Nearly 5 decades ago, geneticist James Neel proposed that there is a genetic basis for the increased risk of developing diabetes that is experienced by populations that have more recently become exposed to our modern diet and lifestyle. Since that time, considerable data has been gathered and analyzed to explain this "thrifty gene hypothesis." Simply stated, there seems to be a survival advantage to having physiology that is adapted to storing calories when food is plentiful and utilizing them more slowly when food is scarce. Yet during the last century, our diet and lifestyle has changed so that currently we exercise less and actually have to make an effort to avoid overconsumption. So what once was a survival advantage is now an invitation to hormone imbalance.
Interestingly, studies [g1] of domestication of animals suggest that it takes 12 to 25 generations for a species to adapt from a wild to suburban lifestyle. That's why our dogs and cats are experiencing rising rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease while cows and pigs seem immune to these conditions. So how does this information relate to humans? More importantly, what can we do about it? Take corrective actions.
It is now well established that our modern trends promote "insulin resistance." This hormone imbalance is associated with an elevated risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. In men, it often leads to a low sperm count and failing testosterone production whereas in women it triggers higher testosterone and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)[g2] . The bottom line is that was once a survival advantage for our ancestors is now a fertility challenge for couples today. The simple truth is that a conscious change in food choices will redirect many couples on a path toward better health as well as improving their chance of becoming pregnant.
My colleague, Dr. Ernest Zeringue, has developed a diet [g3] based upon food choices that blunt the insulin response. We have found that when properly instructed, many women with PCOS lose weight easily on this diet while also improving their egg quality and their chances of conception. If you haven't considered a similar intervention to correct your insulin resistance; I'd encourage you to do so.
Although some medications or surgical procedures can create similar results, it is very empowering for most people to learn that they can often control their own destiny.