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Combating Insulin Resistance

Insulin is a hormone, made in the pancreas, that plays a major role in how our metabolism functions. It helps our bodies absorb glucose and use it for energy. When we eat, our blood glucose levels rise, so our pancreas releases insulin into our blood to help our muscles, fat and liver cells absorb the glucose from our bloodstream, thus bringing our levels back to normal. In a healthy person, this function is carried out tirelessly in our bodies every day, and our blood glucose and insulin levels stay within the normal range.

What Is Insulin Resistance?

In people suffering from insulin resistance, the liver and fat cells don’t respond as well to insulin, which means glucose is not absorbed as easily from the bloodstream. To compensate, the pancreas releases more insulin. Over time, insulin resistance can lead to Type 2 diabetes, as the pancreas eventually fails to keep up with the body’s demand.

Although the exact causes of insulin resistance are not completely understood, being overweight and physically inactive are thought be two major contributing factors. Belly fat in particular is red-flagged as a primary trigger. Belly fat contributes towards inflammation in the body, which can, in turn, promote insulin resistance, among many other dangerous health problems.

A diet high in carbohydrates and/or sugar, taking high doses of steroids over long periods, and chronic stress are also all believed to increase your chances of becoming insulin resistant.

What Are The Symptoms?

Insulin resistance can present no outward symptoms for quite a long time, with many only appearing after secondary complications, such as high blood sugar levels, start appearing. At this point, symptoms can include:

  • Hunger
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Weight gain (especially around your stomach)
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • What Can I Do?

    If you’ve been told you’re insulin resistant, it’s important to understand that it’s not a life sentence. There are lots of things you can do to help your body get back to a healthier state. Most of these are great lifestyle tips for everyone, but are particularly beneficial for pre-diabetics:

  • Eat mainly lean meats and protein, leafy greens, fresh vegetables and legumes, and fresh fruit. Try to limit grains, and only choose high-fibre, wholegrain options.
  • Eat three meals and two snacks per day. Each meal should contain lean protein.
  • Avoid processed, high-sodium, sugary foods.
  • Include essential fatty acids (healthy fats) in the form of salmon, tuna and other oily, salt-water fish, avocados, eggs and flaxseed.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, get plenty of sleep, and stop smoking.
  • Dr Alain Sanua is a qualified medical doctor who is passionate about the practice of integrated medicine. He is particularly interested in treating persistent conditions, including insulin resistance. If you’re worried that you might be pre-diabetic, make an appointment today to start you on your road back to better health.

     

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