The Ultimate Insulin Resistance Guide
Insulin is an essential hormone that plays significant roles in numerous processes the body needs to survive. Without a doubt, this is why problems with insulin are one of the leading causes of a lot of modern health conditions. In many people, there is an issue with cells responding to insulin efficiently. This is often referred to as insulin resistance, and in modern times it has started to become more and more common.
In a recent study, there was an average of 32.2% of people in the united states that may have some form of insulin resistance.
There is a drastic increase to 70% for women with obesity and can even get as high as 80% for people with certain conditions.
It is estimated that nearly a third of children and teenagers that are overweight have developed some insulin resistance.
These numbers can be scary, but there are simple changes that people can do to help increase insulin sensitivity by merely making lifestyle and dietary adjustments.
Insulin and Insulin Resistance Explained
Insulin is a hormone produced and secreted by the pancreas.
The primary role of insulin is to regulate the nutrients that are circulating in the bloodstream.
However, insulin is more commonly known for its role in controlling blood sugar levels, and it also affects fat and protein metabolism.
When a diabetic person eats a meal that contains carbohydrates, the amount of sugar in the blood will increase.
This rise in sugar levels sensed by the cells in the pancreases that then produce and secrete insulin to bring blood sugar levels back to normal.
This insulin then travels around the bloodstream, telling the cells to absorb the sugar from the blood and use it as energy.
This process is very critical because high levels of sugar in the blood can have a very toxic effect if not treated. It can even lead to severe harm and death if left alone for too long.
Sometimes some things cause the cells in the body to become less efficient at adequately using insulin.
They become "resistant" to the effects of insulin.
When someone develops this resistance, the pancreas starts to produce more and more insulin to help reduce blood sugar levels. This leads to elevated levels of insulin in the blood, which is called hyperinsulinemia.
This issue is often slow to develop and is hard to notice unless you have tests run by a doctor. Over time the cells become more resistant, and blood sugar and insulin levels continue to increase in the blood.
After a while, the pancreases will be unable to keep up and in some cases can even “burn out” and stop working efficiently.
If this happens, then your body will produce less insulin, and now you will be faced with the issue of elevated blood sugar and cells that still don’t respond to the now decreased insulin available, which causes skyrocketing blood sugar levels.
When sugar levels hit a certain point, it is prevalent for a doctor to diagnose this condition as type 2 diabetes. However, this is a very simplified method of how type 2 diabetes will develop.
Sensitivity and Resistance
When talking about sensitivity and resistance to insulin, they are the same thing but from different directions.
If you have some insulin resistance, then inversely you have lower insulin sensitivity. Conversely, if you have a sensitivity to insulin, then you have a lower resistance to insulin.
To be stark, having resistance to insulin is bad while having a sensitivity to insulin is better.
Hold on, What Causes This Resistance?
There are numerous potential causes of this resistance. One of these is thought to be increased amounts of fat in the blood.
Numerous studies have highlighted how increased amounts of fatty acids in the blood can cause muscle cells to stop efficiently responding to insulin.
This is thought to be caused by fatty acid metabolites building up inside muscle cells, disrupting the pathways that are needed for insulin to function correctly.
This elevated level of fatty acids is often caused by poor diet and overeating. Overeating, weight gain, and obesity are strongly related to an increase in insulin resistance.
If a person has increased fat levels, the dangerous belly fat that tends to build up around the organs appears to be very critical.
The fat that is stored in this area of the body releases large amounts of free fatty acids into the bloodstream it can even release hormones that drive insulin resistance. This type of fat may release lots of free fatty acids into the blood, and can also release inflammatory hormones that drive insulin resistance.
Although it is just as common for healthy or thin people to have developed insulin resistance, it is not only for those with weight issues.
There are several other potential causes of insulin resistance:
- Fructose: An increased level of fructose (refined sugar) intake has been linked to insulin resistance in both rats and humans.
- Inflammation: An increased level of stress and inflammation can eventually lead to insulin resistance.
- Inactivity: This one is simple, if you are a physically active person, you will increase insulin sensitivity, and if you are inactive, your resistance to insulin will increase.
- Gut microbiota: There has been evidence that disruption in your gut bacteria can cause inflammation that will increase insulin resistance and be detrimental to other metabolic functions.
Several genetic and societal factors can affect your risk.
The list above is not definitive, and many different factors can affect insulin resistance and sensitivity.
How To Tell if You Are Insulin Resistant?
Your doctor is the most likely person to tell you that you have an issue with insulin. There are numerous ways that a medical practitioner can determine if you have diabetes.
A simple example will be if you have high fasting insulin levels. That is typically considered a sign of insulin resistance.
The test known as HOMA-IR can give accurate estimates on your insulin resistance from blood sugar and insulin level measurement and is relatively accurate.
There are also simple ways to test blood sugar levels more directly. This can be done using an oral glucose tolerance test, and this involves a dose of glucose and then the measurement of your blood sugar levels over several hours.
If you are overweight, and if you have a large amount of fat around your stomach, there is a high chance that you have some form of insulin resistance.
If you have low HDL ("good" cholesterol) and high levels of blood triglycerides, those are also markers associated with insulin resistance.
Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes
This is the beginning of several common conditions; however, it is better known as the start of a disease called metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors often associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and numerous other metabolic issues.
The most common symptoms are low HDL levels, high blood triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, belly fat, and high blood sugar.
This is also referred to as Insulin resistance syndrome; this is a major cause of type 2 diabetes since there are consistently elevated blood sugar levels caused by the cells not efficiently responding to insulin.
Eventually, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas can even “burn out” or stop functioning, leading to higher levels of insulin deficiency.
However, by halting the development this issue, it can be possible to prevent many types of metabolic syndrome and in even the development of type 2 Diabetes.
Insulin Resistance has been linked to Heart Disease and numerous other health complications.
People with insulin resistance or who have developed metabolic syndrome can have nearly a 92% increase in risk for developing Heart Disease.
But still, there are many other diseases with links to insulin resistance. This includes fatty liver disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.
11 Simple Ways to Reduce Insulin Resistance.
There is an excellent side to insulin resistance; it just so happens that it is straightforward to influence. It is not uncommon to completely reverse insulin resistance by merely changing your lifestyle.
Below are some simple ways to change your lifestyle and reduce insulin resistance:
- Exercise: This will probably be the easiest way to improve insulin sensitivity. The effects are almost immediate as well.
- Get rid of belly fat: It is essential to get rid of some belly fat. This will help remove that deep visceral fat from around your liver and abdomen area.
- Stop Smoking: Smoking tobacco can increase your insulin resistance so you can lower that risk by simply quitting.
- Reducing Sugar Intake: It is critical to reducing the intake of foods that are loaded with added and refined sugars, especially from beverages with added sugars.
- Eat a healthy diet: Try to keep a diet based on whole foods and unprocessed foods, especially nuts and fatty fish.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Consuming these fatty acids can help to reduce insulin resistance. They have also shown the ability to lower blood triglycerides, which are much more common with these conditions.
- Supplements: Several supplements have shown to help enhance insulin sensitivity. However, berberine has shown the ability to lower blood sugar levels and reduce blood sugar levels as well. It can be useful to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar.
- Sleep: Research has shown evidence that poor sleep routines can cause increases in insulin resistance. If you improve your sleep, you should see improvements in your insulin sensitivity.
- Reduce Stress: If you are highly stressed, then better management of stress levels will help you to improve not only your insulin resistance but also your overall life. Meditation has also shown promise to help with reducing stress and helping insulin sensitivity levels.
- Donate blood: Help others by donating blood and help yourself as well. Since high levels of iron in the blood have been linked to insulin resistance.
- Intermittent fasting: There has been research that has shown that a popular diet known as intermittent fasting can help to improve your overall insulin sensitivity.
The majority of things that have been listed above are the same things that are usually associated with good health and protection against disease. Insulin resistance can be reduced or reversed by making some straightforward lifestyle changes. Simple things like getting more exercise and eating healthier can make a massive difference.
Low-Carb Diets and Insulin Resistance
An additional method of reducing insulin resistance is Low-Carb Diets.
Any diet that restricts carb intake can have remarkable benefits to help fight against metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. This is primarily due to its ability to reduce insulin resistance.
The Stark Truth
Insulin resistance is by far, one of the primary drivers of many (if not all) of the modern chronic diseases that collectively kill millions every year.
There is good news, though, these issues can be significantly improved with simple changes to your lifestyle. Preventing or reducing insulin resistance should be one of the most important things a person can do to live a healthier and longer life.
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