Over time, their insulin becomes less and less effective. Insulin levels have been so high for so long, that the cells of the body (particularly muscle and fat cells) start to ignore it. It’s like if someone continually talks and talks and talks; eventually you stop listening! So we can say the cells of the body have become resistant to insulin.

Initially, after a rise in blood glucose levels, the cells do not respond to the insulin that is released. The body responds by pumping out more and more insulin. Some hours later, when the insulin finally does work, there is a too rapid drop in blood sugar levels. This can make you suffer with hypoglycemia.

These are some common symptoms of hypoglycemia:

• Fatigue and feeling sleepy

• Mental fogginess

• Depression or anxiety

• Strong cravings for carbohydrates or sugar

• Hunger, even soon after a meal

• Feeling shaky or dizzy

• Sleep disturbances

All of these symptoms can make you want to reach for more carbohydrate, and hence the vicious cycle continues. This is why carbohydrates and sugar are often described as addictive! The desire to eat more carbohydrate can be overwhelming. It is usually the comfort foods people reach for to self medicate themselves when experiencing the symptoms of hypoglycemia, especially depression.

If Syndrome X is left to progress, you are at greatly increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. As insulin becomes less and less effective, it has poorer control of our blood sugar; thus the blood sugar level becomes elevated. Diabetics have a much higher rate of heart disease than the general population.

Syndrome X and diabetes are the biggest risk factors for heart disease.

In Australia the health and economic costs of cardiovascular disease are greater than for any other disease.

You may remember that the enzyme in the liver that manufactures cholesterol is called HMG-CoA reductase. This is the enzyme that cholesterol lowering drugs called statins inhibit. Interestingly enough the hormone insulin stimulates the activity of HMG CoA reductase, causing it to manufacture more cholesterol. So now you see that the more sugar and carbohydrate you eat, the more insulin you secrete, and the more cholesterol your liver manufactures. Rather than taking cholesterol lowering drugs with potential side effects, wouldn’t it just be easier to lower the amount of carbohydrate you have in your diet! You can have a blood test to measure your levels of insulin.


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