Diabetes Part 2

The 2 types of diabetes are:

Type 1 Diabetes is an insulin dependent diabetes, and it is an autoimmune disease. That means that the body’s immune system attacks normal working cells and tissues.

In T1D the body attacks its insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. When the number of beta cells diminishes to a certain level, the body is unable to produce enough insulin to control blood glucose therefore blood glucose rises, hyperglycemia develops and diabetes is the result.

People with T1D struggle to regulate blood glucose levels. When a person with T1D continues to eat, especially food containing carbs, blood sugar levels rise uncontrollably in the blood and urine. Consequently, the cells of the body are deprived of their primary fuel source – glucose. To compensate for the lack of glucose inside cells, the body resorts to creating energy from amino acids and fat.  Even though glucose is elevated, it cannot get into cells due to a lack of insulin. Consequently, the cells are starved of their primary fuel source and must resort to other measure for fuel.

Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes today and typically indicates 2 key problems:

  • Insulin resistance: the muscle, liver and fat cells do not use insulin properly
  • Reduced insulin production: glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine and is excreted out of the body, never fulfilling its role as a body’s main source of fuel.

Other diabetic hormones worth knowing about

GLP – 1 (Glucagon-like peptide 1) and GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) are a group of hormones released from the gut. They stimulate insulin secretion while decrease the production of glucagon. GLP-1 also slows down the rate at which the stomach empties, and also signals the brain to make us feel full or satisfied.

Amylin: it is produced alongside insulin and has a similar effect to GLP -1. It reduces glucagon levels and also reduces the liver’s ability to produce glucose and decreases appetite. In T1D with absent or malfunctioning beta cells the hormones insulin, amylin and GLP-1 cannot work properly. It is available as medication.

Cortisol: the stress hormone. A life-sustaining steroid hormone produced in the adrenal glands. It plays a key role in helping stabilise blood glucose levels by stimulating the:

  • Breakdown of stored glucose in the liver
  • Production of glucose from fatty acids
  • Breakdown of protein, often from skeletal muscle

It also serves other roles within the body:

  • Mental clarity
  • Immune responses
  • Anti-inflammatory actions
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart and blood vessel tone and contraction
  • Central nervous system activation

Cortisol levels tend to be their highest first thing in the morning.

Ephinephrine (adrenaline) released from the adrenals and nerve endings works as a counter insulin hormone by stimulating the liver to release glucose via the breakdown of glycogen or glycogenelysis. It also promotes the breakdown of fat cells that make their way to the liver for transformation into glucose and ketones.

Growth hormone is released from the pituitary gland in the brain. It also acts as a stress hormone that raises the concentration of glucose and free fatty acids in the blood. It opposes the action of insulin.









Source: Phil Graham: Diabetic Muscle 

About diabetes – part 1

There are 3 main types of diabetes mellitus:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: results from the pancreas failing to produce enough insulin
  • Type 2 Diabetes: a condition of defective insulin signalling
  • Gestational Diabetes: a condition where women without previously diagnose diabetes exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy.

When insulin isn’t produced or acts ineffectively, glucose remains circulating in the blood, leading to a condition known as hyperglycemia. Long term hyperglycemia can result in the dysfunction and failure of various organs and systems, including the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels.

The key players in diabetes are the pancreas and the liver.

The pancreas is both an endocrine and exocrine gland.

Exocrine means that it’s a gland that release its contents through a tube from inside to outside the body. It helps with digestion by producing important enzymes that break down food, which allows the body to absorb the nutrients.

The endocrine function primarily involves the secretion of the 2 primary hormones relevant to diabetes management: insulin and glucagon.

Insulin increases the storage of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids in cells and tissues and is considered an anabolic hormone. Insulin is a key player in the storage and use of fuels within the body.

Disorders in insulin production and signalling have widespread and devastating effects on the body’s organs and tissues. Glucagon is a peptide hormone produced by alpha cells in the pancreas. The pancreas releases glucagon when blood sugar levels fall too low. It opposes the action of insulin by raising the concentration of glucose in the blood.

Dietary carbs are not essential, however, the body needs glucose. The brain typically needs about 130 gr of glucose every day. Not all glucose has to come from the diet because the liver has the ability to synthesise it.

The liver serves as a warehouse for glucose storage and production. It can also produce fatty acids under certain conditions.

As blood glucose and insulin levels increase, the liver increases its absorption of glucose. Glucose is stored as glycogen. The amount of glycogen stored depends on circulating insulin and glucose levels. When blood glucose levels drop, insulin production falls. The shortage of insulin signals the liver to release its assets by sending glucose back into the blood to keep the body nourished.

When carb intake is restricted, it lowers blood sugar and insulin levels. As insulin levels fall and energy is needed, fatty acids leave their respected fat cells and enter the bloodstream. From here they’re taken up by specific cells and metabolised. Ketone bodies are molecules created in the liver, that are pushed into the blood stream where they’re utilised by skeletal and heart muscles cells as fuel. Also, the brain begins to use ketones as an alternate fuel source when blood levels are high enough to cross the blood-brain barrier. When this happens a person is said to be in nutritional ketosis.

Ketogenic diets are very popular because they suppress insulin and that seems to be very effective in the treatment and management of obesity and T2D. However the severe restriction of carbs (often below 30 gr) may increase the potential for hypoglycaemia of people with T1D.

Lipogenesis is creating fat within the body from glucose or other substrates. It takes place mostly in the liver. Lipogenesis occurs in the liver during times of calorific excess and overfeeding. The liver converts excess glucose to fatty acids. These fatty acids can be stored in the liver or transported via lipoproteins (carriers) to muscle and fat tissue for future fuel use or storage. The ratio that is stored or used is highly dependent on energy intake vs. energy expenditure.

In a healthy liver, insulin halts the production of glucose and instead promotes glycogen storage or generates fatty acids during times of energy excess.

The liver of a person with T1D has no internal break system. Insulin deficiency allows glucose production in the liver to go uncontrolled leading to hyperglycaemia and ketoacidosis if unmanaged. When there’s not enough insulin available, glucose cannot enter the cells for use as energy. Therefore the liver produces even more glucose in an attempt to provide energy for the starved cells, but because insulin is not available, none of this glucose can enter the cells. It builds up and starves the cells even further. Consequently, administration of insulin medication is needed to facilitate the entry of glucose into cells.

Insulin increases glucose uptake in the liver by facilitating the creation of glycogen and decreases glucose output.

Prolonged elevations in insulin that result from an energy surplus increase the body’s ability to produce fat via the process of lipogenesis.


Phil Graham: Diabetic Muscle

About L-Carnitine

Taking L-Carnitine is known to:

  • Improve high-intensity work capacity
  • Increase athletic performance
  • Speed your recovery from intense exercise
  • Make your brain work better

Carnitine is an amino acid composite that is made of lysine and methionine. It is responsible for the transport of fat into the cells to be used for energy, therefore your body becomes more efficient in processing fuel and it will increase your energy levels.

Elevating carnitine will improve physical performance by burning more fat, sparing glycogen, clearing muscle lactate, and optimizing hormone levels.

For Carnitine to be effective, you need to make sure you have enough Omega-3 in your body. Omega-3s increase metabolic rate by increasing cell activity and fat burning. Carnitine is the delivery system for long chain fatty acids therefore the less carnitine you have in your body, the fewer fatty acids get into the cells, and you don’t burn them for energy. Instead they’re stored as fat. By elevating carnitine fat burning increases, you will have more energy and feel more motivated.

Carnitine fights visceral belly fat, that is known to be the toughest fat to loose. Raising your carnitine levels will fight this visceral belly fat gain because it increases fat burning.

Higher muscle carnitine levels help decrease pain, muscle damage and markers of metabolic stress from high intensity exercise by reducing lactic acid production, therefore you can have a greater work production because it will not feel as physically difficult.

Taking carnitine will also support an anabolic response to exercise by up-regulating the androgen receptors, which will speed up your recovery.

Carnitine can help prevent type 2 diabetes because of how it improves fat metabolism. It can counter the diseases of metabolic syndrome by supporting cardiovascular health while inducing fat loss.

My message for beginners

A short video for those of you who contacted me on social media asking me questions about how to lose weight or get bigger.

Why too much sugar is bad in your diet

Added sugars, like high fructose corn syrup and sucrose, contains a lot of calories with no essential nutrients. That’s why they’re called empty calories.

There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals in sugar – only calories.

Sugar is the leading contributor to obesity in both adults and children. People who consume a lot of sugars are more likely to become obese, and this applies to all age groups.

Sugar is very easy to overeat. Some nutrients make us feel fuller for longer, therefore we eat less within a 24 hr period. Protein and fiber are known for their satiating properties, but sugar isn’t. In fact, foods and drinks high in added sugar are extremely easy to over-consume. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the worst because even though they’re high in calories, your brain doesn’t register them like solid food. So you won’t eat less food to compensate for those calories.

Sugar can contribute to insulin resistance, that can cause serious metabolic problems. Insulin is a very important hormone when it comes to weight loss. It allows blood glucose (blood sugar) to enter cells to be utilized for energy. Too much glucose left in the blood can cause complications, like diabetes, kidney damage or blindness.

Insulin resistance is when cells become resistant to insulin which means it stops working as it should. Insulin resistance is believed to be the major cause for metabolic diseases.

Sugar also causes tooth decay. When we eat sugar, the harmful bacteria in the mouth can use it for energy. This allows them to grow, multiply and secrete acids that erode the protective enamel of the teeth. Sugar alcohols are popular alternatives that may help protect the teeth.

What you can do if you would like to lose weight is to cut back on added sugars in your drinks and foods. If you miss the sweet taste, you can use certain natural sweeteners to cure your cravings.


The health benefits of foam rolling

The idea of foam rollers is simple: using your own bodyweight and agility you roll specific muscle groups against a firm foam roller to mimic a deep massage. You can control how much pressure you apply and you can locate and focus on problematic areas.

  • They improve blood circulation throughout your skin, muscles, fascia and even tendons and ligaments.
  • More efficient exchange of nutrients and waste products at a cellular level.
  • Lengthening of short, tight muscles, tendons and ligaments.
  • Better posture, stronger core.

When we experience pain or stiffness around weight-bearing joints (hips, knees and spinal joints) a very effective approach is to increase the blood circulation around the problematic area through deep pressure work and stretches.

Sometimes short and tight muscles and ligaments are the root cause of pain and stiffness in the joints.

Some foam rollers and softer, others harder. However it is always you, who controls the pressure that you put on a certain area.


About refined carbs

Not all carbs are created equal. There are lots of whole foods that are high in carbs but still incredibly healthy and nutritious.

And there are refined or simple carbs, that have most of their nutrients and fibers removed. Eating refined carbs can lead to many illnesses including obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

So what are refined carbs?

There are 2 types of refined carbs:

  • Sugars, like high fructose corn syrup and table sugar
  • Refined grains: grains that have their nutritious and fibrous part removed. The biggest source is white flour made from refined wheat.

Refined carbs have been stripped off most of their fiber and vitamin content therefore they are considered empty calories. They also absorb quickly in the bloodstream, therefore they have a high glycemic index (GI).

Sugars and refined carbs are a very large part of the total carb intake in many countries.

The main sources of refined carbs are: white pasta, white rice, white flour, white bread, pastries, sodas, snacks, sweets, breakfast cereals and added sugars.

Because refined carbs are low in fiber and digested quickly they cause major swings in blood sugar levels. Foods with high GI promote short term fullness, lasting for about an hour. Low GI foods promote long term fullness, lasting for 2-3 hours. Blood sugar levels drop after about 1-2 hrs eating refined carbs. This promotes hunger and stimulates cravings. When you crave food, you’re prone to overeating.

Refined carbs can cause inflammation in the body which could be the primary cause of obesity and leptin resistance.

Studies show that a high consumption of refined carbs is linked with insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels. These are the main symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Refined carbs also increase blood triglyceride levels which is a risk factor for both heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

However not all carb foods are bad. There are many foods that contain healthy carbs because they’re great sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals. These include:

  • oats
  • buckwheat
  • quinoa
  • bananas
  • sweet potatoes
  • beetroot
  • oranges
  • blueberries
  • grapefruits
  • apples


About meal replacement shakes

What are meal replacement shakes/bars?

These are processed, bottled products, that you drink instead of eating one of your main meals. These replacement shakes are often used to increase or reduce caloric intake, get enough vitamins and minerals in a convenient way, reduce the time you spend with eating for those you eat on the go, or for those who lack the appetite to eat enough.

Unfortunately today’s world is far too busy for most people to prepare their foods at home. Most people tend to eat out during the day as that’s the most convenient solution, and some of us take meal replacement shakes and bars with us to work so that we don’t have to eat the junk that surrounds us.

For some people it’s not about the lack of time, but more about some digestive issues (gastritis or Crohn’s disease) that reduces their appetite therefore they can’t eat enough to fuel their bodies. And some of us think that meal replacement shakes are a great way to quick fat loss.

Although they offer convenience, the majority of these meal replacement shakes/bars have some serious drawbacks. Just because they are advertised as being healthy and contains essential vitamins and minerals, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good choice. Some of these meal replacement bars/shakes have many different ingredients that are processed, and over 20 gr of added sugar per bottle.

So why most of these meal replacement shakes/bars are usually not good for you?

  • The vitamins and minerals are synthetic: they are made, not derived from food, making them more difficult to absorb.
  • Too much added sugar: these shakes contain lots of added sugars, sweeteners or a combination of both.
  • Contain multiple artificial ingredients: including refined vegetable oils, shelf stabilizers, thickeners and preservatives, and colour and flavor enhancers.
  • Most are low in protein and fiber: the protein usually comes from conventional dairy or processed protein powders, and these shakes don’t contain any real high-fiber foods therefore they might not make you feel full for long.
  • They can make inflammation and digestion even worse: None of the synthetic products are beneficial for gut health and can lead to inflammation.

Likely they won’t help with weight loss: meal replacement programs for weight loss are neither healthy nor likely to work as a long lasting weight loss/maintenance because they leave you deprived, restricted, low on energy and full of cravings for food you enjoy eating.

For bespoke nutrition and training plans please get in touch hello@tamaramakar.me



About Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the most effective exercise supplements available. It is also very cheap and relatively safe to use.

Studies have shown that caffeine can benefit endurance performance, high-intensity exercise and power sports. However, it seems to benefit trained athletes the most.

Caffeine is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and blood levels peak after 90-100 minutes. Caffeine levels remain high for 3-4 hours, then they drop.

Caffeine affects the nervous system to improve focus and energy while reducing tiredness.

The recommended dose varies by body weight, but is typically about 200–400 mg, taken 30–60 minutes before a workout.

Caffeine is a common ingredients in weight loss supplements. Early research has shown that taking caffeine before exercise increases the release of stored fat by 30% .

Another study found that caffeine supplements significantly increased the release of stored fat before and at the end of a workout.

Caffeine can also increase the amount of fat you burn during exercise. It increases heat production and epinephrine, which helps burn additional calories and fat.

Caffeine can affect cells throughout the body, including muscle cells and the brain. Its effects include:

The nervous system: Caffeine activates areas of the brain and nervous system to improve focus and energy, while reducing tiredness

Hormones: ephineprine(adrenaline) is the hormone responsible for the “fight or flight” response, which can increase performan

Fat burning: Caffeine can increase the body’s ability to burn fat via lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat in fat cells

Endorphins: can increase feelings of wellness, and give you the exercise “high” that people often experience after working out

Muscles: Caffeine may impact the motor cortex, which is a part of the brain that signals muscle activation

Body temperature: Caffeine has been shown to increase thermogenesis, or heat production, which helps you burn more calories

Glycogen: Caffeine may also spare muscle carb stores, primarily due to increased fat burning. This can enhance endurance performance

Caffeine eventually gets broken down in the liver.

The side effects of caffeine:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia or sleep disruption
  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Stomach discomfort
  • High doses of 600 mg have been shown to increase tremors and restlessness, especially for people who are not used to caffeine.

People who are prone to anxiety may also want to avoid high doses.

Additionally, caffeine is not recommended for people who take certain medications, as well as those with a heart condition or high blood pressure.

Timing may also matter, as late-night or evening caffeine can disrupt sleep. Try to avoid caffeine intake after 4 or 5 pm.


How to boost the immune system?

The immune system is an interactive network of organs, cells and proteins that protect the body from viruses and bacteria or any foreign substances. The immune system works to neutralize and remove pathogens like bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi that enter the body, recognize and neutralize harmful substances from the environment, and fight against the body’s own cells that have changes due to an illness.

The cells of the immune system originate in the bone marrow, then migrate to guard the peripheral tissues, circulating in the blood and in the specialized system of vessels called the lymphatic system.

When our immune system is working properly, we don’t even notice it. It’s when the performance of our immune system is compromised that we face illness. Underactivity of the immune system results in severe infections and tumors of immunodeficiency, while overactivity results in allergic and autoimmune diseases.

Give your immune system a boost with these tips:

  • Supplement with echinacea: Research shows that one of the most significant echinacea benefits is its effects when used on recurring infections.
  • Supplement with probiotics: Probiotics are good bacteria that help you digest nutrients that boost the detoxification of your colon and support your immune system.
  • Eat more ginger: It’s believed that ginger helps to break down the accumulation of toxins in our organs due to its warming effects. It’s also known to cleanse the lymphatic system,our network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.
  • Eat more berries: berries are full with antioxidants, that are excellent for promoting healthy immune response.
  • Get more rest: restful sleep is absolutely essential for health and recovery. When you sleep certain protective cytokines in your body increase in levels, and inflammatory cells decline, which means that less sleep could result in a deprived immune system.
  • Have some garlic: it is great to avoid any cold, flu or other viruses. If you don’t like the taste of it, try capsules.
  • Aerobic exercise boosts immune system: people who are fit and active are less likely to suffer from illnesses and the symptoms are less severe.