Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Less Insulin, Longer Life

It's not that we don't need insulin...

When there is a depletion or absence of insulin, as seen with type 1 diabetes, glucose from food cannot easily leave the bloodstream and enter cells. Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar results. In this case, too little insulin is detrimental.

But too much insulin can also be detrimental...

A study appearing in this month's Science magazine found that mice with less of a molecule called insulin receptor substrate 2 (IRS2) (a signaling molecule that is turned on by circulating insulin) lived 18% longer than normal control mice. Interestingly, this benefit was seen regardless of the fact that mice were overweight and glucose intolerant.1

What causes higher levels of insulin? One cause is insulin resistance, a state in which cells fail to respond properly to insulin. When cells are resistant, the pancreas will secrete more insulin to compensate. Insulin resistance often accompanies or precedes type 2 diabetes.

From an interview with Reuters News:2
"The researchers note that people who live to be 100 or more often have reduced insulin levels and their cells show better insulin sensitivity."
What can you do to improve your insulin sensitivity, lessening the amount of insulin you secrete?
  • Lose weight if needed.
  • Increase physical activity.
  • Monitor your carbohydrate intake and limit overly refined and processed grains.

1 Brain IRS2 Signaling Coordinates Life Span and Nutrient Homeostasis
2 Key To A Long Life - Less Insulin In The Brain