Insulin resistance is a growing problem for Americans. Approximately 8 out of 10 persons in America are obese, with 40% of these being obese. Knowing if you have it and overcoming it are key to your health and longevity.
With insulin resistance, problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes may occur. Having insulin resistance means you have low insulin sensitivity. A person may have insulin resistance (also called metabolic syndrome) for years prior to developing disease.
Here are some risk factors for developing insulin resistance:
• Obesity, especially belly fat
• Inactive lifestyle
• Diet high in carbohydrates and high fructose intake
• Gestational diabetes
• Chronic inflammation
• Gut dysbiosis (imbalances of gut microbes)
• Health conditions like nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and polycystic ovary syndrome
• A family history of diabetes
• Ethnicity — it’s more likely if your ancestry is African, Latino, or Native American
• Age over 45
• Hormonal disorders like Cushing’s syndrome and acromegaly
• Medications like steroids, antipsychotics, and HIV medications
• Sleep problems like sleep apnea
How exactly do you know if you have decreased insulin sensitivity? Here are some signs:
• A waistline over 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women
• Blood pressure readings of 130/80 or higher
• A fasting glucose level over 100 mg/dL
• A fasting insulin
• A fasting triglyceride level over 150 mg/dL
• A HDL cholesterol level under 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women
• Skin tags
• Patches of dark, velvety skin called acanthosis nigricans that occurs usually neck, groin, and armpits.
What tests can be done to help identify insulin resistance?
- You can get a cheap blood glucose monitor. There are a number on the market but pay attention to the separate costs of the device and monitoring strips so you know the total cost. Measure your blood glucose after fasting 8 hours overnight. Re-measure 2 hours after eating your meal.
- Ask your health provider to measure your fasting insulin. This test can help to diagnose or monitor for insulin resistance as well as find out causes for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If fasting insulin is too high, you may have insulin resistance, diabetes, or a pancreatic tumor.
- Your Hemoglobin A1C.This blood test shows your average blood sugar level for the past 2 to 3 months and can be used to diagnose pre-diabetes or diabetes or monitor average blood sugar in diabetics.
Here’s a few tips to increase your insulin sensitivity:
• Avoid sugary drinks and foods that are high in carbs
• Cut down your bread and pasta intake
• Increase your daily intake of fiber. Water soluble fibers have the most beneficial effects on blood sugar control including beans, peas, other legumes; nuts, seeds; oat bran; citrus fruits; pears; and apples. PGX is a dietary fiber matrix that also helps to control weight and is a very soluble fiber that can help stabilize blood sugar, reduce appetite, control weight, decrease levels of compounds that stimulate overeating, reduce after-meal glucose, reduce glycemic index of foods/beverages, and increase food sensitivity and decrease blood insulin. You can purchase PGX here.
• Rely on Sources of monounsaturated fats (olive oil, raw/lightly roasted nuts and seed, and omega-3 fatty acids from fish (wild salmon, anchovies, sardines, and herring).
The important thing to know is that you can address insulin resistance. If you are experiencing issues with insulin resistance, coaching on diet, rest, exercise, stress management, and supplementation can help to reverse insulin resistance and improve metabolism, address underlying causes of inflammation and reduce symptoms such as pain. Contact me for a free discovery call here.
Murray, Michael T. The Longevity Matrix. Morgan James Publishing, New York, 2021.