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Biomarkers 101: #1 - Insulin

[Biomarkers 101] - Interpreting lab markers Insulin, a hormone released by your pancreas in response to high blood sugar. It is a necessary hormone to maintain blood sugar for cell energy. However, there are a few issues with high insulin levels: 1. Insulin is anabolic, and cause cells to grow uncontrollably, especially cancer cells. This is why we see a higher cancer rate is diabetes and obesity [PMID: 22051112] 2. Insulin is a earlier and more sensitivity marker of diabetes. Many doctors look at fasting blood sugar or A1C%. But by the time these markers are up, you’re already knee deep in reaching diabetes. Fasting insulin catches insulin resistance and pre-diabetes MUCH earlier [PMID: 21537426] 3. Insulin is pro-inflammatory. It upregulates production of inflammatory chemicals like cytokines & interleukins. [PMID: 18695473] 4. Insulin resistance promotes weight gain. Higher levels of insulin suggest your body can’t use fuel (mostly carbs) as energy well leading to fat gain. What to do: 1. Ask your doctor to measure fasting insulin. 2. Aim for a fasting insulin of if less than 8, ideally in the 1-5 range. 3. Check your blood glucose with a fingerstick glucose meter several times a day or a continuous meter(CGM). 4. Keep your carb intake low if you’re not active. You have to earn your carbs.

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©2020 by Dr. Ralph Esposito