Australian Nutrition Centre
More and more people are identifying with the symptoms of insulin resistance, even if we’re doing the ‘right things’.
So what is it?
Symptoms of insulin resistance include:
- Weight gain primarily around the midsection
- Excessive sugar/carbohydrate cravings
- Fatigue after meals or craving sugar after meals
- Feeling like you always need to eat.
- Disrupted sleep and disrupted hormone balance
- Poor or delayed wound healing or frequent skin infections.
- Increased thirst
You can be more pre-disposed to insulin resistance if you have the following:
- Family history of Type 2 Diabetes or Gestational Diabetes
- Excessive sugar and carbohydrate intake
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Dodgy gut-bug balance
- Nutrient deficiencies such as Zinc, Vitamin D and Iodine
- Thyroid problems
- Chronic stress, anxiety and poor sleep.
- Menopausal or Post-Menopausal
Insulin Resistance is a pre-cursor to conditions such as:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- PCOS/Fertility issues
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Pretty much lots of bad stuff to be honest.
So how does it all work?
Insulin is a storage hormone that is released by the pancreas in response to a meal. Basically, when you eat, insulin comes out and stores the glucose from meals in the liver, muscle and fat. If you’ve become insulin resistant, your body produces EXCESS insulin to overcome the ‘resistance’ of the cells that normally listen.
Think of it like talking to a person who has a hard time hearing you, you raise your voice, insulin raises its voice. Problem is, the fat cells NEVER become insulin resistant, meaning that with the excess insulin produced, you store more fat than you normally should. This excess insulin also shuts down the mechanisms for fat burning, meaning that you’ll more likely store more fat from meals, and when you’re not eating, you’ll have a harder time burning fat.
Hopefully, you’ve hung in there for us to share our secrets for combating insulin resistance.
1. Consider intermittent fasting (disclaimer – this may not be suitable for everyone) – absence makes the heart grow fonder with insulin, so by skipping something like breakfast, your body doesn’t see insulin as often and therefore becomes more SENSITIVE to it. The MORE SENSITIVE you are to insulin, the less your body will produce.
2. If you can’t fast or have a hard time doing it, consider cutting out snacks, or include your snacks with the larger meals. Same idea as above, the less often you eat (I’m not saying eat less), the less often you’ll spike insulin.
3. Reduce carbohydrates and sugars from meals and beverages. The less of these, the less insulin your body will produce, and the MORE sensitive it will become to insulin. Think low-carb or even ketogenic eating.
4. This one is a little bit of cheating, but hey, it works! Use of Myo-inositol and Histidine. These two bad boys combined make the body MORE sensitive to insulin. So when you do eat, your body won’t produce as much insulin, and therefore weight will be MUCH easier to manage and you’ll even find you’ll want less sugar too.
5. If you really want to smack it across the head, doing the above PLUS Berberine can be killer for insulin resistance. The Berberine is a herb works to improve insulin sensitivity via the gut, so it can be also great for killing off those bugs that tell you to eat the sugars and carbs.
If you’re curious about insulin resistance or if you have it, your GP can perform a couple of different tests, but the easiest is to test ‘Fasting Insulin’. Any result above 9 ticks the box in my book.
In the clinic we’d look to address insulin resistance a number of ways such as diet, correcting nutrient deficiencies, managing exacerbating factors like stress and with use of cool tricks like the Inositol, Histidine and Berberine.