Key points:

  • In the presence of insulin resistance your metabolism in effect slows down.
  • With the world-wide increase in obesity, insulin resistance has become an important new therapeutic target.

Refusing to eat during a hunger protest, Bobby Sands, the famous IRA hunger striker, died in a prison hospital after 66 days from self-imposed starvation. During the summer of 1981, another nine of his compatriots protesting the same cause died in the same manner. On average, each striker survived for 61 days without any food, quite an amazing feat if one considers that they had very little stored energy, since most of them were skinny to start with, having had to endure repetitive periods of punitive prison rationing before they started their strike.

Man the machine

In order to survive periods of famine, humans have become so efficient at storing energy that an averagely built individual can virtually run an entire marathon by burning glycogen only, the body’s stored form of glucose, without needing to burn a single molecule of fat. The hormone that to a large degree enables us to become so astonishingly energy efficient is insulin.

When food supplies were unreliable and periods of famine posed a genuine threat, insulin protected our forefathers from starvation by helping them stockpile energy reserves in the form of body fat. Besides having a highly efficient biochemical system to absorb and distribute energy, we also have a highly effective container to store energy in, namely the fat cell or ‘adipocyte’. Starting life as a diminutive microscopic structure, fat cells can easily expand thorough the progressive accumulation of fat to reach massive proportions by cellular standards.

Metabolism – the body’s energy furnace

All biochemical processes that take place in the body are initiated and controlled by a complex communication system that relies on a variety of different messenger molecules. These convey a myriad of biochemical instructions to every part of the body. Hormones and neurotransmitters, for example, fulfil this function. In addition, various other chemicals contained within pharmaceutical drugs or medicinal plants also achieve their therapeutic effect results through the same mechanism.

Depending on their design, messenger molecules deliver their biochemical instruction either broadly to a large ‘audience’, or more selectively focused at a very specific level. They can also either overrule and cancel another’s instruction, or amplify and strengthen it. Of importance to health is that equilibrium is maintained at all times, since many disease processes such as diabetes and heart disease arise from either a disruption or defect in one or more of these pathways.

Metabolism is a complex process which involves the regulatory activity of various different messenger molecules. It is often assumed that the thyroid gland is in charge of metabolism. This is far from correct, since the numerous regulatory tasks that insulin performs relating to carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, as well the ability to overrule virtually all other messenger molecules involved in the process, makes insulin the single dominant regulator of metabolism.

The biology of survival
Insulin performs several different functions that may lead to the accumulation of excess body fat. Firstly, insulin regulates fat production. After a meal, when the quantity of glucose that enters the system is more than what can be used for immediate energy requirements, insulin promotes the conversion of excess sugar into fatty acids. These are subsequently grouped as larger molecules called triglycerides and then transported to the fatty tissue for storage.

Within the environment of the fat cell, insulin fulfils the role of storeroom manager. By biological design, insulin’s tasks are firstly to fill each storeroom to maximum capacity, and then to keep stock levels as high as possible by actively blocking the release of fat. Inside each fat cell another messenger molecule called ‘hormone-sensitive lipase’ (HSL) plays an opposing role to insulin. Acting as the dispatch manager of the warehouse, HSL has the sole task of releasing as much fat from the fat cell as possible so that it can be shipped off to fuel the body’s metabolic furnace. In the presence of insulin, however, this biochemical function is overruled and fat therefore effectively stays trapped. Only once insulin leaves the warehouse, so to speak, can HSL perform its duty.

The bottom line is that insulin not only helps you to gain weight if you consume too many calories, but when levels are chronically elevated as in the case of insulin resistance, a biological defect is created which makes it more difficult to lose weight.

The revenge of the fat cells

Two major mechanisms contribute towards weight gain. Not only do existing fat cells increase their fat content, but new fat cells or adipocytes are continuously being generated through a proliferation process called adipogenesis. Individually, newly formed fat cells also start accumulating fat within their interior which collectively leads to accelerated weight-gain and the slow but progressive enlargement of the total fat mass. In a more advanced state, this process leads to the distortion of normal fatty tissue, commonly referred to as cellulite.

In the past, fat cells were accredited with only two main functions, namely that of storing calories for later use and preserving body temperature via improved insulation. However, in the presence of excess body fat, fat cells also assume a new biochemical communication role by starting to produce and release various messenger molecules called ‘adipokines’ and ‘cytokines’. These messenger molecules have a detrimental effect on many other tissue types and ultimately start to interfere with the normal biochemical regulations that take place within the body. Some adipokines initiate the process of new fat cell formation, whilst others cause insulin resistance.

By releasing adipokines and cytokines fat cells in essence assume the role of an endocrine organ that is almost like certain cancerous processes starts to function independently from the body. The end result is that you are virtually held hostage by your own fat cells. A vicious cycle ensues during which you become increasingly more biochemically as well as physiologically altered.

Could you perhaps be insulin resistant?

According to US guidelines males with waistlines over 102cm in diameter and females over 88cm are highly likely to have some degree of insulin resistance, especially if they are struggling to control their weight. European guidelines, however, are more stringent and predict that males over 93cm and females over 79cm are statistically more prone to insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance can be managed

Do not underestimate the biological consequences of insulin resistance. If your ambition is to lose weight, we suggest that you follow a therapeutic goal which will enhance your metabolism during which your body’s biochemical processes are optimised in such a manner that it simultaneously alleviates insulin resistance, suppresses the storage capabilities of fat by existing fat cells and also prevents the continual formation of new fat cells. Therapies able to regulate both the size and number of fat cells over the long term have therefore become a new therapeutic approach to help treat overweight and obese individuals.

AntaGolin is a natural product that helps to combat insulin resistance by assisting your body to regulate blood sugar more efficiently. When taken at a supplementary dosage over the long term, AntaGolin helps to control your body fat level more effectively. When taken at a higher dosage (see dosage instructions), studies have shown that AntaGolin in conjunction with a structured weight-loss programme can help you to lose weight more effectively. Because of its blood sugar regulation ability, AntaGolin is an ideal long term supplement for pre-diabetic and type 2 diabetic subjects. Read more about AntaGolin