Articles, Blog

Endotoxin in insulin resistance

October 14, 2019

When you’re insulin resistant, that is,
you’ve got metabolic syndrome, pretty much every chemical in the body is NOT QUITE RIGHT.
Some are up. Some are down. Few are actually at physiologically NORMAL levels. Traditionally
the focus is on the big guns. Sugar, insulin and cholesterol. In this series, we take a
look at some of the other players. Who they are, what they’re up to and how they’re
part of the state of insulin resistance. In this video we feature ENDOTOXIN. In metabolic
syndrome, endotoxin is fractionally up. We’re talking somewhere between 3-5 times higher,
than normal. This contrasts with the situation of sepsis, which is when you have a raging
uncontrolled infection, under these circumstances, endotoxin levels can be a 100 times higher
than normal. And in this situation, calling it a toxin, is an accurate description. Sepsis
is life threatening. The immune system is in an absolute frenzy and that frenzy can
create lots of collateral damage. But at 3-5 times higher – the situation is different.
The immune system is on alert, but it won’t be behaving as an out of control, maniac.
The polite way to describe, the immune system’s temperament, is metabolic endotoxemia. It
is a toxic situation. But going so far as to describe the chemical as a toxin – is
probably a bit melodramatic. The chemical in question, is actually part of the cell
wall, of one of the tribes of bacteria that live in the gut. When it’s part of a gram
negative bacteria’s anatomy, it’s referred to as lipopolysaccharide or LPS for short.
The little guys need it, to keep themselves together. And they shed it, into the gut,
on a continuous basis. It is estimated that at any given moment in time, there is about
1 g of LPS, inside the gut. It’s presence is NOT a big deal. In fact, it’s quite useful
– it alerts our immune system to the presence of bacteria and ensures, the necessary defences
and precautions are in place, allowing for a peaceful co-existence, between MAN and BEAST.
Where things get tricky, is “items” move from inside the gut, into the body. Now most
of the “items” are useful, think sugar, caffeine and calcium, but less desirable things,
can make the trip. LPS is one such item. It arrives in the liver and it’s presence makes
liver immune cells NERVOUS. But, generally speaking, it’s quickly cleared up and things
return to normal. Except in people who are insulin resistance. Small amount of LPS, slip
past the defences. Leaving the immune system a bit twitchy. The term describe this is low
grade inflammation. Low grade inflammation makes for bad body chemistry. It is implicated
in most age associated diseases. Now the question that arises is why. Why do the defences fail
? There are a couple of possibilities. First, the defences, in the gut, aren’t working
properly. The second possibility, is there is too much, of the “wrong kind” of LPS
in the gut – overwhelming the normal defences. And the third possibility, is that the intestinal
barrier is more “leaky” than usual, that is, it is allowing more LPS through, overwhelming
the normal defences. Now there is science, to support all three. And no doubt about it,
high insulin levels are a contributing factor. So the take home message, you’ve got to
do what you can to keep your gut, strong and healthy. So how do you go about doing this
? Well the place to start is to watch when and what you consume and to cultivate the
“right” microflora. Substances that can be particularly problematic include gluten,
alcohol and food additives. Here are a few of the references I’ve used, to tell the
endotoxemia story. LPS is just one of hundreds of chemicals in the body that are amiss when
you’re suffering from metabolic syndrome. Subscribe to our channel to learn more about
some of the other players, in our Ups and Downs of insulin resistance series. Thank
you so much for watching and I’ll see you next time.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Steve Jones February 27, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    Thank you!

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