The Health Corner Vol. 29 – Effect of Carbs on the Endocrine System

As a rule, we humans tend to be very narrow-minded and biased, shunning anything which might violate that which has been accepted as true.  The whole idea of a high carbohydrate/low fat diet is a good example of this.  For over 50 years this diet has been promoted as healthy, and as a result, there is a tremendous reluctance to accept any other thinking on the matter.  So when someone comes along and says the exact opposite … that fat is good and carbs are bad … they are automatically considered wrong-headed.

This kind of thinking really stunts the development and growth of new and better ideas … all because of the prejudice already existent in the scientific and medical communities.  Many credible studies have been done on diet that espouse the low carb/high fat diet as the most beneficial diet program to human health.  But, instead of the powers that be studying these with an open mind, the data has been twisted and made to support the high carb/low fat hypothesis.  In fact, often data which shows the high carbohydrate diet to be unsound in theory is ignored or ‘swept under the rug’ completely. And the public is left with faulty analysis and outright lies to guide it in its dietary decisions.

The work of Kilmer McCully, MD., who found the marker of homocysteine to be a much more reliable marker over cholesterol in determining heart health, showed the credibility of the low carb/high fat diet.  His work is finally being given some attention after being ignored for over thirty years.  He found that low levels of B6, folic acid, and B12 cause a rise in homocysteine levels which are directly related to heart health.  Interestingly enough, these three substances are found in meats, which when eaten in a high fat/low carb diet will effectively reduce homocysteine levels and thus lower cardiovascular risk.

One of the things that has been revealed regarding high carbohydrate diets is the relationship to high blood sugar, which is called hyperglycemia.  As a result of high blood sugar one is faced with hyperinsulinism, which is high blood insulin levels. High insulin levels result in hypertriglyrceridemia, which is high triglyceride (fat) levels in the blood, and hypercholesterolemia, which is high cholesterol levels in the blood.

These four syndromes are all related to a high sugar intake in the diet and not a high fat intake as has been commonly asserted. What causes this is the body’s natural proclivity toward maintaining a balance. When we look at metabolism, which is simply the sum total of all the body functions that occur, it should be balanced between the building up side and the tearing down side. The body
completely regenerates every 7 years, with bone taking the longest time to do so.  (The mucosal cells of the mouth and gut regenerate completely every three to four days.)  This happens as a result of an anabolic (building) process, balanced with the catabolic (destructive) breakdown or energy producing process.

So, what happens with a high carbohydrate diet is the anabolic (building) side becomes overloaded because insulin is an anabolic hormone.  That means it tends to foster the storage of fat in the body or the building of body tissues through the deposition of triglycerides into the fat cells.  The body must react against this in order to re-establish its balance by either reducing the other anabolic hormones (growth hormone and/or the sex hormones) and/or increasing the catabolic hormones (T3 and t4, and/or the corticosteroids).   In order to counteract the high levels of insulin, the anabolic hormones, such as the sex hormones and growth hormone, must be either suppressed and/or the catabolic hormones, the thyroid-stimulating hormones (T3 and t4 and the corticosteroids) have to be increased.  This shift in hormone levels must occur in order to try to maintain a metabolic balance between the catabolic and anabolic sides, much like a see-saw tries to maintain a balance.  This causes a stressed endocrine condition which over time becomes too much for the endocrine system to handle, thus breaking it down.  And this results in the body being out of balance.  The endocrine system tries to maintain this balance and symptoms directly related to the body’s struggle result.  I have seen it time and time again; patients on high carb diets who have eaten that way for a long time, very often have stressed endocrine symptoms. I have further found that it is the female patients who suffer most from this issue, and it is directly related to their monthly cycle, as I discussed in the previous article.

The fact is endocrine dysfunction is so prevalent in this country largely because of the high carbohydrate diet.  At Milford Chiropractic Clinic, a large part of what we do is diet counseling, in which we directly address the benefits of a low carb/high fat diet. I hope one day soon, you will avail yourself of this valuable service.

Until then, here’s to your good health.

Dr. Jon R. Link