Are You Insulin Resistant?
In newsletter #5 we talked about the “Tree of Modern Disease” which highlighted the diseases caused or associated with Insulin Resistance … it’s literally a ‘Who’s Who’ of Modern Diseases.
Check out the list below, do any apply to you? If so, a low carb, truly low inflammatory diet may be for you.
Do you have an ailment that should be added to the list?
Insulin Resistance is a common theme so far in the “Daily BS” and for good reason, it’s generally believed to be the cause not only of diabetes (Type 2) but also a host of other modern diseases.
But what is insulin resistance?
Insulin Resistance is…
Insulin is a hormone secreted primarily by the pancreas when food is consumed, especially sugar and starches (carbohydrates), and to a lesser extent fiber and protein, with fats being the least insulinogenic of the three.
Insulin has many functions but the one we will talk about today, is it’s ‘job’ of allowing blood glucose to enter cells.
Someone is said to be ‘insulin resistant’ when their body does not react as efficiently to insulin as it should.
Translation: As people become more and more insulin resistant, the body requires more and more insulin to remove blood glucose from the bloodstream. This causes insulin levels to rise.
The rising insulin levels and the eventual rise in blood sugar levels can trigger a diabetes diagnosis when certain blood sugar levels are reached. But make no mistake, the negative effects of elevated blood sugar and elevated insulin is causing harm… long before an official diagnosis.
Next up, how do we know if we are insulin resistant?
Are YOU Insulin Resistant?
If you are, your body is probably leaving you clues, we’ll talk about those but first, there’s also a formal way of knowing if you are insulin resistant, the HOMA-IR.
Insulin Resistance Formula (HOMA-IR)
In short, the HOMA-IR formula shows how much insulin is required to achieve your fasting level of glucose… it shows how efficiently (or not) your body is using insulin.
@TedNaiman shared the below graphic in a tweet, the formula is widely used to determine if someone is ‘insulin resistant’.
It’s simple, you need your fasting glucose and fasting insulin. Simply multiply them together and then divide by 405, assuming you use mg/dl.
(Fasting insulin) x (Fasting glucose) / 405 = HOMA-IR Score
If you live where the unit of measure is mmol/l, divide by 22.5.
Ideally, you want to be 1.00 or less.
The only negative about using this formula… you have to know your fasting glucose and insulin levels. Getting your glucose number is easy, buy a glucometer at any pharmacy. Note: I think everyone should have one.
Insulin is more difficult as there are no tests for home use at this time. However, there are online labs if you are like me and prefer not to visit a doctor’s office. 😀
Direct Labs has an insulin test for $26.
Own Your Labs will test insulin for $12.60.
There are other online lab websites, but these are two that I hear good things about, “Own Your Labs” is managed by Dave Feldman and Siobhan Huggins, two people in the “citizen scientist’ space who are doing good things.
In the absence of a HOMA-IR test, there are some clues you might be insulin resistant.
Big Clues you may be insulin resistant
Type 2 Diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance, so if you have a type 2 diabetes or a prediabetes diagnosis, you most likely are insulin resistant.
Elevated fasting glucose is a sign of insulin resistance, if your fasting glucose readings are over 100 mg/dl (5.5 mmol/l) you might be insulin resistant.
Why? The body fights to maintain a tight range of blood sugar levels, approximately 70 - 90 mg/dl (3.8 - 5 mmol/l). Therefore, if your fasting blood sugar is over 100 mg/dl (5.5 mmol/l), it’s because the body is either not producing enough insulin or it’s because your body is not using insulin as efficiently as it should… and you are insulin resistant.
Being overweight or obese is also associated with insulin resistance, but not all overweight or over-fat people are insulin resistant, just as not all Type 2 diabetics are obese or overweight.
Insulin Resistant… Now What?
We’ll look in depth into this question in a future newsletter with links to studies and scientific papers but for now, I can tell what I and others have done to reduce our insulin resistance.
Follow a low inflammation, truly Low Carb Diet, like mine.
Exercise Daily, walking or hiking outdoors. Treadmills are fine but I prefer walking in nature.
Weight Resistance Exercise - Join a gym if that works for you, but I prefer performing bodyweight exercises these days, including push ups, pull ups and jump squats.
Intermittent Fasting - This is simply skipping a meal or two. By fasting or intermittent fasting I allow my pancreas to rest.
If you are like I was, you have been working or over-working your pancreas for decades… eating high carb, sugary ‘foods’.
I like the idea of letting my pancreas rest for 16 hours, skipping breakfast and only eating two meals a day most days.
Others steps include reducing stress, obtaining quality sleep, avoiding seed oils, etc.
Reducing Blood Sugar and Insulin
All the items in the section above to reduce insulin resistance … are exactly the steps I took over 12 years ago to reduce my blood sugars. And I still follow them today.
By obtaining and maintaining truly normal blood sugars, I am reducing my body’s insulin requirements, reducing the insulin circulating in my body and I should be reducing my insulin resistance, though I’ve never been tested.
It’s a win/win/win. 💪
Until next time… peace, love and TRULY NORMAL BLOOD SUGARS! ❤