Insulin resistance is a chronic condition that occurs when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver reject glucose(sugar). Insulin, a hormone that’s essential to life, is synthesized in and excreted by your pancreas which regulates blood glucose levels. Insulin resistance can be temporary or chronic but can be reversed.
How does insulin function:
- Your body converts the food you eat into glucose, which is your body’s main source of energy.
- When glucose enters your bloodstream, your pancreas releases insulin.
- Insulin aids glucose in your blood to enter your muscle, fat, and liver cells so they can use it for energy or store it for later use.
- Once glucose enters your cells and the glucose levels in your bloodstream decrease, which signals your pancreas to stop producing & releasing insulin.
For many reasons, your muscle, fat, and liver cells cannot respond inappropriately to insulin, which means the cells can’t efficiently absorb glucose from your blood or store it. This is what is known as insulin resistance. As a result, your pancreas creates more insulin to attempt to overcome your increasing blood glucose levels. This condition is called hyperinsulinemia.
Reasons why Insulin resistance develops:
According to the PubMed Article “The Effect of Exercise and Heat on Mineral Metabolism and Requirements“, strenuous exercise:
Recent research has indicated that chromium requirements may be influenced by strenuous exercise. Anderson et al. (1984) reported that serum chromium concentrations were increased in adult males immediately after a 6-mile run at near-maximal running capacity. This increase in serum chromium was still evident 2 hours after the completion of the run, and urinary chromium loss was elevated twofold on the run day compared to non-run days……Rose et al. (1970) reported that serum magnesium concentrations in marathon runners immediately following a race were significantly lower than prerace values, a phenomenon that was attributed to sweat losses of the element during the run….The typical reduction in plasma magnesium following intense exercise is on the order of 10 percent. Stendig-Lindberg et al. (1989) reported that low plasma magnesium concentrations can be demonstrated in young men for up to 18 days after strenuous exertion (a 70-km march). In addition to an increased loss of magnesium via sweat, urinary magnesium loss can increase by up to 30 percent following a bout of intense exercise
Meaning, the more you exercise the more you lose these two minerals integral to insulin sensitivity magnesium and chromium, to perspiration and urination. Not replenishing these minerals with supplementation individuals will eventually develop insulin resistance. This is why I see people at my gym every day whether doing aerobics or resistance training, gradually put on more and more body fat or do not lose any body fat. It’s a double-edged sword because when insulin is circulating in the blood it turns off the mechanism that allows fat to be burnt as fuel.
Notwithstanding the fact that the mineral-depleted farm soils in the US create a situation of impossibility to be able to get nutrition from diet. Even worse, the FDA allows hundreds of endocrine-blocking and disrupting herbicides, pesticides, and chemicals in the food supply and in cosmetic products.
According to Endocrine.org, it states in their article “Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals” –
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals or mixtures of chemicals that interfere with the way the body’s hormones work. Some EDCs act like “hormone mimics” and trick our body into thinking that they are hormones, while other EDCs block natural hormones from doing their job. Other EDCs can increase or decrease the levels of hormones in our blood by affecting how they are made, broken down, or stored in our body. Finally, other EDCs can change how sensitive our bodies are to different hormones.
EDCs can disrupt many different hormones, which is why they have been linked to numerous adverse human health outcomes including alterations in sperm quality and fertility, abnormalities in sex organs, endometriosis, early puberty, altered nervous system function, immune function, certain cancers, respiratory problems, metabolic issues, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular problems, growth, neurological and learning disabilities, and more.
This creates a wheel of health destruction that explains why 50% of the US population has either diabetes or prediabetes, I believe everyone in the US has insulin resistance to some degree.
Thyroid disorders can also cause insulin resistance, according to the PubMed article “Insulin resistance and thyroid disorders“, states –
Thyroid hormones have a significant effect on glucose metabolism and the development of insulin resistance. In hyperthyroidism, impaired glucose tolerance may be the result of mainly hepatic insulin resistance, whereas in hypothyroidism the available data suggests that the insulin resistance of peripheral tissues prevails.
The PubMed research article “Study of Insulin Resistance in Subclinical Hypothyroidism” states –
Thyroid hormones T3 and T4 maintain a fine balance of glucose homeostasis by acting as insulin agonistic and antagonistic. Hypothyroidism can break this equilibrium and alter glucose metabolism, which can lead to insulin resistance.
See my article ” How to Reverse Hypothyroidism“.
Many important vitamins and minerals including chromium and magnesium naturally occur in sugar and grains, but the refining process to create white sugar and flour removes nutrients including chromium and magnesium. Only iron, and three synthetically created vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, are added back to the refined flour to original levels. As of note since 1998, synthetic folic acid is now added to grain products in the US.
If people keep daily dumping refined nutrient-depleted carbohydrates, while also pouring high-fructose-corn-syrup laden sodas, fiber deficient concentrate juices down their throats, while living a sedentary lifestyle, they will develop insulin resistance and diabetes irrespective of whether they supplement with the necessary minerals. Your cells will start to resist the insulin, blocking glucose from entering the cells, and your pancreas B-cells which secrete insulin will eventually stop functioning due to the demand of the excess glucose continually circulating in the blood.
Signs and symptoms of insulin resistance:
- Excessive hunger and thirst: If your body isn’t producing enough insulin, excess glucose builds up in your blood. This overburdens your kidneys by forcing them to pull water from your body to create enough urine to carry out the additional glucose.
- High fasting blood sugar levels: When your pancreas can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range, it leads to elevated blood sugar levels and eventually over time to prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. Your fasting blood glucose is considered high if it remains elevated for 8-10 hours after your last meal.
- Abnormally high blood pressure: There is a link between insulin resistance and high blood pressure, so it’s important to realize that you may be at increased risk for IR if you have high blood pressure.
- Unexplained weight gain and difficulty losing weight: When your cells stop responding appropriately to insulin, your body’s glucose levels become elevated, promoting fat storage in your liver. This cycle continuously repeats, causing you to gain weight and have difficulty shedding it. When insulin is circulating in the blood it turns off the mechanism allowing for fat to be burnt as fuel. The weight centers around the abdomen.
- Skin tags: Researchers have found that skin tags (small growths on the skin) or dark patches of skin are often found on obese people and those with insulin resistance.
- Hair loss: One study of 324 women found that women who had some markers of insulin resistance (including waist circumference, neck circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, and insulin concentration in the blood, among others) had a significantly higher risk for female androgenic alopecia (AGA), or female pattern baldness. This appears to happen because higher-than-average levels of sugar in your bloodstream can reduce the growth cycle of your hair, leading to hair loss.
- Constant lethargy or fatigue: Research on diabetic patients has found strong correlations between insulin resistance and fatigue.
- Vaginal and skin infections.
- Adult Acne
- Slow-healing cuts and sores.
- Darkened skin in the folds of the skin such as your armpit or back and sides of your neck, called acanthosis nigricans.
As long as your pancreas can create enough insulin to overcome your cells’ resistance to insulin, your blood sugar levels will stay in a healthy range. If your cells become too resistant to insulin, it leads to dangerously elevated blood glucose levels known as hyperglycemia, which can lead to prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
See my article” How to reverse type 2 diabetes“.
In addition to Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance is associated with several other conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Metabolic syndrome.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Uterine Fibroids
- Enlarged Prostate
How to reverse insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance is primarily a mineral deficiency syndrome, as well as a lifestyle condition. Once you get bioavailable magnesium, chromium picolinate, and vanadium in your system, insulin resistance ameliorates.
The December 2016 issue of Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported in the article, “Combined chromium and magnesium decreases insulin resistance more effectively than either alone“, the outcome of a study from China’s Medical College of Qingdao University which found drastic improvement in insulin resistance in middle-aged individuals who supplemented with magnesium and chromium.
One hundred-twenty insulin resistant subjects between the ages of 45 to 59 years were divided into groups who received 160 micrograms per day chromium, 200 milligrams per day magnesium, chromium plus magnesium, or a placebo for three months. Fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin, insulin resistance index, and T-lymphocyte messenger RNA levels of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4, a protein that transports insulin) and glycogen-synthase-kinase-3beta (GSK3beta, an enzyme) were determined before and after treatment.
In the group that received both magnesium and chromium, fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin, insulin resistance index, and GSK3beta were significantly lower at the end of the study. Additionally, a 2.9-fold increase in GLUT4 was observed only among those who received both minerals…
GLUT4 and GSK3beta are important components in an insulin-induced signal transduction pathway that plays a key role in glucose metabolism,” authors Mei Dou, PhD, and colleagues explain. “Increased expression of GLUT4 has been associated with enhanced glucose translocation from the exterior to the interior of cells in insulin-sensitive tissues and repression of GSK3beta has been shown to enhance insulin receptor activity.
As anticipated, we found that combined chromium/magnesium supplementation ameliorated insulin resistance more effectively than chromium or magnesium alone, and this effect was likely related to the regulation by combined chromium/magnesium of the expression of GLUT4 and GSK3beta,” they conclude. “The results of the present study suggest the therapeutic potential of combined chromium/magnesium therapy in insulin resistant individuals.”
The research article “Magnesium supplementation enhances insulin sensitivity and decreases insulin resistance in diabetic rats” states-
Magnesium supplementation enhanced insulin sensitivity and decreased insulin resistance in diabetic rats mainly through increasing insulin receptor expression, affinity, and augmenting insulin receptor signaling. Magnesium supplementation also inhibited lipid peroxidation in diabetic rats and protected against pancreatic cell injury in diabetic rats. In addition, we found that β-arrestin-2 gene expression was suppressed in diabetes, which was possibly attributed to gene methylation modification, as β-arrestin 2 promotor was rich in methylation-regulating sites. Magnesium supplementation could affect β-arrestin-2 gene expression and methylation.
RESULTS—At the end of the study, subjects who received magnesium supplementation showed significant higher serum magnesium concentration (0.74 ± 0.10 vs. 0.65 ± 0.07 mmol/l, P = 0.02) and lower HOMA-IR index (3.8 ± 1.1 vs. 5.0 ± 1.3, P = 0.005), fasting glucose levels (8.0 ± 2.4 vs. 10.3 ± 2.1 mmol/l, P = 0.01), and HbA1c (8.0 ± 2.4 vs. 10.1 ± 3.3%, P = 0.04) than control subjects.
CONCLUSIONS—Oral supplementation with MgCl2 solution restores serum magnesium levels, improving insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetic patients with decreased serum magnesium levels.
This research article “A scientific review: the role of chromium in insulin resistance” states –
Chromium is an essential mineral that appears to have a beneficial role in the regulation of insulin action and its effects on carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism. Chromium is an important factor for enhancing insulin activity. Studies show that people with type 2 diabetes have lower blood levels of chromium than those without the disease……Chromium picolinate, specifically, has been shown to reduce insulin resistance and to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Dietary chromium is poorly absorbed. Chromium levels decrease with age. Supplements containing 200-1,000 mcg chromium as chromium picolinate a day have been found to improve blood glucose control.
The research article “Effect of vanadium on insulin sensitivity and appetite” states –
Vanadium, a potent nonselective inhibitor of protein tyrosine phosphatases, has been shown to mimic many of the metabolic actions of insulin both in vivo and in vitro. The mechanism(s) of the effect of vanadium on the decrease in appetite and body weight in Zucker fa/fa rats, an insulin-resistant model, is still unclear… These data indicate that BMOV may increase insulin sensitivity in adipose tissue and decrease appetite and body fat by decreasing NPY levels in the hypothalamus. BMOV-induced reduction in appetite and weight gain along with normalized insulin levels in models of obesity, suggest its possible use as a therapeutic agent in obesity.
Following the advice in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition article, I found that just adding 200mcg per major meal of chromium with 400mg of bioavailable magnesium daily quickly reversed my insulin resistance. But I also eat organic whole foods, I don’t snack, I barely eat three meals a day, and avoid products with high fructose corn syrup and anything made with refined white flour, well almost anything. My problem was I was not replenishing magnesium and chromium while going to the gym five days a week profusely sweating while doing resistance training.
If you’re on a typical American diet, you’ll need to do intermittent fasting, stop snacking and munching, and eat 3 or fewer meals a day. If you snack and munch your insulin levels will stay high all day long, and you’ll never tap into fat stores. As long as insulin is circulating in your blood, it signals your brain to turn off the body’s ability to burn fat.
You can’t sit in your car, desk, and sofa all day and night. Humans were not designed nor evolved to consume so much “sugar”, food(especially highly refined processed food), while having a sedentary lifestyle…..you have to exercise!!! Even if it’s just walking… do something. You have to balance living in the concrete jungles with all of its conveniences, or you will get insulin resistance and eventually diabetes.
You can eat carbs too just like the French and Italians, just avoid “white bread”, bleached “white flour”, and other products made with highly refined carbohydrates. Eat more whole foods, drink natural alkaline water and non-concentrate unfiltered organic fruit juices, and learn to cook!
Also, be aware that drinking coffee depletes your body of magnesium and chromium!
Detox your liver once a month with Milk Thistle!
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