This is a great article Mike wrote on Facebook:
Much more than any other hormone, anti-aging and hormone optimization starts with keeping Insulin in
the ideal range
What is Insulin?
Insulin is produced in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetics
do not produce insulin at all and thus have to take
insulin injections. Type 2 diabetics produce too much
insulin due to insulin resistance: insulin is being made
in ample supply, but it is not being utilized and thus the
body makes more to keep glucose levels from going too
high. Unfortunately this leads to excess fat storage and a
host of other health problems.
The true villain in heath disease is excess insulin not
dietary fat as many misinformed experts believe. Dietary
fat does not lead to clogged arteries. Excess insulin causes vasoconstriction, which leads to clogged arteries.
(Explained in detail below)
When insulin sensitivity is optimal everything falls
into place. When insulin resistance occurs more
insulin is needed to drive down glucose levels.
More insulin production equals more stored body fat.
The optimal level of fasting insulin is less than
10 uU/ml (less than 5uU/ml is even better). If you
are over 15uU/ml you’re in an aging state.
The biggest stimulators of insulin are carbohydrates
in particular refined sugars. Protein is a mild stimulator
of insulin (especially dairy proteins due to the lactose)
and fat has no effect on insulin at all.
The goal is not to get insulin levels down to zero or
too low. Insulin is needed to carry nutrients to cells;
otherwise cells will die off.
Insulin is necessary to supply glucose for optimal
brain function. If you do not give your body what
it needs to make glucose from food it will turn to the
muscles to get it. This is often why people lose weight
on low carb diets. Unfortunately what they are losing
is muscle more than fat. Moreover, glucose is needed for
mood regulation, which is why many feel terrible on low
carb diets. If you follow a low carb diet for too long
you will inevitably gain a lot of fat back when you
introduce carbs back into your diet. Your body has
been deprived of carbs and will store the carbs that
you give it whenever it can resulting in increased fat.
On the other hand, high carb diets (more than 60% of
total calories) increase glucose levels too much which
results in increased insulin to drive down the excessive
glucose levels. The end result will be poor body
composition, poor mood, and poor health. Excess
insulin production from high carbohydrate diets will
increase stored body fat, which compromises the
metabolism of sex hormones. The fatter you are,
the more estrogen receptors you have, and the less
access you have to testosterone.
This is why you cannot use testosterone no matter
how much you are making if insulin is not in the
Insulin must be balanced with its complementary
Insulin must be balanced with the hormone glucagon.
While insulin drives nutrients into cells, glucagon
mobilizes stored energy to circulate in the blood stream
as a source of energy. High insulin levels block the release
of glucagon, which is needed for brain function.
Excess insulin levels are an indicator of excess calories,
in particular carbohydrates. Moreover, the more you eat,
the more free radicals you make resulting in an increasingly
taxed immune system. High insulin levels also cause the
stress hormone cortisol to be used as a backup system
which leads to excess cortisol production. Excess cortisol
destroys testosterone, DHEA, and human growth hormone
(HGH) production. Cortisol increases insulin resistance
and indirectly increases insulin. It makes the pancreas
pump out more insulin to bring the cortisol levels down.
Excess cortisol causes death of cortisol sensitive cells in
the brain. This is why, increasingly, research links
Alzheimer’s to excess cortisol.In fact Alzheimer’s is
often called Type 3 diabetes as it is essentially insulin
resistance in the brain.
Through cortisol, insulin resistance causes the decline
of other hormones. The master steroid precursor hormone,
pregnenolone, has to balance between DHEA, progesterone,
cortisol, and other hormones. When glucagons levels are
inadequate the body will foucs on “surviving” rather than
“thriving”. As a result, pregnenelone will not make DHEA
and progesterone and DHEA will not convert into
androstenedione and androstenedione will not convert
into testosterone. This is why trying to optimize a single
hormone without optimizing first insulin and glucagon
is futile and ineffective.
Insulin is increased by carbohydrate consumption and
glucagon is increased by protein consumption. You must
therefore have protein and carbs at every meal to balance
the protein/glucagons axis. Low carb diets (below 20%
of total calories) will deprive the brain of blood glucose,
which the brain needs for optimal function and mood regulation
. What about fat? Low fat diets (less than 20 of total calories)
are a big mistake, as fat is needed to produce sex hormones.
Experiment with different macro nutrient ratios to see what
works for you. Many will do well with The Zone: 30%
protein, 40% carbs, and 30% fat. Others may feel much
better with what Dr Aziz calls the perfect 10 diet: 40% fat,
40% carbs, and 20% protein.
Make sure to pick organic real food and get all carbohydrates
from low glycemic fruits, legumes, and vegetables. Focus
on a mix of healthy fats: nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil,
coconut oil, flaxseed oil, Pumpkin seed oil, and hempseed oil.
Hemp, pumpkin, and flax are good sources of Omega 3 EFA’s
(omega 3 and 6), olive oil is a great source of omega 9
(monosaturated) and coconut oil is a good source of saturated
fat as well as medium chain triglycerides which are a great
source of efficient energy. Try a meal with a tablespoon of
coconut oil two hours before a workout and enjoy the benefits.
Supplements that help with insulin resistance include: