diabetes | Integrative functional medicine blog

"Any fool can Know. The point is to understand" - Albert Einstein

The vicious cycle of Insulin Resistance syndrome

The road to chronic disease — from arthritis to heart disease — is paved with sugar and refined carbohydrates. It’s a freeway that leads straight to
insulin resistance syndrome, given the right conditions, most notably being overweight and inactive.

The devastating chain of events that leads to chronic disease goes like this:

  • Carbs and sugar break down in the digestive tract to glucose that the body uses for energy.
  • Beta cells in the pancreas make and secrete insulin into the blood to ferry any glucose you don’t use to muscle, fat, and liver cells for storage.
  • Given the right conditions and more glucose than your cells can manage at the moment, the call goes out for even more insulin.
  • Beta cells keep the insulin flowing but eventually the body’s cells can’t absorb it or the glucose building up in your blood stream. That’s called insulin resistance.
  • Eventually the beta cells can’t keep up and insulin levels plummet. Now your bloodstream is flooded with glucose, which damages nerves and blood vessels, causes inflammation, and leads to a host of chronic diseases.

Chronic Diseases Linked to Insulin Resistance Syndrome

Here’s a short list of what may lay ahead for you if you fail to reverse insulin resistance as soon as possible:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Prediabetes and diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (POS)
  • Obesity
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Pancreatitis

Take the First Exit

The sooner you give those beta cells a rest, the better your chances of avoiding insulin resistance and diabetes. The intervention is simple but not easy if you’ve spent a lifetime eating processed foods and drinking sweet sodas, like most of the U.S.

Here’s what you’ve got to do:
  • Clear your cupboards and fridge of processed foods and those that contain sugar, even if they seem to be “healthy,” like packaged granola, energy bars, and even yogurts with fruit. If it comes in a bag or a box you should probably just get rid of it.
  • Eat whole, “real” foods — that is, foods made with ingredients you recognize as foods and without pesticides, additives, or any ingredient you can’t pronounce. If its over 3 syllables get rid of it.
  • Count your veggies and fruits. Seven to 10 servings a day is currently recommended. A serving is a half cup or, for lettuce and leafy greens, a cup . And this doesn’t mean 7-9 servings of fruit and 1 serving of veggies. Actually its the opposite. But for starting with, half and half is ok.
  • Avoid simple carbs like sugar and white flours and eat complex ones found in high-fiber foods. These digest more slowly and don’t cause a surge in glucose. I’m not even touching on the subject of wheat/gluten here. That is a subject too big for this little post. Just know that for most people I’m not a fan.
  • Regular exercise, particularly high intensity interval training (see my previous post on how to do HIT training for the most effective results), makes muscles more sensitive to insulin.
  • Sleep well, night after night. Sleep deprivation has been shown to promote inflammation, obesity, adrenal fatigue, hormone issues and lot of other issues. Sleep is when your body heals itself so get lots of quality sleep.

Of course it’s not always as easy as do this or that and things will be all hunky dory, there are a lot of health issues that can get in the way of doing some of the simple things outlined above. If you need some help give my office a call. I also do online consultations as well.

I’m Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be healthy, be happy!

P.S. - If you have any boring health question that you think would make a good blog of video blog please e-mail me. It’s not that I don’t have enough topics to talk about. My list is already too long, but I’m always up for new ideas.

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Intermittent fasting, should you be doing it?

Intermittent fasting for weight loss and longevity

As long as human have been on earth we have always fasted. Whether due to lack of food, season variations, religious or spiritual reasons. Its even in the bible. If God says fasting is a good thing, its has to be true.

And we are finding out more and more that intermittent fasting can be really good for us, and its becoming very popular for a variety of reasons. Among those are for weight loss and the anti-aging benefits one can experience

Intermittent fasting, or IF, makes fasting an everyday part of life versus something you do once or twice a year. Although longer fasting a few times a year has some other benefits as well.

Many people use it successfully for weight loss and inflammation as well as to improve brain function and insulin sensitivity.
See my previous blog on Alzheimers and type 3 diabetes.

The promise of increased longevity is another reason people choose to fast regularly. Its can slow down the shortening of your telomeres - those shoelace like structures at the end of your genes that determine how long we can potentially live.

So what are the different types of intermittent fasting? There is not a one size fits all solution. I recommend doing a little experimentation to find which of these types of fasting you can do and which agrees most with your body.

Keep watching and I will tell you which form I like best and which one I use for most patients.
Different forms of intermittent fasting.

So here is a breakdown of the different types of intermittent fasting

#1 This is what is called the 5:2 diet — In this plan you eat normally five days per week, and either fast completely, or severely restrict calories (500-600 calories) the other two days, typically on the weekend or whatever days you have off. Many times with this type of fasting it can be done every week but this is one of the more difficult ways to fast so many times people do it 1-2 times per month.

#2 - Alternate day fasting — This type of fasting plan includes normal eating for 24 hours and zero, or very low calories (500-600) for the next 24-hour period, alternating every other day. These 24-hour periods typically begin at dinnertime so that in any one day you may miss one or two meals, but not all three.

#3 This type of fasting is either a 16:8 or 14:10 — Also known as the “eating window plan,” this plan has you eat during an 8- or 10-hour window and fast the remaining 16 or 14 hours of each 24-hour period. For example, you stop eating at 7 p.m and do not eat again until 14 hours later at 9 a.m. the next morning. That would be the minimum time. Many people often will fast until noon of the next day.

Intermittent fasting for weight loss

Restricting caloric intake can lead to weight loss, but intermittent fasting seems to help with weight loss in more ways than that. For one thing, studies show intermittent fasters have better insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation. Among other things, this makes a person crave less sugar and use glucose more efficiently for energy production instead of being stored as fat. Intermittent fasting also causes your body to burn more fat. Because it depletes glycogen, the storage form of glucose, your body switches over to burning stored fat for energy.

Intermittent fasting for brain function

Studies show intermittent fasting can benefit brain function and potentially even stave off Alzheimer's disease, Take a look at my previous post on Alzheimers and type 3 diabetes. It helps by regulating insulin control as well as in the production of ketone bodies for fuel. Ketones provide a ready source of clean-burning fuel for the brain that leave behind fewer free radicals than glucose does. Free radicals are the reason we take antioxidants. High-fat ketogenic diets have also long been used to help prevent seizures.

Other benefits

Intermittent fasting has been shown in trials to reduce blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and insulin-like growth factor, a hormone that is linked to cancer and diabetes.
There is still a lot we have to learn about intermittent fasting and new studies are being done all the time.

Who is intermittent fasting NOT for?

Children, teens, pregnant women, people with eating disorders, as well as those with hypoglycemia should not fast. That seems pretty self explanatory don't you think? Also, diabetics taking insulin should ONLY attempt this diet under supervision of a doctor.

Women often find less stringent forms of intermittent fasting are more suitable for them. For example, a woman might start by trying a 12:12 eating window plan and potentially lengthen her fasting time gradually, or not, as it suits her.

Intermittent fasting can be difficult often due to the hunger pangs we often get. Some herbs and supplements that can sometimes help reduce your appetite and satisfy your leptin hormone (another issue) are listed below.

Check out the links for the products that can be helpful.

5 - HTP
Organic Fennel Tea
Green Tea Extract

Until next time, Im Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be healthy, Be happy.

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Alzheimers & Type 3 Diabetes. The connection.

Why is Alzheimer’s being called type 3 diabetes

There is a TON of research being done on the link between how you eat, primarily in regards to the sugar and carbohydrates that you eat, and your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Because of this link many researchers are now calling Alzheimer’s type 3 diabetes.
In fact, 80 of those with Alzheimers has insulin resistance or type 2 diabetesKind of scary and kind of cool at the same time. It looks as though this disease is turning out to be largely preventable. Not curable, but preventable.
Once there is brain damage associated with Alzheimer’s some of that damage can often be irreversible, depending on how much damage has been done.
Researches have found that the pancreas is not the only organ of the body that produces insulin. In fact, they found that the brain also produces its own insulin. Which when/if you think about it makes perfect sense. The brains main form of fuel is glucose. Not sugar but glucose. By the brain secreting its own insulin it can more likely ensure that it gets the energy it needs to function properly.
Mind blown right?!
They discovered that without the insulin your brain cells will die. duh - no gas, things stop running.
Insulin in the brain, and all cells for that matter enable the uptake of glucose into your cells. Think of glucose (not talking sugar or carbs) as the gas or fuel for your cells.
Studies are also finding that not only is insulting responsible for getting glucose into the cells of your brain, but it also helps with the regulation of certain neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is the main transmitter responsible for memory and learning.


So here is the technical breakdown
If insulin levels are low or dysfunctional = poor brain energy = decreased acetylcholine = ???? What was I talking about?
So stop eating so many sugar foods and drinks, cut back on your grain and carbohydrate baed foods. These foods are triggering chronically high levels of glucose which is leading to the desensitization and blunting of the effects insulin should be having in your body and your brain. This is leading to what is now being called type 3 diabetes or Alzheimer’s.
There are many possible causes of glucose and insulin dysregulation. If you eat a fairly clean diet and are still having issues with controlling your glucose, or you are worried about developing Alzheimer’s.
Give my office a call to schedule an appointment. Id be happy to …..
What was I saying?
Im Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be health, be Happy.

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