloodstream and into our cells for use either immediately, or in the future.

When we eat a meal high in carbohydrates (sugar, cereal, pasta, breads, rice), our body responds to the elevated level of sugar in our blood by releasing a wave of Insulin in the bloodstream, telling the cells to remove all this sugar from the blood and take it into the cells for energy production and/or storage. If this happens occasionally in the body, the response will occur properly. When we are eating high carb meals multiple times per day, our blood sugar levels remain chronically high and insulin needs to be produced constantly in order to keep levels within the normal range. When our insulin levels are constantly high, the constant knocking at the door by Insulin annoys our cells.

If a friend rings your doorbell or knocks on your door asking for a favor, you generally have no problem and will help them out. Now imagine that same friend constantly knocking at your door, 3-4 times per day, asking you to help them with this or that. Initially you would get annoyed. Soon, you may not even answer the knock at the door because this friend is asking for too much and is being incredibly annoying, and so you become less friendly and the favor doesn’t get completed.

The same thing happens in our cells when Insulin is constantly knocking at the door, asking for our cells to do them a favor by taking in some sugar from the bloodstream. Our cells eventually stop answering the knock at the door (Insulin Resistance). This can eventually lead to chronically high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), which is harmful to our long-term health. The pancreas eventually stops producing insulin because our body stops reacting to it. We have lost our master hormone so our body’s hormone system. Our body reacts by many other hormones going out of balance including Glucagon, Cortisol, Thyroid, Testosterone, Progesterone, Estrogen and Leptin as well as their controlling hormones.

Chronically high blood sugar is a major cause of health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, brain and memory conditions (read the book “Grain Brain”), Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and low sex drive.

How to Regain Insulin Control

Overcome these issues by eating meals higher in natural sources of carbohydrate and other micronutrients like dark, leafy green vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Your diet should also be higher in good quality protein like free-run eggs, chicken and wild-caught fish as well as good quality fats like avocado, nuts and seeds. Cook in coconut oil, ghee or butter and avoid low quality industrial oils.

A “Paleo” or modified “Mediterranean diet” are generally good options to follow in order to help your body control insulin levels and make your cells sensitive to the occasional knock at the door, by their good friend Insulin.

Image Source: 

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Dr. Navaz Habib
Chiropractor
Dr. Habib is a Chiropractor, Functional Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncture Provider based out of the Greater Toronto Area. He consults with patients world-wide in regards to autoimmune, brain, gut and hormone health conditions. His goal is to find the root cause of the biochemical, physiologic, genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors contributing to his patients symptoms. Virtual consultations are available world-wide and on location in Toronto.