Insulin is a
hormone that is critical in the utilization of glucose by the body.
Insulin induces receptors in the cells to pull sugar from the bloodstream
into the cell. Insulin resistance is when the cells are unresponsive to the
efforts of insulin.
Your cells use the
sugar to perform its function. When the cell has enough for its needs, it will
be down-regulating the receptors by removing them from the outside of the cell.
Consequently, the cell becomes indifferent to the efforts of insulin trying to
distribute the available sugar.
a constant supply of sugar on hand, like digesting more sugar when the glucose
from a previous meal is not depleted, all the cells get satiated with enough
energy. The glucose remains in the blood, and the pancreas releases more
insulin, to get rid of it. This leads to overkill, desensitizing the receptors.
Meaning that when the cell's energy is depleted, it would require a bigger
amount of insulin to stimulate the receptors effectively. These sequences of
events are what creates the state of insulin resistance, i.e. cells defying the efforts of insulin.
to Reduce Insulin Resistance
The two fundamental
non-pharmacological or recreational ways to promote insulin sensitivity
are ingesting less insulin demanding foods plus more insulin resistance
improving substances and to increase your energy expenditure. Added to that is
to improve on some lifestyle habits, like sleep and meditation.
The effect of
exercise is similar to the
action of insulin on glucose uptake. Get moving
- Have an attitude of
life-long activity. Being sedentary will not do your insulin sensitivity
- Walking can be quite
powerful in reducing insulin resistance. Create a habit of walking of at
least 10 000 steps per day, every day. Take a break every hour
and walk for five minutes. Taking a walk after a meal is good for glucose
control. Regular walking was found to have impressive effects on
insulin sensitivity in obese men and women.
- Training in the fasted state is even better for insulin response.
- Hiking/training at altitude improves glucose tolerance.
- Do a full-body workout to
get all cells to replete its glycogen stores. An empty energy-starved cell
is an insulin sensitive cell.To
get to all the cells, high-intensity full body movements are needed, such as
pull-ups, squats, push-ups, swimming, etc.
- Cut down on carbohydrates. However, be
careful of going "no carbs" as a ketogenic diet can induce an
insulin-resistant state in your peripheral tissues. Going low-carb
does improve insulin sensitivity in overweight women and obese kids, while a high-carb diet is not as effective.
- Refined sugar negatively affects insulin
sensitivity. Reducing the intake of refined sugar can improve insulin
- Losing weight will go a long
way to improve insulin sensitivity.
- Paleo/primal diets are doing better than
even the Mediterranean diet in improving insulin sensitivity.
- Foods rich in
phytonutrients, such as; broccoli sprouts, purple sweet potatoes, strawberries, blueberries, cocoa/dark chocolate, improve insulin
- Serum zinc and copper play essential
roles in maintaining insulin sensitivity. Some of the best sources of
zinc and copper are oysters and ruminant liver.
- Fermented Asian nutrition,
like a natto breakfast and fresh or long-fermented kimchi have a positive influence
on insulin sensitivity.
- Gallic acid, an antioxidant found in tea
leaves, improves insulin sensitivity. Green tea improves insulin resistance
as well as Pu-erh tea.
- High sodium-bicarbonate
mineral water was found to improve insulin sensitivity in post-surgery
breast cancer patients and
- Various spices and
flavourings included in your nutrition can also help to improve insulin sensitivity. Add Ginger and garlic whenever the dish requires
it. Turmeric - especially used together with black pepper - add great taste as well
as improving insulin response. Vinegar also improves insulin sensitivity. Even though cinnamon does not work for everyone,
give it a try, especially when insulin resistance is due to sleep loss.
- Magnesium have a part to
play in many physiological processes, especially with glucose disposal and
insulin sensitivity. Get magnesium from spinach, nuts, fish, dark
chocolate and/or oral supplements.
- Vitamin K2, obtainable from
goose and chicken liver, aged cheeses, grass-fed butter, pastured eggs,
fermented milk and/or oral supplementation.
recommendations are just a start, there are probably more ways to improve
insulin response and more yet to be discovered. The thing to remember is
that less insulin-demanding foods would reduce the effects of insulin
Learn more about
insulin resistance and what to do about it from these excellent books: Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution and Blood Sugar 101.
Please consult the services of your
doctor and/or other members of your health care team
before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.
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