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Thursday
Feb072013

Binge drinking leads to type 2 diabetes, no seriously.

By Brooke Napier

Simple, new evidence provided by Claudia Lindter, et al. in Science Translational Medicine says: Binge drinking leads to type 2 diabetes.

This picture was labeled, "Binge drinking consequences"... I figured this caught the magnitude of my point.Is this one of those correlations that we all kind of figured happened, but no one has described yet? For me it wasn’t. I had never made the connection between binge drinking (>4 drinks/2 hrs for men, >3 drinks/2 hrs for women) and type 2 diabetes, however this correlation has been known for quite some time now… but why?

First, does binge drinking just cause the person to get loosey-goosey with their food preferences due to alterations in central reward pathways? I know that when I was in college I rarely ate McDonald’s sober.

OR is this epidemiological association due to binge drinking inducing insulin resistance?

Let’s slow down here for a second…

Brief (but necessary) background on insulin:

Insulin stimulates glucose uptake and utilization in muscle and fat while suppressing glucose production (carbohydrate) in the liver and stopping utilization of fat as an energy source.

Watch this video to learn a little more about the basics...

Without insulin the body cannot control glucose levels in the blood (type 1 and type 2 diabetes). Additionally, insulin controls autonomic nervous system (or the involuntary nervous system, which affects heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, salivation, perspiration, urination, sexual arousal) signaling to the liver and fatty tissue through the central nervous system - therefore restraining glucose production and fatty acid release.

So the brain and insulin are related?

Indeed! Insulin acts as a signal in the hypothalamus to stop glucose production and breakdown of fatty acids, or your love handles. It does this because you ate another bag of Skittles and now you have free energy, why make more or use your fat storage (see: beer gut)?

There’s been genetic manipulation of mice that show impaired insulin signaling in the hypothalamus can lead to systemic insulin resistance = diabetes! Meaning manipulation of the brain can lead to diabetes, das crazy yo.

Ok, so back to the story now…

How is this related to binge-drinkers?

Well, it has already been found that binge drinking is related to type 2 diabetes… but there is also previous data that shows that alcohol INCREASES insulin receptor signaling… that means that the alcohol isn’t affecting insulin-related signaling in the liver, then WTF is it affecting?

The Magic Brain! Dun Dun DUNN

Claudia Lindter, et al. found that over-consumption of alcohol in rats leads to impaired hypothalamic insulin action, thus impairing glucose production and fatty acid break-down.

There were two major findings:

1)   Impaired insulin action in fatty tissue increases fatty acid and glycerol flux in the liver = negatively feeds back on insulin action by increasing the supply of sugar substrates, pretty much making insulin really inefficient = insulin resistance.

 

2)   Hypothalamic insulin action were reduced = brain not responding very well to sugars & fats = insulin resistance.

Neurotoxic effects of alcohol have been reported extensively in the last few decades, however this is a new level of alcohol’s neural control of the body.

Unfortunately, these data make a lot of sense when I think about the people I know with type 2 diabetes…

 

ResearchBlogging.org Lindtner, C., Scherer, T., Zielinski, E., Filatova, N., Fasshauer, M., Tonks, N., Puchowicz, M., & Buettner, C. (2013). Binge Drinking Induces Whole-Body Insulin Resistance by Impairing Hypothalamic Insulin Action Science Translational Medicine, 5 (170), 170-170 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3005123

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Reader Comments (1)

It is so important to recognize that the decisions we make in our diet can affect our long-term health. A bit of fun for a moment could mean a lifetime of difficulty. Great article. We must make people aware of the dangers of poor choices. Dr J Malay

March 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDr. J Malay

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