Insulin Resistance: what is it and how it can be reversed

Insulin resistance is quite common these days – it may even affect over 32.2% of the U.S. population.

While it is becoming ever more prevalent, and its health implications are serious, the good news is that simple lifestyle adjustments can reverse insulin resistance.

Here is everything you need to know about insulin resistance and how to reverse it:

What is insulin? 

Insulin is a hormone created by your pancreas that controls the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. When you eat or drink something, particularly a meal that includes carbs, blood glucose levels rise and this is when a typical person’s pancreas will create insulin. The insulin is released into your blood to help your cells pick up the sugar from your blood so that your body can use it as energy.

When you are insulin sensitive, your body can handle glucose appropriately and this process will result in reduced blood sugar levels.

Insulin resistance is when your body’s cells don’t respond well to insulin and they can’t take up glucose from your blood and use it as energy. In response, your pancreas is prompted to make more and more insulin in an effort to reduce blood sugar levels. This leads to hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin in your blood).

Over time, your body becomes increasingly resistant to the effects of insulin. The cycle continues and over time your blood sugar levels rise, which can have serious health complications. 

Health implications of insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is closely related to a number of serious health conditions, including:

  • obesity
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • type 2 diabetes
  • hypertension
  • heart disease
  • hypoglycemia
  • high triglycerides
  • Alzheimer’s
  • kidney disease

How do I know if I am insulin resistant?

After learning more about insulin resistance, your first thought might be, “oh no, am I insulin resistant??”

The first approach would be to assess your health and see if you experience any of the symptoms of insulin resistance, like:

  • abdominal fat
  • trouble losing weight
  • skin tags
  • high triglycerides
  • low HDL cholesterol
  • irregular menstrual cycle
  • dark skin patches
  • sugar cravings

If you have one or more of these symptoms, consult with your doctor.

How to reverse insulin resistance

There are many people who have been diagnosed with or are suffering from insulin resistance. The great thing is that it can often be completely reversed with lifestyle changes, including nutrition, exercise, and stress management. Here are a few of the best tools:

  • exercise
  • reduce carb intake (when you do eat carbs pair them with protein & fat)
  • reduce sugar intake
  • prioritize protein (~30g/meal)
  • consume ACV before meals (I like 1 tablespoon diluted in water)
  • walk after meals
  • avoid snacking
  • lift weights
  • reduce stress & improve sleep

Conclusion

Managing your blood sugar and preventing insulin resistance is one of the most effective ways to optimize your health and live a long, healthy life. And the best part is that the measures to reverse or prevent insulin resistance are at your fingertips. Through simple lifestyle adjustments, you can ensure that you are metabolically healthy.

As always, this is not medical advice. It is always best to consult and work in conjunction with your primary care physician.

If you’re looking for support and guidance, a health coach could be a good option. Book a free discovery call today!

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