A simple 5 steps approach to insulin resistance
(updated Feb 2023)
Metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance affects up to 80 million people in the United States. In most cases, patients are not even aware that they are sick, which can lead to more significant issues in the future. It is important to know what this condition is and what to do if you have it.
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone created in the pancreas. It helps to maintain the regulation of your blood sugar. It makes sure your body’s cells absorb glucose and use it for energy. In simple words, glucose is used as “fuel” for your body’s activities and insulin delivers the “fuel” inside the cell.
After each meal, the digestive tract turns carbohydrates (sugars found in a majority of foods) into glucose. Once the carbs are broken down into glucose, they enter the bloodstream, and this is where insulin takes the stage. When insulin is working correctly, it prevents your blood sugar levels from getting too high (or too low as we will explain in a future post).
What is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance occurs when the muscle and liver cells have too much lipid or fat deposits. This makes it difficult for glucose to enter the cells. This further leads to the pancreas putting out more and more insulin. Eventually, the cells stop responding to insulin and resistance occurs. One of the most common consequences of this problem is diabetes.
The main indicators of insulin resistance are elevated blood sugar levels and elevated triglycerides. However, these are only symptoms, not the actual cause of the problem. The cause is elevated insulin which hasn’t been checked or treated over decades. Elevated insulin is caused by high saturated fat and simple carbohydrate intake, physical inactivity, a stressful lifestyle, and environmental toxins.
What to do About Insulin Resistance?
There are a number of things you can do to keep insulin resistance in check. For the most part, this involves you keeping control of your diet and making sure to eat the right things at the right times.
Luckily, there is a way to reverse this condition, and it consists of 5 easy steps :
Balance your diet
A balanced diet results in weight loss, but it also prevents insulin resistance. Choosing healthy foods and avoiding simple carbohydrates is the first step you should take. Make sure that your diet contains a healthy amount of fiber and essential fatty acids. Forget about white bread and choose whole grain foods such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, quinoa, and millet. Take the skin off the turkey and chicken and choose fresh meat instead of heavily processed products. Stop drinking soda or other sugary beverages that will spike your blood sugar. Drink water instead. Don’t fry your food: eat grilled or baked dishes. Eat smaller meal portions and limit snacking.
Don’t eat after 8 pm and give your pancreas a rest.
Exercise is crucial for improving insulin sensitivity. It improves sugar levels by helping reduce central body fat. Regular exercise will prevent insulin resistance and reduce the risk of many other conditions. Make sure that you are exercising on a regular basis to help control your insulin level, regulate metabolic function, and ensure a proper hormonal balance in the body
The optimal level of exercise for preventing diabetes is walking 30 minutes a day. Take a 20-minute walk after each meal and you will reduce your blood sugar significantly.
Use nutritional supplements
Using nutritional supplements might be helpful in preventing insulin resistance. There is a number of different supplements you can use, including multivitamins and minerals; calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D; fish oil; chromium; antioxidants; B-complex vitamins; biotin; cinnamon. This should be done with the guidance of a medical doctor because supplements may not be helpful in all cases and could be harmful.
When it comes to blood sugar imbalances, the levels of stress play a significant role. Stress triggers insulin resistance, increases inflammation, and causes weight gain around the middle. It can ultimately lead to diabetes.
Include relaxation practices in your everyday life. Use well-known methods such as yoga, hot baths, massage, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing.
Make sure you get adequate sleep. Sleep is extremely restorative and a necessity for optimal health.
If necessary, use medications
There are several classes of medications that may be helpful for preventing insulin resistance: glp-1 receptor agonists, SGLT-2 inhibitors, biguanides, thiazolidinedione drugs, and alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. Each of these classes has its own effects. Talk to your doctor and let him or her choose the perfect combination for your condition.
If you suspect that you may have insulin resistance, talk to your doctor. He or she can administer the right tests to see if you have any of the characteristic medical issues that can come with it.