20% off probiotics and enzymes. Shop now.
plus get free shipping on orders over $25. Order by 6 p.m. ET Ships same day. Learn more.
Reorder products. See your order history.
FREE SHIPPING on orders of $25 or more.

How to get FREE Shipping:
1. Place your online order of $25 or more*
2. Ship to an address within the United States (including U.S. territories)
3. Your shipment should arrive within 2-6 business days from your order

* Your total purchase must reach the designated amount after any discounts are applied and prior to the costs of shipping and tax.
Order by 6, We'll Ship the Same Day

Domestic orders placed Monday - Friday by 6 p.m. Eastern Time will be packed and shipped the same day, pending verification of billing information and the shipping method selected. International orders and orders containing gift cards, out-of-stock items or refrigerated items will be processed as quickly as possible, but won't necessarily be shipped out the same day.

Excludes all orders placed on major US holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day).

 

Health Guides
Health Concerns
Vitamin Guide
Herbal Remedies
Homeopathy
Weight Control
Sports & Fitness
Women's Health
Men's Health
Safety Checker
Food Guide
Newswire
Personal Health Tools
 Print this article
 

Insulin Resistance: A Wake-Up Call

Insulin Resistance: A Wake-Up Call: Main Image
An insulin resistance diagnosis is a great wake up call, because the condition is largely reversible
If you're not familiar with insulin resistance you may want to make the acquaintance. As many as 16% of adults worldwide may have this condition--and most don't even know it! Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, is "a key" that unlocks cells' doors allowing glucose (sugar) inside, where it is used by the cells of your body for energy.

Why the resistance?

As the name implies, insulin resistance occurs when our cells become "resistant" to the actions of insulin. Insulin knocks on the cell doors, but nobody answers. Why cells become resistant to insulin isn't completely understood, although obesity, genetic factors, an unhealthy diet, and lack of physical activity likely factor into the mix.

We do know that insulin resistance leads to increased blood sugar levels and cells can't get needed energy. This may cause fatigue in the short run and multiple health problems in the long run.

Short-term fix

In response to resistance, the pancreas pumps out more insulin. The extra insulin bangs on cells' doors a little louder than before, and glucose is once again allowed inside to provide cellular energy.

After a time, cells develop resistance to higher insulin levels, so the pancreas produces even more. The cycle continues until at some point, the pancreas simply cannot produce enough insulin to overcome resistance, and type 2 diabetes develops.

Never too late

An insulin resistance diagnosis is a great wake up call, because the condition is largely reversible. Type 2 diabetes is more difficult to reverse, and some damage due to type 2 diabetes may not be reversible at all. Working with your healthcare provider and making smart lifestyle choices will put you on the path to better health now and in the future.

Timely tips for addressing insulin resistance

Focus on family first. If you have a family history of insulin resistance or diabetes, ask your doctor about being tested for these conditions. This involves checking your blood levels of glucose, insulin, and other hormones, or a glucose challenge test, in which you drink a sugar solution and your blood glucose levels are measured several times over the next few hours.

Watch the waist. A waist circumference of greater than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women is considered high risk and increases the likelihood of developing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

Move it and lose it. Ideally, you can use exercise and weight loss to prevent or manage insulin resistance. Each one improves insulin sensitivity on its own, but together they are a powerful way to better health. Regardless of how you lose weight, if you have extra pounds to spare, shedding them will improve insulin sensitivity and the simple act of moving your body more, regardless of weight, will decrease insulin resistance. A 20 minute walk on your lunch break, regularly taking the stairs, walking to the corner store instead of driving, or riding bikes with your kids all count.

Savvy supplementation

Ask your doctor about dietary supplements that may help manage insulin resistance. These may include alpha lipoic acid, chromium, fenugreek, glucomannan, all types of fiber, resveratrol, psyllium, gymnema, and berberine--each has shown promise for improving insulin sensitivity in people with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.

If you want to try supplements, check with your doctor or another knowledgeable healthcare provider before adding any into your self-care program. This is especially true if you take medication for any condition.

Dealing with diet

Sack simple carbs. Cutting back on simple carbohydrates--white breads and sugary cereals, pasta, fruit juice, energy drinks, regular soda, candy, cake, donuts, cookies, and even large amounts of fruit and dried fruit--can improve insulin resistance.

Home in on healthy fat. Fats found in nuts, seeds, fish and seafood, olive oil, avocados, and sesame and sunflower oils are an important part of an insulin-balancing diet. Replacing simple carbs with healthy fats helps level blood sugar and insulin levels. Try a small piece of fruit and a handful of nuts for a healthy snack, for example, instead of a large piece of fruit alone.

Power up with protein. Replacing simple carbohydrates with protein is another way to better balance blood sugar and insulin levels. Lean protein, such as chicken, fish, egg whites, beans, chickpeas, lentils, soy products, and lean beef are good options.

(Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/Index.html, accessed May 20 2014; American Heart Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Body-Composition-Tests_UCM_305883_Article.jsp, accessed May 20 2014)

Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.

 
sign up. save 10%

invalid email address entered. please try again.

 
almost there! click sign me up for exclusive coupons, great deals, early access to sales and info on how to stay healthy & fit.  view our privacy policy.
*first time customers only