One of the most common medical problems recently is the insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition and a driving factor to gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. It is when the body cannot respond properly to the insulin produced by the pancreas.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreatic endocrine islets. It has the following functions:
- Stimulates the glucose uptake by the adipose tissues. Insulin binds to specific receptors on the adipose cells in order to cause the translocation of glucose transporters from the inside of the cell to its membrane in order for glucose to be transmitted inside these cells from the blood. This transport leads to an increased uptake of fatty acids as well and their esterification to triglycerides that are stored as fat within these cells. It is also an inhibitor of their breakdown process to fatty acids and their release in the blood circulation. Therefore, it decreases the amount of fatty acids in the blood and helps their utilization.
- Stimulates the glucose uptake by the muscle tissues. The mechanism is similar but in addition to glucose, amino acids are also entering the muscle cells. The glucose is then stored as glycogen which is very important for stored energy for the muscle contractions. The amino acids are used for protein synthesis. When insulin is reduced or there is insulin resistance the amount of protein synthesized is lowered and more of it is being broken down to amino acids that are used in the liver for producing glucose.
- Affects glucose metabolism in the liver cells. It decreases the production of glucose and helps store glucose in the liver cells. By decreasing and managing the levels of glucose in the circulation, insulin plays a very important role for the health of the blood vessels and therefore each cell in the human body.
Insulin resistance makes it impossible for the hormone to play its important role in the homeostasis and metabolism. Even if the body produces enough insulin and even more than the required amount, it is still impossible to manage its normal function due to the increased resistance of the cell receptors for insulin, resulting in impossibility of insulin binding to these receptors. As a result, symptoms of insulin resistance include the following:
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol levels.
- Difficulty in concentration and memory (brain fog)
- Weight gain, specifically belly fat.
Insulin resistance can lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, where glucose levels are also increased and other specific for these conditions symptoms occur.
There are different factors that may lead to insulin resistance and they are the following:
- Chronic stress.
- Conditions such as polycystic ovary disease and Cushing’s disease.
- Overweight or obese.
- Diet that is high in calories, carbohydrates or sugars.
- Taking long term steroids.
- Little to no physical activity.
- High levels of produced insulin in the blood circulation.
- Excessive fat that is stored in the pancreatic or liver cells.
However, a definitive reason for the occurrence of insulin resistance has yet to be linked.
All diseases can be associated with sugar disorders and improper conversion of glucose into ATP. This is why if there is any sugar disorder such as insulin resistance for example, health is impossible to be achieved. Proper treatment of such conditions that always turn out to be chronic includes not only medications if they are needed, but most importantly treatment methods that address the root problems and causes. A very large amount of the patients with chronic diseases who I consult show signs of insulin resistance but have no diabetic symptoms or diabetes yet.
Some of the treatment methods for insulin resistance that address the root causes include the following:
- Special diets low in carbohydrates and sugars.
- Regular exercise to increase the daily physical activities.
- Disease prevention.
By increasing the physical activity and managing a diet, you can decrease the need for insulin in your body, lose weight and manage other factors associated with increased risk for insulin resistance. If you experience any of the symptoms or have family members with diabetes, then it is highly recommended to be aware of the possibility of insulin resistance and diabetes. With a free consultation, we can work together on managing the insulin resistance and preventing diabetes by following the neurometabolic model for treating chronic diseases, which has proved to be more effective than traditional medical models with drugs that only manage the symptoms.