Tired cells don’t hear insulin knocking

fat cell too tired to respond to insulin knocking Tired cells don’t hear insulin knocking Staying up late is a way of life these days.

The trouble with these late night shenanigans, is that they make cells hard of hearing. And not being able to hear the knock-knock of insulin, is the beginning of metabolic troubles.

Late nights lead to insulin resistance

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh looked for signs of insulin resistance in a group of 245 healthy high school students.

Participants were asked to keep a sleep log for the duration of the study, which lasted a week, so that researchers could monitor when the teens, climbed into bed. In addition to the sleep log, the teens also wore a wrist actigraph, which kept tabs on what was happening once they climbed into bed. NB. Being in bed does not always mean you’re actually asleep – the worries of the day, can keep you tossing and turning for hours.

On the final day of the study, the students provided the research team with a fasting blood sample, which was used to assess their insulin sensitivity.

Sleep deprivation causes “deafness”

Surprise, surprise – few of the teens met the official sleep guidelines, which recommend 8-9 hours a night.

On average, the students typically got 6.4 hours a night. Most enjoyed a lie in on Saturday and Sunday, so they got a little more sleep on weekends.

The research team found that those students sleeping for the least amount of time, had the most trouble responding to insulin. This inability to respond to insulin was seen in all students.

Ignoring insulin the beginning of TROUBLE

Insulin is actually a rather bossy hormone.

It’s chief job, is to “handle” the body’s sugar supplies – handling includes making sure all the cells in the body have enough sugar, to meet their immediate needs. Once this has been taken care of, insulin then makes arrangements to store any extra sugar, so that it is available later, when supplies run low. Insulin must also keep the sugar levels from rising too high, because sugar is sticky and abrasive – too much can cause serious damage to the blood vessels.

The whole storage process, depends on cells opening their glucose gates, when the insulin knocks.

If the cells don’t bother responding to insulin, it creates a mini-crisis.

Necessitating the release of more insulin from the pancreas.

More insulin, causes a lot more noise at the glucose gates. The cells finally respond, the glucose gates swing open en masse…………..

Resulting in a dive in blood sugar levels… and a new set of troubles.

Sugar lows and sugar highs

The beginning of metabolic troubles, which give rise to additional health troubles, including

The insulin boomerang, packs on the pounds in the short term and eventually culminates in a diagnosis of diabetes, several decades later, when the pancreas reaches a point where it can no longer pump out enough insulin, to keep the glucose gates swinging open.

Avoid hearing impairments

By getting enough shut eye.

An hour or two extra sleep a night, will not only make you a little bit smarter, it will protect you from a whole lot of metabolic troubles.

Sleep Duration and Insulin Resistance in Healthy Black and White Adolescents. Sleep  (2012) 35(10):1353-8.  KA Matthews, RE Dahl, JF Owens, M Hall. 

Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind metabolic syndrome ?

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Further reading

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Early to bed is the secret to raising a skinny child A sleepless night stirs up insulin resistance in the healthy Don’t let your sugar molecules become couch potatoes

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

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