In last week’s blog post we took a look at insulin resistance and how it can lead to a whole host of chronic illness and health problems. And this week, we'll be discussing the amount of insulin in your blood, also known as hyperinsulinemia.

When it comes to insulin resistance, there are five metabolic markers to look at. Very shortly, Health Results, will be offering this as a service across the UK. Three weeks ago, nurse Gayle from Health Results, conducted my first test (it is called a HRM Assessment – Health Results Metabolic Assessment), and at the end of September all five markers didn’t score very well for me. I am a little embarrassed to confess that the reason for my poor health score was that I took a few months off over the summer. I did little exercise and ate a lot more than normal. I also enjoyed a few too many glasses of wine too!

However, most clouds do have a silver lining. The good news with metabolic and inner health is it can always be improved. After the results had shocked me, in just 17 days of a very strict no carbohydrate diet and throwing myself back into exercise, all five markers had improved.

Here is how the HRM score works (taken from Health Results booklet):

 

My HRM assessment report

If together we are going to fix the NHS by getting the nation healthier, I need to be open and share my scores from three weeks ago compared to my score yesterday.

While I haven't got back to the level of health where I will be happy at, I’m definitely back on the right trajectory. And quickly too. But why is this relevant, why is it so important and why am I sharing this? As I have mentioned before, my dad has diabetes Type II and my mother has Alzheimer’s. While they are different illnesses, they are in fact branches of the same illness tree, and that tree being insulin resistance.

There are several causes for developing insulin resistance. In the main it is driven by a diet high in ultra-processed foods, processed carbohydrates and sugar; but other things can contribute too, such as lack of exercise, poor sleep, chronic stress and a sedentary lifestyle. And like I say, the good news is improvements can be made quickly.

What drives insulin resistance?

But what I would like to highlight today, having had lots of feedback from last week’s blog, is what drives insulin resistance? What are the mechanics and what happens next?

The answer to this is primarily as follows: Insulin is a hormone whose main role is to keep blood glucose level within a tight range. Insulin’s job is do whatever it takes to maintain blood glucose levels of around 5g across our entire 8 pints of blood. After we eat sugar, processed carbohydrates or ultra-processed foods, if our blood sugar level spikes then insulin’s job is to remove it from the bloodstream and store it.

What is hyperinsulinemia?

The problem is, if over a prolonged period, like several years, insulin has been summoned too often, the cells where it is trying to deliver the excess glucose, become resistant to insulin and its demands. They become what is known as insulin resistant. What happens next is that the pancreas releases even more insulin to try and remove excess glucose from the bloodstream. After that, high levels of insulin in the bloodstream occur which is known as hyperinsulinemia, and that in itself is a major health concern.

While insulin resistance cause certain illnesses, having too much insulin in the blood (hyperinsulinemia) as a result of insulin resistance, causes a whole raft of different chronic illnesses.

For example, if someone has hyperinsulinemia, because insulin is the fat storing hormone (it turns sugar in to fat), and they are overweight or obese, hyperinsulinemia will make it difficult to lose weight, in the presence of a hormone whose job is to store body fat and not burn it.

Why we get sick

There is a brilliantly written book called “Why We Get Sick” by Dr Benjamin Bikman which is dedicated to helping us all learn more about insulin resistance. 

It clearly explains each of the diseases that are either caused by insulin resistance or hyperinsulinemia and illuminates very clearly the different biological process. Rather than go through them all, I will pick just one – Alzheimer’s disease. Here is how Dr Bikman explains the link between the two...

“We now know the insulin regulates many processes in the brain and we’re discovering more and more that shows how insulin resistance threatens brain health. Like every cell in the body, brain cells have insulin receptors, they sense and respond to insulin, which helps them function. Insulin stimulates the brain to take up glucose for fuel and helps our brain cells grow and survive. What’s more, insulin plays an important role in learning and memory formation. … moreover, actual brain structure requires healthy insulin sensitivity, prolonged insulin resistance physically alters the brain. A recent study found that for every 10 years of insulin resistance, the brain looks two years older than the brain of an insulin sensitive person of the same age. ……Alzheimer’s disease, counts for up to 80% of all dementia cases. If current trends continue, the number of people suffering is expected to double every 20 years. What is becoming increasingly clear, is the remarkable contribution of insulin resistance to the disease; it’s so relevant that it has given rise to a new term for Alzheimer’s, type three diabetes”.

With my mother suffering from Alzheimer’s, and Dr Bikmans research making lots of sense, I searched out another book to see if there is anything we can further do to help my mum. With insulin resistance causing a problem of glucose take up in the brain, and with the knowledge the brain can work off an alternative fuel which is ketones. So I then researched and bought the following book.

I am hoping that by introducing MCT oil, derivative from coconut oil as Mary Newport suggests, that we can slow down the progression of this awful and upsetting disease.

What made me happiest this week

Seeing how quickly metabolic health can be improved. As some doctors believe around 80% of people in hospital beds are ill because of a condition relating to insulin resistance, it gives me real hope that we can help the nation regain its health and indeed save the NHS.

Recipe of the week

I cooked this for my children earlier this week and they really enjoyed it. Extremely low in carbohydrates, full of fibre and lots of protein too. The following should serve 4 people.

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 400g Fibrehydrate Noodles (you can buy them on this site)
  • 2 bell peppers
  • Handful spring onions
  • Mixed Caribbean Spice Mix
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 12 Cherry tomatoes halved
  • MCT oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

 First to break up the fibres take the chicken breasts ,cover them and hit them nice and hard with a rolling pin. Boil them for around 20 minutes and then leave to cool. While the chicken is boiling chop up your vegetables. 

 Remove the chicken from the pan and again hit with a rolling pin which should nicely separate the chicken. Now I am sure there are better ways to do the dish, but I’m always looking for the simplest method possible. I next put the oil into the pan putting all the ingredients together, and I mean all the ingredients, stir for 2 to 3 minutes and you will have a delicious, nutritious, and very simple meal. With this week’s blog being about insulin resistant and Alzheimer’s, this is a low carbohydrate meal and rich in ketones!

Customer comment of the Week

This week's customer comment of the week is from Helen, who recently joined as a new customer...

"Items received quickly and with it being my first order I had a few freebies included which I wasn’t expecting so it was a nice surprise. Also customer service is excellent as I realised on opening my order that I had requested the wrong item. I contacted them straight away and they were happy to send out the correct item free of charge if I return the wrong item in a saleable condition which I did. Still to try the fiberhydrate flour so can’t review this yet but I am sure it will be great."

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