Reduce Excessive Meds, Feel Energized, And Drop Belly Fat
Most people aren’t aware that Type-2 diabetes is not a sugar problem, it’s a fat problem. Controlling your blood sugar by downing meds that ramp up your pancreas to squeeze out more insulin, or injecting yourself with gobs of insulin, is outdated thinking. Type-2 diabetics deserve to know more about the science based link between fat and insulin resistance. Fortunately new research just the past few years has discovered a major breakthrough. With people living longer and the skyrocketing cost of health care, lifelong health is priority one and a type-2 diabetic needs new options to get their blood sugar under healthy control.
Type-2 diabetes doesn’t happen overnight. It mostly evolves over a decades, beginning with a fatty liver followed by excess deep belly fat, muscle fat, insulin resistance, and then pre-diabetes (increased blood sugar), in that order. This takes time. It’s natural to put on a few extra pounds over ones adult life. Trouble is these pounds are often fat pounds in you liver and belly and this is the most dangerous form of weight gain which is the trigger for insulin resistance and eventually type-2 diabetes.
My first experience with type-2 diabetes was twelve years ago when my mom came for a visit. First thing she did was place a small vial in my fridge. I asked her what it was and she replied “it’s my insulin.” Now mom was never heavy as most diabetics are, but she didn’t exercise much either. I was doing a lot of health research at the time, plus I had access to small scale supplement manufacturing. I put together a three supplement “cocktail” for mom to try with the goal simply to protect her from the potential damage from diabetes and insulin. To our surprise, just two weeks later moms’ doctor took her off insulin. She didn’t need it any more.
While I was pleased and excited at the good news, the scientist in me wondered why? How could some simple supplements have simulated such a radical change? I slowly began to uncover the why.
Now, while my story begins with mom, it by no means ends with mom. Her improvement was by accident. My future research had a more focused purpose. Mom knew a teller at her bank that had a terrible case of diabetes. Her name was Hope and her legs were dark purple from her toes to her knees. Her sister had diabetes too and she lost her leg because of it. So Hope too was on a bad path. In fact, Hope was so tired that when at work she would take a nap in her car at lunchtime. Her insulin use was 120 units a day.
Hope asked if she could try moms “potion” and because I concentrated it into just one supplement by then I gave her a few months’ worth to try. Now Hope didn’t see any improvement at first and certainly not as fast as mom, but after a couple months the color started to come back in her legs. And then she began to have more energy. And then she began to take short walks during her lunch. And then she reduced her insulin to 40 units a day. And then I had what I call The Revelation of Hope, and that is her actions revealed that a supplement can act as a catalyst for positive change.
I’d been researching and manufacturing dietary supplements for over 15 years, mostly for amateur, elite and pro athletes. I always tied the supplements to the athletes training plan to create what their coaches often call the optimal adaptive response. You see, sport workouts are designed to create a specific stress response from which the athletes cells then adapt to by becoming bigger, faster, stronger, or have greater endurance, depending on the type of exercise stress that’s used.
Now I learned a valuable lesson about supplements for those with chronic health conditions. The supplement can function as a catalyst for change. In Hopes case, when it started to work its metabolic magic in Hopes cells, it also improved her cellular energetics. Having more energy allowed Hope to take charge, to turn on what I call her metabolic warrior genes. When Hope exercised she found even more energy, and power in herself that she never knew existed. She then began to eat smarter. I refer to this as the metabolic mastery triad of correct supplements, exercise, and diet that synergistically reprogram both fat and muscle cells to handle blood sugar most efficiently.
My revelation of Hope occurred 12 years ago. I’ve seen many similar successes with lots of other type-2 diabetics since. Hope recently passed of old age, mom too at the age of 91. But my first encounters with using supplements to improve blood sugar by addressing the cause of the problem, while by accident, are now validated by recent scientific advances.
So now let’s fast forward to the present. The state of the scientific research into the development and the prevention of type-2 diabetes have grown exponentially since my early days looking for answers. The past five years have been extremely fruitful in developing a deeper understanding of how a person evolves from simple insulin resistance to the diagnoses of type-2 diabetes. The published research has really dialed into the cellular triggers that cause insulin resistance and ultimately type-2 diabetes. With over 60 million Americans now known to be insulin resistant and another 24 million with diabetes, and the fact that insulin resistance is just a symptom that can lead to a whole host of chronic health conditions, the answers have arrived none too soon. So let’s get to the meat, or more accurately the fat, of metabolic dysfunction which science is now showing triggers cellular overload and resistance to insulin.
It is well known that those with type-2 diabetes also have an increased risk of a great number of other chronic health conditions. These include heart disease and stroke, certain cancers, cognitive decline including Alzheimer’s, arthritis, bone loss, and obesity. A number of scientific papers have been published referring to a “common soil” of chronic health conditions. In other words, that most all of the top chronic health conditions (aka chronic diseases), spring from the same soil or genetic path.
And this genetic path has fat as its main trigger. While most type-2 diabetics are focused on blood sugar this is in reality a symptom of a greater cause. That cause is blown-up and dysfunctions white fat cells in the liver, deep in the belly, and finally in the muscles that are acting badly. This fat puts anyone over the age of 40 on the wrong path, oftentimes leading to chronic disease and early death.
It is overloaded fat cells that trigger what is now being called “metabolic inflexibility” and the true cause of insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. So to both prevent insulin resistance, and thus regain cellular energy and adaptability, as well as reverse the type-2 diabetic state, you must perform a deep dive of the science of fat overload.
It’s a natural progression from insulin resistance to full blown type-2 diabetes as the metabolism (the handling of sugars and fats) becomes more and more inflexible- incapable of adapting to the stresses placed on the cells thanks to an environment of excess energy, reduced exercise, and modern-day-stress. The modern environment we’ve built for ourselves is a mismatch with what our ancestors evolved in for over 200,000 years. Our genes are under assault!
Fat, or more accurately, excessive white fat, found in the liver and in the belly around the organs (visceral adipose tissue) is not just a storage site for energy like researchers once thought it was. It’s now recognized that fat cells are in fact an endocrine system, meaning they produce their own hormones and other proteins. When a fat cell becomes overblown with excess energy it swells in size and this creates stress, followed by an alarm signal. Protein based structures of our immune system such as macrophages that evolved to fight off bacterial infection rush to the fat cell as medical triage. As first responders often do, they pump out a whole bunch of inflammatory proteins called cytokines designed to protect the cell. Because during our evolution it was rare that man and woman ever became over-fat or obese long term, the macrophages are simply sensing some form of attack going on in the fat cells. They don’t know if it’s a bacterial or viral attack, a cell starved for oxygen (hypoxia), or a fat cell that is spinning off a bunch or toxic fat byproducts or free radicals (what science calls reactive oxygen or nitrogen species, ROS and RNS). All the macrophage knows is that the fat cells are under stress and it is not normal.
These inflammatory cytokines aren’t simply localized inside fat cells; they also become systemic and travel about the body- warning of danger ahead. Do you know what happens when an animal, including man and women, senses danger? In a modern-day environment we would simply pick up the phone and call the cops. But thousands of years ago, at least for the short term, we would either fight or run, and if the stress was prolonged we would cower. If the stress was chronic we would hunker down and get s quiet as possible- doing nothing. Today, when our various cells sense stress long-term, like excessive inflammatory cytokines from overblown fat cells, they too become metabolically inflexible. Like a stagnant pond. These cells do nothing- except get sicker and sicker.
So the majority of Americans over age 40 have the metabolism of a stagnant pond. Thanks to a less than ideal diet, a lack of exercise, and numerous life stresses we have switched off our fat burning genes and switched on our fat storing genes– long-term. And this leads to insulin resistance and chronic diseases including type-2 diabetes.
So, if you’re a type-2 diabetic, or just someone on the wrong path health wise, and your symptoms are as front-and-center as your big fat belly and your lack of energy, or buried inside like excessive triglycerides (blood fats), LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, aches and pains, or bone loss, there is a foolproof way toward becoming a path jumper. There is a way to get you finally onto the path of healthspan and lifespan. Nutrigenomcs and Exergenomics will show you the way. They will in fact make my initial cocktail look like child’s play. Thanks Hope.
The Dietary Supplement Catalyst
A dietary supplement if formulated correctly can function as a great catalyst for positive changes. It can help put you on the right path and begin to transform your inflexible metabolism into one a contortionist would envy. Nutrients contained in your cocktail should perform in synergy to switch on health span genes. They should be rich in a variety of polyphenols, non-nutritive compounds like those found in green tea, grape seeds, berries, pine bark, blueberries, and others. These turn on your stress response genes via a hormetic response. Polyphenols are generally poorly absorbed, so make sure the delivery system for the polyphenols is optimized too. I work with Bioperine® (Sabinsa), Phytosome® (Indena), Phytoform®(Glanbia), or other new delivery systems to make the polyphenols more bioavailable (absorbable). Also add some well absorbed (Vesisorb®) high quality fish oil rich in EPA and DHA Omega-3’s and perhaps some alpha-lipoic acid. If you are vegan then replace the fish oil with algal oil rich in DHA and/or SDA oil that convert to EPA.
To prescribe an exercise routine is a bit tricky because all of us enter a program at a different level of fitness and also a different level of desire to exercise. It is not uncommon for an individual who is over fat or who has type-2 diabetes or insulin resistance (often one and the same) to have no ambition to exercise. This is a metabolic phenomenon as much as it is will-power. Scientists often refer to this as brain sickness. It may be a survival mechanism (remember cowering when under chronic stress) so to recharge your motivation to exercise may require taking a nutritional catalyst, eating better, and taking some exercise baby steps like a simple walk or a light jog a few days a week to start. Eventually though, as you improve, you’re going to maximize your health by introducing some high intensity interval training (HIIT) a few times a week for a half hour session. This will maximize your fat burning process and make your cells more sensitive to insulin.
What you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat are all key toward getting on the health span path. Concentrate on reducing your calories by 10-20%. Eliminate most fats from your diet except for fats found in nuts and seeds, a little olive oil, and some omega-3 oils from plants (flax and chia) and fish (wild caught salmon). Avoid processed foods and sugars that will place more stress on your liver. Do not eat anything too close to your HIIT exercise and do not eat anything for at least one hour after exercise if you can avoid it. This will maximize your fat burning enzymes and ramp up your mitochondria (the fat burning furnaces in cells) in your muscles and liver.
You probably have more questions now than I have supplied answers to. That’s to be expected. This article is just a jumping off point. The recent science is extensive. The ways you can jump start your fat burning genes which will then improve your sensitivity to insulin, reduce inflammatory cytokines, increase anti-inflammatory cytokines, and drop your free radical load are predictable. You will improve and likely faster than you thought possible but it will take some work on your part. I also caution those of you that are taking diabetic medications of any kind to watch your blood sugar level. As your cells become metabolically flexible you may need to check with your healthcare provider about adjusting your medications. Always discuss any changes you make with your healthcare provider so to keep them in the loop.
Best of health, Rick
Just a few of the more enlightening published articles I like on this topic.
Aggarwal BB. Targeting inflammation-induced obesity and metabolic diseases by curcumin and other nutraceuticals. Annu Rev Nutr. 2010 Aug 21;30:173-99.
Alexandraki K, Piperi C, Kalofoutis C, Singh J, Alaveras A, Kalofoutis A. Inflammatory process in type 2 diabetes: The role of cytokines. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Nov; 1084:89-117.
Bays HE. “Sick fat,” metabolic disease, and atherosclerosis. Am J Med. 2009 Jan; 122(1 Suppl):S26-37.
Hammarstedt A, Jansson PA, Wesslau C, Yang X, Smith U. Reduced expression of PGC-1 and insulin-signaling molecules in adipose tissue is associated with insulin resistance. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Feb 7;301(2):578-82.
Hardie DG, Ross FA, Hawley SA. AMP-Activated Protein Kinase: A Target for Drugs both Ancient and Modern. Chem Biol. 2012 Oct 26;19(10):1222-36.
Lin J, Puigserver P, Donovan J, Tarr P, Spiegelman BM. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1beta (PGC-1beta ), a novel PGC-1-related transcription coactivator associated with host cell factor. J Biol Chem. 2002 Jan 18;277(3):1645-8.
Scrivo R, Vasile M, Bartosiewicz I, Valesini G. Inflammation as “common soil” of the multifactorial diseases. Autoimmun Rev. 2011 May; 10(7):369-74.
Wang X, Hai CX. ROS acts as a double-edged sword in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus: is Nrf2 a potential target for the treatment? Mini Rev Med Chem. 2011 Oct;11(12):1082-92.
Whitehead JP, Richards AA, Hickman IJ, Macdonald GA, Prins JB. Adiponectin–a key adipokine in the metabolic syndrome. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2006 May;8(3):264-80.