Last updated on September 9th, 2022
Insulin resistance occurs when an excess of glucose reduces the ability of blood cells to absorb and use blood glucose for energy. When your body’s insulin resistance is high, there is a lot of pressure on your pancreas to produce more insulin to balance blood sugar levels in your bloodstream. It may result in very low or high production of insulin in your body. Thereby, it increases the risks of many diseases like heart diseases and diabetes. Fortunately, there are many things to try including an insulin resistance diet that naturally improves your resistance.
Any health issue gives several visible or invisible changes in your body before it starts deteriorating your health. A similar condition happens when you are diagnosed with diabetes type-2. There are many invisible changes in your body before you are diagnosed with diabetes. One of them is insulin resistance. Your body can be resistant to insulin without giving any symptoms. It is the condition that progresses to diabetes. Therefore, it is essential to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly.
What is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin is a vital hormone that the pancreas releases into your body. It helps in regulating the essential nutrients in your bloodstream. Insulin allows cells to absorb and use glucose. Thus, it plays a vital role in maintaining the blood sugar levels in your body and affects fat and protein metabolism. Sometimes the cells of your muscles, fat, and liver do not respond well to the insulin. They are even unable to use glucose from your blood for energy. This condition is insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance: A Risk Factor for Developing Diabetes
It is the driving factor that leads to pre-diabetes, diabetes type-2, and gestational diabetes. Sometimes, a patient may be insulin resistant for several years without knowing. This condition doesn’t trigger any symptoms. Your doctor may suspect insulin resistance if you have high blood sugar levels, high triglycerides, and high cholesterol levels. Therefore, you keep checking your blood glucose levels.
Causes of Insulin Resistance
The exact cause of insulin resistance is still unknown. However, there are some risk factors for the development of insulin resistance in individuals. Some of these factors include:
- High-calorie, high-carbohydrate, and high-sugar diet
- Chronic disease
- Little or no physical activity
- Taking high doses of steroids over a long time
Along with these, some medications, high insulin levels in your bloodstream, and excessive fat stored in the liver and pancreas are some other insulin resistance causes for developing insulin resistance.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance
As mentioned above, a person with insulin resistance may not see any severe symptoms for a long time. He/she may get the symptoms when it develops into diabetes. The majority of people with pre-diabetes are unaware that they have this condition. Insulin resistant often leads to the following visible conditions:
- Acanthosis nigricans: It is a common skin condition that people with insulin resistance develop. The dark patches form on the armpit, groin, and back of the neck.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): If you have PCOS, you may have an irregular menstrual cycle, painful periods, and infertility. People suffering from PCOS when develops insulin resistance their existing symptoms get worse.
If you have high insulin levels in your bloodstream you are obese, frequent urinate, or have dry skin your doctor may diagnose you for insulin resistance.
Diagnosis for Insulin Resistance
You can take Hemoglobin A1C test, Fasting Glucose test, or Random Glucose test to detect if your body has insulin resistant. It will help you to take precautions and make lifestyle changes. It prevents developing diabetes type-2 and its related complications.
There is no specific test to determine your insulin sensitivity. However, your doctor may ask you to take the following tests for pre-diabetes and diabetes:
- Hemoglobin A1C test: It is a simple blood test for diabetes. This test tells you the average blood sugar levels over the past two three months. This test measures Glycated form hemoglobin to diagnose your pre-diabetes and diabetes. When your test value of hemoglobin A1C test is between 4% and 5.6%, you are in the normal range. If you have hemoglobin A1C levels between 5.7% and 6.3%, then have insulin resistant. Hence, you are at a higher risk of developing diabetes.
- Fasting glucose test: Fasting blood glucose is also a blood test to diagnose pre-diabetes and diabetes. A person needs to fast overnight or at least 8-10 hours to get the test results. The normal fasting blood glucose levels are between 70 mg/dL and 100 mg/dL. If your blood test result range is between 101 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL, then your body may be insulin resistant, or you have pre-diabetes.
- Random blood sugar test: You can take this blood test at any point of time in a day. This test measures the amount of sugar circulating in a person’s blood. The doctor can ask you to take this test to determine if you have pre-diabetes or diabetes. The test values of random blood sugar tests between 70 mg/dL and 150 mg/dL are normal. If your blood sugar levels in this test are more than a normal range, then your body is insulin resistant. Also, your body is likely to develop pre-diabetes or diabetes.
Also Read: Can Quitting Smoking Reverse Diabetes?
Reverse your insulin resistance
Reduce your carbs and sugar intake, increase water and a fiber-rich foods, sleep adequately, exercise regularly, weight management, intermittent fasting, and avoiding saturated fat are the ways that can reverse your insulin resistance. Once your body becomes insulin sensitive, you can prevent developing diabetes type-2 and its subsequent illnesses.
There are effective ways to reverse your insulin resistance and stabilize your blood sugar levels. You have to implement these strategies in the right way to improve your insulin sensitivity. Some of the unique ways to reverse insulin resistance are:
- Reduce your carbohydrate intake: Consuming a lot of simple carbohydrates increases the glucose levels in your body. Your body is unable to store a large amount of glucose that is formed due to the breakdown of simple carbohydrates. The inability of your body to make use of excess glucose results in insulin resistance. Thus, reduce intake of carbohydrate-rich foods to reduce insulin resistance.
- Lower your sugar intake: Sugar is the main reason for any insulin-based condition like insulin resistance or pre-diabetes. An increase in sugar intake consequently increases your blood glucose levels. It increases the demand of your body to produce more insulin to lower the blood glucose levels that increases insulin resistance. Therefore, you need to cut down the intake of sugary food items.
- Improve your sleeping patterns: Lack of sleep increases cortisol and other hormones such as thyroid and testosterone. It makes your body cells become insulin resistant and leads to increase blood sugar levels. Hence, take adequate and sound sleep of around 7-8 hours to improve insulin sensitivity.
- Keep stress out of your life: Your body needs more energy to fight and flee stress. Your pancreas works more and exhausts to meet the body’s demand for energy when you are stressed out. It elevates blood sugar levels and activates insulin resistance. Therefore, you should try to remain stress-free. Do not overthink, stay positive, try relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, etc. and, make a pace with the situation that you cannot change.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise is the best way to keep your body fit and healthy. When it comes to controlling blood sugar levels or improving insulin resistance, exercise is the best. Need not have heavy equipment to start the exercise. You can walk, cycle, swim, do low-intensity exercise to increase the physical activity of your body. You can also dance to keep your body moving.
- Eat high fiber food: The foods that do not contain fiber release glucose in the concentrated form. Therefore, your body demands to increase in the glucose absorption rate. It puts pressure on the pancreas to release more insulin which ultimately increases insulin insensitivity. Eating fiber-rich food helps in improving your insulin sensitivity. Fiber mainly tampers the rate of digestion. It prevents your blood glucose levels shoot up after eating.
- Drink a lot of water: Your body needs water to flush out extra toxins from your body. Along with the toxins, your body also removes excess blood glucose. It reduces the burden on the pancreas to produce more insulin. Therefore, drink plenty of water a day to prevent insulin resistance. On average, an adult should drink at least three liters of water every day.
- Lose your weight: When your body cannot use glucose, excess glucose is stored as fat instead of burning it for energy. It makes your body insulin resistant and increases your body weight. When you are insulin resistant, your metabolism uses carbohydrates for energy. Hence, your body craves more sugar and, as a result, you will gain weight. Therefore, you need to lose weight to improve insulin sensitivity.
- Intermittent fasting: Intermittent fasting is another way to reverse insulin resistance. It is simple and doesn’t require strict adherence. You can start with overnight fasting and then delay your breakfast. When you fast, the levels of insulin drop dramatically and thus improves your insulin sensitivity.
- Avoid saturated fat: Saturated fat increases your cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels both. They are not healthy. Thus, replace the use of saturated fat with unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat is present in oils, nuts, and seeds. Always cook your food in unsaturated fat and include chia seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc. It controls your blood sugar levels. It, therefore, helps in reducing insulin sensitivity.
Superfoods that Reverse Your Insulin Resistance
Nature has blessed human beings with some items that have therapeutic properties. Garlic, ginger, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, and turmeric are some of them. These items help reverse insulin resistance and improve overall health. Take these items in small quantities regularly to see their effect on your body.
It is a fact that you can reverse insulin resistance as long as you maintain healthy lifestyle habits, exercise daily and start eating better. Here is the list of some superfoods that naturally helps you to reverse insulin resistance:
- Garlic: Garlic has antioxidant properties that promote the secretion of insulin in your body. It, therefore, can reverse your insulin resistance. Try including at least 3-4 garlic cloves every day in your meal to maintain your body’s insulin sensitivity.
- Ginger: Ginger extracts interact with serotonin receptors in your body. These receptors are capable of regulating insulin production in your body. Therefore, your body becomes more insulin sensitive to control your blood sugar levels.
- Apple cider vinegar: The main component of apple cider vinegar is the vinegar. It helps in reducing blood sugar levels and enhances the effectiveness of insulin. It delays the release of food from the stomach to the intestines. Thereby, it gives more time to your body to absorb glucose into the bloodstream and improves insulin sensitivity.
- Cinnamon: It is another spice that helps improve insulin sensitivity. It helps in the transportation of glucose to the body cells. It also mimics insulin that increases the sugar uptake from your bloodstream to prevent insulin resistance.
- Turmeric: It is a spice that has a lot of therapeutic properties. It contains compound curcumin that helps to treat insulin resistance and diabetes type-2. It also treats other complications related to diabetes and weight gain.
Treatment for Insulin Resistance
There are two commonly prescribed drugs for diabetes that are helpful in insulin resistance treatment. Metformin is one of the drugs to improve insulin resistance. It decreases the production of glucose and increases insulin sensitivity. Pioglitazone is another medication that helps in reversing it. These drugs not only reverses insulin resistance but also delay the onset of diabetes type-2. However, you should take these drugs only after consultation with your doctor.
Also read:- Homeopathy medicine for sugar
How can I know that I am suffering from insulin resistance?
A lot of people can live unaware for many years about their insulin resistance in the body. However, if you develop any symptoms, you need to see your doctor for insulin resistance. Some insulin resistance symptoms include high blood pressure, fasting glucose levels, triglyceride levels, and HDL cholesterol levels. Some patients also develop skin tags and patchy skin when they have higher insulin resistance.
How can I prevent insulin resistance?
It is not possible to prevent insulin resistance. However, you can modify the risk factors that are responsible for developing insulin resistance. You can adopt a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly, maintain your healthy weight, and avoid high-calorie and carbohydrate foods. Diabetes is genetic also. Thus, if you have a family history of diabetes, you need to take more precautions to prevent developing pre-diabetes and diabetes type-2.
How long does it take for insulin resistance to reverse?
Once you start eating healthy fat and low carbohydrate diet and modify your lifestyle, it may take from few hours to few days to reverse insulin resistance. A prolonged fast of 36 hours to 3 days initially is helps reverse insulin resistance.
Are there any supplements that help with insulin resistance?
Many supplements are there that may help in improving insulin resistance. There have been many studies that prove that Chromium, Berberine, Magnesium, and Resveratrol are effective supplements. They improve the ability of insulin receptors to reduce blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. These supplements are found naturally in plants and plant products. Therefore, you need to take these supplements in small quantities.
How insulin sensitivity becomes diabetes type-2?
The blood sugar levels of a person with pre-diabetes are a bit higher than the normal levels. Therefore, the person’s pancreas works harder to release enough insulin to lower the blood glucose levels. If this condition persists for a long time, the ability of the pancreas to release insulin gets low. It leads to the development of diabetes type-2.
Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.