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Insulin Resistance

Summary: It has been reported that over 80% of Americans have poor metabolic health, including elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar as well as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when your muscle, fat and liver cells no longer respond well to insulin and do not easily take up glucose from your blood. If you have insulin resistance, you may have symptoms of PCOS, fatigue, acne, difficulty losing weight and food cravings. Eating a low glycemic, highly nutritious/anti-inflammatory diet along with targeted supplements and lifestyle modifications can help correct insulin resistance and other metabolic issues.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas and distributed throughout the body, regulates blood glucose levels. Glucose is one of the final products of digestion. Every cell requires energy from glucose to function. Insulin is “the key that opens the door,” allowing glucose to enter each cell and provide that energy. There are common conditions in which the pancreas produces too much or too little insulin, neither being good for health. Insulin resistance occurs when the “keyholes” in muscle, fat and liver cells are altered, and insulin cannot open the door while glucose and insulin accumulate in the blood. Too much insulin circulation in the blood may increase inflammation, damage cell membranes and disrupt insulin receptors, worsening insulin resistance. Too much sugar circulating in the blood for long periods of time can also create inflammation that damages tissue throughout the body causing neurological and cardiovascular complications. Insulin resistance can lead to prediabetes, diabetes, and an array of other health issues. The earlier insulin resistance is addressed the better.

Symptoms of insulin resistance:

  • Feeling more tired than usual

  • Acne and skin tags

  • Dark skin patches

  • Increased hunger and cravings

  • Eating sweets doesn't relieve cravings

  • Tendency to be overweight

  • Trouble losing weight

  • Frequent thirst and urge to urinate

  • Hormone problems such as PCOS

  • Increased estrogen and/or male hormones

Classically these folks have:

  • High blood pressure

  • A waistline over 40 inches in men, 35 in women

  • Persistent fasting glucose over 100mg/dL

  • Fasting triglyceride over 150 mg/dL

  • Low HDL cholesterol

  • Increased hemoglobin A1c

  • Fasting Insulin above 5

The good news is that insulin resistance can be reversed through diet and lifestyle modifications. Eating a whole foods, nutrient-dense diet with organic leafy greens, low-glycemic fruits and vegetables, and enough protein (grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, eggs, and wild-caught fish) and healthy fats will help improve the cell's ability to use insulin. Exercise, intermittent fasting, getting a good night’s rest and other lifestyle modifications have also been shown to improve cell’s sensitivity to insulin.

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