Diabetes, Insulin, and Core Body Temperature

Diabetes can be seen in part as the body’s responses to a chronic low metabolic temperature condition. An article from November, 2009, in Science Daily online, called, Insulin Linked to Core Body Temperature, describes the research of a team of scientists led by the Scripps Research Institute who discovered, a direct link between insulin … and core body temperature.”

Insulin in the Brain and Core Body Temperature

The scientists were investigating ‘warm-sensitive neurons’ in an area of the brain “known to regulate core body temperature.” They had learned that these neurons have an insulin receptor, and they found that when injecting this area of the brain in rodents with insulin, “core body temperature rose, metabolism increased, and brown adipose (fat) tissue was activated to release heat.” So the insulin was causing a rise in body temperature.

Insulin, as it turns out, is part of the body’s thermostat. With regard to metabolism the body increases insulin levels as part of its effort to trigger a rise in core body temperature when that temperature is too low. The article explains that the body needs to maintain its temperature hot enough that, “key enzymatic reactions can occur.”

Insulin Body Temperature and Fat

The scientists inferred from their study that, “differences in core temperature may play a role in obesity and may represent a therapeutic area,” to help manage fatty tissues. They are not alone in this inference. Proponents of thermal therapy would say that abdominal weight gain can be caused by the body’s effort to insulate itself with white fat cells when core body temperature is chronically too low. Rather than turning to drugs, however, a thermal therapy proposes to heat the abdomen by external means (usually using far infrared energy), and/or by a diet of heat-inducing foods and hydrating water.

Hypothesizing that insulin was acting in the regulation of core body temperature because of its presence in warm-sensitive neurons, the scientists set out to investigate, … (and discovered) that insulin was potent in reducing the neurons’ firing rate.” This was important, because warm-sensitive neurons signal body temperature by firing more frequently when temperature rises and more slowly when it falls. When insulin slows the firing rate this has the effect of telling the body that it is cold. Thus elevated insulin would serve as a request to the core metabolism for more heat. This is what the scientists thought. “The scientists suspected that insulin in the brain might be intended to trigger the warming of the body through a specific pathway involving signals that traveled from the brain’s preoptic area, down the spinal cord, to neurons that direct brown adipose tissue to (burn) to produce heat.” And their experiments confirmed this!

So insulin is part of the body’s attempt to heat itself up. “Brown adipose tissue, also known as brown fat, is distinct from white fat in that it burns calories rather than storing them.” Stored white fat around the abdomen serves to insulate and preserve its heat, while brown fat burning in the abdomen serves to warm it like a fire in the hearth. Insulin, when it passes through the brain serves to trigger the burning of brown fat in order to raise core body temperature.

From Insulin Linked to Core Body Temperature 11/20/2009, Science News

Diabetes and Body Temperature

So what does this say about diabetes and body temperature? If insulin is intended to raise body temperature, then the elevated insulin of the type 2 diabetic would cause their core body temperature to be too hot, not too cold! Yet low temperature syndrome is considered to be a precursor of diabetes and a condition associated with it. (Be aware, if you follow that link, that it mixes good information with bad and part of the time has the cart pulling the horse.) So in the diabetic, something in this pathway has broken down.

My surmise is that two factors are in play in the thermal aspect of diabetes. I suppose first that a chronic condition of high insulin burns out the circuits that are intended to trigger the burning of brown fat; so in a diabetic condition, even though insulin is present, it fails to slow the firing of the neurons that normally do this and the body remains too cold. But what started this condition of high insulin in the first place? This may have been caused by carbohydrate metabolism.

Diabetes Carbohydrates, Fat, and Digestion

Dr. Bruce West, who has helped thousands of people with diabetes and many other illnesses, has written a newsletter, called Health Alert, for many years. In Volume 30, Issue 6, he writes about diabetes. He does not focus on the question of temperature, but says that sugars and carbohydrates are fast-absorbing and therefore cause insulin to rise. He says the elevated insulin reduces the action of the hormones needed for the production and burning of brown fat cells, prompting the body to burn carbohydrates and muscle for energy while storing fat in white fat cells. So there it is again: insulin causing fat.

What is going on here? It seems that sugar/carbohydrate calories load into the bloodstream too fast for the body to use it all and so the body is instructed to burn it as a fuel source rather than fats. What is not required for immediate energy is being converted to white fat cells as storage for later use. Since part of the mechanism used to reduce blood sugar is secretion of insulin, a diet consistently high in carbohydrates and low in fats would cause a chronic elevated insulin condition. Once this burns out the insulin response circuits in the brain, the metabolism becomes chronically sluggish and the abdomen too cold to support proper digestion. This would set off a chain reaction of increasing problems.

Digestion is critical to health, and the body knows it. For one thing a certain level of heat is needed to support the dominance of good gut bacteria over bad; and for another, enzymes required in digestion and metabolism (i.e., for life) fail to function at too low a temperature.

Insulin remains present, in part to request the higher body temperature and in part to convert excess blood glucose into white fat cells and insulate and conserve body temperature. As this becomes a chronic condition the heat-triggering pathway in the brain may burn out and the secondary effort to preserve core temperature by insulation come to dominate.

Diets for Diabetes

 According to Dr. West (Health Alert, Vol. 30, Issue 6), your only (dietary) way out of this mess is to tell the so-called low-fat experts, the food industry leaders, and your government to stuff it. Of course, sugars and carbohydrates are known to cause this rise in blood insulin levels; so they should be avoided. But you need to throw out all the low-fat, low-cholesterol, heart-healthy processed and fast foods. And when you stop all the grains, pastas, cereals, breads, sweets, soda (including zero-sugar sodas) and you begin eating real foods like lean meat, eggs, fish, dairy, fowl, vegetables, stews, and the lake, a miracle happens. Your insulin levels drop, which will cause your fat burning hormone levels to rise, which will cause you to once again burn fat for energy, which will make you lose weight and get healthier.

The vicious cycle ends, and a virtuous cycle begins.

Since this healthier condition is brought about partly by a higher core body temperature, what else can we do to raise it? Besides healthy oils and fats, other foods that promote adequate body heat could be eaten, possibly with the addition of some thermogenic herbs (cayenne pepper comes to mind), while avoiding foods that do not promote body heat (one to avoid in any event is the dwarf mutation today grown and sold as “wheat”).  Additionally, cardiovascular workouts would be appropriate; and evidence suggests that application of far infrared energy is also effective.

Water and Diabetes!

But another pathway exists, and that is proper hydration of the body. Dr. Corinne Allen, who has worked with brain damaged patients for over 30 years, in her presentation Your Brain on Water, explains that people are chronically dehydrated. The brain absolutely requires water to function, and she says that even mild dehydration can slow metabolism as much as a 3%. This seems that it must involve the neural thermostat system, and would lead to a lowered body temperature. In order to restore brain function generally, Dr. Allen strongly recommends consuming hydrated water. If one wanted to restore their brain’s thermostat to proper function, likewise, drinking hydrated water would seem indicated.

Most water is very poorly hydrated. That is why when one tries to drink, say, three quarts a day the stomach fills uncomfortably and it becomes a chore. The body is not taking the water in. In fact, if you have never liked water, its poor quality (even bottled, even filtered, even alkaline) is the probable reason why. Drinking well hydrated water is completely different, is well absorbed, does not stay in the stomach, and is easy pleasant to drink. To learn more, see testimonies, see demonstrations, read about the research and the science, visit my Water! page.

The above is not health advice. It is presented as opinion and information.

Copyright Al Dietrich, 7/1/2013, revised 8/13/2016

For an article by a professional, visit Low Body Temperature Symptoms and Causes – and How to Treat It


5 Responses to Diabetes, Insulin, and Core Body Temperature

  1. da1616y says:

    I like the great detail that you have put into this. New information that I previously was not aware of, though I never fully searched it. I am taking as little insulin as possible, but within the safety lines. So when needed I take, but you can limit your amount or not take it at all if you exercise. When I beans, water and fruit salad I will walk or run afterwards. Healthy alternative/

  2. da1616y says:

    When I say not take it, I mean to still take it, but not as much or often. correction.

  3. Gary says:

    Very interesting article. Its also interesting to note that Broda Barnes said that Diabetes was related to Hypothyroidism – And of course, Hypothyroidism is denoted by a low basal body temperature, fitting in exactly with your article above.

  4. Pingback: Diabetis, Insulin and Core Temperature | tfgbracelet

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