Thursday, April 18, 2013

Insulin Can Be Deadly for Type 2 Diabetes

 Insulin is an absolute lifesaver in Type 1 Diabetes, where the body doesn't produce enough insulin.

However, I have resisted giving insulin to my Type 2 Diabetic patients because they already make too much insulin.  Elevated insulin levels increases inflammation in the vessels which can cause hypertension and increase heart disease and stroke risk.  It can also cause blood disorders.

When I first started my medical practice over 20 years ago, most doctors were touting the oral medications for Type 2 Diabetes as better than insulin.  Insulin was rarely given unless a patient was completely uncontrolled.  However, over time, many of the oral agents have proven to increase risk of heart disease and other major complications, and we have seen in the last 5 years an increase in the use of insulin for Type 2 Diabetes again.
A new study was released in February 2013 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism following over 84,000 patients over 10 years and the clinical outcomes of their diabetic regimen, which confirms my reservations about using insulin in Diabetes Type 2  (

Compared to using Metformin alone, those using insulin alone had an increased risk of a major cardiac event, cancer, or early death by 80 per cent.  Insulin use nearly doubled heart attack risk, and more than doubled neuropathy risk.

Patients who took metformin and insulin together were also at high risk of suffering a major cardiac event, cancer, or early death.  And those who took sulfonylureas (Glucotrol, glipizide, glyburide, and Glucovance in combination with metformin) also had increased risk of heart disease and death over metformin alone.  This is because sulfonylureas increase insulin levels as well. 

The increase in cardiac events and death rates was independent of the average levels of blood sugars.

The conclusion of the study reads:  "In people with T2DM, exogenous insulin therapy was associated with an increased risk of diabetes-related complications, cancer, and all-cause mortality. Differences in baseline characteristics between treatment groups should be considered when interpreting these results."                    

Most doctors assume that decreasing blood sugar levels is the end point in maintaining health in diabetes.  Flooding the body with more insulin forces blood sugar into the cells and out of the blood stream, so increasing insulin works in the short term.  But the long term effects of excess insulin are not taken into consideration.

When patients come into my office on insulin it is hard to get them off because the body is used to the high levels.  When weaning from the insulin the blood sugar spikes high enough that it scares the patients.  However, if someone is determined to get off the insulin, we use a combination of diet, exercise, metformin, SpringTree Glucose Balance, SpringTree SuperMulti Plus, fish oil and krill oil to get them off. 

The blood sugar may spike in the beginning, but over time it often begins to come down.  The supplements help protect the body from the damaging effects of the high blood sugar, and the insulin levels come down rather than increasing, which protects the body from the inflammatory effects of high insulin.  Most patients feel better, even if their blood sugar readings are a little higher.  I would rather have higher blood sugar readings and protect the vessels through supplements than have higher levels of damaging insulin.

WARNING:  Do not stop insulin if you have Type 1 Diabetes or if your insulin level is proven to be too low.  Insulin is necessary in these situations.  However, if a Type 1 patient follows the typical advice of "eat what you want and cover yourself with insulin," more and more insulin is usually needed over time, which can cause insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes along with Type 1.  Then the problems caused by high levels of insulin can happen in this situation as well.  It is best to eat a diet as that recommended in the free e-book along with exercise to use as little insulin as possible to keep the blood glucose under control.

For a free booklet on diabetes go to

Until we meet again,
Dr. Judi

1 comment:

Denise said...

Thank you Doctor Judi, i am so glad i found your blog thru google.

I am type 2 diabetic on a high dosage (i think) of insulin. I take Lantus 60 and Humalog 30 for breakfast. Humalog 30 for lunch, 60 Humalog for dinner and 60 Lantus for bedtime.

This morning i was mixed up and took the wrong insulin. I took 60 Humalog for breakfast. I realized my mistake and did not take the Lantus. I did not know what to do so i hope what i did do is alright. An hour and a half later, after eating i feel fine. So far so good.

I will be following your blog. Thank you for leaving such good info. I will also post your link to my Diabetes support board, Diabetes Connect.

Looking forward to checking out your links.

Denise in Ontario, Canada