This is as close to “biohacking” as I’m ever going to get in a blog.
Managing your insulin means living an insulin controlled LIFESTYLE (credit to my bros Jay Campbell and Jim Brown for the term), it’s not a quick fix.
To preface, consider this all for entertainment purposes. Im, not a doctor, I’m not trying to diagnose anyone.
For much more on living an insulin controlled lifestyle, Jay and Jim’s upcoming book The TRT MANual Advanced Strategies Edition will be coming out later this summer and if offers an entire Chapter titled “Living an Insulin Controlled Lifestyle”.
Your health, quality of life, digestion, all it ties in with this hormone, and controlling insulin can make a DRAMATIC difference in your health across the board.
INSULIN, What does it Do?
To begin, Insulin is a hormone, and it is produced and secreted by the pancreas.
The primary function of insulin is that it acts a regulator hormone to nutrients in the blood stream, with the main nutrient it manages being sugar (or glucose to be technical).
It also affects protein and fat metabolism, but we will get to those later. Let’s keep it simple for now.
So, to understand insulin, lets lay out a scenario.
You eat a carbohydrate-heavy meal, let’s say you drink that godawful Unicron drink from Starbucks. This has an absurd amount of sugar in it.
You drink it, your body absorbs this sugar, it becomes glucose. It’s floating around your blood.
Elevated blood sugar can be TOXIC. Not bullshit Los Angeles hippy chakra chick toxic, but legitimately toxic, as in it can KILL YOU and send you into a hyperglycemic coma. Too much sugar in the blood is a bad thing.
So, your body, after you’ve basically mainlined corn syrup into your blood from that fucking drink, it releases insulin.
Insulin is now in your blood, it gets recirculated all over the body. Your body has insulin dependent tissues (meaning that respond to insulin), and they are IDEALLY sensitive to the insulin (meaning they respond immediately). This is referred to as Insulin Sensitivity. They are being signaled to absorb the glucose.
The tissues that absorb the glucose are
- Muscle – Muscles uses the VAST majority of glucose. This one of the many 1000000 reasons I am constantly telling you all to BUILD MUSCLE. Muscle uses glucose, and increased muscle can essentially “fix” many aspects of metabolic syndrome. And you can eat more.
- Your BRAIN – The brain runs on glucose. A LOT of glucose actually, your brain is about 25% of your basal metabolic rate, and if you are mentally active and engaged most of the day, the brain needs even more glucose
- Your Liver – Your liver stores glucose in the form of glycogen. This is essentially an emergency energy reserve of sorts when calories are running low. The liver can store around 400-600 grams of glycogen, about one days worth of calorie
- Adipose tissue – Now, believe it or not, but blood sugar does NOT actually get stored much at all as fat. What increased blood sugar DOES DO is “push” fat in the bloodstream into fat cells.
So when you hear people say “carbs make you fat!”, they are wrong. It is not the carbs precisely, it is the fat storing EFFECT the carbs are creating.
High carb intake makes your body store most of the fat you EAT.
Carbs really do NOT “turn into fat” readily. They can, but the biochemical conversion process is very inefficient.
Carbs do not get stored as fat, they rather signal your body to store the fat you eat.
Thats a very very common misconception and one of the reasons I will tear apart anyone who brings up Gary Taubes as being an authority on nutrition.
The man’s knowledge of physiology is dog shit.
SO, Insulin, your body releases it to get blood sugar out the blood and into the tissues. Sounds great right? Sure, BUT people fuck it up.
See, Insulin is also very Inflammatory.
Maybe you’ve heard the term “systemic inflammation”? Insulin contributes to that.
When insulin release gets too high, which is what happens for many people who eat high processed and junkie diets, you can get the following effects (these are just the main ones)
- High blood pressure
- Pre-diabetic or diabetes type 2
- Increased fluid retention, bloating and swelling
- Intense hunger and carb cravings
- Acne, which is partly why SUGAR is often blamed for bad skin
- PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Abdominal obesity
- Further side effects like skin tags, hair loss, vision problems, and skin conditions like Acanthosis nigricans.
Ideally then, you want to CONTROL your insulin release. You want your body to be “insulin efficient” in a way, with tissues that are insulin-sensitive, and eating a diet that does not cause massive insulin spikes.
In an OPTIMIZED lifestyle you eat healthily, you consume preferably LOW Glycemic index carbs (meaning carbs that do NOT cause massive insulin releases), you eat a lot of protein (protein is thermogenic and I’ve discussed why protein is essential for health many times over), and you eat healthy fat.
All of this means your body is
- Able to digest food well
- Low levels of inflammation because you digest food well
- Tissues are insulin-sensitive, meaning they absorb glucose readily
- Being are a lean and muscular person. Muscle is the Holy Grail for health
What happens if you are NONE of the above? Well, you are the average American then. You are Insulin RESISTANT.
When you eat a highly processed and carb laden diet, and overeat, and don’t exercise, your body’s insulin sensitivity DECLINES. To compensate, your body then releases MORE insulin than usual to try to get your cells to handle the blood sugar.
Insulin is highly INFLAMMATORY.
It’s literally irritating to your circulatory system and tissues to have too much of it in the blood. You could actually KILL a person by administering a massive insulin shot.
So your SYSTEMIC inflammation goes WAY UP when you eat a shitty diet.
On top of this, the lack of physical exercises further exacerbates the inflammation situation, and worsens your insulin sensitivity
Additionally, a hyper insulin state also negatively affects DIGESTION, because insulin is strongly linked to hunger hormones, adipose tissue (your fat cells), liver function, and even your brain
So the result is you are now an overweight, inflamed, water retaining, bloated, sick, tired, lethargic, constant stomach upset, fucking mess of a human being.
This is the biological reality.
When you see people and them don’t “look healthy” to you, that is your inherent biological intuition that has evolved for millions of years that identify sick members of the species.
Fat is ALWAYS FATAL. Imprint that into your brain 100 times. It’s never healthy, period.
If you want to optimize your health then, you need to fix your insulin sensitivity.
And being overweight/fat. And having no muscle. And eating like a 5-year-old with no supervision.
HOW DO I DO THAT?
1. Lift weights, for volume (meaning start bodybuilding). This will almost immediately begin improving insulin sensitivity. I can help you out with the lifting part
2. Eat low glycemic index carbs, and TIME your carb intake–this means veggies, possibly some whole grains, and eat carbs only around training, or minimally on the days you don’t train. This is a meat and veggies diet essentially. And remember as Jim Brown says, “meat and veggies will make your dreams come true.”
3. Manage SLEEP. Sleep affects EVERY hormone in your body, including insulin and glucose metabolism
4. CARDIO-Start with aerobic cardio if you are de-conditioned. If you are more fit, use interval cardio 2-4 times weekly. The effects of proper cardio are powerful.
5. Use Metformin-Alright, this will take a doctors conversation on your part. Metformin is a diabetes drug that basically improves insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. It has immense anti-aging and life extension properties and IF you can get your doctor to prescribe it, it can be used to augment your health.
Repeat for the rest of your life.
Need help with any of the above? Contact me. If I cannot help you, guaranteed I know I someone who can