Insulin has just been made redundant. Isthmin is Mother Nature’s alternative sugar delivery system. It does what insulin does, but only better.
Click to listen to the audio…
Introducing Mother Nature’s alternative sugar delivery system
If you’re battling to control your sugar levels….
Your insulin system IS BROKEN.
The assumption is, the only way to fix the “sugar problem”, is to fix the “insulin problem”.
And there are a range of tactics that can do this and the most appropriate tactic, will depend on what exactly IS BROKEN.
Fixing the insulin system
The simplest approach, and my go to strategy, involves sending in less sugar, so the need for insulin is minimized. The added advantage of this approach, is insulin levels are curtailed and this is most healthful, because many of the complications associated with diabetes are driven by high insulin i.e. high sugar levels are not the only problem.
The second, is to send in truck loads of insulin, sometimes directly, but usually the approach is to whip the beta cells into a frenzy, so there is enough insulin circulating, to bully insulin resistant cells into compliance. It works in the short term.
And then there are a few things in between….
The point is, the focus is always on INSULIN.
Because up until now, we have assumed INSULIN is the only hormone, responsible for sugar deliveries.
But this is biology……..
Mother Nature uses redundancy as a design principle. She frequently has a plan B, sometimes even a plan C and plan D, because redundancy is vital in “life and death” situations.
Now it’s fun to play these out.
And it is what we often do, at better body chemistry.
Let me count the ways
- You can exercise like crazy, and get the blood flowing, creating shear stress and lots of good biology i.e. increased nitric oxide.
- Or, you can sit in the sauna and cook, as you cook, you get the blood flowing, creating shear stress and lots of good biology i.e. increased nitric oxide.
- Or, you could feed the bacteria living in your mouth, some spinach salad, the little critters will turn the nitrate into nitric oxide, once more creating some good biology.
NOTE : To learn more about the good biology nitric oxide brings, visit the nitric oxide library page.
Exercising is ALWAYS going to be better, but not always practical.
This redundancy principle means there is often more than one solution to a problem and sometimes our behaviours can leverage that biology. Which brings me to, today’s story. …..
A new lever for sugar control
A team of researchers, based at Stanford University, have recently discovered a completely independent sugar delivery system.
This makes insulin is “REDUNDANT”.
The star of this system isthmin 1.
It’s not a new chemical per se. It was first discovered in a frog’s brain in 2003. The part of the brain it came from, was the isthmus, which is how it got its name. It’s not a protein too many people have paid much attention to and the lack of interest, has not been because it’s a frog protein, we humans have it, in a variety of cell types.
Both as adults and as embryos.
In fact, the protein was seen as being important in development, until…………….it came onto the radar of the Stanford team.
A protein in search of a function
The team set about figuring out, what it was doing, in mice, using some genetic jiggery-pokery. They created a mouse, that was not able to express the protein normally and one that produced, a little bit more than normal and the results were INTERESTING.
They found that if was an adipokine i.e. it was being actively secreted by fat cells (adipocytes). And to their surprise, found it was able to stimulate sugar uptake in adipocytes (and muscle cells), WITHOUT INSULIN.
Interestingly, isthmin has NO effect on sugar uptake by liver cells.
Insulin needs isthmin
And then to make things a little more interesting, they found that without isthmin, insulin was not able to trigger adipocyte sugar uptake.
And this is a BIG DEAL.
Fat cells don’t actually use sugar as their fuel source, they’re lactate burners, but sugar deliveries get fat cells IN THE MOOD. And when they’re IN THE MOOD, they send signal a signal to the liver, to temporarily shut up shop and stop making sugar.
NOTE : This should happen when you eat.
The asprosin connection
We already know, asprosin is behind this messaging. Fat cells that respond to insulin appropriately, stop producing asprosin and this signals the liver, to stop producing sugar. Click here to learn more about asprosin.
When the liver downs tools.
Sugar levels don’t spike, PERIOD.
If doesn’t matter whether you eat a twinkie, toasted cheese sandwich or a salad, because when insulin only has to worry about the sugar that came in with dinner, he is usually quite capable of handling the situation.
It’s the NON STOP liver gluconeogenesis which creates ALL THE DIFFICULTIES.
The benefits of stopping hepatic gluconeogenesis
Since isthmin is able to facilitate sugar uptake by fat cells, it is part of the system that stops hepatic gluconeogenesis. But isthmin doesn’t just signal to the liver via fat cells, the liver responds to isthmin DIRECTLY.
And the response is VERY different from how it responds to insulin.
Not just in terms of sugar production.
Insulin signals to store fat
When both sugar and insulin are around and sugar levels are freakishly high, the liver tries to help out, by turning some of the sugars into fat. The process is called de novo lipogenesis. But it’s a case of……………….
No good deed goes UNPUNISHED.
The liver often ends up becoming engorged with fat.
His anguish is felt far and wide. Priming the pancreas to pump out more insulin – this post, shares more about the biology that drives the problematic insulin secretion.
It’s like a run away fire…..
Fat stores multiply
Your problem is not just that your sugar levels are a lot higher than ideal, so are your insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia) and you’re storing fat, EVERYWHERE.
- In the belly (abdominal fat)
- In your liver (fatty liver)
- In nooks and crannies, it’s not supposed to be (ectopic fat)
Isthmin signals to make protein
But when isthmin is around, the liver switches up what it does…..
Instead of opting to make fat, with the excess sugar, it ups protein synthesis.
That makes isthmin potentially a MUCH BETTER solution to sugar problems, than insulin, because more isthmin, will serve to put sugar away, without creating a “FAT” problem.
Isthmin injections please
The team are excited, so am I……….
They’re thinking a block buster drug.
I’m thinking, maybe this is a pathway, that can be leveraged through lifestyle ? I hope so. Isthmin is definitely on my radar, but since pretty much NOTHING is really known about isthmin-1, it will be a while before we are able to harness the possibilities.
But it is a story of possibilities.
Mother Nature has an alternative system to make sugar deliveries and this system, seems to work to put sugars away, independently of insulin. And preliminary data, suggests even if you are insulin resistant, this system still works..
This is a frog you want to kiss.
Mechanisms of Feedback in the Frog Visual System. Adam Eggebrecht’s dissertation for a Doctor of Philosophy in Physics, Washington University in St. Louis, 2009.
Believe it or not, your ability to put away sugar – INCREASES ! But despite this improvement, your glucose levels, won’t take a dip. It’s all thanks to glucagon
You can be fat, with lots of fat cells (hyperplasia) or you can be fat with fewer fat cells (hypoplasia). More fat cells is better from a health perspective
Adiponectin campaigns for insulin, encouraging cells to respond to his badgering. Unfortunately, if you’re insulin resistant, adiponectin is AWOL unless….
Want to discover more ways to create BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY ?