Insulin and Its Metabolic Effects
By Ron Rosedale, M.D.
Presented at Designs for Health Institute's BoulderFest, August 1999 Seminar
Severe Angina of the Leg
High Cancer Risk
A Problem with Typical Treatments
Caloric Restriction Research
A Common Cause
Aging is a Disease
What is the purpose of insulin?
Insulin's Other Roles
Sodium Retention: Congestive Heart Failure
Insulin and Cardiovascular Disease
What Causes Insulin Resistance?
Harmful Effects of Sugar
The Major Salivary Enzyme
Why do we eat?
What happens if you eat sugar?
Can Insulin Sensitivity Be Restored?
How to Increase Insulin Sensitivity
What about supplements such as Chromium?
Does This Apply to Athletes?
Fat in the Diet
Grain-Fed Animals are not Healthy
Insulin is Not the Only Cause of Disease
DNA GlycatesCase Histories
First, let's talk about a couple of case histories. These
are actual patients that I've seen; let's start with patient A. This patient saw
me one afternoon and said that he had literally just signed himself out of the
hospital "AMA," or against medical advice. Like in the movies, he had ripped out
The next day he was scheduled to have his second by-pass
surgery. He had been told that if he did not follow through with this surgery,
within two weeks he would be dead. He couldn't even walk from the car to the
office without severe chest pain.
He was on 102 units of insulin and his blood sugars were
300 plus. He was on eight different medications for various things. But his
first by-pass surgery was such a miserable experience that he said he would
rather die than go through the second one. He came to me because he had heard
that I might be able to prevent this.
To make a long story short, this gentleman right now is on
no insulin. I first saw him three and a half years ago. He plays golf four or
five times a week. He is on no medications whatsoever, he has no chest pain, and
he has not had any surgery. He started an organization called "Heart Support of
America" to educate people about the alternatives to by-pass surgery that have
nothing to do with surgery or medication. That organization, as he last told me,
had a mailing list of over a million people.
Patient B is a 42-year-old man who was referred by patient
A. He had a triglyceride level of 2200, a cholesterol level of 950 and was on
maximum doses of all his medications. He was not fat at all; he was fairly thin.
This man was told that he had familial hyperlipidema and
that he had better get his affairs in order, because if that was what his lipids
were despite the best medications with the highest doses, he was in trouble.
Whenever I see a patient on any of those medications,
they're off the very first visit. They have no place in medicine. He was taken
off the medications and in six weeks his lipid levels, both his triglycerides
and his cholesterol, were hovering around 220. After six more weeks, they were
both under 200, off of the medications. As I said earlier, they have no place in
I should mention that this patient had a CPK that was
quite elevated. It was circled on the lab report that he had brought in
initially with a question mark by it because they didn't know why. The reason
why was because he was eating off his muscles--if you take (gemfibrozole) and
any of the HMG co-enzyme reductase inhibitors together, this is a common side
effect, which is in the PDR; they shouldn't be given together.
So, he was chewing up his muscles, including his heart,
which they were trying to treat. If indeed he were going to die, it would be
that treatment that would kill him.
Let's go to something totally different — a lady with
severe osteoporosis. This fairly young woman was almost three standard
deviations below the norm in both the hip femeral neck and the cervical
vertebrae and was very worried about getting a fracture. She was put on a
high-carbohydrate diet and told that this would be of benefit. She was also
placed on estrogen, which is a fairly typical treatment.
They wanted to put her on some other medicines, but she
wanted to know if there was an alternative. Although we didn't have as dramatic
a turn around in this case, we did take her off the estrogen she was on and got
her to one standard deviation below the norm in a year.
Angina of the Leg
Claudication, that is, severe angina of the leg when you
walk (this is the same thing as angina of the heart, except of the leg), is
characterized by pain in the legs after walking a certain distance.
My stepfather had extremely severe claudication. It was a
typical case; he would walk about fifty yards and then get severe, crampy pain
in his legs. He was going to see the best doctors in Chicago, but they couldn't
figure out what was wrong with him initially.
For example, he went to a neurologist who thought it might
be neurological pain or back pain. Finally, he went to a vascular surgeon who
thought it was vascular disease, so they did an arthrogram — sure enough he had
severe vascular disease. They wanted to do the by-pass surgery that is typically
done for this, and he was considering it because he had a trip planned to Europe
in two weeks, and he wanted to be able to walk around.
Ten years prior he'd had an angioplasty for heart disease.
At the time I'd told him to change his diet, but of course he didn't. This time,
however, he listened. I said that if he did exactly as I told him, he could
avoid the by-pass and be walking just fine in two weeks. Modulating this one
aspect of his disease — I have never seen it fail — works very quickly to open
up the artery.
High Cancer Risk
This patient had a mother and sister who had both died of
breast cancer. I put her on the exact same treatment as the other cases I just
mentioned, because they all had the same thing wrong with them.
Problem with Typical Treatments
What would be the typical treatment of cardiovascular
disease? First they check the cholesterol. To treat high cholesterol (over 200)
they put you on cholesterol lowering drugs, which shut off your CoQ10. What does
CoQ10 do? It is involved in the energy production and protection of little
energy furnaces in every cell, so energy production goes way down.
A common side effect of people who are on all these HMG
co-enzyme reductase inhibitors is that their arms feel heavy. Well, the heart is
a muscle too, and it's going to feel heavy too.
One of the best treatments for a weak heart is CoQ10 (for
congestive heart failure). But doctors have no trouble shutting CoQ10 production
off so that they can treat a number.
The common therapy for osteoporosis is drugs, and the
common therapy for calaudication is surgery. For cancer reduction there is
But all of these have a common cause — the same cause as
three major avenues of research in aging, one of which is called caloric
Caloric Restriction Research
There have been thousands of studies done since the 1950s
on caloric restriction of laboratory animals. If you restrict calories but
maintain a high level of nutrition, called CRONs (Caloric Restriction with
Optimal Nutrition), or adequate nutrition, CRANs (Caloric Restriction with
Adequate Nutrition), these animals can live anywhere between 30 percent and 200
percent longer, depending on the species.
Researchers have tested caloric restriction on several
dozen species, and the results are uniform throughout. They are doing it on
primates now, and it seems to working with primates, though we won't know for
sure for about another 10 years.
There are three major centenarian studies going on around
the world. They are trying to find the variable that would confer longevity
among this group of people who live to be 100 years old. Why do centenarians
become centenarians? Why are they so lucky? Is it because they have low
cholesterol, exercise a lot and live a healthy, clean life?
Well, the oldest person ever recorded was Jean Calumet of
France who died last year at 122 years of age. She smoked all of her life and
What researchers are finding from these major centenarian
studies is that there is hardly anything in common among these people. They have
high cholesterol and low cholesterol, some exercise and some don't, some smoke,
some don't. Some are nasty as can be, some nice and calm and some are ornery.
But, they all have relatively low sugar for their age, and
they all have low triglycerides for their age.
And, they all have relatively low insulin.
Insulin is the common denominator in everything I've just
talked about. They way to treat cardiovascular disease and the way I treated my
stepfather, the way I treated the high risk cancer patient, and the osteoporosis
and high blood pressure. The way to treat virtually all of the so-called chronic
diseases of aging is to treat insulin itself.
The other major avenue of research in aging has to do with
genetic studies of so-called lower organisms. We know the genetics involved.
We've got the entire genes mapped out of several species of yeast and worms now.
We think of life span as being fixed, sort of.
Humans tend to have an average life span of 76 years, and
the maximum lifespan was this French lady at 122 years. In humans we feel this
length of time is relatively fixed, but in lower forms of life it is very
plastic. Lifespan is strictly a variable depending on the environment. Other
species can live two weeks, two years or sometimes 20 years depending on what
they want themselves to do, which depends very much on the environment.
If there is a lot of food around they are going to
reproduce quickly and die quickly, if not they will just bide their time until
conditions are better. We know now that the variability in lifespan is regulated
Often it is thought that insulin's role is strictly to
lower blood sugar. I once had a patient list off about eight drugs she was on
and not even mention insulin. Insulin is not treated as a drug. In fact, in some
places you don't even need a prescription, you can just get it over the counter,
it's treated like candy.
Insulin is found in even single-celled organisms and has
been around for several billion years. Its purpose, in some organisms, is to
regulate lifespan. The way genetics works is that genes are not replaced, they
are built upon. We have the same genes as everything that came before us--we
just have more of them.
We have added books to our genetic library, but our base
is the same. What we are finding is that we can use insulin to regulate lifespan
Aging is a Disease
If there is a single marker for lifespan, as they are
finding in the centenarian studies, it is insulin, specifically insulin
How sensitive are your cells to insulin? When they are not
sensitive, the insulin levels go up. Who has heard of the term insulin
Insulin resistance is the basis of all of the chronic
diseases of aging, because the disease itself is actually aging.
We know now that aging is a disease. The other case
studies that I mentioned, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, obesity,
diabetes, cancer, all the so-called chronic diseases of aging and auto-immune
diseases, those are symptoms.
If you have a cold and you go to the doctor, you have a
runny nose. I did Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) for 10 years so I know what the
common treatment for that is, a decongestant. I can't tell you how many patients
I saw who had been given Sudafed by their family doctors for a cold who then
came to see me afterward because of a really bad sinus infection.
What happens when you treat the symptom of a runny nose
from a cold and you take a decongestant? Well, it certainly decongests you by
shutting off the mucus, but why do you have the mucus? It's because your body is
trying to clean and wash out the membranes. What else is in mucus? Secretory IgA,
a very strong antibody to kill the virus. If there is no mucus, there is no
Decongestants also constrict blood vessels, the little
capillaries, or arterioles, that go to those capillaries, and the cilia, the
little hair-like projections that beat to push mucus along to create a stream.
They get paralyzed because they don't have blood flow, so there is no more
What happens if you dam a stream and create a pond?
In days you've got larvae growing, but if the stream is
moving, you are fine. You need a constant stream of mucus to get rid of and
prevent an infection. I am going into this in some detail because in almost all
cases, if you treat a symptom you are going to make the disease worse. The
symptom is there as your body's attempt to heal itself.
Now, the medical profession is continually segregating
more and more symptoms into diseases--they call the symptoms diseases. Using ENT
for example, a patient will walk out of the office with a diagnosis of Rhinitis,
which is inflammation of the nose. Is there a reason why that patient has
inflammation of the nose? I think so. Wouldn't that underlying cause be the
disease as opposed to the descriptive term of Rhinitis or Pharyngitis?
Someone can have the same virus and have Rhinitis,
Pharyngitis or Sinusitis. They can have all sorts of "itis's," which is a
descriptive term for inflammation. That is what the code will be, and that is
what the disease will be. So they treat what they think is the disease, but
which actually is just a symptom.
The same thing happens with cholesterol. If you have high
cholesterol it is called hypercholesterolemia. Hypercholesterolemia has become
the code for the disease when it is only the symptom. So doctors treat that
symptom, and what are they doing to the heart? Messing it up.
What you have to do if you are going to treat any disease
is get to the root of the disease. If you keep pulling a dandelion out by its
leaves, you are not going to get very far. But the problem is that we don't know
what the root is.
The root is known in many other areas of science, but the
problem is that medicine really isn't a science; it is a business (but I don't
want to get into that, we could talk for hours).
You really need to look at the root of what is causing the
problem. We can use that cold as a further example.
Why does that person have a cold?
If he saw the doctor, the doctor might tell him to take an
antibiotic along with the decongestant. You see this all the time because the
doctor wants to get rid of the patient. In almost all cases of an upper
respiratory infection, it is a virus, and the antibiotic is going to do worse
than nothing, because it is going to kill the bacterial flora in the gut and
impair the immune system, making the immune system worse.
The patient might see someone else more knowledgeable who
will say, "No, you caught a virus, don't do anything, go home and sleep, let
your body heal itself." That's better. You might see someone else who would ask
why you caught a virus without being out there trying to hunt for viruses with a
net. We are breathing viruses every day; right now we are breathing viruses,
cold viruses and rhinoviruses.
So why doesn't everybody catch a cold tomorrow?
The Chinese will tell you that it is because the milieu
has to be right, if the Chinese were to quote the French. Your body has to be
receptive to that virus — only if your immune system is depressed will it allow
that virus to take hold.
So maybe a depressed immune system is the disease. You can
be given a bunch of vitamin C because your immune system is depressed and it is
likely that the person has a vitamin C deficiency. That's where most of us are
at right now, where we would recommend a bunch of vitamin C to try to pick up
the immune system.
But why is the vitamin C not working? Vitamin C is made in
almost all living mammals except humans and a couple of other species. Vitamin C
is made directly from glucose and actually has a similar structure; they compete
for one another.
It has been known for many decades that sugar depresses
the immune system. It was only in the 70s that they found out that vitamin C was
needed by white blood cells so that they could phagocytize bacteria and viruses.
White blood cells require a fifty times higher concentration, at least inside
the cell as outside, so they have to accumulate vitamin C.
There is something called a phagocytic index, which tells
you how rapidly a particular macrophage or lymphocyte can gobble up a virus,
bacteria or cancer cell. In the 70s Linus Pauling knew that white blood cells
needed a high dose of vitamin C and that is when he came up with his theory that
you need high doses of vitamin C to combat the common cold.
But if we know that vitamin C and glucose have similar
chemical structure, what happens when sugar levels go up? They compete for one
another upon entering the cells. And the thing that mediates the entry of
vitamin C into the cells is the same thing that mediates the entry of glucose
into the cells. If there is more glucose around then less vitamin C will be
allowed into the cell, and it doesn't take much glucose to have this effect. A
blood sugar value of 120 reduces the phagocytic index 75 percent.
Here we are getting a little bit further down into the
roots of disease. It doesn't matter what disease you are talking about, whether
you are talking about a common cold or cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis or
cancer, the root is always going to be at the molecular and cellular level, and
I will tell you that insulin is going to have its hand in it, if not totally
is the purpose of insulin?
As I mentioned earlier, in some organisms it is to control
their lifespan. What is the purpose of insulin in humans? Your doctor will say
that it's to lower blood sugar, but I will tell you right now that that is a
trivial side effect. Insulin's evolutionary purpose as is known right now, we
are looking at other possibilities, is to store excess nutrients.
We come from a time of feast and famine when if we
couldn't store the excess energy during times of feasting, we would not be here
because all of our ancestors encountered famine. We are only here because our
ancestors were able to store nutrients, which they were able to do because they
were able to elevate their insulin in response to any elevation in energy that
the organism encountered.
When your body notices that sugar is elevated, it is a
sign that you've got more than you need; you're not burning it so it is
accumulating in your blood. So insulin will be released to take that sugar and
store it. How does it store it? Glycogen?
Your body stores very little glycogen at any one time. All
the glycogen stored in your liver and muscle wouldn't last you through one
active day. Once you fill up your glycogen stores that sugar is stored as
saturated fat, 98 percent of which is palmitic acid.
So the idea of the medical profession recommending a high
complex-carbohydrate, low-saturated-fat diet is an absolute oxymoron. A
high-complex-carbohydrate diet is nothing but a high-glucose diet, or a
high-sugar diet. Your body is just going to store it as saturated fat, and the
body makes it into saturated fat quite readily.
Insulin doesn't just store carbohydrates, by the way.
Somebody mentioned that it is an anabolic hormone, and it absolutely is. Body
builders are injecting themselves with insulin because it builds muscle and
A less known fact is that insulin also stores magnesium.
But if your cells become resistant to insulin, you can't store magnesium so you
lose it through urination.
Intracellular magnesium relaxes
muscles. What happens when you can't store magnesium because
the cell is resistant? You lose magnesium and your blood
This causes an increase in blood
pressure and a reduction in energy since intracellular
magnesium is required for all energy producing reactions
that take place in the cell.
But most importantly, magnesium is
also necessary for the action of insulin and the manufacture
of insulin. When you raise your insulin, you lose magnesium,
and the cells become even more insulin resistant. Blood
vessels constrict and glucose and insulin can't get to the
tissues, which makes them more insulin resistant, so the
insulin levels go up and you lose more magnesium. This is
the vicious cycle that begins even before you were born.
Insulin sensitivity starts to be
determined the moment the sperm combines with the egg. If a
pregnant woman eats a high-carbohydrate diet, which turns
into sugar, animal studies have shown that the fetus will
become more insulin resistant.
Worse yet, researchers have used
sophisticated measurements and found that if that fetus
happens to be a female, the eggs of that fetus are more
insulin resistant. Does that mean it is genetic? No, you can
be born with something and it doesn't mean that it is
genetic. Diabetes is not a genetic disease as such. You can
have a genetic predisposition, but it should be an extremely
We mentioned high blood pressure; if
your magnesium levels go down or your blood vessels
constrict you get high blood pressure. Insulin also causes
the retention of sodium, which causes the retention of
fluid, which causes high blood pressure and fluid retention:
congestive heart failure.
One of the strongest stimulants of the
sympathetic nervous system is a high level of insulin. What
does all of this do to the heart? Not very good things.
There was a solid study done a couple
of years ago that showed that heart attacks are two to three
times more likely to happen after a high-carbohydrate meal
and are specifically NOT likely after a high-fat meal.
Why is that?
Because the immediate effects of
raising your blood sugar from a high-carbohydrate meal is a
raise in insulin. This immediately triggers the sympathetic
nervous system, which will cause arterial spasm, or
constriction of the arteries. If you anyone is prone to a
heart attack, this is when they are going to get it.
Insulin mediates blood lipids. For
that patient mentioned earlier who had a triglyceride level
of 2200, one of the easiest things we can do is lower
triglyceride levels. It is so simple. There was just an
article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
saying that the medical profession doesn't know how to
reduce triglycerides dietarily, that drugs still need to be
This is so ridiculous because you will
find that it is the easiest thing to do. There is an almost
direct correlation between triglyceride levels and insulin
levels, though in some people more than others.
The gentleman who had a triglyceride
level of 2200 while on all the drugs only had an insulin
level of 14.7. That is only slightly elevated, but it
doesn't take much in some people. All we had to do was get
his insulin level down to 8 initially and then it went down
to six and that got his triglycerides down to under 200.
The way you control blood lipids is by
LDL cholesterol comes in several
fractions, and it is the small, dense LDL that plays the
largest role in initiating plaque, as it's the most
oxidizable, and it's the most able to actually fit through
the small cracks in the endothelium. And this is the
cholesterol that insulin actually raises the most. When I
say insulin, I should say insulin resistance. It is insulin
resistance that is causing this.
Cells become insulin resistant because
they are trying to protect themselves from the toxic effects
of high insulin. They down regulate their receptor activity
and number of receptors so that they don't have to listen to
that noxious stimuli all the time. It is like having this
loud, disgusting music played and you want to turn the
You might think of insulin resistance
as similar to sitting in a smelly room and pretty soon you
don't smell it anymore because you get desensitized.
You can think about it, it's not that
you are not thinking about it anymore. But if you walk out
of the room and then come back in, the smell is back, which
means you get resensitized.
If your cells are exposed to insulin
at all, they get a little bit more resistant to it. So the
pancreas just puts out more insulin. I saw a patient today
whose blood sugar was 102 and her insulin was 90! She wasn't
sure if she was fasting or not, but I've seen other patients
where their blood sugar was under 100 and their fasting
insulin has been over 90.
That is a fasting insulin. I'm not
sure how many people are familiar with seeing fasting
insulins, but if I drank all the glucose I could possibly
drink my insulin would never go above probably 40. So she
was extremely insulin resistant.
What was happening was that she was
controlling her blood sugar. Statistically she was not
diabetic or even impaired glucose tolerant. Her glucose is
supposedly totally normal. But her cells aren't listening to
insulin; she just has an exceptionally strong pancreas.
Her islet cells that produce insulin
are extremely strong and are able to compensate for that
insulin resistance by producing thirty times more insulin
than what my fasting insulin is. And just by mass action her
pancreas is yelling so loud that her cells are able to
listen, but they are not going to listen forever. Her
pancreas is not going to be able keep up that production
Once her production of insulin starts
slowing down, or her resistance goes up any more, then her
blood sugar goes up and she becomes a diabetic. For many
years, decades before that, her insulin levels have been
elevated but have never been checked.
That insulin resistance is associated
with the hyperinsulinemia that produces all of the so-called
chronic diseases of aging, or at least contributes to them.
As far as we know in many venues of science, this is the
main cause of aging in virtually all life.
Insulin is that important.
So controlling insulin sensitivity is
Insulin is a so-called mytogenic
hormone. It stimulates cell proliferation and cell division.
If all of the cells were to become resistant to insulin we
wouldn't have that much of a problem, but all of the cells
don't become resistant.
Some cells are incapable of becoming
very resistant. The liver becomes resistant first, then the
muscle tissue, then the fat. When the liver becomes
resistant it suppresses the production of sugar.
The sugar floating around in your body
at any one time is the result of two things, the sugar that
you have eaten and how much sugar your liver has made. When
you wake up in the morning it is more of a reflection of how
much sugar your liver has made. If your liver is listening
to insulin properly it won't make much sugar in the middle
of the night. If your liver is resistant, those brakes are
lifted and your liver starts making a bunch of sugar, so you
wake up with a bunch of sugar.
The next tissue to become resistant is
the muscle tissue. What is the action of insulin in muscles?
It allows your muscles to burn sugar for one thing. So if
your muscles become resistant to insulin it can't burn that
sugar that was just manufactured by the liver. So the liver
is producing too much, the muscles can't burn it, and this
raises your blood sugar.
Well the fat cells become resistant,
but not for a while as it takes them longer. So for a while
your fat cells retain their sensitivity.
What is the action of insulin on your
fat cells? To store that fat. It takes sugar and it stores
it as fat. So until your fat cells become resistant you get
fat. As people become more and more insulin resistant, their
weight goes up and up.
But eventually they plateau. They
might plateau at 300 pounds, 220 pounds, 150 pounds, but
they will eventually plateau as the fat cells protect
themselves and become insulin resistant.
As all these major tissues, your
liver, muscles and fat, become resistant your pancreas is
putting out more insulin to compensate, so you are
hyperinsulinemic and you've got insulin floating around all
the time, 90 units or more.
But there are certain tissues that
aren't becoming resistant such as your endothelium; the
lining of the arteries doesn't become resistant very
readily, so all that insulin is affecting the lining of your
If you drip insulin into the femoral
artery of a dog, there was a Dr. Cruz who did this in the
early 70s by accident, the artery will become almost totally
occluded with plaque after about three months.
The contra lateral side was totally
clear, just contact of insulin in the artery caused it to
fill up with plaque. That has been known since the 70s and
has been repeated in chickens and in dogs; it is really a
well-known fact that insulin floating around in the blood
causes a plaque build-up. They didn't know why, but we know
that insulin causes endothelial proliferation. This is the
first step as it causes a tumor, an endothelial tumor.
Insulin also causes the blood to clot
too readily and causes the conversion of macrophages into
foam cells, which are the cells that accumulate the fatty
deposits. Every step of the way, insulin is causing
cardiovascular disease. It fills the body with plaque, it
constricts the arteries, it stimulates the sympathetic
nervous system, it increases platelet adhesiveness and
coaguability of the blood.
Insulin is a part of any known cause
of cardiovascular disease. It influences nitric oxide
synthase; you produce less nitric oxide in the endothelium.
We know that helps mediate vasodilatation and constriction,
I mentioned that insulin increases
cellular proliferation, what does that do to cancer? It
increases it. And there are some pretty strong studies that
show that one of the strongest correlations to breast and
colon cancers are levels of insulin.
Hyperinsulinemia causes the excretion
of magnesium in the urine. What other big mineral does it
cause the excretion of? Calcium. People walking around with
hyperinsulinemia can take all the calcium they want by mouth
and it's all going to go out in their urine.
Insulin-like Growth Factors (IgFs)
Insulin is one of the first hormones
that any organism ever developed, and as I mentioned in
genetics, things are built upon what was there before. So
all the other hormones we have in our body were actually
built upon insulin. In other words, insulin controls growth
The pituitary produces growth hormone,
and then it goes to the liver and the liver produces what
are called IgF 1 thru 4, there are probably more. What does
IgF stand for? Insulin-like growth factor. They are the
active ingredients. Growth hormone has some small effects on
its own, but the major growth factors are the IgFs that then
circulate throughout the body.
Why are they called IgF's or
insulin-like growth factors? Because they have an almost
identical molecular structure to insulin. When I said that
insulin promotes cellular proliferation, it is because it
cross-reacts with IgF receptors. So somewhere in the
evolutionary tree, IgFs diverged from insulin. Insulin can
work very well by itself; it doesn't need growth hormone,
but growth hormone can't do anything without insulin.
The thyroid produces mostly T4. T4
goes to mostly to the liver and is converted to T3. We are
getting the idea that insulin controls a lot of what goes on
in the liver, and the liver is the primary organ that
becomes insulin resistant.
When the liver can no longer listen to
insulin, you can't convert T4 to T3 very well. In people who
are hyperinsulinemic with a thyroid hormone that comes back
totally normal, it is important to measure their T3. Just as
often as not, their free T3 will be low, but get their
insulin down and it comes back up.
Insulin helps control sex hormones
estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone as well. Insulin
helps control the manufacture of cholesterol and where do
all the sex hormones come from? All the stearic hormones are
originally derived from cholesterol, so that's one way. Dr
Nestler from the University of Virginia who has spent the
last eight years doing multiple studies to show that DHEA
levels are directly correlated with insulin levels, or I
should say insulin resistance.
The more insulin resistant you are,
the lower your DHEA levels. He firmly believes, and has a
lot of studies to back it up, that the decline in DHEA is
strictly due to the increase in insulin resistance with age.
If you reduce the insulin resistance, the DHEA rises.
And how are these sex hormones carried
around the body? Something called sex hormone binding
globulins. The more that is bound, the less free, active
hormone you have. Sex hormone binding globulin is controlled
by what? Insulin. There is not a hormone in the body that
insulin doesn't affect, if not directly control.
You take a bunch of calcium. The
medical profession just assumes that it has a homing device
and it knows to go into your bone. What happens if you have
high levels of insulin and you take a bunch of calcium?
Number one, most of it is just going to go out in your
urine. You would be lucky if that were the case because that
part that doesn't does not have the instructions to go to
your bone because the anabolic hormones aren't working.
This is first of all because of
insulin, then because of the IGFs from growth hormone, also
testosterone and progesterone. They are all controlled by
insulin and when they are insulin resistant they can't
listen to any of the anabolic hormones. Your body doesn't
know how to build tissue anymore so while some of the
calcium may end up in your bone, a good deal of it will end
up everywhere else--leading to metastatic calcifications,
including in your arteries.
Diseases are a result of a lack of
communication. There are certain things that your cells need
to be healthy. If you learn nothing else today, you should
know that everything is at the cellular and molecular level
and we are nothing but a community of cells. We are a
commune of cells; a metropolis of cells that have been given
instructions to cooperate.
When you have a large number of cells,
like we have ten trillion or so, there must be proper
communication so that there will be proper division of labor.
You can take most any cell in your body, put it in a petrie
dish and under the right conditions it can live all on its
own. They each have a life of their own.
You can manipulate the genetics of a
cell, and we've now made a blood cell into a nerve cell.
Pretty soon we are going to be able to take any cell we want
and make it into any other cell, because every cell in your
body has the identical genetics, all derived from that egg
and that sperm that came together. Why is one cell different
from another? Because they are reading different parts of
the same library.
You can influence which part of that
genetic library that every cell reads by the environment of
that cell. The environment of that cell is going to be very
much dictated by hormones and what you eat. Eating is just
internalizing the external environment. That is what you
have circulation for, to bring that external environment to
each and every one of those cells that is inside of you.
I hope that by now you have gotten the
idea that high insulin resistance is not very good for you.
So now let's talk about what causes insulin resistance.
Any time your cell is exposed to
insulin it is going to become more insulin resistant. That
is inevitable; we cannot stop that, but the rate we can
control. An inevitable sign of aging is an increase in
That rate is the variable. If you can
slow down that rate, you can become a centenarian, a healthy
one. You can slow the rate of aging. Not even just the rate
of disease, but the actual rate of aging itself can be
modulated by insulin. We talked about some of the lower
animals and there is some pretty good evidence that even in
humans we still retain the capacity to control lifespan at
least partially. We should be living to be 130 to 140 years
Let's talk about carbohydrates. We
talk about simple and complex carbohydrates, this is totally
irrelevant, it means absolutely nothing. Carbohydrates are
fiber or non-fiber. Few things in life are as clear-cut as
this. Fiber is good for you, and a non-fiber carb is bad for
you. You can bank on that.
There is not a whole lot of middle
ground. If you have a carbohydrate that is not a fiber it is
going to be turned into a sugar, whether it be glucose or
not. It may be fructose and won't necessarily raise your
blood glucose. Fructose is worse for you then glucose so if
you just go by blood sugar, which is just glucose, it
doesn't mean that you are not raising your blood fructose,
or your blood galactose which is the other half of lactose.
All of those sugars are as bad or
worse for you than glucose. You can't just go by so-called
blood sugar because we just don't measure blood fructose or
blood galactose, but they are all bad for you.
Why are they bad? Well number one we
know that it provokes insulin and every time you provoke
insulin it exposes your body to more insulin and just like
walking in a smelly room your body is going to become more
resistant to insulin.
So every time you have a surge of
sugar and you have a surge of insulin, you get more and more
insulin resistant and risk all of the problems we've talked
Harmful Effects of Sugar
We know sugar increases insulin, but
even by itself sugar is bad for you. You can divide aging
into basically two major categories, one being genetic
causes of aging. Cells have a limited capacity to divide,
but normally we don't reach that capacity. The more rapidly
you make cells divide, the more rapidly they age.
One of the effects of insulin is to
stimulate cellular proliferation and division. So we know
that it increases the rate of aging of a cell population by
that alone. But to get to the other category, our cells
accumulate damage with age and we can't help that.
When I say aging, I really am talking
about something called senescence, or the damage associated
with aging, but the common usage is the word aging. I can't
prevent you from being a day older tomorrow; that is aging.
When we talk about aging we normally think about the damage
that is associated with that day.
We have accumulated more damage during
that day, which is called senescence. What causes that
damage? There is often an example of test tubes in a
laboratory. You don't think of test tubes as aging, yet if
you mark test tubes with a little red dot and counted the
number of test tubes there were at the end of the year with
a little red dot left, there would hardly be any. Why?
Because they have encountered damage; they've broken, so
even though there is not aging they do have immortality
rates. Aging is an increase in the rate of mortality.
In humans, the rate of mortality
doubles every eight years.
That is really how you gauge the rate
of aging. We found in animal studies that the rate of aging
can be largely controlled by insulin, but the damage that
accumulates during that aging is caused largely by sugar.
The two major causes of accumulated
damage are oxygenation and glycation.
Whenever oxygen combines with
something, it oxidizes. Oxygen is a very poisonous
substance. Throughout most of the history of life on Earth
there was no oxygen. Organisms had to develop very specific
mechanisms of dealing with high levels of oxygen before
there could ever be life with oxygen.
So we evolved very quickly, as plants
arose and developed a very easy means of acquiring energy,
they could just lay back and catch rays, they dealt with
that oxygen with the carbon dioxide by spitting it out, so
the oxygen in the atmosphere increased. All the other
organisms then had to cope with that toxic oxygen. If they
didn't have ways of dealing with it, they perished.
One of the earliest ways of dealing
with all that oxygen was for the cells to huddle together so
that at least the interior cells wouldn't be exposed as
much. So, multi-celled organisms arose after oxygen did. Of
course, with that came the need for cellular communication.
Everyone knows that oxygen causes
damage, but unfortunately the press has not been as kind to
publicize glycation. Glycation is the same as oxidation
except substitute the word glucose. When you glycate
something you combine it with glucose. Glucose combines with
anything else really; it's a very sticky molecule.
Just take sugar on your fingers. It's
very sticky. It sticks specifically to proteins. So the
glycation of proteins is extremely important. If it sticks
around a while it produces what are called advanced glycated
end products (A.G.E.s).
That acronym is not an accident. If
you can turn over, or re-manufacture, the protein that's
good, and it increases the rate of protein turnover if you
are lucky. Glycation damages the protein to the extent that
white blood cells will come around and gobble it up and get
rid of it, so then you have to produce more, putting more of
a strain on your ability to repair and maintain your body.
That is the best alternative; the
worst alternative is when those proteins get glycated that
can't turn over very rapidly, like collagen, or like a
protein that makes up nerve tissue. These proteins cannot be
gotten rid of, so the protein accumulates, and the A.G.E.s
accumulate and continue to damage.
That includes the collagen that makes
up the matrix of your arteries. A.G.E.s are so bad that we
know that there are receptors for A.G.E.s, hundreds of
receptors, for every macrophage. They are designed to try to
get rid of those A.G.E.s, but what happens when a macrophage
combines with an A.G.E. product?
It sets up an inflammatory reaction.
You eat a diet that promotes elevated glucose, and you
produce increased glycated proteins and A.G.E.s, you are
increasing your rate of inflammation of any kind. You get
down to the roots, including arthritis and headaches.
When you start putting people on a
diet to remedy all of this, patients who used to have
horrible headaches or shoulder pains don't have them
Glycated proteins make a person very
pro-inflammatory, so we age and, at least partially,
accumulate damage by oxidation. One of the most important
types of tissues that oxygenate is the fatty component, the
lipid, especially the poly-unsaturated fatty acids, and they
turn rancid and glycate.
The term for glycation in the food
industry is carmelization. It is used all the time to make
caramel. So the way we age is that we turn rancid and we
carmelize. It's very true, and that is what gets most of us.
If that doesn't get us, then the genetic causes of aging
will, because every cell in your body has genetic programs
to commit suicide. There are various theories for why this
is, one being that if they didn't, virtually every cell in
your body would eventually turn cancerous.
Whether those so-called applopatic
genes developed as a means to prevent cancer or not is open
to speculation, but it is a good theory. We know that all
cancer cells have turned off the mechanisms for applotosis,
which is the medical term for chemical suicide. So we know
that it plays a role.
Diet really becomes pretty simple.
Carbohydrates we started talking about. You've got fiber and
non-fiber and that's really clear-cut. Fiber is good, non-fiber
is bad. Fibrous carbs like vegetables such as broccoli are
great. What about a potato? A potato is a big lump of sugar.
That's all it is. You chew a potato, what are you
swallowing? Glucose. You may not remember, but you learned
that in eighth grade, but the medical profession still
hasn't learned that.
The Major Salivary
The major salivary enzyme is amylase.
It is used to break down amylase, which is just a tree of
glucose molecules. What is a slice of bread? A slice of
sugar. Does it have anything else good about it? Virtually
Somebody e-mailed me who had decided
to do a little research. And there are over 50 essential
nutrients to the human body. You know you need to breathe
oxygen. It gives us life and it kills us. It's the same
thing with glucose. Certain tissues require some glucose. We
wouldn't be here if there were no glucose, it gives us life
and it kills us. We know that we have essential amino acids
and we have essential fatty acids. They are essential for
life, we better take them in as building blocks or we die.
So this person took all the essential
nutrients that are known to man and plugged them into a
computer data bank, and he asked the computer what are the
top 10 foods that contain each nutrient that is required by
the human body. Each of the 53 or 54, depending on who you
talk to, essential nutrients that there are were plugged in,
and did you know that grains did not come up in the top ten
on any one?
What is the minimum daily requirement
The food pyramid is based on a totally
Why do we eat?
One reason we eat is for energy.
That's half of the reason. The other essential reason (Not
just for fun! Fun is a good one, but you won't have much fun
if you eat too much) is to replace tissue and gather up
building blocks for maintenance and repair.
Those are the two essential reasons
that we need to eat. We need the building blocks and we need
fuel, not the least of which is to have energy to obtain
those building blocks and then to have energy to fuel those
chemical reactions to use those building blocks.
The building blocks that are needed
are proteins and fatty acids, not much in the way of
carbohydrates. You can get all the carbohydrates you need
from proteins and fats.
There are two kinds of fuel that your
body can use with minor exceptions, sugar and fat. We
mentioned earlier that the body is going to store excess
energy as fat. Why does the body store it as fat? Because
that is the body's desired fuel that will sustain you and
allow you to live. The body can store only a little bit of
In an active day you would die if you
had to rely 100 percent on sugar.
Why doesn't your body store more sugar
if it is so needed? Sugar was never meant to be your primary
energy source, it is meant to be your body's turbo charger.
Everybody right here, right now should
be burning almost all fat with minor exceptions. Your brain
will burn sugar, though it doesn't have to, by burning
by-products of fat metabolism called ketones. That is what
it has to burn when you fast for any length of time. It has
been shown that if your brain was really good at burning
ketones from fat that you can get enough sugar from eating
100 percent fat.
You can make a little bit of sugar out
of the glycerol molecule of fat. Take two glycerol molecules
and you have a molecule of glucose. Two triglycerides will
give you a molecule of glucose. The brain can actually exist
without a whole lot of sugar, contrary to popular belief.
Glucose was meant to be fuel used in an emergency situation
if you had to expend an extreme amount of energy, such as
running from a saber tooth tiger.
It is a turbo charger, a very hot
burning fuel. If you need fuel over and above what fat can
provide, you will dig into your glycogen and burn sugar. But
your primary energy source as we are here right now should
be almost all fat.
What happens if you
Your body's main way of getting rid of
sugar, because it is toxic, is to burn it. That which your
body can't burn your body will get rid of by storing it as
glycogen, and when that gets filled up your body stores it
as fat. If you eat sugar your body will burn it and you stop
Another major effect of insulin on fat
is it prevents you from burning it. What happens when you
are insulin resistant and you have a bunch of insulin
floating around all the time? You wake up in the morning
with an insulin level of 90.
And how much fat are you going to be
burning? Virtually none. What are you going to burn if not
fat? Sugar coming from your muscle. So you have all this fat
that you've accumulated over the years that your body is
very adept at adding to. Every time you have any excess
energy you are going to store it as fat, but if you don't
eat, where you would otherwise be able to burn it, you
cannot. You will still burn sugar because that is all your
body is capable of burning anymore.
Where does your body get the sugar?
Well you don't store much of it in the
form of sugar so it will take it from your muscle. That's
your body's major depot of sugar. You just eat up your
muscle tissue. Any time you have excess you store it as fat
and any time you are deficient you burn up your muscle.
So where do carbohydrates come in?
They don't. There is no essential need
for carbohydrates. Why are we all eating carbohydrates? To
keep the rate of aging up, we don't want to pay social
security to everyone.
I didn't say you can't have any carbs,
I said fiber is good. Vegetables are great; I want you to
eat vegetables. The practical aspect of it is that you are
going to get carbs, but there is no essential need. The
traditional Eskimo subsists on almost no vegetables at all,
but they get their vitamins from organ meats and things like
eyeball, which are a delicacy, or were.
So, you don't really need it, but
sure, vegetables are good for you and you should eat them.
They are part of the diet that I would recommend, and that
is where you'll get your vitamin C. I recommend Vitamin C
supplements, I don't have anything against taking
supplements, I use a lot of them.
Fruit is a mixed blessing. You can
divide food on a continuum. There are some foods that I
really can't say anything good about and the other end of
the spectrum are foods that are totally essential, like
omega-3 fatty acids for instance, which most people are very
deficient in, and even those have a detriment because they
are highly oxidizable, so you had better have the
antioxidant capacity. So if you are going to supplement with
cod liver oil you should supplement with Vitamin E too or it
will actually do you more harm than good.
Most foods fall somewhere in the
middle of the continuum. For example, with strawberries you
are going to get a lot of sugar, but you are also going to
get a food that is the second or third highest in
antioxidant potential of any food known, the first being
garlic, the second either being strawberries or blueberries.
I will let some patients put strawberries in, let's say, a
protein smoothie in the morning. But if they are a hard core
diabetic, strawberries are out.
It doesn't take much, any type I
diabetic who is not producing any insulin can tell you what
foods do to their blood sugar. It doesn't take much. What is
very surprising to these people once they really measure is
what little carbohydrate it takes to cause your blood sugar
One saltine cracker will take the
blood sugar to over 100, and in many people it will cause
the blood sugar to go to 150 for a variety of reasons, not
just the sugar in it.
We only have one hormone that lowers
sugar, and that's insulin. Its primary use was never to
lower sugar. We've got a bunch of hormones that raise sugar,
cortisone being one and growth hormone another, and
epinephrine and glucagon.
Our primary evolutionary problem was
to raise blood sugar to give your brain and your nerves
enough as well as, primarily, red blood cells, which require
glucose. So from an evolutionary sense if something is
important we have redundant mechanisms. The fact that we
only have one hormone that lowers sugar tells us that it was
never something important in the past.
So you get this rush of sugar and your
body panics, your pancreas panics and it stores, when it is
healthy, insulin in these granules that is ready to be
released. It lets these granules out and it pours out a
bunch of insulin to deal with this onslaught of sugar and
what does that do?
Well the pancreas generally
overcompensates, and it causes your sugar to go down, and
just as I mentioned, you have got a bunch of hormones then
to raise your blood sugar, they are then released, including
cortisone. The biggest stress on your body is eating a big
Then epinephrine is released too, so
it makes you nervous, and it also stimulates your brain to
crave carbohydrates, to seek out some sugar. So you are
craving carbohydrates, so you eat a bowl of cheerios or a
big piece of fruit so that after your sugar goes low, and
with the hormone release, your sugars go way up again, which
causes your pancreas to release more insulin and then it
goes way down.
Now you are in to this sinusoidal wave
of blood sugar, which causes insulin resistance. Your body
can't stand that for very long so you are constantly putting
We hear a lot about insulin
resistance, but stop and think a little bit, do you think
our cells only become resistant to insulin? The more
hormones your cells are exposed to, the more resistant they
will become to almost any hormone. Certain cells more than
others though, so there is a discrepancy. The problem with
hormone resistance is that there is a dichotomy of
resistance — all the cells don't become resistant at the
And different hormones affect
different cells, and the rate of hormone is different among
different cells and this causes lots of problems with the
feedback mechanisms. We know that one of the major areas of
the body that becomes resistant to many feedback loops is
Hypothalamic resistance to feedback
signals plays a very important role in aging and insulin
resistance because the hypothalamus has receptors for
insulin too. I mentioned that insulin stimulates sympathetic
nervous system; it does so through the hypothalamus, which
is the center of it all.
Sensitivity Be Restored?
Insulin sensitivity can be restored to
its original state, well, perhaps not to its original state,
but you can restore it to the state of about a 10-year-old.
One of my first experiences with this,
I had a patient who literally had sugars over 300. He was
taking over 200 units of insulin, and he was a bad
cardiovascular patient, so I put him on a low-carbohydrate
He was an exceptional case, after one
month to six weeks he was totally off of insulin. He had
been on over 200 units of insulin for 25 years. He was so
insulin resistant, but one thing good about it is that when
you lower that insulin, that insulin is having such little
effect on him that you can massively lower the insulin and
its not going to have much of an effect on his blood sugar.
Two hundred units of insulin is not going to lower your
sugar any more that 300 mg/deciliter.
You know that the insulin is not doing
much, so we could rapidly take him off the insulin and he
was actually cured of his diabetes in a matter of weeks. He
became sensitive enough and was still producing a lot of
insulin on his own. Then we were able to measure his own
insulin. It was still elevated, and it took a long time,
maybe six months or longer, to bring that insulin down.
It will probably never get to the
point of the sensitivity of a 10-year-old, but yes, your
number of insulin receptors increases and the activity of
the receptors, the chemical reactions that occur beyond the
receptor, occur more efficiently.
Increase Insulin Sensitivity
You can increase sensitivity by diet,
which is one of the major reasons to take omega-3 oils. We
think of circulation as that which flows through arteries
and veins, and that is not a minor part of our circulation,
but it might not even be the major part. The major part of
circulation is what goes in and out of the cell.
The cell membrane is a fluid mosaic.
The major part of our circulation is determined by what goes
in and out. It doesn't make any difference what gets to that
cell if it can't get into the cell. We know that one of the
major ways that you can affect cellular circulation is by
modulating the kinds of fatty acids that you eat. So you can
increase receptor sensitivity by increasing the fluidity of
the cell membrane, which means increasing the omega-3
content, because most people are very deficient.
They say that you are what you eat and
that mostly pertains to fat because the fatty acids that you
eat are the ones that will generally get incorporated into
the cell membrane. The cell membranes are going to be a
reflection of your dietary fat and that will determine the
fluidity of your cell membrane. You can actually make them
If you eat too much and you
incorporate too many omega-3 oils then they will become
highly oxidizable (so you have to eat Vitamin E and
monounsaturates as well).
There was an interesting study
pertaining to this where they had a breed of rat that was
genetically susceptible to cancer. Researchers fed them a
high-omega-3 diet, plus iron, without any extra Vitamin E
and they were able to almost shrink down the tumors to
nothing because tumors are rapidly dividing. This is like a
form of chemotherapy, and the membranes that were being
formed in these tumor cells were very high in omega-3 oils.
The iron acted as a catalyst for that oxidation, and the
cells were exploding from getting oxidized so rapidly. So
omega-3 oils can be a double-edged sword. In fact, most food
is a double-edged sword.
Like oxygen and glucose, food keeps us
alive and kills us. Eating is the biggest stress we put on
our body and that is why in caloric restriction experiments
you can extend life as long as you maintain nutrition. This
is the only proven way of actually reducing the rate of
aging, not just the mortality rate but the actual rate of
It has actually been shown by quite a
number of papers that resistance training for insulin
resistance is better than aerobic training. There are a
variety of other reasons too. Resistance training is
referring to muscular exercises. If you just do a bicep
curl, you immediately increase the insulin sensitivity of
your bicep. Just by exercising you are increasing the blood
flow to that muscle, and one of the factors that determines
insulin sensitivity is how blood can get there. It has been
shown conclusively that resistance training will increase
Now, back to the macronutrients. As I
said before, you don't want very much in the way of non-fiber
carbs, but fiber carbs are great. You are going to get some
non-fiber carbs though. Even if you just eat broccoli you
are going to get some non-fiber carbs. That is OK since for
the most part you are getting something that is really
pretty good for you.
Protein is an essential nutrient. You
want to use it as a building block because your body
requires protein to repair damage and replenish enzymes. All
of the encoded instructions from your DNA are to encode for
proteins. That is all the DNA encodes for. You need protein,
but you want to use it as a building block. I don't believe
in going over and above the protein that you need to use for
maintenance, repair and building blocks.
I don't think you should be using
protein as a primary fuel source, though your body can use
protein very well as a fuel source. It is good to lose
weight while using it as a fuel source because it is an
inefficient fuel source. Protein is very thermogenic,
meaning it produces a lot of heat, which means that less of
it is going into stored energy and more is being
dissipated — just like throwing a log into a fireplace. Your
primary fuel should be coming from fat.
You can calculate the amount of
protein a person requires or at least estimate it by their
activity level. The book "Protein Power" actually went very
well in to this. You have to calculate how much protein is
required by activity level and lean body mass. There is
still some gray area as to how many grams per kilogram of
lean body mass, depending on the activity that person
It can range anywhere from one to two
grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass, maybe even
a little bit higher if someone is really active. You don't
want to go under that amount for very long. It is better to
go over than to go under that amount for very long.
If you can cure a diabetic of
diabetes, you can do the same thing to a so-called
non-diabetic person and still improve that person. I want to
improve my insulin sensitivity just as much as I do my
diabetics because insulin sensitivity is going to determine,
for the most part, how long you are going to live and how
healthy you are going to be. It determines the rate of aging
more so than anything else we know right now.
about supplements such as Chromium?
All of my diabetics go on 1,000 mcg of
chromium, some a little bit more if they are really big
people. The amount is usually 500 mcg for a non-diabetic,
though it depends on their insulin levels.
I use a lot of supplements. What you
really want to do is to try to convert the person back into
being an efficient burner of fat. Earlier we talked about
when you are very insulin resistant and you are waking up in
the morning with an insulin level that is elevated, you
cannot burn fat but instead are burning sugar.
One of the reasons that sugar goes up
so high is because that is what your cell is needing to
burn, but if it is so insulin resistant it requires a blood
sugar of 300 so that just by mass action some can get into
the cell and be used as fuel. If you eliminate that need to
burn sugar, you don't need such high levels of sugar even if
you are insulin resistant.
You want to increase the ability of
the cells in the body to burn fat and make that glucose
burner into a fat burner. You want to make a
gasoline-burning car into a diesel-burning car. Did anyone
ever look at the molecular structure of diesel fuel in your
spare time? It looks almost identical to a fatty acid. There
is a company right now that can tell you how to alter
vegetable oil to use in your Mercedes. It's just a matter of
thinning it out a little bit. It is a very efficient fuel
You can look at other variables that
will give you some idea too, such as triglycerides. If
people are very sensitive to high levels of insulin, they
come in with insulin levels of 14 and they have
triglycerides of 1000. You would treat them just as you
would if they had an insulin level of 50. It gives you some
idea of the effect of the hyperinsulinemia on the body.
You can use triglycerides as a gauge,
which I often do. The objective is to try to get the insulin
level just as low as you possibly can. There is no limit.
They classify diabetes now as a fasting blood sugar of 126
or higher. A few months ago it might have been 140. It is
just an arbitrary number. Does that mean that someone with a
blood sugar of 125 is non-diabetic and fine? If you have a
blood sugar of 125 you are worse than if you had a blood
sugar of 124--same with insulin. If you have a fasting
insulin of 10, you are worse off than if you had an insulin
of 9. You want to get it just as low as you can.
Does This Apply to
With athletes, think about the effect
of carbohydrate loading before an event. What happens if you
eat a bowl of pasta before you have to run a marathon? What
does that bowl of pasta do? It raises your insulin. What is
the instruction of insulin to your body?
To store energy and not burn it. I see
a fair amount of athletes and this is what I tell them, you
want everybody, athletes especially, to be able to burn fat
efficiently. So when they train, they are on a very
low-carbohydrate diet. The night before their event, they
can stock up on sugar and load their glycogen if they would
They are not going to become insulin
resistant in one day. Just enough to make sure, it has been
shown that if you eat a big carbohydrate meal that you will
increase your glycogen stores, that is true and that is what
you want. But you don't want to train that way because if
you do you won't be able to burn fat, you can only burn
sugar, and if you are an athlete you want to be able to burn
Few people have problems burning sugar
if they are athletes, but they have lots of problems burning
fat, so they hit the wall. And for certain events, like
sprinting, it is less important, truthfully for their health
it is very important to be able to burn fat, but a sprinter
will go right into burning sugar. If you are a 50-yard dash
person, whether you can burn fat or not is not going to make
a huge difference in your final performance.
Beyond your athletic years, if you
don't want to become a diabetic, and don't want to die of
heart disease and don't want to age quickly, it is certainly
not going to do you any harm to be able to burn fat
efficiently in addition to sugar.
Vanadyl Sulfate is an insulin mimic,
so that it can basically do what insulin does by a different
mechanism. If it went through the same insulin receptors,
then it wouldn't offer any benefit, but it doesn't, it
actually has been shown to go through a different mechanism
to lower blood sugar, so it spares insulin and then it can
help improve insulin sensitivity. To really lower a person's
insulin, I give 25 mg 3 times a day temporarily.
I also put people on glutamine powder.
Glutamine can act as a brain fuel, so it helps eliminate
carbohydrate cravings while they are in that transition
period. I like to give it to them at night, and I tell them
to use it whenever they feel they are craving carbohydrates.
They can put several grams into a little water and drink it
and it helps eliminate carbohydrate cravings between meals.
A high-protein diet will increase an
acid load in the body, but not necessarily a high-fat diet.
Vegetables and greens are alkalinizing, so if you are eating
a lot of vegetables along with your protein it equalizes the
acidifying effect of the protein. I don't recommend a
high-protein diet; I recommend an adequate protein diet.
Fat in the Diet
I think you should be using fat as
your primary energy source, and fat is kind of neutral when
it comes to acidifying or alkalinizing. In general, over 50
percent of the calories should come from fat, but not from
saturated fat. When we get to fat, the carbohydrates are
clear-cut. No scientist out there is really going to dispute
what I've said about carbohydrates.
There is the science behind it. You
can't dispute it. There is a little bit of a dispute as to
how much protein a person requires. When you get to fat,
there is a big gray area as to which fat a person requires.
We just have one name for fat, we call it fat or oil.
Eskimos have dozens of names for snow and east Indians have
dozens of names for curry. We should have dozens of names
for fat because they do many different things. And how much
of which fat to take is still open to a lot of investigation
My take on fat is that if I am
treating a patient who is generally hyperinsulinemic or
overweight, I want them on a low-saturated-fat diet, because
most of the fat they are storing is saturated fat. When
their insulin goes down and they are able to start releasing
triglycerides to burn as fat, what they are going to be
releasing mostly is saturated fat. So you don't want them to
take anymore orally. There is a ration of fatty acids that
is desirable if you took them from the moment you were born,
but we don't. We are dealing with an imbalance here that we
are trying to correct as rapidly as we can.
Most of us here have enough saturated
fat to last the rest of our life. Truthfully. Your cell
membranes require a balance of saturated and
poly-unsaturated fat, and it is that balance that determines
the fluidity. As I mentioned, your cells can become
over-fluid if they don't have any saturated fat.
Saturated fat is a hard fat. We can
get the fats from foods to come mostly from nuts. Nuts are a
great food because it is mostly mono-unsaturated. Your
primary energy source ideally would come mostly from
mono-unsaturated fat. It's a good compromise. It is not an
essential fat, but it is a more fluid fat. Your body can
utilize it very well as an energy source.
Animals are not Healthy
Animal proteins are good for you, but
not the ones that are fed grains.
Grain-fed animals are going to make
saturated fat out of the grains. Saturated fat in nature
occurs to a very tiny degree. In the wild there is very
little saturated fat out there. If you talk about the
Paleolithic diet, we didn't eat a saturated fat diet.
Saturated fat diets are new to mankind. We manufactured a
saturated fat diet by feeding animals grains. You can
consider saturated fat to be second-generation
carbohydrates. We eat the saturated fats that other animals
produce from carbohydrates.
Zone was a good diet compared to the
American diet. Is it an optimal diet? No. Is it optimal for
what is known today about nutrition? It is not. Initially
the author spoke about how it made no difference if you got
your carbohydrate from candy or vegetables.
What he is doing now is changing his
recipes so that the 40 percent carbohydrates are coming
primarily from vegetables, and the carbohydrates are going
way down because he knows that if they don't, it's not as
good a diet.
I recommend 20 percent of calories
from carbs, depending on the size of the person, 25 percent
to 30 percent of calories from protein, and 60 percent to 65
percent from fat. You can get beef that is not grain-fed.
is Not the Only Cause of Disease
There are other considerations in
disease, such as iron. We know that high iron levels are bad
for you. If a person's ferritin is high, red meat is out for
a while until the level goes down.
There is a great deal of difference
between a non-grain-fed cow and a grain-fed cow.
Non-grain fed will have only 10
percent or less saturated fat. Grain-fed can have over 50
Also, a non-grain-fed cow will
actually be high in omega-3 oils. Plants have a pretty high
percentage of omega-3, and if you accumulate it by eating it
all day, every day for most of your life, your fat gets a
pretty high proportion of omega-3. I would try for 50
percent oleic fat, and the other fats would depend on the
individual, but about 25 percent of the other two.
In a heavy diabetic I would probably
go down on the saturated fat and go 60 percent oleic, and 1
to 1 on the omega-6 to 3 ratio--that would be therapeutic.
The maintenance ratio would be about 2.5 to 1 for the
omega-6 to 3 ratio. I would try to do most of this through
diet. There are some practicalities involved. I would ask
the person if they like fish and if they practically puke in
front of me they are going on a tablespoon of cod liver oil,
the best brand is made by Carlson, which doesn't taste fishy
Most people end up going on a
supplement of omega-3 oils because they are not going to eat
enough fish to get an adequate amount. It is a little hard
to get that much entirely from diet.
Sardines are a very good therapeutic
food. They are baby fish so they haven't had time to
accumulate a bunch of metal. They are smoked so they are not
cooked and the oil is not spoiled in them. You have to eat
the whole thing, not the boneless and skinless. You need to
eat all the organs as they are high in vitamins and
If people are worried about
chromosomal damage from chromium, what they should really be
worried about instead is high blood sugar. DNA repair
enzymes glycate as well. Insulin is by far your biggest
poison. They disproved that study that was against chromium
many times. They showed that it only happens if you put
cells in a petrie dish with chromium but in vivo studies
prove otherwise. The lowering of insulin is going to be
better than any possible detriment of any of the therapies
you are using. Insulin is associated with cancer,
Insulin should be tested on everybody
repeatedly. It isn't strictly because there haven't been
drugs until recently that could effect insulin, so there is
no way to make money off of it. Fasting insulin is one way
to look at it, not necessarily the best way, but it is a way
that everybody could get it done. Any family doctor can
measure a fasting insulin.
There are other ways to measure
insulin sensitivity that are more complex. We use
intravenous insulin and watch how rapidly the blood sugar
crashes in a fasting state in 15 minutes, and that assesses
insulin sensitivity. Then you give them dextrose to make
sure they don't crash any further. There are other ways that
are utilized to directly assess insulin sensitivity, but you
can get a pretty good idea just by doing a fasting insulin.