Insulin Resistance and BellyFat
In a normal metabolism, when we consume carbohydrates, the pancreas will release insulin that carries the glucose (broken down carbohydrates), into the cells to be used for energy output.
When the body has been exposed to prolonged, excessive carbohydrate intake, and the pancreas has had to pour out increased loads of insulin, eventually the cells become less and less sensitive to the insulin and will no longer allow the insulin to carry the glucose into the cells. The result is that there are high levels of insulin in the blood, a condition known as hyperinsulinemia. This condition is not yet diabetes but left untreated, may become type 2 diabetes.
If the insulin cannot carry the glucose into the cells, the body senses that there is too much sugar in the blood and the pancreas produces yet more insulin, eventually wearing itself out, much like constantly revving your car engine. This becomes Type 2 diabetes.
High levels of insulin, even before the official diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, has far reaching and damaging effects on the body.
Insulin resistance plays a role in the following conditions.
– increased risk of prostate and breast cancer
– Heart Disease
– Weight gain
– Difficulty losing weight
– Metabolic Syndrome
– Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (infertility)
– Increased triglycerides and decreased HDL
– Affects thyroid health
While factors such as exercise levels and obesity do play a part, not all insulin resistant individuals are obese. Other factors are involved, as greater than 50% of individuals with IRS are not obese, and individuals may have normalized insulin levels while still remaining overweight. The combination of genes and lifestyle may affect the individuals response to insulin. Nutritional intake may play a huge role in either offering some protection against insulin resistance or indeed, propelling an individual towards this. Apparently, the ability of insulin to stimulate glucose uptake varies widely from person to person, with the degree of obesity only one factor, and each individual needs to be assessed with unique response in mind.
It is insufficient to simply look at fasting glucose to measure diabetes risk or status. Other factors need to be measured to fully understand the individual, particularly when the individual is experiencing symptoms such as:
– Belly fat
– Inability to lose weight no matter what the calorie intake
– Thyroid disturbances
– Sugar or carbohydrate cravings
– mid afternoon slump
What to do about it?
Consult a lifestyle coach or Functional Medicine Practitioner. Correcting Insulin Resistance is not a linear approach and each person is different. Certain toxins such as mercury play havoc with Insulin as well as the receptor sites on the cell membrane, for example, as well as mistakes in eating timing and food choice. Some basic minerals such as magnesium deficiency also affect the efficacy of Insulin and the integrity of the receptor site.
Once the status of the individual has been properly assessed, a program of nutritional and vitamin support that will re -sensitise the cells to insulin, plus an exercise regime that may easily be incorporated into the unique lifestyle of that individual, is required. Stress is also a factor in managing insulin resistance, as well as the impact on the thyroid. Success is elusive without a multi- pronged approach.
What can I do immediately, before consulting with a Functional Practitioner?
1. Increase Fibre
2. Drink more water