What Is Insulin Resistance And How Do You Overcome It?
Insulin resistance is a term that is becoming more and more well-known in recent years. This is not surprising when we consider that the umber of people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is rising. Not just that – the number of people who have type 2 diabetes but don’t know it is staggering. Before these people developed this kind of illness, they were classed as “at risk” due to the fact that they were becoming insulin resistant. But just what does this mean, and how do you stop it from happening?
What Is Insulin?
First and foremost, we must learn to understand just what insulin actually is.
“Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. These cells are scattered throughout the pancreas in small clusters known as the islets of Langerhans.” – Medicine Net
The pancreas releases insulin, which travels through the bloodstream to be distributed to our entire body. The hormone is essential to our survival as it has many responsibilities. It regulates our metabolism, helps us break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins and it regulates the growth of healthy cells. Last but not least, it is thanks to insulin that our body is able to turn glucose into energy.
What Is Insulin Resistance?
When insulin resistance happens, our body is no longer able to respond appropriately to the effects of insulin.
“It is the beginning of the body not dealing well with sugar (and remember that all carbohydrate breaks down into sugar in our bodies).” – About.com
With insulin resistance, the way the body responds to the insulin it produces is essentially reduced, which tells the pancreas to create more insulin, creating a vicious cycle in which the body requires more and more insulin in order to be able to deal with sugar in the body. Unfortunately, at some point, the pancreas is no longer able to keep up with the body’s demands. At this point, our levels of blood sugar start to climb, which can lead to heart disease and diabetes.
Can You Overcome Insulin Resistance?
The internet is full of websites and products that claim to be able to reverse type 2 diabetes. This essentially means that they promise to reverse insulin resistance. The problem is that with the emphasis on type 2 diabetes, this means that people who are developing insulin resistance may not be interested in these products and plans yet, as they don’t know that they already have some resistance. Hence, there are now recommendations that people have their blood sugar levels tested regularly in order to avoid type 2 diabetes from developing. Considering that there are believed to be several million people in our country today who have the illness but aren’t aware of it, this seems like sound advice.
“25.8 million children and adults in the United States-8.3% of the population-have diabetes.” – American Diabetes Association
There are believed to be 7 million undiagnosed individuals. Most worryingly of all, 79 million people in our country are at risk of developing diabetes. These are the people that are starting to become insulin resistant.
Luckily, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There are indeed many things that can be done to reverse insulin resistant. It is even possible to reverse type 2 diabetes, with the right diet and exercise program. However, prevention is always better than cure, which is why it is vital that people start thinking about making real changes now, and not wait until they have received a diagnosis. The reality is that, if caught in time, insulin resistance can actually be reversed in 90% of the cases.
“To get to the foundation of the problem, you must do a diagnostic work-up, to identify and deal with the layered factors which promote insulin resistance and diabetes.” – Psychology Today
The start would be to figure out what sort of levels you have in your body. Do you have too many stress hormones, for instance? Are your levels of testosterone or estrogen too low, or too high? The most important thing, of course, is your lifestyle. You need to look inside yourself and figure out what habits you have that aren’t helping, such as overeating or comfort eating. Having a healthy and consistent exercise regime is also incredibly important. Lastly, you have to figure out whether you have any nutrient deficiencies. Armed with this information, you should be able to come up with a diet and exercise plan (usually low fat, low sugar and low carb), that will help reverse insulin resistance. Unfortunately, this is often a plan that you will have to stick to for the rest of your life.