Type 2 Diabetes and The Tale of the Pancreas
What if the body’s effort to protect itself from obesity causes insulin resistance leading to Type 2 Diabetes?
The body is a very complex autonomic nervous system (ANS) that has many mechanisms to protect itself. For example The immune system destroys beta cells that produce insulin causing Type 1 diabetes. But, let’s think about Type 2 diabetes, keeping in mind that the ANS:
OK. Lets say Jane Doe puts on extra weight via fat storage. Jane
overeats with little to no physical activity. As Jane gets fatter, her
(ANS) takes over to protect her from her poor lifestyle.
To slow down the fat accumulation, the fat cells (cells that store
fat) send chemical messages (hormones) to the other cells (like muscle, brain
cells) to ignore the insulin. The outer cell walls have insulin
receptors that insulin connects to. Once this happens, glucose floating
around in the bloodstream are allowed to enter the cell. There, the
glucose is converted to chemical energy (ATP Adenosine Tri-Phosphate) and the excess is converted to fat by the liver.
The above research article suggest that the presence of glucose
stimulates the activity of the Liver X Receptor. The LXR triggers the
release of enzymes that turn excess glucose into
triglycerides (3 connected fatty acids) that are stored as fat under
your skin or in your abdomen.
When Jane’s body senses too much fat has been stored, the fat cells send chemical messages (hormones) to turn off some of cells’ insulin receptors. This in part is Type 2 diabetes – insulin resistance. Jane’s body counters
itself by telling the pancreas to produce more insulin to overcome the
resistance. If she is overweight long enough (years) the pancreas
begins to ignore the message to produce more insulin (burnout of some beta cells).
As some of you know, beta cells produce insulin. They are located in the ‘islets of Langerhans‘. The islets of Langerhans are located in the tip of The pancreas is a 6 inch long gland located behind the
stomach and attached to the top end of the small intestine (the duodenum).
Blood glucose levels begin to rise as insulin resistance kicks in.
Overproduction of insulin forces the cells to accept more glucose which
is turned to fat and stored. Jane gets fatter. The stronger Jane’s
pancreas is the longer it will overproduce insulin. Maybe, this is
where genetics comes in.
Most people (approx. 93% in whites, 86% blacks, 87% Latinos,and so
on) have pancreas that keep pumping out extra insulin. They don’t
develop Type 2 diabetes. They develop other metabolic diseases like
cancers, cardiovascular that leads to heart attacks, stroke, kidney
Well, you know where this story goes. Unless Jane changes her lifestyle with
more physical activity, improved nutrition, and medication, her diabetes
complications worsen. All because different parts of her body try to carry out their mission of protection.
What do you think? Creative thinking resulting from hard core research.