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Insulin Resistance, Obesity and Diabetes


According to the World Health Organisation, around 422 million people worldwide have diabetes. With the unprecedented levels of fear and stress that the world is currently dealing with, the levels of diabetes, obesity and insulin resistance do not surprise me.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on…

1. Insulin Resistance

We have this fabulous hormone called insulin which helps control the amount of sugar (glucose) that is making its way into our blood – in other words, it will facilitate the movement of glucose from our bloodstream and into our cells. When we experience insulin resistance, the glucose can’t enter the cells as easily, so it builds up in the blood, causing elevated blood glucose levels (commonly known as diabetes).

Let’s take a closer look at a cell.

A cell needs glucose to create energy, reduce inflammation and keep us fighting fit.

Visualise the cell having a door that opens and shuts and allows the glucose to enter from the bloodstream into the cell. Insulin is the key to unlocking the door. But we have a problem… the lock is not recognising the key (insulin).

The lock is called Tyrosine Kinase. 

Oh dear. Why would the lock (Tyrosine Kinase) not recognise the key (insulin)? The answer: it doesn’t have enough magnesium. Magnesium activates the enzyme that lets the glucose into the cell we can’t create the energy inside the cell

So the glucose now cannot enter the cell. And here’s the even bigger issue – the glucose needed inside the cell (not in the bloodstream) will be used once it enters the cell to make ENERGY (Mg-ATP).

It takes 54 molecules of magnesium (inside the cell) to convert that sugar into Mg-ATP (aka ENERGY). 

Looks like magnesium is super important to this process. If we don’t have enough magnesium to activate the enzyme that lets the glucose into the cell, we can’t create energy inside the cell – which is what ultimately reduces inflammation, symptoms and our risk of diabetes, heart disease and other so-called diseases.


2. Insulin Resistance and Cortisol

 Let’s take a slightly different look at insulin resistance in relation to cortisol.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that makes fat and muscle cells resistant to the action of insulin and helps produce glucose in the liver. If the body is working properly, then cortisol counterbalances the action of insulin; however, under stress, the cortisol levels will rise, and you will become insulin resistant.

First, it takes some stress…

Let’s look at the average human on the planet today. I can guarantee someone with insulin resistance will be facing one, if not many, of this list of stressors (and more):

  • Consuming processed foods
  • Consuming iron-fortified grain
  • Consuming low-fat diets that stop access to retinol
  • Consuming industrialised omega-6 oils (soybean, canola, sunflower oil etc)
  • Lack of sleep
  • Heavy metals (e.g. fillings in food)
  • Excess calcium in the diet
  • Environmental toxins
  • Medications (most cause magnesium loss)
  • Mental and emotional worry
  • Dealing with work or family stress

When we are under stress and feeling “on” all the time, our sense of ‘fear’ is heightened. Now you may be thinking, “I’m not stressed, and I don’t feel that fear” but what I found interesting about my own journey (and I see all the time with my clients) is that I was someone who could manage 1000 tasks in a day. I was always busy, running from one thing to another, and I always felt like I wasn’t stressed.

However, what I have learnt (the hard way, sadly) is that our bodies and minds are incredibly complex and fascinating. We can tell ourselves that we are fine, but fear and stress can be held at a subconscious level (so we won’t even recognise it), and it will manifest in the form of symptoms like headaches, eczema, food intolerances, muscle tension, shingles etc. Those symptoms are simply the inflammation that is running through our body even if we are not consciously recognising it.


Then it takes some cortisol…

Adrenal glands are located on top of both kidneys and produce hormones that help regulate our metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions.

When we experience heightened stress (that stress we just referred to above), our body turns on the granddaddy stress hormone of the adrenal glands ‘cortisol’.

If our body is in balance, the adrenal gland activates a response so we can release the stress and move on. But if we are depleted in magnesium, the adrenal gland is unable to release the cortisol back to its resting state, leaving the body with elevated cortisol.


Sympathetic vs Parasympathetic

Our body has two key states it moves between – the sympathetic and the parasympathetic state.

In the sympathetic state “fight or flight” the body is responding to stressful or dangerous situations and prepares you to either run from danger or fight back.

In the parasympathetic state “rest and recovery” the body controls its ability to relax.

When healthy, our body can effortlessly move between these two states. There is a key enzyme (called 11 beta-hydroxysteroid – I know it’s a mouthful!) that must be present to convert the active cortisol to inactive cortisol (to go from the sympathetic to parasympathetic states with ease). To make this conversion happen, a process occurs within the enzyme that requires magnesium (for the geeks in the room, this is the conversion from NADP to NADPH).

Worth noting here is that you can be told your magnesium is fine (from serum blood tests), but actually your storage magnesium (magnesium inside your red blood cells – aka RBC magnesium) often is insufficient for keeping up with the demands on the body for optimal health.

If the average stressed person has low magnesium (which is the state of most people on the planet today), then the body cannot recycle cortisol back to its normal resting state and instead, cortisol will build up in the body, causing more inflammation and heart-related symptoms.


Insulin Resistance and the RCP Connection

This part gets a little technical but hang in there; we are almost done!

Adipose tissue (known as body fat) is a connective tissue that extends throughout the body. In that tissue is a protein hormone (called adiponectin) that helps regulate glucose levels and fatty acid breakdown. This hormone assists in stabilising insulin levels, diabetes and obesity.

When we have a deficiency of that protein hormone, havoc begins in the cells.
Factors that cause that deficiency include a lack of bio-available copper, an abundance of dysfunctional iron that gets stuck in our macrophages and supplementing Vitamin D. The hormone needs magnesium for proper regulation and supplemental Vitamin D strips us of retinol, which we need to make the copper bio-available – which simply means that the copper we have can be absorbed and used within the body.


3. How can the RCP help?

We can see from the connections above that the process the body undertakes to use and manage glucose, cortisol, insulin and adiponectin all require the body to have magnesium, bio-available copper and retinol. The first step to healing your body is to reduce the stress load on your body. How, you say?

1. Start eating well!

Replace processed foods with clean, organic, ancestral foods. Replace those omega-6 bad oils with ghee and raw butter.
2. Prioritise sleep
3. Move your body Do it joyfully, not so intensely that you put your body under more stress
4. Simplify your life wherever possible Take time to pause, and notice the beauty in the day rather than rushing from one thing to another.
5. Find methods to reduce your work and life stress


4. Start the RCP

Yes. Start the RCP!
You need balanced minerals, especially magnesium, bio-available copper, and retinol. If you’re ready to get tailored support for your health, book a free 15-minute Zoom call with one of our team. We’ll discuss your situation and what you’d like to achieve.
Chrissy Murphy
Root Cause Protocol Consultant

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