Today on The Empowering Neurologist, I spend some time with my long-time friend and colleague, Dr. Leo Galland. Dr. Galland is one of the true pioneers in functional medicine, who has dedicated his professional life to practicing medicine in a way that utilizes the latest scientific advances coupled with the most profound insights of ancient healing systems. Thus, he is able to give his patients the best tools to preserve health, increase longevity and speed recovery from illness.
If you’ve been following the microbiome story you are likely aware of the emerging literature that squarely places gut bacteria in a pivotal position as it relates to any number of physiological processes. From regulating the balance of the immune system to determining the level of inflammation that a person may experience, it is now becoming mainstream knowledge that our gut bacteria are poised to regulate our most critical, life-supportive processes.
In Brain Maker, and certainly on this blog, I have written extensively on the important role of the microbiome in terms of regulating blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. As such, we would expect that environmental events that disrupt the gut ecology might have a causative role, or at least show correlation with type 2 diabetes.
Recall that several months ago I called attention to the interesting study from Israeli researchers in which changes to the gut bacteria brought on by exposure to artificial sweeteners were dramatically associated with increased risk for issues related to glucose regulation, insulin sensitivity, and, therefore, type II diabetes.
PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is becoming increasingly common. The syndrome is characterized by a multitude of factures, including irregular or total loss of menstrual periods, heavy periods, acne, increased facial hair, ovarian cysts and metabolic issues related to insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation. It is the most common endocrine disorder of women in America, and affects an incredible 5% to 10% of women between ages 18-44.
Interestingly, as we move forward in our understanding of PCOS, it appears that, despite the name, ovarian cysts are certainly not required to make the diagnosis. That is to say that the cysts are a consequence of the underlying disease process, not the fundamental player.
What PCOS represents is primarily a metabolic disorder closely akin to type 2 diabetes in which the body becomes resistant to the effects of the hormone insulin.
Go to the mall. See a movie. Look around next time you’re in an airport. What you’ll see is the confirmation of all the statistics that we’re hearing so much about these days related to the ever-increasing prevalence of obesity. It’s everywhere and it’s affecting most of us.
Books, online information, infomercials, daytime T.V., and even nightly news programs are constantly hammering us with the scary news that relates increasing abdominal girth to just about every bad medical condition you don’t want to get. At the same time, these same resources offer up some new trendy solution to the obesity epidemic daily, often in the form of some new and exotic dietary supplement.
Truth is, losing weight doesn’t happen when you give in and buy the latest pill. Weight loss happens when the body shifts from storing fat to burning fat. It is that simple, and far and away how we signal our metabolism to make this fundamental shift depends on what we choose to eat. Continue reading
It seems self evident that consumption of sugar sweetened beverages would be associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D). And in fact, this has been demonstrated in multiple studies. This is understandable when you consider what a powerful slug of fructose is delivered by each can or bottle of this stuff.
So it is that the term, “sugar free” is being exploited to death by soft drink manufacturers because of the mistaken public perception that choosing artificially sweetened drinks would be a healthier choice. It is a mistaken perception as now we’re seeing studies that have demonstrated that the risk for T2D is also dramatically increased in individuals who choose not to drink sugar sweetened beverages, but opt for those that contain artificial sweeteners.
In a recent report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, French researchers evaluated more than 66,000 women over a 14 year period and found that those who favored sugar sweetened beverages did in fact have an increased risk of T2D, by about 34%. Incredibly, those choosing artificially sweetened drinks had a risk increase for T2D that was more than twice what that amount.
A lot depends on how our cells respond to the chemical insulin. Insulin is a hormone, created in the pancreas, that functions by enhancing the way cells take in glucose. Higher levels of dietary carbohydrates and sugars cause the pancreas to increase its output of insulin in response. Unfortunately, as insulin levels climb, the receptors for insulin on the cells that basically answer the door to allow glucose to come in, become less likely to do so. That is to say, higher levels of glucose and carbohydrate consumption, leading to increased insulin secretion from the pancreas, ultimately set the stage for cells to become less sensitive to insulin and therefore less able to help with the task of lowering sugar. Ultimately this leads to elevation of the blood sugar which we call diabetes. Continue reading
I love to hear from fellow medical professionals like Christine, who have shifted their way of thinking based on their personal experience with a changed diet/lifestyle. – Dr. Perlmutter
I have battled my weight all my life. In my early 20’s, an allergist warned me that I was sensitive to many grains and that I should eat them sparingly. I ignored it. At 49 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
I continued eating my usual diet and my blood sugars continued to rise, as did my insulin doses. When I was told I needed four injections a day as well as oral medications, I had just about had it. I was overweight significantly, felt terrible and awoke every morning with nausea and aching bones and joints. On the advice of a friend, I decided to give up carbohydrates.