Insulin Resistance: It Is Not So Sweet
By Dr. Julie Durnan • December 15th, 2011 • 12290 Views
When most people think of the type of foods that can cause high cholesterol, heart disease, and obesity, they often think of one word: fat. However, current research shows that the type of food most likely to contribute to the epidemic of obesity and its related conditions, is actually the sweet stuff: sugar and refined carbohydrates.
The Unwell Cell
Insulin helps transfer glucose into our cells for energy production. Insulin resistance (also called Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X) is when the body’s cells no longer respond to insulin as they should. The late stage of this disease is Type 2 Diabetes, however, damage to our cells starts long before Diabetes shows up. The good news is that with some help, you can reverse this condition.
Watch for Signs
Hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, and abdominal weight gain are all signs that you might be insulin resistant. With a change in diet and lifestyle, insulin resistance can be reversible. For some it will only take a few small adjustments. For others, a greater effort may be required.
Signs that you might have insulin resistance:
- Obesity – especially around the midsection
- High blood pressure
- Elevated insulin, high triglycerides, low HDL (on blood test)
- Increased inflammation, excess blood clotting
- Susceptibility to heart disease and stroke
- History of gestational diabetes
Symptoms that you might experience if you have insulin resistance:
- Inability to lose weight
- Low blood sugar before meals - mood swings, shakiness, nervousness, dizziness, irritability, or confusion
Diet and Exercise
Depending on your level of health and the quality of your current diet, often a diet low in refined carbohydrates is the first line of therapy. Some doctors will even recommend a complete avoidance of grains for some individuals. In addition, a good source of omega 3 (usually from fish) and GLA (gamma linolenic acid, such as borage oil or black currant seed oil) containing foods are recommended. And finally--thirty minutes of a cardiovascular workout, five times per week is a minimum requirement.
While a change in diet is most important, many people will also need a higher dose of a few herbs and nutrients to jumpstart their metabolism and to reverse insulin resistance. Many herbal treatments options exist that have plenty of excellent research to support their use. Ask your primary health care provider if the any of the following botanical medicines may be right for you: