What Is Insulin Resistance? A Simple Explanation
Majid Ali, M.D.
Insulin resistance is a state in which cells in the various organs of the body do not respond to actions of insulin in the blood. Insulin sends signals to the cells not only for cellular energy generation and utilization but for many other functions. This is called insulin signaling. Insulin resistance then can be seen as failures of the cells to receive and respond to insulin signals. How does that happen?
In 2000, to explain the primary metabolic signals of insulin hormone to cells, I proposed a crank-crank-shaft analogy in insulin is visualized as a crank—a device that transmits rotary motion—and the insulin receptor protein as a crank-shaft embedded in the cell membrane.
The cell membranes become resistant to insulin when they become chemicalized—plasticized, so to speak, by toxicities of foods, environment, and thoughts (disappointments, chronic anger, and mental health issues) —and hardened. Cell membrane plasticization immobilizes insulin receptors embedded in the membranes. The insulin receptor is a protein that criss-crosses the cell membrane like a cord. One of the consequences of grease buildup on cell membranes is that insulin receptor becomes turned and twisted, literally and figuratively. In a previous paper, I offered the analogy of a crank and a crank-shaft to explain insulin resistance. I visualize insulin as a crank—a device that transmits rotary motion—and the insulin receptor protein as a crank-shaft embedded in the cell membrane.
The insulin resistance can then be visualized as rusting of crank-shaft of long insulin receptor protein which in health criss-crosses the cell membrane. In insulin resistance, the cell membranes is hardened and the insulin crank cannot turn the crankshaft of the insulin receptor protein.
How does the cell membrane get hardened and resistant to the action of insulin? We can again visualize how toxicitites of food, environment, and thought (anger, rage, anxity) blead to building of cellular grease on not only the cell membranes but also matrix between cells and mitochondria within the cells. Cellular grease builds when the oxygen conditions in the body are disturbed. The pancreas then tries to compensate for it by over-producing insulin. The greater the production of insulin, the thicker the grease buildup and deeper the problem of insulin resistance.
My Oxygen Model of Insulin Resistance is an extension of my Oxygen Model of Health and Disease. It is a unifying model that explains all aspects of insulin resistance—causes, clinical course, consequences, and control—on the basis of disturbed oxygen function. The most important among these compromised and/or blocked functions are: (1) oxygen signaling; (2) oxygen’s ATP energy generation; (3) oxygen’s detergent functions; (4) oxygen’s cellular detox functions; (5) oxygen-regulated cell membrane and matrix functions; (6) oxygen’s cellular repair roles.
The Oxygen Model of Insulin Resistance provides a simple model that allows physicians to reduce complexities of diverse clinical syndromes into a workable simplicity. This model predicts that ongoing research will reveal that components of acidosis (excess acidity), oxidosis (increased oxidative stress), and CUD (clotting-unclotting dysequilibrium) will be found to play important roles in the pathology and clinical features of insulin resistance.
Crucial Significance of the Unifying Oxygen Model of Insulin Resistance
This simple model has strong explanatory power for the following:
* Explains the scientific basis of insulin resistance in the body;
* Sheds light how altered insulin functions can be restored by addressing all oxygen-related issues;
* Elucidates how toxicities of foods, environments, and thoughts cause buildup of cellular grease on cell membrane and lead to insulin resistance; and
* Reveals the mechanisms by which various detox therapies work in freeing up insulin receptors and restoring insulin function.
It is important to recognize in this context that oxygen is the primal detergent which removes cellular grease and allows cells to breathe freely.