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Insulin is bad, bad, bad to the bone, or is it in the right context?

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  • Insulin is bad, bad, bad to the bone, or is it in the right context?

    When we look at a lot of what is considered dogma by certain groups, taking an in-depth approach through biology at times provides a nuanced and sometimes opposite view of what a lot of people believe to be the case. I have already posted such an approach on thinking about ROS (reactive oxygen species), calcium and LDL-C in the past, where a one dimensional view is not sufficient to really understand what is going on and what a person should focus on to stay healthy. I have heard Chris Masterjohn talk about different aspects of insulin on his podcast channel, and this guest podcast wraps several pieces together nicely. If you are still thinking about insulin in a one-dimensional aspect as bad, bad, bad to the bone, listen and learn a bit. The podcast starts with a long discussion on ROS, and if want to get to the glycation discussion go to the 23:24 time hack.

    Here are a few things to consider. I often hear glycation AGEs as one of the primary reasons to keep glucose/insulin low. Would you be surprised to find out that most glycation is due to an aldehyde called methylglyoxal? There is some but relatively minor component of glucose causing glycation which does increase a bit during hyperglycemia, but it is still a minor component. In fact methylglyoxal is formed by both carbohydrate and ketogenic diets. It is a sort of toxic byproduct that needs to be dealt with somehow to remain healthy in the long term. What reduces methylglyoxal? Are you ready for this? It is in fact sufficient insulin. Why is this important beyond glycation? It is important because methylglyoxal detoxification depends on the amount of glutathione produced. Insulin as a signaling agent controls the production of glutathione. That is really important as gluthathione is the master anti-oxidant of the body, and reducing it long-term is likely not a good thing. So some, but not a high amount of insulin prevents both problems of hyperinsulinemia/hyperglycemia while allowing for gluthathione to consistently perform its critical role for health. Chris Masterjohn did his PhD thesis on methylglyoxal, and so he researched it extensively.
    Last edited by Tom; 09-18-2019, 10:20 AM.

  • #2
    Interesting find Tom. I will have to give a listen to this. I have a question for you. If methylglyoxal causes AGE's, would a high methylglyoxal level also cause an elevated A1C level?


    • Tom
      Tom commented
      Editing a comment
      From what I know, the answer is no. From the Wiki page on HbA1c, "HbA1c is a measure of the beta-N-1-deoxy fructosyl component of hemoglobin" which would not be the same. You might picture HbA1c as a slow burning fire kind of reaction with methylglyoxal as a firecracker going off.

      On why a person should care, from the Wiki page on methylglyoxal, "Due to increased blood glucose levels, methylglyoxal has higher concentrations in diabetics and has been linked to arterial atherogenesis. Damage by methylglyoxal to low-density lipoprotein through glycation causes a fourfold increase of atherogenesis in diabetics.[12] Methylglyoxal binds directly to the nerve endings and by that increases the chronic extremity soreness in diabetic neuropathy.
      Last edited by Tom; 09-22-2019, 12:16 AM.