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    YogaBare's Avatar
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    Low insulin - what does it mean?

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    Hey everyone,

    My Mum just got a set of blood tests back. Her insulin is extremely low (never been like that before). Does anyone know what this indicates?

    Her D3 was also really low - I seem to remember reading somewhere that this could be related? She has had hashimoto's for 10 years, but her insulin has never been out of the ordinary before now.

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    This is what I'm understanding so far:

    Very little insulin is produced with Type 1.

    Type 2 produces insulin (sometimes lots, trying to keep blood sugar levels low), though ultimately your pancreas wears out (?)

    Hypoglycemia can be caused by too much insulin being produced, thus suppressing blood sugar too far, by "overshooting" what it's trying to control.

    My first thought with my Mum's insulin levels was diabetes... but I'm also reading that low insulin levels can be very healthy?

    We freaked for a moment that it might be cancer, but it's not a symptom of pancreatic cancer - phew.
    Last edited by YogaBare; 07-19-2012 at 12:53 AM.

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    SleepyRoots's Avatar
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    What sort of test did she have?

    Insulin reacts to and regulates blood glucose.

    Type 1 Diabetes: low insulin -> toxic blood glucose levels.
    type 2 Diabetes: high insulin -> toxic blood glucose levels.

    Low insulin and low/normal blood glucose is ,well, normal. Especially on a low carb diet if your mum is following one as well.
    Did the doctors make any comments/explanations or is this just something you noticed on the test results?

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    YogaBare's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SleepyRoots View Post
    What sort of test did she have?

    Insulin reacts to and regulates blood glucose.

    Type 1 Diabetes: low insulin -> toxic blood glucose levels.
    type 2 Diabetes: high insulin -> toxic blood glucose levels.

    Low insulin and low/normal blood glucose is ,well, normal. Especially on a low carb diet if your mum is following one as well.
    Did the doctors make any comments/explanations or is this just something you noticed on the test results?
    Thanks for replying sleepy roots.

    My Mum regularly gets a full blood test done in the hospital, checking her minerals and hormones. They usually just give her the results, and then she speaks to her docotr about it later.

    She's not a low carber (at all!). Her blood glucose is normal...

    Could there be a connection to the d3 / hashimotos?

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    From what I understand, for fasting blood insulin, lower is better. If her blood glucose was also in the normal range I would not worry at all.

    Definitely try to up the D3, through either more sun exposure or supplementation. I like liquid vitamin D drops (I've been using Carlson's).

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    Quote Originally Posted by YogaBare View Post
    Could there be a connection to the d3 / hashimotos?
    Absolutely. Being that D3 works as a hormone in the body and is necessary for optimal function. I'm not going to tell you that increasing D3 is a "cure", but it is a step in the right direction to helping her body improve its homeostatic functions.

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    This is the latest thing I found out:

    Many of our cells cannot access the calories contained in the glucose very well without the action of insulin. That's what happens when you suffer from diabetes or insulin resistance. The consequence is that you can eat lots of food and actually be in a state of starvation. People with type 1 diabetes, who cannot make insuline at all, and others with type 2 diabetes but cannot make enough insulin, can thus become very ill without insulin shots.
    Insulin therapy: learn how to avoid overeating and starving at the same time

    Seems like low insulin levels affect how you absorb food. Deficiency in D3 is often caused by malabsorption!

    Now to find out what causes the low insulin in the first place...

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    Quote Originally Posted by YogaBare View Post
    This is the latest thing I found out:

    Many of our cells cannot access the calories contained in the glucose very well without the action of insulin. That's what happens when you suffer from diabetes or insulin resistance. The consequence is that you can eat lots of food and actually be in a state of starvation. People with type 1 diabetes, who cannot make insuline at all, and others with type 2 diabetes but cannot make enough insulin, can thus become very ill without insulin shots.
    Insulin therapy: learn how to avoid overeating and starving at the same time

    Seems like low insulin levels affect how you absorb food. Deficiency in D3 is often caused by malabsorption!

    Now to find out what causes the low insulin in the first place...
    I will reiterate: If your mother was in the fasted state when the blood was drawn, low insulin is no cause for concern. It is actually a GOOD thing. You only want elevated insulin post-prandial (after eating) to help shuttle the energy from the food you ate into your cells. At any other time it is DESIREABLE for insulin to be as low as possible.

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    Hey yodiewan,

    Thanks for the info. I did come across that too... however, given that my mother's health is quite critical in other respects, I don't think the low insulin is necessarily a sign of strong metabolic health. It's like a low heart rate is usually the sign of good health: athletes often have it... but often so do people with bulimia.

    I'm not getting overly stressed about it, but at the same time I do think the overall picture needs to be taken into consideration.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YogaBare View Post
    Hey yodiewan,

    Thanks for the info. I did come across that too... however, given that my mother's health is quite critical in other respects, I don't think the low insulin is necessarily a sign of strong metabolic health. It's like a low heart rate is usually the sign of good health: athletes often have it... but often so do people with bulimia.

    I'm not getting overly stressed about it, but at the same time I do think the overall picture needs to be taken into consideration.
    Alright, just making sure you weren't over-stressing about something that is probably not an issue. It's great that you're looking out for your mom. I was just sharing what I've learned. If you find anything interesting in your research, let us know.

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