For our 6th episode, we’re focusing on a new paradigm – hyperinsulinemia, with our guest Dr. Catherine Crofts.

Dr Catherine Crofts is a pharmacist and has been for about 20 years in New Zealand. She’s also teaching pharmacology to students studying undergraduate health science. She is also a researcher in the field of high levels of insulin, metabolic health, and metabolic disease prevention.

The Journey to Hyperinsulinemia

Dr Catherine shares that during her working career as a pharmacist, she wanted people to get off medication. She wanted to “optimize their lives, optimize their health, maximize their quality of life, and minimize medications.”

It took a while for Catherine to finally get a PhD. Her husband didn’t allow her to do one without a scholarship. But after years, she was able to get one from the National Heart Foundation in New Zealand. Her first topic then looked at cardiorespiratory fitness and metabolic syndrome. It was in her master thesis that she found women “racking up large amounts of physical activity but only on two or three days of the week”. This, however, meant that the women didn’t meet New Zealand’s physical activity guidelines. But on a brighter note, their health was improving. Catherine was interested to look into this.

Metabolic Syndrome to Hyperinsulinemia

As Dr Catherine started doing background reading on metabolic syndrome, she eventually gravitated to insulin resistance or hyperinsulinemia. In “academic terms”, Dr Catherine also states that there is a “big black chasm of hyperinsulinemia.”

Catherine was able to find a link through Dr Joseph Kraft. The late doctor had talked about hyperinsulinemia response patterns in a paper published in 1975. She tried tracking Dr Kraft down and was able to correspond with him via email. She then met Dr Kraft in Chicago back in 2014. Since his passing, Dr Catherine has been the custodian of his data set on hyperinsulinemia.

What’s Good and What Isn’t About the New Zealand Health System?

Like all other guests, Dr Catherine also gets asked her thoughts on this. According to her, one of the things she likes is that there is always something available should anyone need it. There is free healthcare at the hospital system that’s available for the public.

As for what isn’t working well, Dr Catherine compares the health system to the ACC system. “In the case of injury, the ACC is quick to support. An example is having a house or car modified because one is now using a wheelchair”. However, she states that the majority of people also need the same support provided by ACC for their illness.

Dr Catherine’s Health and Hobbies

As for her own health, Dr Catherine states that what she tries to stick to is a whole food diet. She also tries going to the gym “a couple times a week to lift some weights” and gets cardiovascular exercise. As for her hobbies, she shares that she makes patchwork quilts. She finds it enjoyable as it’s “one of those things that if you don’t concentrate very much on what you’re doing.” Dr Catherine also considers it as a mindfulness exercise.

A fondness for chocolates is Dr Catherine’s weakness. She also admits she drinks “a little bit too much alcohol that’s good for you.” Lastly, she considers her phone as her biggest issue “It does the opposite of wind you down. And then that disrupts your sleep patterns!”

Listen to the full episode here.