Can We Cure Insulin Resistance
Once someone has dramatically improved their insulin resistance, bringing insulin and blood sugar levels down by eating a low-carb diet, and they have improved their exercise, stress management, and sleep, the question then becomes: are they cured?
Probably not. The word cure implies that the person can go back to eating however they want and the insulin resistance will not return. Unfortunately, thats not how it works. The vast majority of people who reverse their insulin resistance, lower their chronically high insulin levels, and lower their blood sugars will see those all return to previous high levels if they stop their lifestyle interventions and return to their old diets and habits.40
This reinforces the need to make lifestyle changes that can be maintained for decades and lifetimes. Crash diets or short-term interventions only help in the moment. Insulin sensitivity is a lifelong balance.
However, some people may have what amounts to a partial cure, especially if their insulin resistance is caught early. Clinical practice suggests that for some people, eating a low-carb diet, losing weight and getting insulin levels down will restore insulin sensitivity and may allow them to regain the degree of metabolic flexibility found in healthy individuals.41
See our companion guide What you need to know about insulin resistance, which discusses diagnostic tests.
Increase Your Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber helps to promote insulin sensitivity by tempering the speed of digestion. This is especially true for cereals like barley, oats, and whole grains. Vegetables and fruits are also fiber-rich.
When food lacks fiber, glucose is released in a concentrated state and often causes a huge demand for absorption. This puts your insulin on overdrive and can trigger insensitivity, research shows. However, if you eat fiber-rich foods, you slow down this need.
What Does It Mean For Your Health
Insulin resistance comes in degrees. The more insulin resistant a person with type 2 is, the harder it will be to manage their diabetes because more medication is needed to get enough insulin in the body to achieve target blood glucose levels.
Insulin resistance isn’t a cause of type 1 diabetes, but people with type 1 who are insulin resistant will need higher insulin doses to keep their blood glucose under control than those who are more sensitive to insulin. As with type 2, people with type 1 may be genetically predisposed to become insulin resistant, or they may develop resistance due to being overweight. Some research indicates that insulin resistance is a factor in cardiovascular disease and other complications in people with type 1.
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Actionable Steps To Reverse Insulin Resistance
The opposite of insulin resistance is insulin sensitivity. You want your body to only release small amounts of insulin and for it to be very effective.
How can you become more insulin sensitive?
If you have insulin resistance, your body is at war with yourself. Your pancreas is willing to blow up everything to win. And your cells are extremely stubborn, have shut the door and are not giving up. They cant give up because theyre full!
The loser of the battle: your health.
Youre calling for the white flag. Below are some ways to reverse it and end this futile war.
How Common Is Insulin Resistance
Since there arent any common tests to check for insulin resistance and there arent any symptoms until it turns into prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes, the best way to measure the prevalence of insulin resistance is through the number of prediabetes cases. More than 84 million adults in the United States have prediabetes. Thats about 1 out of every 3 adults.
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Berberine comes from herbs that have been used in India and China for medicines. They are used to regulate blood glucose and insulin sensitivity.
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What Does Insulin Resistance Mean
Insulin resistance is a condition in which your cells become resistantor less sensitiveto the insulin your pancreas naturally makes. Research indicates it affects 32% of Americans. Worldwide, the incidence ranges from 15% to 46% of adults.
Why your body may start resisting insulin isnt exactly clear. But when it does occur, glucose doesnt get absorbed into the cells the way it should, so higher-than-normal glucose levels remain in the bloodstream. In response to the elevated blood sugars, the pancreas amps up production of insulin in an effort to get the glucose into the cells.
For a while, that increased insulin production can help keep blood sugar levels under controlwhich is why insulin resistance often doesnt produce symptoms. And if insulin resistance and pre-diabetes is diagnosed and managed early, insulin resistance may never lead to diabetes.
But when insulin resistance continues unabated, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas eventually stop working properly and conditions like prediabetes and Type 2 diabetesin which your pancreas either doesnt make enough insulin or the body doesnt use it effectivelyemerge. By contrast, Type 1 diabetes is typically an inherited condition in which the pancreas doesnt make any insulin.
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What Are The Complications Of Pcos
If you have PCOS and your androgen levels are too high, you have higher odds for a number of complications. These can differ from person to person and include:
Trouble getting pregnant. Cysts in the ovaries can interfere with ovulation. Thatâs when one of your ovaries releases an egg each month. If a healthy egg isnât available to be fertilized by a sperm, you canât get pregnant. You may still be able to get pregnant if you have PCOS. But you might have to take medicine and work with a fertility specialist to make it happen.
Insulin issues and diabetes.Insulin resistance may cause your body to make too many androgens. If you have insulin resistance, the cells in your muscles, organs, and other tissues donât absorb blood sugar very well. As a result, you can have too much sugar moving through your bloodstream. This is called diabetes, and it can cause problems with your cardiovascular and nervous systems. PCOS can also cause gestational diabetes .
Metabolic syndrome. This group of symptoms raises the risk of cardiovascular disease. The symptoms include high triglyceride and low HDL cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar levels.
Other common complications of PCOS include:
- Miscarriage or premature birth
What Is The Best Supplement To Take For Insulin Resistance
This varies greatly from person to person. However, supplements with berberine, cinnamon, magnesium, chromium, and alpha-lipoic acid work for many people.
However, our absolute best supplement for insulin resistance is Breakthrough Bioptimizers Magnesium. We love how they make you more sensitive to insulin while transforming many other aspects of your health, mental health included.
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What Are The Causes And Risk Factors Of Pcos
Doctors donât know all of the reasons why some people get PCOS.
You might be more likely to have PCOS if your sister or mother also has it. It could also be related to problems that make your body produce too much insulin, which can affect your ovaries and their ability to ovulate . Long-term low-grade inflammation may also play a role. White blood cells produce substances to fight infection, and that can cause the ovaries to produce androgens. Most people with PCOS have high levels of androgens.
Transgender men are highly prone to getting PCOS. Hormone therapy may or may not be a factor in that. Thatâs because so many other things â including insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and high levels of androgens â come into play with PCOS. In fact, some studies have shown that while hormone therapy can cause changes to the ovaries in transgender men, it doesnât necessarily cause PCOS.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Insulin Resistance
People with insulin resistance may have:
- acanthosis nigricans, a darkening of the skin in folds and creases, like the neck and armpits
Other medical problems linked to insulin resistance and obesity include:
- polycystic ovary syndrome , when girls have heavy or irregular periods, or even no periods
- obstructive sleep apnea
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Insulin Resistance And Diet
Insulin is a hormone a chemical that communicates with other parts of your body to trigger important functions. Insulin tells your body to unlock your cells so that they absorb sugar from your bloodstream.
When your body no longer responds the way it should to insulin, its known as insulin resistance. This increases your risk of prediabetes and diabetes by keeping your blood sugar levels high.
What you eat has links to insulin resistance, although researchers are still working out exactly how.
Overweight and obesity lead to excess fat storage around your organs and waistline, increasing your risk of insulin resistance.
Different foods also have varying effects on insulin resistance. Food choices that rapidly increase your blood sugar often known as high-glycemic index, or high-GI, foods prompt the release of a large amount of insulin.
Over time, your body gets used to this extra insulin and becomes less sensitive to it. This reduces how much glucose your cells absorb from your bloodstream and starts to increase your risk of prediabetes and diabetes by raising your overall blood sugar levels.
However, ZOEs research shows that everyone responds to foods differently, so even so-called high-GI foods dont lead to the same blood sugar increases from person to person.
The ZOE at-home test analyzes your blood sugar responses to food, as well as your blood fat responses and your gut health.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Insulin Resistance And Prediabetes
Doctors use blood tests to find out if someone has prediabetes, but they dont usually test for insulin resistance. The most accurate test for insulin resistance is complicated and used mostly for research.
Doctors most often use the fasting plasma glucose test or the A1C test to diagnose prediabetes. Less often, doctors use the oral glucose tolerance test , which is more expensive and not as easy to give.
The A1C test reflects your average blood glucose over the past 3 months. The FPG and OGTT show your blood glucose level at the time of the test. The A1C test is not as sensitive as the other tests. In some people, it may miss prediabetes that the OGTT could catch. The OGTT can identify how your body handles glucose after a mealoften before your fasting blood glucose level becomes abnormal. Often doctors use the OGTT to check for gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy.
People with prediabetes have up to a 50 percent chance of developing diabetes over the next 5 to 10 years. You can take steps to manage your prediabetes and prevent type 2 diabetes.
The following test results show Prediabetes2
- A1C5.7 to 6.4 percent
- FPG100 to 125 mg/dL
- OGTT140 to 199 mg/dL
You should be tested for prediabetes if you are overweight or have obesity and have one or more other risk factors for diabetes, or if your parents, siblings, or children have type 2 diabetes. Even if you dont have risk factors, you should start getting tested once you reach age 45.
What Causes Acanthosis Nigricans
Acanthosis nigricans can affect otherwise healthy people, or it can be associated with certain medical conditions. Sometimes acanthosis nigricans is congenital . It also can occur as a result of obesity or an endocrine disorder. It is frequently found in obese people with diabetes or a tendency towards diabetes and is most common among people of African descent. There are many other possible causes of acanthosis nigricans, including:
- Oral contraceptives
Most people with acanthosis nigricans have an insulin level that is higher than that of people of the same weight who don’t have acanthosis nigricans. Eating too much of the wrong foods, especially starches and sugars, can raise insulin levels.
Rarely, people with certain types of cancer can also develop acanthosis nigricans.
What Are Clinical Trials And Are They Right For You
Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Researchers also use clinical trials to look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. Find out if clinical trials are right for you.
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How Is Insulin Resistance Treated
Since not all factors that contribute to insulin resistance can be treated, such as genetic factors and age, lifestyle modifications are the primary treatment for insulin resistance. Lifestyle modifications include:
- Eating a healthy diet: Your healthcare provider or nutritionist may recommend avoiding eating excessive amounts of carbohydrates and eating less unhealthy fat, sugar, red meats and processed starches. Instead, theyll likely recommend eating a diet of whole foods that includes more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and lean poultry.
- Physical activity: Getting regular amounts of moderate-intensity physical activity helps increase glucose energy usage and improve muscle insulin sensitivity. A single session of moderate-intensity exercise can increase glucose uptake by at least 40%.
- Losing excess weight: Your healthcare provider may recommend trying to lose excess weight to try treating insulin resistance. One study revealed that losing 7% of your excess weight can reduce the onset of Type 2 diabetes by 58%.
Over time, these lifestyle modifications can:
- Increase insulin sensitivity .
- Lower your blood glucose levels.
- Raise HDL cholesterol levels.
You may work with other healthcare providers, such as a nutritionist and endocrinologist, in addition to your regular doctor to come up with an individualized treatment plan that works best for you.
Get Rid Of Excess Weight Especially Belly Fat
Fat around the midsection, also known as visceral fat, is known to increase insulin resistance. Fat inside the muscle cellsaka intramyocellular lipidblocks the functioning of insulin and keeps glucose outside the cells. Reducing excessive weight is a key factor in reversing this effect and keeping your insulin sensitivity in the normal range. Unhealthy diets, insufficient exercise and stressful lifestyles all contribute to weight gain. Taking control of these factors will make a definite difference.
2.Eat low carb, low GI foods
Foods are ranked by the speed with which their carbohydrate content turns into glucose and is absorbed into the blood. This is referred to as their Glycemic Index rating. Anything above 50 is considered high and should be avoided or eaten in small quantities. Foods containing simple sugars, like confectionery, fruit juices, colas, etc. have a very high GI rating, which means the body converts the excess glucose into fat. Avoiding these foods is a must to get your insulin insensitivity under control.
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Pearls And Other Issues
Intensive lifestyle intervention should be the first line of therapy for patients with metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance syndrome.
In patients with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and hyperinsulinemia consider treating with agents to improve insulin sensitivity and/or contribute to weight loss like metformin, GLP-1 agonists, and SGLT2 inhibitors.
Insulin Resistance Treatment And Prevention
You can take steps to reverse insulin resistance and prevent type 2 diabetes:
- Exercise. Go for at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity 5 or more days a week. If you’re not active now, work up to that.
- Get to a healthy weight. If you’re not sure what you should weigh or how to reach a weight loss goal, ask your doctor. You may also want to talk with a nutritionist and a certified personal trainer.
- Eat a healthy diet. Think fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, legumes, and other lean protein.
- Take medications. Your doctor may prescribe a medication called metformin to help keep your blood sugar in check.
Why Is Insulin Resistance Bad
Taking more insulin isnt necessarily bad what is detrimental to your health is when you have to take increasing amounts of insulin for the same number of carbohydrates eaten.
Insulin resistance means that a person needs to take more insulin to manage their blood sugars, and if not, they will struggle with persistent hyperglycemia that can lead to diabetes complications, such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputation, and even premature death.
In the shorter term, insulin resistance can lead to unwanted weight gain and can contribute to obesity, as well as the development of type 2 diabetes in people with prediabetes and at risk for diabetes.
Over time, insulin resistance can lead to a condition called metabolic syndrome, also known as insulin resistance syndrome. This chronic condition involves a combination of adverse effects such as:
- High cholesterol
- Excess fat around the waist