Diabetes Symptoms

November 21, 2010
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Sugar Metabolism Causes Chronic Fatigue

The focus of this article is to discuss the little known or understood phenomenon of how the immune system interferes with sugar metabolism and insulin usage. This makes diabetes control difficult and fuels diabetes complications. The information in this article can help you to begin to improve your insulin resistance, sugar metabolism, delay the progressive degenerative conditions associated with diabetes, and prevent the development of adult onset diabetes in pre-diabetics.

Long before anyone develops “adult onset”, “obesity-induced”, Type 2 diabetes their cells begin to develop resistance to insulin. How does this happen? Before one’s cells become fixed in insulin resistance, the immune system can develop a sensitivity to sugars and the metabolic byproducts of sugar digestion and metabolism. When this occurs, you have developed an immune based interference with the digestion and absorption of sugars. When you eat complex or refined carbohydrates, you are less able to break them down into simple sugars. These larger “undigested” molecules cannot fit into the cell receptor sites and can become recognized as “foreign particles” that the immune system then assists in removing from one’s blood and lymphatic system. The more the immune system “recognizes” these undigested particles (and therefore “larger molecules”), the more inflammation and immune system interference you develop towards your sugar metabolism.

How does insulin resistance develop when we are not breaking down and digesting our carbohydrates into simple sugars? Our cells need simple sugars as fuel. They begin to send signals out to the body to increase insulin because they are hungry. However, all the insulin in the world does not help this poor cell to get the simple sugars it needs because your body is not breaking down its carbohydrates into simple sugars. The result is that the extra insulin your body made to stimulate your cells to take in more simple sugars is ignored by the cell because there are no simple sugars to take in. Over time the cell receptor sites ignore the insulin signal in increasing degrees. Think of insulin like yelling “fire” in a crowed room. At first everyone acts upon the alarm call. However, repeatedly yelling “fire” will soon have everyone in the room ignoring your call. This is what happens when insulin secretion is excessive. And you now see the problem wasn’t insufficient insulin to begin with (in cases of adult onset or obesity induced insulin resistance, syndrome X or metabolic disease) but rather insufficient available simple sugars (because the body was unable to break down its carbohydrates into simple sugars).

Complex and refined carbohydrates have to be broken down by enzymes with a specific affinity for the sugar that needs to be broken down. For example, lactase is the enzyme needed to digest cow dairy sugar called lactose, and maltase is the enzyme needed to digest malt, the sugar in gluten products. The synthesis of digestive enzymes is one of the most energy draining and complex processes the body has to undergo. With age, with low intestinal probiotics, with increased immune inflammation, the body becomes less and less efficient at making digestive enzymes.

It is a well known anti-aging secret that taking a broad spectrum digestive enzyme as soon as you start to eat your meal improves your body’s ability to “break down” complex and refined carbohydrates into simple sugars our cells can absorb, oils into simple fatty acids, and proteins into simple amino acids. Taking digestive enzymes will not prevent or inhibit our body from making its own digestive enzymes.  Taking too large a dose of digestive enzymes only breaks down one’s food faster and can cause hunger and more frequent bowel movements as food moves through your digestive tract faster. Simply take one pill instead of two prior to meals if you feel that you are getting hungry too soon after eating.

The first goal to improve one’s diabetes is to gain better control over one’s sugar metabolism. Adding a digestive enzyme is a first step. Eliminating refined carbohydrates should be the second step. If you are unable to eliminate refined carbohydrates (all processed carbohydrates such as bread, cereals, crackers, pasta) and eat only rice, potato, and starchy vegetables such as beans and legumes in their place, then you must cut down the volume of refined carbohydrates you eat and never eat them without the presence of protein. Protein helps to prevent the quick conversion of a refined carbohydrate into sugar, which leads to a spike in your insulin.

Even if you take insulin, it is well known that over time the body becomes resistant to it (insulin resistance increases over time even with medication) and therefore one should never have the attitude that “all I need to do is take my insulin and everything will be ok”. This is not true. With medication you will not go into a diabetic coma, but the inflammatory processes that result from undigested sugars circulating in your body will continue to erode your eyesight, affect peripheral capillaries and circulation, all common and known degenerative changes associated with diabetes.

Therefore, even if you take insulin or oral medications to help control your blood sugar there is plenty that you can do to improve your own carbohydrate digestion and cellular absorption of sugars by watching the type of carbohydrates you eat, limiting portion sizes of those carbohydrates, eating protein with carbohydrates and taking a broad spectrum digestive enzyme with your meals. This is the beginning of making living with diabetes a better lifestyle choice and it will improve your blood sugar and insulin resistance. It will also make your medications more effective and stall the need for your doctors to increase your dosages over time.

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Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

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Anna Manayan

Anna Manayan