The Fat Cell 10: The Issue with Insulin
And Doctoring Dr. Seuss
When a person becomes overweight, the risk for becoming a Type 2 diabetic increases 5 times and in obese people the risk is increased 60 times. Thirty percent of people who are heavier than normal weight have type 2 diabetes. The numbers are staggering.
It begins with insulin resistance which means that cells do not respond to insulin as a healthy cell would. Specifically, the problem is the GLUT 4 molecule (See Fat Cell 9) which often does not harvest the blood glucose under overweight conditions. The mechanism is still under debate and research is intense.
Biological mechanisms have an uncanny resemblance to the mousetrap-like contraptions that a braniac kid sets up to turn of the light from his bed - if the kid was deranged and had an evil sense of humor.
In the case of insulin, after food is ingested, amino acids, fatty acids, and glucose cruise the bloodstream and activate the liver to spit out insulin which finds a fat or muscle cell. Once the insulin arrives, it settles into an insulin receptor on the surface of the cell, thus kicking off the mousetrap/light switch contraption inside the cell. There are many hypotheses at what happens next when the fat cells are larger than normal, but a convincing paper shows that a chain of dysfunctions that permeate through the whole cell begin with the mitochondria. 
The result is that GLUT 4 fails to efficiently pull glucose out of the bloodstream and tuck it safely in the fat cell. Glucose builds up in the bloodstream so the pancreatic cells keep pumping out more insulin until they break down from exhaustion. Now it’s not just insulin resistance, it’s full-blown diabetes. At this point, it is not curable although weight loss and exercise can help control it.
So I'm thankful I am not there. Yet. Weighing in at 184.4. Down 12.6 lbs since the beginning. After researching Type 2 diabetes, I want to dig out of this fat cell faster. I may be panicked.
The day of fasting the previous week did not seem to throw me off the downward trajectory. Have I mentioned the panic that Type 2 diabetes has instilled in my efforts. I have fifteen more pounds until I am technically not overweight anymore - maybe if I just stop eating until then. . . ?
I may not be THAT panicked.
On a more positive note, I have become fascinated with the history of vegetarian/vegan practice for spiritual reasons. It is not just a dilettante interest. For one thing, I am more likely to stick to a diet if the reason is bigger than my personal health (despite my current vow to take off fifteen lbs by tomorrow so I don’t get Type 2 diabetes). Secondly, research is what I do. My most recent degree is in science but thirty plus years ago, I studied Comparative Literature and the roots of that interest remain. Both disciplines are rich and infinitely interesting, but the peace of definitely answered questions have been elusive the more I education I receive. If anything, the constant mental “monkey mind” has intensified - until very recently. Lately, the monkey, a green and grinning monkey, has been quieter. The answers are still elusive, of course, but the questions have become less insistent.
I am sure there is a physical reason for this occasional and uncharacteristic tranquility, a reason which I have not looked into yet. I suspect the vagus nerve which connects the digestive system to the brain. “But whatever the reason or heart or her shoes,” to misquote Dr. Seuss, “the final result is loving the Whos.”
Perhaps I have accidentally fallen in through the back door or down the chimney (per the Grinch). By physically practicing compassion if only through the entirely selfish motive of better health, the chatter in my head has grown quieter and the anxiety has diminished.
Sometimes the mask becomes the reality.
My son and I recently watched an old black and white movie, Temptation (1946). It was about a woman, not a good woman by any means, who pretended to love her husband for so long that eventually she was no longer pretending.
Perhaps, veganism can be like that. I can’t be the only one experiencing this. As the medical community is beginning to discover unequivocally the value of removing animal products from the diet, and vegetarian/vegan books and podcasts and menu options proliferate, perhaps emotional and spiritual health will blossom along with the physical health.
Yes, things are grim for the planet and all upon it ( I am very aware since I’ve been following the climate crisis with growing dismay since the 1990s) but there are gold threads running through the dark fabric and the future, dare it be hoped?, “puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?” may be more luminous than can be envisioned from here.
“What if our world perhaps becomes a little bit more?”
 Fazakerley DJ, Krycer JR, Kearney AL, Hocking SL, James DE. Muscle and adipose tissue insulin resistance: malady without mechanism? J Lipid Res. 2019 Oct;60(10):1720-1732. doi: 10.1194/jlr.R087510. Epub 2018 Jul 27. PMID: 30054342; PMCID: PMC6795081.
About the Creator
D. Thea Baldrick
By wedding two strange bedfellows, bachelor degrees in Biology and Literature, the resulting chimeric offspring are stories laced with science. I publish with thecollector.com and Underland Arcana. Unearth at dthea.com
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