When you’re insulin resistant, sugar can’t leave the blood, because the glucose gates, normally used by the sugar molecules, are missing. Gate moving needs…
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How to get those glucose gates up – so you take up more sugar
You’re struggling to control your sugar levels. Eish !
The explanation for the problem, insulin resistance.
The insulin you’re pumping out, isn’t working. Specifically, the cells meant to spring into action, when insulin arrives on the scene, ignore insulin’s pleas. The “ignoring” means that the glucose gates, don’t get moved (translocated) from the inside of the cell, to the outside of the cell. And since the glucose gates are routinely kept inside and only moved when a glucose delivery is expected this is a BIG PROBLEM.
No glucose gate, means the sugar can’t get in.
Getting glucose gates in place
And sugar levels rise (hyperglycemia), while cells go hungry…….
Unfortunately, when you have lots of sugar molecules, with nowhere to go, this leads to TROUBLE.
So getting those glucose gates, translocated is important.
Insulin is responsible
So what does it take to move the GLUT4 gate from deep inside the cell, to the surface ?
Well, dah ! INSULIN.
What a stupid question. This is why the fix for high sugar levels is to send in MORE INSULIN….
But, there is a caveat.
Glucose gates not swinging open
The insulin you’re sending in, needs to actually arrive at the cell, taking the sugar delivery. And when you’re insulin resistant, this can be a problem. You see, getting insulin delivered, depends on endothelial cells being responsive to insulin.
But, when you’re insulin resistant, they’re NOT.
So delivering the insulin becomes THE PROBLEM.
To get it delivered, you need good blood flow. And good blood flow depends on nitric oxide levels, and nitric oxide release depends on INSULIN. Eish !
You’re in a pickle.
Getting the insulin to the glucose gate
Inspired by this observation, a team of researchers from Texas, wondered if improving nitric oxide levels, might help get the sugar delivered.
Knowing that the body has more than one way, to make nitric oxide.
They hatched a plan, to increase nitric oxide delivery using sodium nitrite, a molecule that can be chemically reduced in the body, to form nitric oxide.
They gathered 8 week old mice, genetically programmed to be diabetic, thanks to a mutation (Leprdb) and tossed a little sodium nitrite (50 mg) into their drinking water – then they watched what happened.
More nitric oxide
The team confirmed, that adding the sodium nitrite increased the levels of nitrite in the animal. This increase was seen in the fat tissue and liver, but not in the skeletal muscles, after 28 days.
They found the mice sipping sodium nitrite were in much better shape.
Despite eating the same amount of food, the animals were significantly thinner. And their “diabetes” wasn’t quite as bad, the animals fasting glucose and insulin levels were significantly lower.
This result confirmed, the connection between nitric oxide and insulin activity, but didn’t explain the details of the relationship.
So, the team set about understanding how the nitrite had helped.
What did the nitrite do ?
First off, they tested to see if the benefit was because of better blood flow.
To do this, they isolated bits of aorta (the main blood vessel) and tested how well it contracted and relaxed, outside of the body. There was a small improvement in the performance of the aorta, following the sodium nitrite exposure, but it was not big enough to matter.
So, they kept looking………………
The glucose gate was translocated
This is when they discovered, the nitrite is involved in moving the glucose gates, from the inside to the outside. Using muscle cells in a dish, they tracked fluorescence patters.
This photo shows a typical reaction.
The blue “dots” are myoctes (muscle cells), the green fuzz is where a fluorescent antibody that recognizes the GLUT4 protein has bound. In ordinary cells (the control), the protein is buried inside, so the fluorescent antibody has nothing to attach to, but when either insulin or nitrite are added, the glucose gates end up on the outside, where the fluorescent antibody is able to lock on to it, creating the green fuzz.
From the photo, you can see, nitrite caused the glucose gates to move i.e. INSULIN was not required.
How could this be ?
Insulin is working through nitric oxide
When insulin binds to the insulin receptor, assuming there are no problems with insulin resistance, it activates the enzyme known as endothelium nitrogen oxide synthase or eNOS for short. This enzyme turns L-arginine into nitric oxide.
The released nitrogen oxide MOVES the gate.
Not literally…………….it’s through a signalling system.
The team found, the nitrogen oxide, popped a “nitrogen” onto the gate, this s-nitrosylation reaction, was the signal, that got the gate moving, BECAUSE, the cell now knew, a glucose delivery was imminent.
So what does this mean for you ?
Bump up nitric oxide levels
If you’re insulin resistant, you’re low on nitric oxide. But if you’re low in nitric oxide, you’re going to be insulin resistant. It’s a catch 22.
If you can find a way to bump up the nitric oxide levels, you will improve sugar deliveries.
So how do you do this ?
You don’t need to add sodium nitrite to your water and probably shouldn’t#. There are a couple of ways to boost nitric oxide levels naturally, these include physical activity, the sun and eating your greens. To learn more, visit the Nitric Oxide Library page.
Eat your greens
Is seriously efficient. And easy to do !
Green leafy vegetables, like spinach, chard and lettuce, as well as beetroot, are rich in nitrate. It turns out, some of the nitrate you eat, gets shipped to mouth – the rest of it, get’s peed out.
The nitrate that ends up in your saliva, get’s “worked on” by the bacteria living in your mouth. They use an enzyme, nitrate reductase, to turn the nitrate into NITRITE. These little guys can provide you with somewhere between 40 and 100 mg a day, if you supply them with nitrate.
This should be more than enough to get that glucose gate translocated.
Giving you BETTER glucose tolerance and BETTER HEALTH.
# You probably don’t want to add nitrite to your water. The nitrite is harmless, but can combine with secondary amines, under certain conditions, forming nitrosoamines. Nitrosoamines are classified as carcinogens.
When skeletal muscles, know insulin is coming, they move their GLUT4 gates from the periphery to front and centre, with the gates in place, glucose gets in.
In the insulin resistant, its thought that insulin arrives at the cell’s glucose gate, but the gate doesn’t open. What if insulin never makes it to the gate ?
Swooshing, stops the conversion of nitrate to nitrite by the bacteria living in your mouth – since nitrite help dilate blood vessels, your blood pressure rises