Posted on by Anabelle Savion

Insulin resistance and prediabetes occur when the body becomes insensitive to insulin.

What is insulin?

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps glucose in your blood enter cells in your muscle, fat, and liver, where it’s used for energy. Glucose comes from the food you eat or it’s made by the liver when we are fasting. When glucose levels rise after you eat, your pancreas releases insulin into the blood, allowing the sugar to enter the cells and allowing the blood glucose levels to go back down to normal.

 

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t easily take up glucose from your blood. Insulin resistance causes are highly correlated with abdominal fat (visceral fat). There are people that can handle a great deal of fat and don’t get sick, while there are others have less fat cells and therefore can contain limited amounts of fat. When the fat cells are overstuffed with fat, the fat starts sending a clear message that it does not have room for any more sugar.  This is called insulin resistance, and what it is essentially suggesting is that the body does not want any more sugar to come in. However, the pancreas must clear the high sugar from the blood and hence it makes more insulin to help glucose enter your cells. As long as your pancreas can make enough insulin to overcome your cells’ weak response to insulin, your blood glucose levels will stay in the healthy range. 

 

Are there any problems with having insulin resistance, as long as glucose levels are in the normal range?

Having normal sugar levels can be deceiving, giving a sense that there is no problem. However, high insulin levels, even with normal sugars, can be a problem. In the short run, high insulin levels make us hungry and make us gain weight. High insulin levels are also associated with hypertension and with dyslipidemia. In the long run, we know that high insulin levels are associated with higher rates of coronary artery disease, stroke, and cancer.

What is prediabetes?

When the pancreas is not able to keep up with the extra demand placed on it, then prediabetes sets in. This means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. One in every 3 adults has pre-diabetes. People with prediabetes have up to a 50 percent chance of developing diabetes over the next 5 to 10 years. Fortunately, type 2 diabetes can be prevented.

What are the symptoms of insulin resistance and prediabetes?

Insulin resistance and prediabetes usually have no symptoms. Unfortunately, doctors do not routinely check for insulin levels and diagnosed insulin resistance through other proxies. The presence of hypertension, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high uric acid, and fatty liver are all signs of insulin resistance. A HbA1c above 5.7 already points to insulin resistance. A HbA1c of 6.5 already defines diabetes.

How can we reverse insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance symptoms can be reversed by starting to decrease the levels of insulin in the blood. As insulin levels drop, then the body starts to respond better to insulin. The best and fastest way to drop insulin levels is by decreasing the ingestion of food that raises insulin levels. The foods that most raise insulin are carbohydrates such as sugars, but also less obvious sugars such as pasta, rice, bread, pizza, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruits, corn, and legumes.

Besides food, other things will help improve insulin resistance. This includes sleeping better, exercising, and decreasing emotional stress. So, if you are trying to figure out how to reverse insulin resistance naturally, those are some ways to go.

Other things that may contribute to insulin resistance include certain medicines, such as glucocorticoids, some antipsychotics, and some medicines for HIV.

Dr. Mariela Glandt is an endocrinologist specialized in Diabetes. She has recently opened the Glandt Center for Diabetes Care, a state of the art clinic in Tel Aviv.

 

 

 

 

Insulin resistance and prediabetes occur when the body becomes insensitive to insulin.

What is insulin?

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps glucose in your blood enter cells in your muscle, fat, and liver, where it’s used for energy. Glucose comes from the food you eat or it’s made by the liver when we are fasting. When glucose levels rise after you eat, your pancreas releases insulin into the blood, allowing the sugar to enter the cells and allowing the blood glucose levels to go back down to normal.

 

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t easily take up glucose from your blood. Insulin resistance causes are highly correlated with abdominal fat (visceral fat). There are people that can handle a great deal of fat and don’t get sick, while there are others have less fat cells and therefore can contain limited amounts of fat. When the fat cells are overstuffed with fat, the fat starts sending a clear message that it does not have room for any more sugar.  This is called insulin resistance, and what it is essentially suggesting is that the body does not want any more sugar to come in. However, the pancreas must clear the high sugar from the blood and hence it makes more insulin to help glucose enter your cells. As long as your pancreas can make enough insulin to overcome your cells’ weak response to insulin, your blood glucose levels will stay in the healthy range. 

 

Are there any problems with having insulin resistance, as long as glucose levels are in the normal range?

Having normal sugar levels can be deceiving, giving a sense that there is no problem. However, high insulin levels, even with normal sugars, can be a problem. In the short run, high insulin levels make us hungry and make us gain weight. High insulin levels are also associated with hypertension and with dyslipidemia. In the long run, we know that high insulin levels are associated with higher rates of coronary artery disease, stroke, and cancer.

What is prediabetes?

When the pancreas is not able to keep up with the extra demand placed on it, then prediabetes sets in. This means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. One in every 3 adults has pre-diabetes. People with prediabetes have up to a 50 percent chance of developing diabetes over the next 5 to 10 years. Fortunately, type 2 diabetes can be prevented.

What are the symptoms of insulin resistance and prediabetes?

Insulin resistance and prediabetes usually have no symptoms. Unfortunately, doctors do not routinely check for insulin levels and diagnosed insulin resistance through other proxies. The presence of hypertension, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high uric acid, and fatty liver are all signs of insulin resistance. A HbA1c above 5.7 already points to insulin resistance. A HbA1c of 6.5 already defines diabetes.

How can we reverse insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance symptoms can be reversed by starting to decrease the levels of insulin in the blood. As insulin levels drop, then the body starts to respond better to insulin. The best and fastest way to drop insulin levels is by decreasing the ingestion of food that raises insulin levels. The foods that most raise insulin are carbohydrates such as sugars, but also less obvious sugars such as pasta, rice, bread, pizza, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruits, corn, and legumes.

Besides food, other things will help improve insulin resistance. This includes sleeping better, exercising, and decreasing emotional stress. So, if you are trying to figure out how to reverse insulin resistance naturally, those are some ways to go.

Other things that may contribute to insulin resistance include certain medicines, such as glucocorticoids, some antipsychotics, and some medicines for HIV.

Dr. Mariela Glandt is an endocrinologist specialized in Diabetes. She has recently opened the Glandt Center for Diabetes Care, a state of the art clinic in Tel Aviv.