Fibromyalgia and Insulin Resistance
Do you have symptoms that relate to an insulin imbalance? If you have fibromyalgia, look and see if you also have hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, or diabetes symptoms. These types of blood sugar imbalances can cause fibromyalgia pain to get worse. Blood sugar imbalances cause insulin absorption problems that can affect your health especially if you have fibromyalgia.
Insulin has many roles in the body. It maintains sugar levels in our cells where we create energy. If we cannot get sugar into the cells we become tired more easily. Overtime this can lead to hypersensitivity to pain that is associated with fibromyalgia.
Insulin is a storage hormone. Insulin builds muscle and stores amino acids from protein. Insulin also stores magnesium for future energy production. Insulin also takes excess glucose from carbohydrates and stores them as fat. Many people with insulin imbalances have excess weight, especially in the upper abdomen area. Insulin also controls salt and water retention in the body, and may contribute to rising blood pressures and imbalances in the cholesterol profile. Excess insulin will cause adrenalin to be secreted even when you are not stressed.
Reactive hypoglycemia, the first stage of blood sugar imbalance, occurs two to three hours after eating a high carbohydrate breakfast or lunch. Symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia are shakiness or tingling, pounding heartbeats, perspiring, and concentration problems. These symptoms occur because excess insulin causes adrenalin to be released.
We crave carbohydrates because we need energy. Yet when we eat carbohydrates, we stimulate insulin production. Insulin is supposed to move blood sugar into our cells, where it is burned as fuel. When there is an excess of insulin as well as an excess of carbohydrates, the excess carbohydrates are stored as fat in fat cells. The excess insulin also prevents the carbohydrates from being used for energy. You not only gain weight, but you are also prevented from losing these excess fat deposits because of the excess carbohydrates.
If it progresses toward insulin resistance you will have symptoms of excess body fat, high blood pressure, high triglycerides/cholesterol, fluid retention, dry skin, decreased memory chronic fatigue, irritability, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. These symptoms are very similar to associated conditions of fibromyalgia.
Insulin balances affect other areas of our metabolism. It slows our thyroid hormone conversion from T4 to T3. It affects the calcium absorption rate into our bones, and it affects how our muscles store sugar to burn for energy. When we burn sugar stored in our muscles, before burning fat, we get more muscle weakness and fatigue. This is why it takes a long time to recover after exercise or exertion.
Then cholesterol and triglyceride levels become more out of balance. You can measure the level of insulin resistance by looking at the ratio of Triglycerides / HDL. If the ratio is greater than 4.0 then you probably have an insulin imbalance.
How Do We Balance Insulin Levels? All carbohydrate foods stimulate the secretion of insulin. Use a Glycemic Index / Glycemic Load Chart found at naturalchoicesforyou.com to alter your diet to include more foods that take longer to digest, thus maintaining sugar and insulin balances better.
Use good fats, from fish oils, flax oils, and or olive oil to lower the glycemic level of any carbohydrates you do eat. If you eat breads or rolls, it would be beneficial on your blood sugar to put butter or olive oil on it, than to eat it plain. Incorporating essential fatty acids (the good fats) into your diet will help provide the fuel for building new muscles and will stimulate energy production.
Remember, insulin triggers an adrenalin response. So taking in anything that further stimulates adrenalin like coffee, tea and colas will make insulin resistance worse. Gradually reduce the level of caffeinated drinks in your diet and change over to pure water. Also, regular exercise will decrease the amount of insulin in your blood improving both blood sugar and insulin levels.
It is important to prevent blood sugar fluctuations as much as possible to avoid insulin problems. By incorporating these ideas into your daily life, energy levels will increase, and if you have fibromyalgia, you will have a much better chance of reducing your chronic pain level.
Dr. Jane Oelke, N.D., Ph.D. is Naturopath and Doctor of Homeopathy in southwest Michigan. She is the author of "Natural Choices for Fibromyalgia" and "Natural Choices for Attention Deficit Disorder". She is a professional speaker on a variety of natural health topics, and can be reached at DoctorOelke@aol.com and NaturalChoicesforyou.com
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