An easy way to find out is to check your waist circumference. Males more than 102cm and females more than 88cm will have a very high chance.
How to optimise your metabolism.
Are you perhaps finding that you are battling a lot more when trying to lose weight? Do the things that used to work for you in the past, no longer budge your body fat?
Most people with a weight problem blame their sluggish metabolism on their thyroid gland. Not surprisingly, they are surprised each time their doctor checks their thyroid function and all the tests prove normal. Insulin, on the other hand, is a hormone well worth worrying about. If you don’t, there is a good chance that you may never be able to gain control of your weight.
Why is insulin so important?
The reason insulin is so important is because it is the hormone that dominates your metabolism (Not thyroid hormone, as most people incorrectly believe). Firstly, insulin regulates fat production. After a meal, when the quantity of glucose that enters the system is more than what can be used, insulin immediately promotes the conversion of all excess glucose molecules into fatty acids, which are subsequently grouped together as larger molecules called triglycerides and transported to the bodyâ€™s fatty tissue where it is deposited as fat.
Besides helping to manufacture fat, insulin also dominates the environment inside the fat cell – the bodyâ€™s energy storeroom. Fulfilling the role of storeroom manager, insulinâ€™s primary objective is to fill the storeroom to maximum capacity. This includes keeping it that way by protecting the fat from leaving the fat cell by preventing its release back into the bloodstream. Inside the fat cell, another hormonal-like agent called â€˜hormone-sensitive lipaseâ€™ plays an important part in this process. Acting as the despatch manager,this agenthas the sole task of releasing as much fat as possible from the fat cell so that it can be burnt for energy purposes by the bodyâ€™s metabolic processes. If insulin is present, however, this function is overruled and the enzymesâ€™ action is obstructed. Only when insulin levels drop can hormone-sensitive lipase perform its duty and stimulate the release of fatty acids into the circulating blood stream. The bottom line is that insulin is the hormone that not only causes you to gain weight, but actually also makes it more difficult for you to lose weight.[1,2]
Doctors deal with the complications of insulinâ€™s obesity-promoting tendency on a daily basis. In fact, these effects can be rather counterproductive when treating an overweight diabetic patient. Various studies have investigated the role that insulin plays in weight gain.[3-8] In the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS), for example, increased weight gain was directly related to the intensification of therapy with all forms of medication, with the exception of the diabetic drug metformin. However, weight gain was the greatest in a group treated with insulin, where patients gained, on average, 6.5 kg. In addition, data from the Diabetes Control and Complication Trial (DCCT) also demonstrated that insulin-associated weight gain was significantly greater in patients receiving intensified insulin treatment, as compared to conventional insulin treatment.
The most obvious example, however, can be seen in someone that develops an insulinoma, a rare tumour of the pancreas that secretes insulin. Besides developing low blood sugar, people with insulinomas also gain weight at an alarming rate because of soaring insulin levels. As a key feature they can become massively obese in a very short period of time. Fortunately, the incidence of insulinomas are very low, with less than four new cases per million reported each year, so please do not be concerned that you may have this rare condition.
What is insulin resistance?
Fat cells have historically been accredited with only two main functions, namely that of storing calories for later use and preserving body temperature via insulation. In the presence of excess body fat, however, fat cells also assume a hormonal function and start to manufacture various chemical substances called â€˜inflammatory cytokinesâ€™. For reasons not completely understood, some of these inflammatory cytokines disrupt insulin’s role on cellular level and render insulin less effective. The medical term for this condition is â€˜insulin resistanceâ€™. To get the same task done as before, the body compensates by producing even more insulin, and insulin levels rise above the norm. Because of insulinâ€™s obesity-promoting effects, the subsequent elevation of insulin levels caused by insulin resistance makes one more prone to gaining weight. In addition, it also makes it more difficult for one to lose weight. Once this condition sets in, a vicious cycle begins, explaining why many overweight individuals find that their metabolism has effectively slowed down.
Could you be suffering from insulin resistance?
If you are battling to lose weight, there is a good chance that you are insulin resistant. An easy way to find out is to check your waist circumference. Males more than 102cm and females more than 88cm will have a very high chance of having insulin resistance according to American guidelines. European guidelines are even more stringent, with 93cm for males and 79cm for females being the cut off.
During the research and development phase of the Lighthouse weight-loss system, clients that suffered from slow metabolic rates because of insulin resistance posed a far greater challenge for us than those who consumed too many calories (ate too much). We found that many of these individuals were metabolically so disadvantaged that they could only lose weight if they followed a strategy based on alleviating insulin resistance.
Considering the obesity-promoting effects of insulin, a logical question you may ask is why doctors donâ€™t solve the problem by just shutting your insulin production off? This sounds like an excellent idea in theory, especially when you hear that in the absence of insulin all aspects of fat breakdown and its use in providing energy are significantly increased. This occurs normally between meals when insulin secretion is minimal, but it becomes extreme in type 1 diabetes when the pancreas fails and stops producing insulin. When this happens fat stores are broken down so efficiently that rapid weight loss takes place. (Type 2 diabetes is very different)
But alas, besides causing you to lose large amounts of weight, type I diabetes also makes your blood sugar and cholesterol levels soar, causing many other life threatening medical problems that will significantly decrease your life expectancy if not treated correctly. So, if â€˜too muchâ€™ and â€˜too littleâ€™ insulin can both be detrimental, it is clear that something â€˜in-betweenâ€™ becomes crucial if your intention is to lose weight. If, however, you are diabetic and currently on insulin treatment, please do not reduce or change your dosage regime. Insulin has many roles that are somewhat complex, and changing your treatment without your doctorâ€™s consent will be highly irresponsible and may be detrimental to your health.
Strategies to help improve your metabolism
The therapeutic goal to optimise your metabolism is therefore to follow a strategy during which your insulin levels are optimised and balanced in such a manner that it does not promote fat deposition and fat storage. Our research at the Medical Nutritional Institute consistently demonstrated that when insulin resistance is alleviated with a combination of lifestyle changes and certain biochemical agents that alleviate insulin resistance, patients achieve better weight-loss results. Optimising your insulin levels is therefore going to play an important role in maximising your weight loss results. Getting this wrong means that you have effectively shot yourself in the foot by pushing your metabolism from a fat burning to a fat storing mode, a sure step in the wrong direction.
To combat insulin resistance and optimise your metabolism, you can start by eating less as well as eating differently. This is a vast topic, fraught with misinformation and antiquated ideology and you will need some expert assistance. The correct diet can make an immense difference. At the Medical Nutritional Institute we developed our own dietary plan called the C.A.P.E DietTM. Exercise plays a crucial role and assists by making your own insulin more effective, meaning that you need less to get the same job done. You need to exercise at least 5 days a week. We acknowledge that this poses a problem for many individuals who have limited time, naturally do not like exercise or are suffering from painful joints. Whilst there are many studies that support the value of a healthy lifestyle which included diet and regular exercise, the reality unfortunately is that these measures are effective in only a minority of people, primarily due to a lack of compliance. Medication is therefore frequently required.
Treating insulin resistance with prescription medication
Generally, individual disorders that form part of the metabolic syndrome cluster are treated separately. High blood pressure, for example, is treated with anti-hypertensive medication, raised cholesterol with cholesterol lowering drugs etc. In the absence of diabetes, however, the use of diabetic drugs for the treatment of insulin resistance is still controversial and no product has yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this purpose. Whilst insulin and two classes of oral anti-diabetic drugs (sulphonylureas & glitazones) are known to cause weight gain, the drug metformin does not interfere with body mass and has therefore become the drug of choice.
In diabetic patients, both the UKPDS and DCCT trials demonstrated that improved blood sugar control achieved with intensified insulin treatment reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease. It has therefore historically been argued that the price for improved sugar control against weight gain is a fair exchange. However, this argument makes a rather simplistic and contradictory assumption when there is also clear and compelling evidence that weight gain in itself also increases your risk for cardiovascular disease. Excess fatty tissue is associated with increased levels of insulin resistance, which not only contributes to elevated cholesterol levels, but can also fuel a vicious cycle of increased insulin resistance, a greater requirement for insulin and ultimately further weight gain. Consequently, weight gain caused by medication is not only unwelcome, but also counterproductive, thereby posing an important clinical issue for doctors. Limiting insulin-associated weight gain has therefore become a new treatment challenge and research in the pharmaceutical arena has led to the development of new classes of diabetic drugs and synthetic insulins that do not promote weight-gain.
New developments in the field of non-prescription medication
At the Medical Nutritional Institute we joined the scientific exploration for a new product that could treat insulin resistance without causing weight gain. After eight years of research and development, we were more than satisfied with our work, as we had designed and patented a new combination agent indicated for the treatment of insulin resistance, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Not only did it lower blood insulin levels and stabilise sugar levels, but we could also demonstrate from trials that our product actively stimulates weight loss.
To explain how our product works, one has to touch on the topic of how the body communicates with cells. All biochemical processes which take place within the body can be switched on, turned up or down, or switched off, directly as a result of the particular chemical messenger is responsible for the regulation of its specific chemical function. Examples of chemical messengers are hormones and neurotransmitters. Pharmaceutical drugs, however, or toxins, for that matter, may also occupy these receptors and behave as chemical messengers. As determined by their design, chemical messengers are only able to â€˜touchâ€™ or â€˜turnâ€™ certain â€˜switchesâ€™ orâ€™ leversâ€™. The medical term for the â€˜leversâ€™ and â€˜switchesâ€™ is â€˜receptorâ€™ and every cell in the body has a fair number of these on their surface membranes. Receptors are like door locks, allowing only certain keys (the chemical messenger) to unlock them. Once â€˜unlockedâ€™, they become activated, setting off numerous biochemical processes within the cell.
Each cell contains a certain amount of receptors on its surface membrane. The number can be increased, or â€˜up-regulatedâ€™, otherwise decreased or â€˜down-regulatedâ€™. If a cell has fewer receptors on its surface membrane, it will for obvious reasons be less sensitive to the chemical messenger that is attempting to communicate with the cell. An example of down-regulation can be illustrated by the insulin receptor sites on the cell membranes of someone with type 2 diabetes. If the number of receptors on the surface membrane decreases, its sensitivity to insulin will become less and the body will need to compensate by releasing more insulin to accomplish the same task. If, on the other hand, the number of receptors on the surface membrane increases, its sensitivity to insulin will become more and the body can accomplish its task in spite of releasing less insulin.
AntaGolinTM is a new product specifically developed for treating insulin resistance. It contains a novel combination of organic agents that display unique and synergistic biochemical properties. AntaGolinTM works in a dual manner by up-regulating the insulin receptor and thereby making cells more sensitive to insulin, as well as mimicking the role of insulin at the glucose receptor, meaning that less insulin is required to achieve the same task. These two functions help optimise your blood insulin levels naturally and helps you burn more fat. Whilst more studies are needed, trials conducted in both South Africa and the United Stated have demonstrated thatAntaGolinTM also stimulates weight-loss.