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Your pancreas is a hard-working organ.
After a meal, your blood glucose — or blood sugar — levels rise, and your pancreas responds by producing insulin.
Insulin helps glucose gain entry into your cells where it’s used as the body’s main source of energy. This also helps the blood sugar levels in your bloodstream normalize. Some is also stored in the liver to be released into the bloodstream between meals.
But when your diet is too heavy on carbs, sugars and processed foods, your pancreas begins overproducing insulin trying to play catchup. The cells become resistant to the onslaught of insulin and don’t respond properly.
That’s how type 2 diabetes develops.
But your pancreas also takes a beating in this process.
And a recent study has found how that beating, along with the development of type 2 diabetes, can lead to something deadly…
A recipe for pancreatic cancer: Obesity + diabetes
The University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine has revealed a direct link between high insulin levels and pancreatic cancer.
To understand the deadly seriousness of this link, you first need to understand how quickly the number of people with obesity and diabetes is growing…
- The World Obesity Foundation predicts an increase in adult obesity from 38 percent of the world’s population in 2020 to over 50 percent by 2035.
- A 2021 report from the International Diabetes Federation projected that by 2045, one in 8 adults, or about 783 million people, will be living with diabetes — an increase of 46 percent.
- And by 2030, PDAC (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, with a five-year survival rate of less than ten percent) is expected to become the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
And it’s no accident that all three are rising together…
How high insulin levels lead to pancreatic cancer
Research from the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine reveals a direct link between high insulin levels — common among people with obesity and type 2 diabetes — and pancreatic cancer.
The research demonstrates that cells known as pancreatic acinar cells, which produce digestive enzymes that break down fat-rich foods, can be overstimulated by too much insulin, leading to inflammation and the conversion of acinar cells into pre-cancerous cells.
“We found that hyperinsulinemia directly contributes to pancreatic cancer initiation through insulin receptors in acinar cells,” says Dr. Anni Zhang, the study’s first author.
“The mechanism involves increased production of digestive enzymes, leading to heightened pancreatic inflammation.”
The bottom line: excessive insulin levels, resulting from obesity and type 2 diabetes overstimulates pancreatic acinar cells, making them ripe for cancer.
Throw a kink in the cancer equation
For anyone living with obesity and diabetes, taking steps to avoid a pancreatic cancer diagnosis could seem insurmountable. But break down a few knowns, and the steps can be quite simple.
For off, you know we have to talk about diet…
“The Western diet was developed and promoted by companies who want us to eat their food, so they make it hyper-palatable, meaning it hits all our buttons so we overconsume,” says Dr. Carol A. Shively, professor of pathology at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
But a Mediterranean-style diet that emphasizes whole grains, fruits and green vegetables, olive oil and oily fish has been proven to make it easier to eat fewer calories and maintain less body weight and body fat — without feeling deprived. It also scores points for lowering blood sugar and being considered easy to stick to.
The next steps involve must-have nutrients…
Let’s start with vitamin D. This common vitamin, once thought to only be an immune system-booster has not only been shown to help the body respond better to insulin but also helped obese patients achieve lower insulin levels and better glucose control. But be sure to get enough. Research has found vitamin D is not a “one-size-fits-all vitamin.”
Don’t forget magnesium. Using information from the VITamins and Lifestyle study, researchers analyzed an enormous trove of data on over 66,000 men and women. They found that every 100-milligrams-per-day decrease in magnesium intake was associated with a 24 percent increase in the occurrence of pancreatic cancer.
Consider a good multivitamin. Another study found people whose intake of vitamins C and E and selenium was in the top 25 percent of consumption were 67 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those who were in the bottom 25 percent.
Editor’s note: Are you feeling unusually tired? You may think this is normal aging, but the problem could be your master hormone. When it’s not working, your risk of age-related diseases skyrockets. To reset what many call “the trigger for all disease” and live better, longer, click here to discover The Insulin Factor: How to Repair Your Body’s Master Controller and Conquer Chronic Disease!
High insulin levels directly linked to pancreatic cancer — Science Daily
Diabetes facts and figures show the growing global burden for individuals, families, and countries. — International Diabetes Federation
Study: Mediterranean diet deters overeating —Eureka Alert