Unlike most hormones whose production rates decrease as we age, insulin levels actually increase in some people as they age. The reason for this is that our body becomes immune to the signals that insulin sends out; therefore, our pancreas sends out more and more insulin to try to keep the blood sugar at normal levels. This process is so common that it has a name: pseudo-diabetes of aging.
This higher level of insulin as we age has several toxic effects:
These side effects can become worse the longer a person’s insulin levels remain high; in fact, the insulin producing cells in the pancreas can be destroyed, causing diabetes.
Because of the dangers involved with high levels of insulin, managing insulin levels is vital to successful aging. A simple way to accomplish this is by keeping a high ratio of lean muscle to fat, especially in the abdomen area. Exercise and a healthy diet are the biggest weapons against the threat of diabetes.
Keeping estrogen, testosterone and growth hormone levels under control is also an effective way to also keep the body’s insulin sensitivity under control; if these hormone levels get too low, they can decrease the body’s ability to “hear” the message insulin is sent to deliver.
Cortisol, which our body creates as a reaction to stress, can also interfere with insulin’s job. For this reason, keeping stress at a minimum will help reduce your risk of diabetes.