Best Fasting Insulin Level
We have all heard of and probably been tested for fasting blood glucose. But unless you are diabetic, you may not have heard of or been tested for your fasting insulin level. So what is the best fasting insulin level, why is it important and how can you achieve it?
We have been listening to the expert speakers on the Autoimmune Revolution summit, which finished a week ago, and have learned a lot of new information from these cutting edge doctors one of whom was Dr Brian Mowll.
Sugar is the enemy of good health
When asked to give their main recommendations on reducing and/or avoiding autoimmune diseases, every single one of these experts included in their recommendations that it was vital to reduce the amount of sugar consumed from all sources – this will lead to the best fasting insulin level. Consuming more sugar (aka glucose and fructose) than is necessary for our basic energy requirements is inflammatory in our bodies.
Our immune system does not want to allow this inflammation to continue so it mounts an immune response in an attempt to reduce the inflammation. At first, and for a long time, this can successfully mask the symptoms, but as the years roll by the hard working immune system, which has been on red alert for such a long time, begins to break down and starts to attack cells it should be protecting i.e. an autoimmune disease has started. Obviously, sugar induced inflammation is not going to produce the best fasting insulin level for us and its excess consumption is a major driver of autoimmune disease.
Admittedly, this is a very simplistic explanation, but you will get the general idea of what is going wrong with our bodies when this happens. How autoimmune disease will present itself depends on any genetic weaknesses that you may have inherited together with your lifestyle and dietary choices. This is why there are so many different expressions of autoimmune disease. Yet many of the factors triggering it are the same, and sugar ranks very highly as a trigger.
What is the best fasting insulin level?
Insulin is produced in the pancreas in proportion to the amount of glucose we have consumed. Its purpose is to act as a key to unlock the glucose receptors that are on the outside wall or membrane of every cell. Without insulin, glucose that is required for energy cannot enter a cell and remains in the blood stream, which is why your blood glucose (or sugar) level spikes after a meal as the body tries to create enough insulin to usher the glucose into cells.
Type 2 diabetics have exhausted their body’s ability to produce sufficient insulin and must rely on medications to do this for them or they can reverse this condition with dietary and lifestyle changes. See Diabetes for more on this.
Dr. Brian Mowll, an expert on treating diabetes, believes that the best fasting insulin level should be in the range 2.5 – 5 mcU/ml (micro units per millilitre). Being too low is not good as that could mean that you are developing Type 1 diabetes, which is also an autoimmune disease, and is when you produce no insulin.
He believes a reading between 5 – 10 means you are at risk of being pre-diabetic and between 10 – 20 you are probably pre-diabetic. Conventional medical authorities set much higher limits and the accepted norm is that normal fasting insulin should be less than 25 mcU/ml . This is a long way off the best fasting insulin level of 5 or less that Dr Mowll and other cutting edge doctors advocate.
Why is your fasting insulin level important?
OK, so you may not be pre-diabetic or diabetic or have metabolic syndrome, so why is it important to know what the best fasting insulin level is that you should be aiming for?
If we tell you that it is a marker for your risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or dementia, would that grab your attention?
In Prevent Type 3 Diabetes we explained the link between AD, dementia, and insulin resistance in brain cells. You might be thinking how does this apply to you or a family member, if considered to be otherwise healthy or in the “normal” range for fasting blood sugar level?
The cruncher here is that Dr Mowll says that in his practise he has encountered many patients who have developed insulin resistance in the brain and yet had no signs of pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. In other words, to all intents and purposes they could be considered healthy and yet type 3 diabetes was about to rear its ugly head.
The simplest way to find out if you might be at risk is the fasting insulin blood level test. If this gives a reading of more that the best fasting insulin level of 5 or less mcU/ml advocated by Dr Mowll and others, then you have more insulin in your system and, if your blood sugar levels are normal, this could be an indication that you are developing insulin resistance in the brain ie type 3 diabetes.
How to achieve the best fasting insulin level?
In What is the Best Fasting Blood Sugar Level, we showed you that being at the high end of the so-called normal range resulted in up to 10% loss of brain volume in 4 years together with cognitive decline. So, you might say,
There is the normal range, and there is being safe and healthy within the normal range.
The same very much applies to the results for fasting insulin. If you are told you are in the normal range, find out exactly what your figure is. As you now know, the best fasting insulin level is 5 or less mcU/ml. The devil is in the detail. Being told you are in the normal range simply does not cut it.
If you have read recent blogs, the advice on how to reduce your fasting insulin level to this “brain health” safe level will come as no surprise.
Reduce your sugar consumption from all sources.
Boring, killjoy advice – we know, as we all love our sugar hits. But necessary, if we are to age well with our brains and memories intact.
The foods in the photo collage above give you some clue as to what you should be including in your diet. More on this in future posts.
The rule of 5s
It is an interesting coincidence that for both fasting blood glucose and insulin levels the number to be aiming for is 5 or less. The best fasting blood glucose level is less than 5 mmol/l and the best fasting insulin level is less than 5 mcU/ml.
So the next time you have any blood tests done ask your doctor to run a fasting insulin test as well as the standard tests and get the exact insulin figure. This will give you a heads up as to whether you are minimising your sugar intact or whether some dietary changes might be in order to prevent long term damage to the brain.
Please leave feedback if you have had this insulin test and what you were told about the result.
In search of optimal brain health, Edith and Tim at CoolWellbeing Foundation
Related articles you might like
- Prevent Type 3 Diabetes
- What is the Best Fasting Blood Sugar Level
- How to Prevent Cognitive Decline
- How Much Sugar Do You Consume A Day?
- The Daily Sugar and Toxic Nightmare