What is the function of insulin?
Usually, food is absorbed into your bloodstream in the form of sugars, such as glucose. When sugar is released into the bloodstream, the pancreas releases a hormone known as insulin. Insulin binds to body cells, extracting glucose out of the bloodstream in order to use the glucose for energy.
What is insulin resistance?
If you have ever wondered what is insulin resistance exactly, then you have come to the right place. Insulin resistance is when the body’s cells do not respond properly to the insulin, thus not taking up the glucose from the bloodstream as it should. This renders the insulin that is released less effective than it should. In order to make up for the insulin resistance, the pancreas releases more insulin.
This eventually results in high blood sugar levels or diabetes.
Some misconceptions about insulin resistance are:
- It only affects people who are overweight and eat too many sweets
- There is nothing you can do about insulin resistance
These statements are however completely false, as insulin resistance can happen to anybody and there is most certainly things one can do about dealing with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can be naturally prevented or even reversed.
How Is Insulin Resistance Diagnosed?
There is no specific test to identify insulin resistance. However, your doctor may suspect the syndrome if you have at least three of the following:
- A waist size of more than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women
- High levels of triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood)
- Lower levels of magnesium
- Sodium is retained, which leads to holding excessive water in the system, this causes high blood pressure levels
- High amounts of inflammatory compounds in the bloodstream. This can lead to damage to the blood vessel walls and help cause blood clots which can cause heart attacks and respiratory failures.
- Low HDL level (Less than 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women)
- High blood pressure (130/85 or higher)
- Fasting blood glucose levels (5.55mmol/dL or above)
- Consult your doctor for a fasting insulin test. Less than 10 IU/mL is recommended. Anything more than 10 IU/mL suggests your diet is stimulating excessive insulin to be released by your pancreas, which leads to all above mentioned problems.
The current condition of child obesity is also a huge risk to insulin resistance in the upcoming generation.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance
Here are some common insulin resistance symptoms:
- The inability to focus or concentrate
This is due to the fatigue which does not only affect a person physically, but also mentally.
- High blood sugar:
Long periods of hyperglycemia (very high blood sugar) along with some of the following insulin resistance symptoms are: Feeling irritated, nervous, moody, nauseous, or having a headache which does not go away after eating.
- Intestinal bloating:
Most intestinal gas is due to a microbial imbalance inside the body, called dysbiosis. For example: impaired gut health when using antibiotics. When insulin resistance sufferers eat carbohydrates, they are inclined to suffer from gas.
When an insulin resistance sufferer has eaten a meal containing more carbohydrates than their body can tolerate, they tend to become very sleepy after the meal. They also tend to crave sugar after the meal.
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight:
Because the body does not absorb the sugar, it is stored as fat. Especially around the midsection of both men and women.
- High cholesterol and triglycerides
- Increased blood pressure:
People with high blood pressure have too much insulin in their bloodstream thus they are usually insulin resistant . As insulin levels increase, so do blood pressure levels. We can thus say that these two are directly related.
Depression is common among people who suffer from insulin resistance, as carbohydrates are a natural “downer”, and the ineffectiveness of insulin cannot help process the carbohydrates properly.
What causes insulin resistance?
- family history of diabetes
- family history of high blood pressure
- family history of heart disease
- being overweight
- bad eating habits
- insufficient exercise
Obesity is said to lead to insulin resistance. However, it also works the other way around, since Insulin resistance causes weight gain. It is thus a vicious cycle.
Some signature symptoms that cause insulin resistance are: abdominal obesity, hypertension, high triglycerides, and low HDL (“good cholesterol”) levels.
These all occur together, thus it is difficult to say what causes what. However, one thing is certain; insulin resistance is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Although insulin resistance usually occurs among people who suffer from obesity, people that are not overweight can also develop it, and suffer from all the other problems mentioned above.
What medical conditions are associated with insulin resistance?
- Impaired fasting blood sugar
- impaired glucose tolerance
- type 2 diabetes
These occur due to the pancreas being unable to secrete enough insulin to eliminate the insulin resistance.
This causes the blood sugar levels to rise and results in diabetes or pre-diabetes.
- High blood pressure
Studies show that the higher the blood pressure, the higher the degree of insulin resistance.
- Abnormal cholesterol levels
Normally there are high levels of triglycerides present and low levels of HDL (“good cholesterol”).
- Heart disease
Insulin resistance develop into atherosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries. This increases the risk of blood clots forming.
Obesity is one of the biggest factors. Especially abdominal obesity. Obesity lessens the working of insulin even further. Weight loss can help the body use insulin properly.
- Kidney damage
This can be identified by protein in a person’s urine.
Treatment of Insulin Resistance
The most effective treatments are weight loss and exercise. Further treatment is doing things that improve one’s overall health for example: If somebody is a smoker, this is a habit that should be given up as soon as possible, as it contributes to insulin resistance.
Other treatments are medications prescribed by a doctor, such as the medication used to treat type 2 diabetes.
- Dietary improvements:
The base of your diet should consist of non-starchy vegetables. Dark green leafy lettuce, tomatoes, celery, cucumber, cabbage, Swiss chard, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. are good options.
Decrease or completely stop consuming sugar and all foods that contain sugar. Some biggest sources of sugar are soft drinks, cookies, chocolates, pastries and ice cream.
Minimize the usage of sweeteners such as molasses, high fructose corn syrup, pasteurized honey, and maple syrup.
Drink less fruit juice. Due to the liquid form of the juice, the fructose are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream, causing the blood sugar levels to rise. Rather eat whole fruit as the fibers, vitamins and minerals help slow down the absorption rate, giving the body enough time to release a sufficient amount of insulin.
Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. You can do this by eating things such as cold-water fish like wild salmon and sardines. Omega-3 helps increase the effectiveness of insulin by making the body more responsive to the insulin. An alternative is to take a good omega 3 supplement daily.
To avoid spikes in the blood sugar level during the day, eat smaller meals, more frequently.
Follow the Manna Weight Loss Program as stipulated in the free e-book. This program is easy to follow and contains recipes and exercise examples.
Full out cardio exercise decreases the body cells’ resistance to the insulin. Do more intense exercise for 30-40 minutes at least 4 times a week.
The Manna Blood Sugar Support caplets have been proved to lower the Glycemic Index of any food you eat by up to 43%. This means that the product, when taken with food, helps to control blood sugar levels to such an extent that the bodies requirement for insulin reduce.
The other very important supplement, if you cannot eat enough of the right type of fish, is a very good omega 3 supplement.
An alternative to normal meals is the very good, blood sugar stabilizing, Manna Low GI Shakes. Replace one to two meals per day with this excellent low GI shake which will help you to stay full for longer and eating less.