Insulin resistance (IR) is a physiological condition where the natural hormone insulin, becomes less effective at lowering blood sugars. The resulting increase in blood glucose may raise levels outside the normal range.
- Brain fogginess and inability to focus.
- High blood sugar.
- Intestinal bloating – most intestinal gas is produced from carbohydrates in the diet, mostly those that humans cannot digest and absorb.
- Sleepiness, especially after meals.
- Weight gain, fat storage, difficulty losing weight
- Increased blood triglyceride levels.
- Increased blood pressure. Many people with hypertension are either diabetic or pre-diabetic and have elevated insulin levels due to insulin resistance.
- Increased hunger.
It is well known that insulin resistance commonly coexists with obesity. However, causal links between insulin resistance, obesity, and dietary factors are complex and controversial. It is possible that one of them arises first,
and tends to cause the other. Some population groups might be genetically predisposed to one or the other.
Sedentary lifestyle increases the likelihood of development of insulin resistance. It’s been estimated that each 500 kcal/week increment in physical activity related energy expenditure reduces the lifetime risk of type 2 diabetes
by 6%. A different study found that vigorous exercise at least once a week reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes in women by 33%.
Management and treatment
The primary treatment for insulin resistance is exercise and weight loss. Low-glycemic index or low-carbohydrate diets have also been shown to help.
Metformin has become one of the more commonly prescribed medications for insulin resistance, and currently a newer drug, exenatide (marketed as Byetta), is being used.
The Diabetes Prevention Program showed that exercise and diet were nearly twice as effective as metformin at reducing the risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes.
There are scientific studies showing that vanadium (e.g., as vanadyl sulfate) and chromium (e.g., in chromium picolinate and GTF formulations) in reasonable doses have reportedly also shown to reduce insulin resistance.