What Is Insulin Resistance And Who’s At Risk?
Normally the hormone insulin helps to clear sugar from the blood after you eat a meal that has carbohydrates in it. The sugar goes into the cells, with insulin’s help, and gets used for energy. The pancreas is responsible for making insulin.
What Is Insulin Resistance?
In some people, insulin does not work the way it should. The pancreas continues to make insulin, but the cells become resistant to the insulin and do not take in the sugar from the blood as easily. When this happens, sugar stays in the blood and, therefore, blood sugar rises.
When blood sugar levels are higher than normal for a long period of time, issues such as diabetes can occur. Moreover, there is a higher risk of experiencing heart disease.
“When glucose starts to build up in the blood stream instead of being used or stored, it can cause diabetes complications.” – Vitamin D Council
Who Is At Risk For Insulin Resistance?
There are several different factors that increase the risk of developing insulin resistance. Some have to do with lifestyle and can be changed, while others have to do with genetics and cannot be changed.
While research continues to look at how insulin resistance develops, there are a few different people who are more prone to develop insulin resistance.
- People who are obese and eat a diet full of fats and refined carbohydrates are thought to be at highest risk for insulin resistance
- People who have excess abdominal fat, because the hormones produced from abdominal fat can trigger insulin resistance
- People of certain ethnicities, such as Latino, African-American, Native American, or Asian-American
- People who have a medical condition, such as Cushing’s syndrome, hypogonadism, arteriosclerosis, or fatty liver
- People who lack vitamin D from diet or sun exposure, as it plays a role in glucose tolerance
- People with inflammation disorders
What Can You Do To Reduce Your Risk?
There are many lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your risk. If you are overweight, losing weight is important. Changing your diet to a natural, whole-food diet and eliminating high-fat, processed, and sugary foods is also important.
Increasing the amount of exercise you get per day can also help reduce your risk. In fact, exercise for long periods of time has been shown to increase the uptake of glucose into the cells in insulin resistant people. Improvements have been seen very quickly, within a week.
The benefits of exercise can occur independently from weight loss, therefore whether weight loss occurs or not, maintaining an exercise schedule of exercising for 30-60 minutes a day will still be beneficial.
Some supplements like IC-5 can also help to reduce the risk of insulin sensitivity. Supplementing with nutrients that may be missing in a diet can help the body’s systems work better, which may improve how well insulin works in the body.
For example, zinc deficiency has been associated with insulin resistance in overweight people, and zinc is often deficient in many diets. Also, supplementing with vitamin D, especially if you live in an environment where you do not get a lot of sun exposure throughout the day, can be very beneficial.