The Heart and Insulin: A Deadly Connection?


Most disease is caused by a cascade of events to which our body adapts and compensates…until it can’t. The end results are dysfunction, disease, or death. Poor nutrition is a catalyst to this cascade.

One of the consequences of consuming sugar, carbohydrates, prepackaged, and/or chemical-laden foods is a spike in blood sugar (glucose). When glucose is elevated, a hormone called insulin is released from the pancreas to help escort sugar into cells to be used for energy.

The problem occurs when glucose spikes then crashes, then spikes then crashes, then spikes…you get the idea. This puts a tremendous amount of stress on the body triggering issues such as inflammation and insulin resistance. That’s right, your cells say enough is enough and are no longer receptive to the process of insulin letting the glucose in.

Welcome to the cascade of insulin resistance: diabetes → heart attack → stroke → and/or cancer, and dementia.

Cardiovascular Impact of Insulin

  • Part of insulin’s job is to tell glucose where to go when cells are full (or resistant). It is a storage hormone that places sugar in muscles, liver, and FAT.
    • Our body is going to access the easiest form of energy first (sugar). That’s one of the reasons it is challenging to lose fat, because we are burning the sugars first.
    • Less sugar = burn fat for fuel = weight loss
      • Less body fat means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard (See the cascade?)
  • Elevated insulin increases the production of cholesterol.
    • There are 2 ways to reduce cholesterol:
      • Reduce insulin levels (#winner- see below on how to do this)
  • Insulin may be attributed to hypertension
    • Without getting too technical, there is a system that is stimulated by elevated insulin which constricts the blood vessels and retains sodium, potentially resulting in high blood pressure.
  • Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB)
    • Elevated insulin appears to have direct effects on atrial muscle tissue leading to fibrosis (thickening of tissue) and abnormal calcium signaling.

How to Keep Your Insulin Levels in Check

  1. Eat the right foods: Low carb/ Paleo.
  2. Get active. Walk, hike, bike, run, and/or swim for better insulin function.
  3. Sunshine during the day and sleep at night. Both help control insulin.
  4. Fasting is one of, if not the most powerful ways to lower insulin. Get support with fasting in our 21 Day Happy Heart Diet.

Tools for Support

  • OptiLipid contains 6 plant-based compounds proven to support insulin and healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Berbe is great for managing diabetes, lowering cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
  • Health Coaches are a valuable resource for your health journey. Here is a free consultation just for you.

Check out my free book The Paleo Cardiologist for more information.


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