Even though the blood sugar of most people with insulin resistance may be within the normal range, their health is still in jeopardy, because insulin resistance itself is a potential killer. The key reason: one of insulin's functions is to control the release of free fatty acids from your tissues into your bloodstream … with the result that, when your body doesn't respond properly to insulin, your plasma levels of free fatty acids rise higher 13 High free fatty acids keep your blood vessels squeezed up tight by interfering with the action of nitric oxide, the molecule that helps your blood vessels to relax 14 as a result, their high free fatty acids cause insulin resistant people to have high blood pressure.
High levels of free fatty acids from insulin resistance also create a distinct and deadly cholesterol pattern. Through a complex series of interactions, 13 high free fatty acid levels cause people with insulin resistance to have low levels of HDL cholesterol (HDL is the "good" cholesterol: think "H" for "healthy") and high blood fats (triglycerides). And while they may have perfectly normal total levels of LDL cholesterol (think "L" for "Lethal" - the "bad" cholesterol), people with insulin resistance end up with a greater proportion of their LDL in the especially deadly form of small, dense LDL particles. "Many experts believe that syndromes characterized by small, dense LDL are, in aggregate, the most common recognized cause of coronary artery disease [our emphasis]."
So it's no surprise that a recent study 15 found that how insulin resistant you are is a powerful predictor of your odds of cardiovascular disease. When a group of otherwise healthy people of normal weight were tested for insulin resistance, the most insulin-resistant third of people were seven times as likely to develop cardiovascular disease, and over twice as likely to develop hypertension plus cardiovascular disease, over the next five years, as compared to the third of people with only moderate insulin resistance. And the least insulin-resistant folks? Not one of the third of individuals whose bodies were the most responsive to the insulin signal developed cardiovascular disease over the course of the study!
A similar increase in risk of cardiovascular disease is seen when you look directly at free fatty acid levels themselves; 14 and just as alarmingly, a recent study 16 found that healthy, middle-aged men who did not have heart disease were 70% more at risk of sudden death if their free fatty acids were in the highest fifth, as compared with the men with the lowest levels.
So what does all of this have to do with lipoic acid?
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