By Kate Horney
Today as we focus on continuing to fix your fat fighting hormones, we’re looking at INSULIN.
Insulin is an anabolic storage hormone that is produced by the pancreas and serves to regulate carbohydrate and fat storage in the body.
Here’s what the cycle looks like in your body:
- You eat! (yum!)
- Your food is broken down and absorbed into the blood stream
- Your pancreas secretes insulin in response to the amount of glucose in your blood (foods high in starch and sugar create the most glucose)
- As the insulin does its job, your blood sugar level falls.
- As your blood sugar falls your brain tells my body to eat more.
- And the cycle repeats…
Here’s the basics of how insulin normally functions in women:
BRAIN: In your brain, insulin turns off hunger.
FAT: In your fat cells, insulin increases the entry of fat and decreases the exit of fat.
MUSCLE: In your muscle, insulin increases fat, protein and glucose transport for fuel of your muscle cells.
LIVER: In the liver, insulin increases glycogen synthesis and turns off gluconeogenesis (fancy words for storing sugar and not using resources to make more if it).
When someone become resistant to insulin, their bodies do not react normally to this hormone.
Take a look at the what insulin resistant women experience:
BRAIN: Unquenchable hunger and thirst
FAT: Decreased fat uptake and increased fat release into the blood stream (aka high triglycerides)
MUSCLE: Muscle cell starvation due to decreased uptake of fat, sugar, amino acids and other nutrients into the muscle cell.
LIVER: Increased sugar breakdown and production (aka increased blood glucose levels)
If insulin signaling is disturbed and insulin is unable to do its job (aka your body is insulin resistant) the result is large amounts of blood sugar that cannot be used.
What happens when your body has blood sugar that can’t be used?
Your body does not like when there is too much glucose in the blood, so when your blood sugar is elevated, insulin is secreted to get the nutrients into the cell to be burned or to store any excess for use at another time.
Your muscles and liver can only store a small amount, so guess what the rest gets store as… FAT!
This response was great during times of feast/famine, but the life of today’s busy mom, this is where we see the fat storing action of insulin have a negative effect. So as you can see, insulin sensitivity is a desirable state because it prevents your body from storing excess fat.
Insulin resistance–whether diagnosed or not–is one of the MAIN reasons women have trouble losing weight.
If you are having trouble losing weight and suspect you have some form of insulin imbalance, click the links to read more….
If you’re a new mom, you can read about insulin during pregnancy and the postpartum period here.
When insulin levels are high, extra calories are stored as fat. In addition, insulin inhibits the release of glucagon, thus stopping the use of fat as an energy source.
The best way to improve insulin sensitivity is through leisurely walks, high intensity strength training and the manipulation of carbohydrates in your diet. For more help on improving your insulin sensitivity and fixing your fat fighting hormones, join us over at BeyondFit Life!
Check back everyday this week for the next post in this series!