Insulin is everybody’s potential nemesis. It’s impossible to hold on to your youth if excesses of insulin are raging through your bloodstream. Luckily, however, you can keep a lid on insulin, for its misbehavior is largely another sign of needless aging. If you don’t normalize insulin, you can face diabetes, artery clogging, severe heart disease and premature death.
Some time after age thirty-five, especially if you typically gain weight as you get older, insulin levels in your blood are likely to rise, along with blood sugar (glucose) levels. And that’s bad news. Insulin is the hormone that gets out of whack, triggering diabetes. But a string of incredible new evidence also identifies insulin as a central, underlying cause of a whole constellation of conditions that strike with aging. An oversupply of insulin has been indicted as a conspirator in high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high triglycerides (another dangerous blood fat) and low good-type HDL cholesterol. Some experts frankly blame excesses of insulin–or “hyperinsulinemia” — for much of our epidemic of heart disease. Daniel W. Foster, M.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, has branded a malfunction of insulin “a secret killer.”
Leading gerontologist and diabetes expert Gerald Reaven, M.D., at Stanford University, agrees, saying that millions of Americans, who have no warning signs, are insulin’s unwitting victims-to-be, exceedingly vulnerable to heart disease and diabetes. Dr. Reaven documented that about 25 percent of all seemingly normal, healthy nondiabetic older Americans have so-called insulin resistance. That means cells won’t let insulin do its job of ushering sugar (glucose) into cells so it can be converted to energy. Consequently, blood levels of both sugar and insulin may soar and the pancreas may even frantically churn out more insulin to try to keep blood sugar normal. But insulin resistance doesn’t happen just because you’re aging, declares Dr. Reaven. You don’t have to get it, and if you do have it, you can correct it before it does irreversible damage