06 July 2016

Hyperinsulinemia - High Insulin Level

I'll attempt to summarise this article: Hyperinsulinemia: A unifying theory of chronic disease?

Chronically high insulin level, triggered by a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar, is associated with obesity. If obesity increases the risk for chronic diseases (cancer, diabetes, heart disease), then high insulin levels, or a high sugar diet, is also increases the risk of these diseases.

Cancer is a metabolic disease. Its growth depends on hormone (insulin, IGF-1 etc.) and fuel (glucose, amino acid) availability.
"Increased insulin-like growth factor IGF-1 enhances cellular growth and proliferation."[1]
 "Enhanced glucose uptake and utilisation enhances cellular growth and proliferation."[1]

Circulatory disease

High glucose and insulin levels play a role in:
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Heart disease
  • Thrombosis
  • Varicose veins

  • High blood sugars lead to elevated insulin. Constantly elevated insulin levels lead to insulin resistance. Elevated serum insulin levels is associated with abdominal fat, raising triglyceride levels in the liver's blood supply. This in turn, causes inflammation and more insulin release, leading to even more insulin resistance.
  • Fatty liver disease or hepatic steatosis can be caused by alcohol but also by high sugar consumption. I have seen teenagers with this condition because juices, even though freshly pressed, were part of their daily diet.


Chronic inflammation occurs in obese people. Obesity is also related to high insulin levels, as you might remember from my previous posts: insulin is the storage hormone, that drives the energy into the adipose (fat) tissues. Inflammation can be measured with C-reactive protein.

  • Dementia: Here is an example of the relationship between diabetes and cognitive decline:

    "Diabetes is associated with lower levels of cognitive function and greater cognitive decline among older women."[2]
The good news is, that memory problems associated with Alzheimer's can be recovered to a certain extent.[3]
  • Neuropathy: is nerve damage that occurs in uncontrolled diabetes. High blood sugars and insulin damage the nerves in the whole body. In my experience, when blood sugars and insulin are brought back to normal levels, neuropathy symptoms become less pronounced. Repair happens over a long period of time if glucose and insulin are kept within normal range.


Osteoporosis is very common in today's population. Loss of bone mass is much more than a calcium problem. As the article (at the top of this page) says: osteoporosis is related to collagen (a protein that holds the body together) loss, due to high blood glucose levels and increased amount of ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) production, a substance that damages tissues. 

Collagen gives a rubbery, bendy structure to the bones. By losing collagen, bones lose their flexibility and only the hard structure (calcium) remains. Calcium is brittle, and is necessary for solid bone structure, but is not enough to give the flexibility to the bones to withhold shocks. Both calcium and collagen are necessary.


Nephropathy or kidney disease, is the damage caused to the kidneys by uncontrolled blood sugars and insulin, resulting in the kidney's impaired ability to remove waste products.

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