How to improve INSULIN Sensitivity!

Insulin, Gut Health, Cortisol & Thyroid Health

This is my job lately…investigate what is actually going on under the hood to help clients burn fat, improve health and achieve performance gains but collecting data and clues to put the missing pieces of the puzzle together!
So interesting.
Today I discovered this Interesting correlation on insulin, glucose, adrenals and thyroid.
EFFECTS OF HYPOTHYROIDISM ON BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Hypothyroidism typically doesn’t directly impact blood sugar control, but can reduce the clearance of insulin from the blood. This has been linked to decreased insulin sensitivity. Recent research has found that low-thyroid function was a risk factor for the development of diabetes, particularly for people with prediabetes.
My Summary:
  1. Thyroid hormones – T4 and T3 are produced from iodine in the food we eat
  2. The thyroid hormone regulates: heart rate, breathing, body weight, body temperature, and muscle strength.
  3. Hypothalamus -signals the pituitary gland via hormone thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) – releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to the thyroid gland
    1. Once TSH message is received – thyroid creates & releases T3 and T4.
    2. The pituitary gland monitors the thyroid hormones in the blood & regulates amount of TSH for balancing hormones
  4. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include cold intolerance, weight gain, fatigue, constipation, decreased heart rate, and fatigue.
  5. Insulin, made in the pancreas, responsible for regulating the amount of sugar in the blood.
  6. Insulin is often referred to as the “key” which unlocks a cell to enable sugar to enter to be used for energy -excess amounts of sugar in the blood can cause cell damage throughout the body.
  7. Thyroid plays a role in glucose metabolism (converting sugar to energy)
  8. Thyroid hormones and insulin sensitivity.
  9. Hormones tend to have a cascading effect on one another
  10. Cortisol is up – glucose is up – insulin is up- thyroid is down
Another article on -The Blood Sugar-Thyroid Cycle
  • A high carb diet causes glucose levels to fluctuate [2]
  • Glucose fluctuations increase cortisol (stress hormone) [3]
  • Too much cortisol causes hypothyroidism [4]
  • Hypothyroidism causes insulin resistance [5]
  • Insulin resistance causes high blood glucose [6]
  • High blood glucose causes more insulin release
  • More insulin causes glucose levels to crash (initiating cravings)
  • The cycle continues
These hormone patterns become a vicious circle that is self-reinforcing, creating what is called a positive feedback loop. As medical research clearly shows, hypothyroidism and diabetes are closely linked together. Knowing that hypothyroidism and diabetes are connected, addressing either of these conditions should be done in a holistic fashion that balances both systems – glucose and thyroid regulation at the same time.
Your body has a symphony of hormones that work together to keep you sane and functioning at your best.
This post will focus on how the thyroid and insulin levels work together to keep the melody of your hormones rockin’.
A tiny butter-fly shaped gland in your neck has a major impact on your weight, how you feel, and how well your body’s insulin works.
This gland is called the thyroid. Working as part of the endocrine (or hormone) system, the thyroid produces two very important hormones. These are known as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), produced from iodine found in the food we eat.
Together these hormones are so important because they regulate every cell in the body. All cells are dependent upon thyroid hormones for controlling their metabolism, the way your body uses energy. 
Your thyroid hormones also regulate numerous vital body functions including: heart rate, breathing, body weight, body temperature, and muscle strength.
How the Thyroid Works
The first step in thyroid function involves a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus sends a signal to the pituitary gland through a hormone called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). This releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to the thyroid gland (this is the hormone usually tested by your doc). Once TSH is received, the thyroid then creates and releases the two thyroid hormones T3 and T4. The pituitary gland is responsible for monitoring the thyroid hormones in the blood. It  also regulating the amount of TSH that is released to keep these hormones balanced.
Thyroid Disorders
Thyroid disorders are the second most common condition affecting the endocrine system, but often go undiagnosed.
There are two main conditions that can impact the thyroid:
Hypothyroidism is the result of an underactive thyroid gland and is the most common disorder of the thyroid. This disorder appears to effect more women than men, with the onset typically occurring later in life.
Hashimoto thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition, is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include cold intolerance, weight gain, fatigue, constipation, decreased heart rate, and fatigue.
Hyperthyroidism, or having an overactive thyroid is less common than hypothyroidism.
The disorder is nine times more common in women. The most common cause in people under the age of forty is an autoimmune condition known as Graves disease.
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism are characterized by weight loss, heat intolerance, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, and increase heart rate.
What Is Insulin?
  • Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas responsible for regulating the amount of sugar in the blood.
  • Insulin is often referred to as the “key” which unlocks a cell to enable sugar to enter to be used for energy.
  • It is important because excess amounts of sugar in the blood can cause cell damage throughout the body.
What is the relationship between thyroid hormones and insulin?
  • Because thyroid hormones play an important role in glucose metabolism (converting sugar to energy), there is a strong relationship between thyroid hormones and insulin sensitivity.
  • Hormones tend to have a cascading effect on one another, and your thyroid hormones are no different.
Your blood sugar impacts your stress hormones, specifically cortisol, and those stress hormones impact your thyroid function.
When eating more carbohydrates than your body actually needs, your blood sugar will increase.
This in turn increases the amount of insulin your body produces.
Eventually your body experiences “the crash,” low blood sugar with decreased energy and a craving for sweets or caffeine.
When you’re experiencing low blood sugar, your cortisol level (stress hormone) also increases, which can impact your thyroid hormones.
Too much cortisol suppresses the effect of TSH.
This means the thyroid does not receive the signal to produce enough thyroid hormones. While not enough cortisol can decrease the amount of T3 your body produces.
Insulin resistance, the body’s inability to respond to insulin, leads to an increase in insulin production that continues to fail to meet the body’s needs. The result is an increase in blood sugar which can lead to prediabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes. According to research, insulin resistance has been shown to cause significant changes in the thyroid gland. One study showed that both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can affect blood sugar levels and eventually lead to insulin resistance.
Effects of Hyperthyroidism on Blood Sugar Levels
An excess of thyroid hormones can cause an increase in the glucose production in the liver and increased insulin resistance. If a person is experiencing unexplained weight loss and poor blood sugar control, this could be a sign of hyperthyroidism.
Effects of Hypothyroidism on Blood Sugar Levels
Hypothyroidism typically doesn’t directly impact blood sugar control, but can reduce the clearance of insulin from the blood.
This has been linked to decreased insulin sensitivity.
Recent research has found that low-thyroid function was a risk factor for the development of diabetes, particularly for people with prediabetes.
What You Can Do
While we have little control over certain autoimmune diseases that may affect the health of thyroid function, we do have control over what we put in our bodies.
Here are a few things you can do to support the health of your thyroid:
Minimize intake of processed foods and excess sugar.
Considering that high sugar and highly processed carbohydrates increase our need for insulin while increasing our blood sugar, choosing whole or real foods (with no or very small ingredient list) is recommended.
Choose foods that are lower on the glycemic index.
Lower glycemic index foods are slowly digested and absorbed causing a smaller rise in blood sugar levels.
Eat the right types of fat.
High quality fats from olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, and salmon help our bodies absorb vitamins and help to make hormones.
Make time for regular exercise.
Exercise can keep blood sugar levels steady while increasing insulin sensitivity.  Not to mention all the stress reducing benefits.
Get plenty of rest.
Sleep is a critical component of our lives and can help to maintain hormonal balances in the body particularly keep the stress hormone cortisol at bay.
Have your thyroid hormones tested.
The most common test is called the TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), but usually further testing of free T4, free T3, total T4, thyroperoxidase (TPO) antibodies, and thyroglobulin (TG) antibodies is necessary to get a full thyroid picture.
Like all body systems, the endocrine system craves balance. Thyroid hormone balance goes hand in hand with insulin and blood sugar control. There is a tight range of thyroid hormone which maintains blood sugar and insulin at healthy levels, but just a little too much, or not enough can cause problems with insulin levels blood sugar control.

What is the best way to improve insulin sensitivty?

Low Carb Meal plan to lower glucose and lower insulin.

Fasting to improve insulin sensitivity.

and

EXERCISE… but which type of exercise is best for improving insulin sensitivity?  Strength Training or Aerobic Exercise?

STRENGTH TRAINING

https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/fulltext/2011/10000/exercise_programming_for_insulin_resistance.5.asp

INSULIN RESISTANCE (IR) POSES MANY CHALLENGES TO EXERCISE PROGRAMMING. EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS NEED TO BE KNOWLEDGEABLE OF THE COMPLICATIONS THAT IR PRESENTS AND STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE EXERCISE PROGRAMMING. INSULIN RESISTANCE IS OFTEN ACCOMPANIED BY MANY COMORBIDITIES, WHICH MUST BE ADDRESSED. THIS COLUMN DISCUSSES APPROPRIATE EXERCISE INTERVENTIONS AND PRECAUTIONS FOR PERSONS WITH IR.

Insulin resistance (IR) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) are growing concerns worldwide (10). Exercise has been shown to reverse IR and prevent progression to T2D (3). The accompanying Special Populations column addresses the etiology of IR and mechanisms by which exercise positively modifies IR. This column will address exercise programming for persons with IR.Exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake (3,6,7). Furthermore, exercise training, especially resistance training (RT), can increase muscle mass (further increasing glucose uptake). Insulin resistance is often associated with additional metabolic abnormalities (11). 

Resistance training can result in dramatic improvements in both insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake (3). In fact, RT may be equally as effective as AT with regards to glycemic control (12). Ideally, RT should be performed 3 times per week (3). 

Resistance training should focus on all the major muscle groups with an emphasis placed on multijoint exercises to improve insulin sensitivity of all major muscle groups. Because skeletal muscle accounts for 75–95% glucose uptake (4), increasing muscle mass can dramatically help maintain normal blood glucose (BG) levels. Initially, persons with IR should perform 1 set of 10–15 repetitions at approximately 40–60% of their 1 repetition maximum (1RM) (1). 

Which type of strength training program is ideal to improve IR?

 

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