For those suffering with diabetes, to them life is a perpetual battle with insulin. An essential hormone manufactured by the pancreas, insulin plays an important role in absorbing glucose from foods we eat to convert to energy. Failure of the body to use insulin effectively could lead to insulin resistance which is a precursor to prediabetes, diabetes and other serious conditions. As a result, more insulin is built up to stabilize blood sugar from spiraling out of control. The cells stop responding to signals, making it “insulin-resistant”.
Most people with insulin resistance are unaware of its existence for many years until their doctor diagnosed them later on with diabetes, a chronic disease that has affected about 347 million people worldwide. The good news though is that the earlier insulin resistance is detected, the more we can delay or prevent diabetes.
How does Insulin resistance develop?
It remains a mystery on why some people don’t respond well to insulin. Scientists are pointing at genetics as the reason behind why some people are more or less likely to be insulin-resistant.
Poor habits may also increase the risk of insulin resistance. Obesity, abnormal cholesterol level, high blood pressure and the lack of physical activity may cause the body to be less responsive to insulin. Studies suggest that belly fat produces hormones and other chemicals that trigger certain medical conditions. While these may be directly linked to developing insulin resistance, the real cause is still a subject of ongoing studies and research.
Combating Insulin Resistance
At this point it may not be possible to beat insulin resistance completely, but there are natural ways for the body to be more receptive to insulin. In fact, you don’t need to go through expensive medication or fad diets. Doing so is simply a waste of time and money.
Take alternative supplements. The truth is, there are no specific drugs approved to treat insulin resistance. Sure, there are drugs like metformin and thiazolidinediones or TZDs that medical experts say can lower insulin resistance. But it wouldn’t be wise to take metformin when you have pre-existing conditions like liver or kidney diseases. It may also cause lactic acidosis (a condition where lactic acids build up in the body causing muscle weakness and fatigue) which can start gradually and gets fatal over time. Some clinical studies have shown that thiazolidinedione drugs can potentially increase the risk of having diabetic macular edema (a swelling in the eye that impairs vision) in patients with type 2 diabetes. Here are some of the alternative supplements you can take to combat insulin resistance:
•Cinnamon – Do you know that as little as one teaspoon of cinnamon per day can help stimulate insulin sensitivity and control blood sugar? Yes, that’s true! It is used as a natural drug therapy for diabetics since it is organic, inexpensive and readily available. It’s perfect in spicing up your cereals, oatmeal, fruits and grain-based diet.
•Alpha Lipoic Acid – This powerful antioxidant enhances insulin sensitivity and regulates blood sugar level. ALA is most abundant in red meat and green, leafy vegetables but can also be available as supplements in your local drugstores.
•Omega-3 Fatty Acids – A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acid may significantly reduce insulin resistance which can lower your risk of having type 2 diabetes. It is naturally found in salmon, sardines and flax seeds. Taking at least 2-3 omega-3 capsules a day can significantly lessen chronic diseases like diabetes and other heart diseases.
Eat Right. Strong evidence suggests that no one diet is more effective than the other. I believe some of these trendy diets actually generate short term success in terms of controlling insulin resistance. A diet that specifically targets insulin resistance should include lean meat, non-starchy vegetables, leafy greens, high-fiber grains, healthy fats and fruits.
Many people unintentionally aggravate their symptoms by eating foods that are low-fat but are ridiculously high in carbs. Eating fats generally does not make one fat. But pigging out on UNHEALTHY FAT is a different story. Healthy fats from avocado, seeds and nuts are vital sources of energy without adding an extra pound to your weight. Be careful of foods labeled as “low-calorie” and “low-fat” as they may secretly contain sugar or sugar substitute that may trap fat rather than burn them for energy.
It’s best to avoid refined carbohydrates like white sugar, white bread, pasta, sodas, potatoes and other processed foods with added sugar. I ditched them many years ago when I found out that that they were the main reason why I got fat. Remember, the more refined and processed our food, the more insulin we need to produce to metabolize them. So think before caving in to your carbo cravings.
Exercise Regularly. Just get out there and exercise on a daily basis. It’s that simple! It doesn’t only lower insulin resistance, it can vastly improve your overall health. Exercise allows muscles to absorb more glucose without insulin. You don’t necessarily have to sign up for a rigorous fitness program in a gym. Just a 30-minute brisk walk, 3-5 times a week is all it takes to keep your insulin level in check.
Your body’s hormonal balance is a like a one big orchestra and insulin is one of its most important “musical instrument” used. When your metabolism goes out of control, it throws off the rest of your body. Take charge of your life by taking the natural path in reducing insulin resistance through alternative supplements, a healthy diet and regular exercise. I understand that making some changes to your lifestyle may overwhelm you at first but once you get through the first few weeks, it gets easier and effortless as you see some improvements in your insulin level and your health in general.
Written By: Scarlett Michael