Insulin resistance is a condition where the cells of the body have lost their ability to absorb glucose. Fully one-third of the population that is most insulin-resistant is at an increased risk of developing some forms of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. In many cases obesity is the root cause of insulin resistance.

When a meal is eaten, digestive juices break down the starches and complex sugars into glucose. The glucose then passes into the bloodstream. When the blood sugar (glucose) rises to a certain point, an amazing gland called the pancreas goes into action by releasing insulin, a hormone that stabilizes the blood sugar, bringing it down to a safe level. This bringing of a bodily function into physiological balance is called homeostasis.

Homeostasis refers to your body’s ability to regulate its balance regardless of changes in outside influences. For instance, when refined sugar is ingested by an individual his blood sugar goes up rapidly. The brain then gets the message of too much sugar in the bloodstream and sends a nerve impulse, through the autonomic nervous system, to tell the pancreas to release insulin, a hormone that will bring the sugar back to its normal level. That is homeostasis. But when the body cannot bring the sugar back to its proper balance, there is now a homeostatic imbalance that can lead to serious complications. One of the most serious of the homeostatic imbalances is diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic disorder marked by high levels of sugar in the bloodstream. Diabetes can be caused by resistance to insulin or by a lack of insulin from the pancreas.

A lack of insulin can occur this way: When you eat more refined sugar than the pancreas can handle, the pancreas may become exhausted and can only secrete an amount of insulin that is less than needed to metabolize the blood sugar. The sugar in the blood then goes unchecked and will rise to dangerous levels. This is a classic case of homeostatic imbalance and, as stated above, can lead to diabetes. However if the pancreas secretes more insulin than is needed, it will cause the blood sugar to plummet below its safe level. The body’s inability to bring the blood sugar back to safe levels is another case of homeostatic imbalance and can cause the diabetic’s more sinister cousin, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

I say sinister when mentioning hypoglycemia because, as Connie Bennett and Dr. Stephen Sinatra[1] say in their book, Sugar Shock, “Hypoglycemia has been called the “Great Imitator” because of its strange and startling symptoms. (Some experts list as many as 125 symptoms.) What is meant by that is, hypoglycemia can imitate many other disorders, both mental and physical, making this condition very difficult for physicians to diagnose.”


More about this insidious problem in a later health article.

Dr. Aronoff

[1]     Dr. Stephen Sinatra, board-certified cardiologist, nutritionist and anti-aging specialist.

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