The Liver in Diabetes and Insulin Resistance: How to Beat Weight Gain and Diabetes


Diabetes is a disease that affects more than 30 million people in the United States alone. An estimated 7.2 million of those cases are undiagnosed. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease and accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases.

After eating a meal, the pancreas produces insulin to regulate high glucose. In type 2 diabetes, the body is unable to make proper use of insulin, due to insulin resistance, resulting in spikes in blood glucose levels that can be both dangerous and damaging.

In a healthy body, when blood sugar is low, the liver creates glucose by breaking down glycogen or synthesizing glucose from amino acids. When blood sugar is high, as it is after eating a meal, gluconeogenesis (the process by which the liver creates glucose) should be inhibited by the insulin released by the pancreas and glycolysis (where glucose is metabolized in the cells). But because type 2 diabetics are insulin resistant, the insulin is ineffective in stopping the liver from continuing to produce glucose, the liver is the last to become insulin resistant. Muscles are the first to become resistant to the effects of insulin. This process results in weight gain, stubborn fat, reduced metabolism, and eventually high blood glucose levels. In fact, through the Metabolic Blueprint metabolic testing we can see if this is happening long before blood sugar is affected and we have the tools to reverse it.

Type 2 diabetes is generally a weight-related disease. Almost 90 percent of all people living with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Carrying around extra body fat creates added pressure on the body to properly use insulin to control blood sugar levels, therefore increasing risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Because diabetes is often linked to weight, the disease may be prevented with changes to diet and lifestyle habits. Studies have found that even losing just five to 10 percent of your body fat can prevent or delay the onset of developing type 2 diabetes in high-risk adults. In addition to weight being a factor for the disease, some populations have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, including African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders and senior adults.

Medical treatment for type 2 diabetes typically includes insulin or oral medications that work to sensitize the body to insulin, allowing the liver to receive the signal to stop producing glucose, thus lowering blood glucose levels. However, these drugs are not without risk, and if not used properly, can cause blood glucose levels to drop too low, which may result in seizures, unconsciousness or death. Truly, these drugs do not correct the problem, they mask it and eventually make the problem worse.

Some studies have found that natural substances, such as L-carnitine, may help suppress gluconeogenesis for people who are insulin resistant. In fact, there are many natural compounds that act on the cells improving insulin sensitivity and improving liver function. Also, recent studies have shown Fasting Mimicking Diet and Ketogenic diets are effective at reversing this issue in a matter of months. At Living Well Dallas, we have designed a program combining these two different methods to result in weight loss, reversal of metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes and as a nutritional treatment for diabetes.

If you are overweight, or have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic or diabetic, managing your weight through diet and lifestyle changes can help prevent or control diabetes, help you lose weight and improve your health. At Living Well Dallas, our practitioners work with patients who have diabetes or insulin resistance and take a Functional Medicine approach to treating the conditions through nutrition, lifestyle, medication and medical interventions when necessary. Contact us today to learn more about how we treat can help you reverse insulin resistance, diabetes and insulin resistance.