Today we're going to discuss a specific hormone that has an enormous impact on weight management and overall health. This hormone is so vitally important, that mountains of articles, books and medical references pay reverence to it. What is this amazing hormone, you ask? It's the all-powerful INSULIN. Today, we are going to discuss what it is, what it does, and how to help control it. Let's get started.

Many of you have heard the word insulin in association with Diabetes. Well, that's a small part of the insulin story. First, what is insulin, and what does it do?

Insulin is a hormone produced and released into the blood by the pancreas. It affects most of the cells in the body. Insulin's main job is to regulate blood sugar, however it does so much more. Insulin also controls the storage of fat, directs the flow of amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates to the tissues. It regulates the liver's synthesis of cholesterol and functions as a growth hormone. Further, it is involved in appetite control and drives the kidneys to retain fluid. As you can see, insulin is vital to many of our daily metabolic functions.

When you eat carbohydrates, which are basically sugar, the blood's sugar level (glucose) rises. The pancreas releases insulin. Insulin stimulates the liver, muscles, and fat cells to remove glucose from the blood and to store it.

When we discuss a specific form of diabetes, we are talking about a disease that encompasses the inefficient use of insulin. When cells become resistant to insulin, the receptors on their surfaces designed to respond to insulin have begun to malfunction. Thus, the receptors require more insulin to make them work properly in removing sugar from the blood. Now what happens is, the person that once needed a little insulin to regulate their blood sugar, now requires a continuous amount to help them regulate it and keep it within normal ranges. These elevated insulin levels lead to high blood pressure, cholesterol elevation, diabetes, and excess weight in midlife.

Remember when I told you that Insulin also controls the storage of fat and is involved in appetite control as well as fluid retention? Well, you can see why many diabetics have a hard time maintaining their weight. You must understand, however, that excess insulin not only affects the diabetic, but the average man or woman, also. Furthermore, in the average man or woman, excess insulin can lead to diabetes and the aforementioned health concerns.

There are several ways to help control the production of insulin in the body. The most important is diet. Watch the number of simple carbohydrates that you intake. Examples of simple carbohydrates include table or refined sugars, fruits, candy, soda pops, etc. Try to eat more proteins, fiber, and complex carbohydrates (in moderation).

The second way to improve your use of insulin is through exercise. Try to get on some type of exercise program. You can even try walking and calisthenics three to five times per week. Both of these things will help you to control that all-powerful hormone, INSULIN.

Hopefully, this information will shed some light on an important hormone that many people are mis-informed about, and lead to a much healthier life. Well guys and gals, that's the scoop from Semper Fitness this week. Stay pumped, stay motivated and OO-RAH!

Semper Fidelis!