In the last article I addressed how Leptin resistance can lead to obesity and many other diseases called “metabolic syndrome”. Today, I would like to point out that Insulin and Leptin resistance is closely linked and both play a role in development of not only obesity but also diabetes.
Insulin resistance and obesity
For any of you who don’t know what Insulin is, here is a little break-down of all you need to know:
- Is synthesized and released in the Pancreas
- It is necessary to transport Glucose (sugar) into our body’s cells
- It is released when blood Glucose levels increase
- It binds to specific Insulin receptors. Their activation leads to an increase in Glucose transporters in our cells membranes.
- Those receptors are to be found in our entire body. Thus, Insulin affects all processes in our body.
- The body can adapt to Insulin levels which leads to resistance (read more below).
- The main diseases linked to Insulin are Diabetes Type 1 and 2 (more on the differences in future posts)
Let’s examine how Insulin resistance affects the body.
Insulin affects the brain
Studies have shown that elevations in Insulin lead to increased hunger, heighten the perception of sweet taste and increased food intake in general.
In fact, when researchers “knocked out” Insulin receptors in the brains of genetically altered mice, they discovered that the animals ate more, put on fat, had fertility problems, and developed Insulin resistance throughout the body. Similar to Leptin, Insulin levels rise as levels of body fat rise.
Most obese people have chronically high Insulin levels and often become resistant to the hormone and develop diabetes. It was thought that Insulin resistance only takes place in tissue such as muscle and fat, though. Thus, researchers assumed that the brain is not sensitive to Insulin.
However, the study I mentioned above shows that there are Insulin receptors in the brain helping to control food intake and body weight, similar to Leptin.
Similar to Leptin resistance, very high levels of Insulin, as the result of a diet high in sugar, seem to alter the Insulin receptors and decrease the effects of Insulin in the body. This inevitably leads to the development of Type 2 Diabetes. Your body produces a lot of Insulin but it has no effect. There are many more factors contributing to Diabetes Type 2, for example, the glucose receptors can be ineffective as well.
However, the main point I would like to make here is that your diet plays a major role in the development of Diabetes and obesity.
In conclusion, we can assume that Insulin and Leptin resistance contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome, such as diabetes and obesity. In addition to that, most of the mice also showed fertility problems and other hormonal dysfunctions, such as low thyroid hormones.
I would like to repost the picture from the last article, as it explains Leptin and Insulin resistance perfectly:
To sum it up:
Genetic predispositions and mutations aside, diet plays a major role in the development if Insulin and Leptin resistance. A diet consisting of high amounts of sugar and saturated fats has been scientifically proven to increase the risk of this. Sugars and saturated fats alter the receptors for Insulin and Leptin, making the hormones ineffective. In addition to that, high levels of Insulin and Leptin in the blood decrease sensitivity of our brain to these hormones. As a result, Leptin cannot tell our brain we have enough body fat and Insulin fails to signal our brain that we have eaten enough (carbohydrates). Thus, we get hungry and eat more and gain weight. The imbalance of these hormones also leads to the development of many other diseases, especially hormonal dysfunctions and thyroid dysfunction.
If diet plays a major role in the development of Insulin and Leptin resistance, there should be a way to reset this process and heal the body naturally, right?
Stay tuned for the last part of this series, which includes tips on how to balance your Insulin and Leptin levels and speed up the fat burning process!
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