Insulin is a vital hormone, created by the pancreas, required for transporting glucose from the blood to the cells, where it is used as energy. Insulin Resistance is a condition that prevents the regular amount of insulin from moving blood sugar to the cells; the cells become resistant to accepting the insulin.
Lifestyle choices are the leading cause of Insulin Resistance, these choices include being overweight, eating a poor diet and not exercising. Perhaps the most significant risk factor is the accumulation of excess fat around the abdominal area.
While there may not be any physical indicators that insulin resistance is occurring, the condition affects several important functions within the body. These functions include increasing the amount of calories stored as fat, increasing the amount of cholesterol produced in the body, and affecting the kidneys – leading to high blood pressure.
High levels of insulin also assists in regulating inflammation throughout the body. Over time, and left untreated, insulin resistance can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is often diagnosed by a test that looks for lowered levels of HDL, increased blood triglyceride levels, high uric acid levels, and/or increased fasting insulin levels.
The body’s insulin resistance responds best after losing weight and increasing physical activity. Smoking also contributes to insulin resistance, quitting is essential to supporting safe and healthy insulin levels.
Specifically, it is recommended that diets demonstrate a reduced amount of carbohydrates. Nutrition experts recommend that a maximum of 45% of daily calories come from complex carbohydrates, high fiber, low glycemic index foods. The carbohydrates are digested slowly, having a minimal effect on blood sugar levels.
At least 25% of caloric intake should come from heart healthy monounsaturated fats, including extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds and omega-3 rich wild salmon. Omega-3s reduce inflammation and improves the body’s response to insulin.
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential nutrients. A simple tip is to consume at least five servings a day; a variety of colors is recommended.
Engaging in vigorous physical activity lowers blood sugar and reduces insulin resistance in the body. Exercise also prevents the body from storing extra calories as fat, using them instead for a source of energy. Like any exercise program, start slowly and increase to at least 30 minutes each day.
Many supplements demonstrate the ability to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance in the body. Consider supplementing with the following:
Alpha-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant nutrient that improves the body’s reaction to insulin and lowers blood sugar levels. Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity by 25% after one month of use.
Berberine is a natural plant extract that regulates insulin levels and increases insulin response to blood glucose, removing it from the blood and delivering to the cells for immediate use. Berberine has been shown to decrease insulin resistance by over 40%
Cinnamon has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels after meals, decreasing blood sugar spikes. Cinnamon also increases the glucose delivery to the cells, removing glucose from the blood and using it for energy.