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Does it seem like you're hungry or tired all of the time? It’s possible that you could have something called insulin resistance—especially if you’re on a high-carb diet. Insulin resistance is a very common health situation that many people know very little about. If nothing is done, insulin resistance can lead to some serious health conditions and can make weight loss very difficult. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to help reverse insulin resistance naturally. But, before you can start to reverse insulin resistance, you need to understand a little bit about what insulin resistance is, as well as what insulin sensitivity is.
Let’s get started.
In this article, I will cover:
- What Is Insulin Resistance?
- What Is Insulin Sensitivity?
- How to Help Reverse Insulin Resistance
- Key Takeaways—How to Boost Insulin Sensitivity or Reverse Insulin Resistance
What Is Insulin Resistance?
Your pancreas is located in the lower-left area of your abdomen by your ribcage. It’s responsible for creating a hormone called insulin. When you eat, you trigger insulin. A few things that can spike insulin more significantly are sugar, refined carbs, lean protein, MSG, and more.
The purpose of insulin is actually to regulate your blood. Insulin goes into your cells and removes sugar from the blood. Your blood sugar levels should stay around 100 milligrams per deciliter. When it gets higher than this, you can develop a blood sugar issue or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can increase your risk for all sorts of different health problems in the body.
Consuming things like too much sugar or refined carbohydrates causes too much insulin to release, which drives your blood sugar way down. Over time, your cell receptors are going to put the breaks on insulin. Your body is trying to protect itself, so it blocks the cell receptors, which receive insulin into the cells. This is known as insulin resistance, because your cells are resisting insulin.
Now, all of this can cause your insulin to go even higher to try to compensate for the blocked receptors. Eventually, the pancreas can’t keep up and may begin to wear out.
You may feel like you’re always hungry or craving something. Why? Because another important function of insulin is that it helps your cells absorb nutrients. So when your cells block insulin, they don’t get the nutrients they need to function correctly. This can cause constant hunger and cravings, especially for carbohydrates.
Insulin resistance can also inhibit weight loss. This is because, in the presence of too much insulin, you can’t lose weight. Not only can insulin resistance keep you from losing weight, but it can even cause weight gain.
We want to reverse insulin resistance by making insulin more sensitive, but more on insulin sensitivity in the next section.
Insulin Resistance Risk Factors
There are several risk factors that can lead to developing insulin resistance, including:
- Following a high-sugar, high-carb, high-calorie diet
- Minimal physical activity
- The use of high doses of steroids over a long period of time
- Chronic stress
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance
In the beginning stages of insulin resistance, you may not actually experience any symptoms. The signs can start to show up as the condition worsens. If this happens, a few symptoms you could notice are:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Cravings (especially for carbs and sugar)
- Decreased nutrition
- Weight gain (especially around the abdominal area)
- Digestive issues
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
How to Test for Insulin Resistance
There is something called the HOMA-IR test. The abbreviation, HOMA-IR, stands for homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance. It’s a mouthful, right? Here’s what it means.
Homeostatic comes from the word homeostasis. Homeostasis is basically a condition where the body is adjusting its internal function based on the outside environment, to maintain a constant. In other words, your body wants to keep your different levels of things like temperature, and blood pressure, consistently the same. Like how, typically, your blood pressure should be at 120 over 80.
Your body also wants to keep your blood sugar levels at a pretty constant number. The HOMA-IR test works by actually measuring how hard the body is working to keep glucose down. This is a great test to have done to get an idea of where your blood sugar levels are at and how much improvement is needed.
What Is Insulin Sensitivity?
The opposite of insulin resistance is known as insulin sensitivity. High insulin sensitivity is a good thing. However, having low insulin sensitivity is the same as having insulin resistance.
We already talked about how insulin goes into your cells, and how when there is too much insulin in the blood, the cell receptor becomes blocked. Well, insulin sensitivity basically refers to how sensitive your body’s cells are in response to insulin.
If you have high insulin sensitivity, this means that your cells are able to use insulin more effectively to balance or reduce your blood sugars. Someone who has high insulin sensitivity won’t need as much insulin to lower blood glucose as someone with low insulin sensitivity.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help boost your insulin sensitivity. With the reversal of insulin resistance, your insulin sensitivity can improve. It can seem a little confusing at first, but making insulin more sensitive and fixing insulin resistance is essentially the same thing.
Not having any more cravings and being able to go longer without eating are pretty good indicators that you’re becoming more sensitive to insulin. You can also take the HOMA-IR test again after some time to see how well your insulin sensitivity has improved.
How to Help Reverse Insulin Resistance
If you have insulin resistance, the good news is that many people have successfully reversed insulin resistance naturally by making a few lifestyle changes. Considering the effects of insulin resistance and the high health risks associated with diabetes, it’s really crucial to get this situation under control. These seven things may help you do just that. It may seem difficult at first, but if you press on, it will get easier and easier.
Help Improve Insulin Resistance Naturally by Doing These 7 Things:
1. Resistance Training
This is a type of workout that you would want to do to help achieve the maximum results. Aside from being really good for blood sugar issues, resistance training can also stimulate growth hormone, and it’s great for weight loss.
The key to resistance training is to not overtrain because this will spike cortisol, which we don’t want. Although resistance training may be more powerful, it’s also a more intense workout. If it’s not something you feel you can handle, taking long walks outside may also help.
Fasting can help support healthy insulin levels and may help dramatically improve insulin resistance. At the very minimum, you may want to consider fasting for sixteen hours with an eight-hour eating window.
Including intermittent fasting in your routine combined with the healthy keto diet will allow your body to stop depending on glucose and start burning your fat for fuel. This will give the pancreas the chance to heal and start working correctly.
3. Decrease Inflammation
When you start to decrease inflammation in the body, you may be able to help make insulin more sensitive. The key is to isolate what’s causing the inflammation, and then take the right steps to fix that issue.
A few potential causes of inflammation that you might want to consider are food allergies, hormones, the gallbladder, old injuries, and certain vitamin deficiencies. Fasting may actually be one of the best ways to help reduce inflammation, but vitamin D can help as well.
4. Reduce Glucose
Reducing glucose may help reverse insulin resistance naturally. To help reduce glucose, you need to be on the right diet. Healthy keto might just be the very best diet to reverse insulin resistance. Healthy keto is a low-carb, medium-protein, high-fat diet that has helped many people get healthy and lose weight.
With healthy keto, you are cutting out refined carbs and sugar, and including more healthy foods that reverse insulin resistance like cruciferous vegetables. As we now know, refined carbs and sugar are two of the biggest culprits behind high glucose levels and insulin resistance. It only makes sense to cut them out for good.
5. Increase Sleep
Increasing sleep will do several things to help reverse insulin resistance naturally. It can help reduce stress and cortisol. You will also be fasting while you’re sleeping. From what I’ve noticed, it seems many people who don’t get enough quality sleep tend to have more blood sugar issues. Different studies have also found this correlation between a lack of sleep and insulin resistance.
There can be things keeping you from getting the sleep you need that you may not have thought of before, like an issue with your adrenal glands or your digestion.
6. Lower Stress
Cortisol actually releases sugar from your liver. It can also turn your muscles into sugar. Essentially, cortisol can spike sugar and contribute to insulin resistance. So, it makes sense that doing the opposite, lowering cortisol, would help make insulin more sensitive. You can help lower cortisol by lowering your stress levels. A healthy diet, sleep, and long walks outside may all support healthy cortisol levels.
Of course, there are other things you can do as well, including different vitamin supplements to reverse insulin resistance by their effect on reducing cortisol, like vitamin D3 (if you can’t get enough sun), or vitamin B1 (from nutritional yeast). Different acupressure techniques can make a huge difference, as well. I actually did a whole webinar, called the Stress Webinar, where I taught a few of these stress-lowering acupressure techniques. You might want to check that out here:https://www.drberg.com/stress-webinar.
7. Vegetables (Fiber)
Vegetables are some of the best foods to reverse insulin resistance. Vegetable fiber is consumed by your friendly bacteria or microbes. The microbes eat the fiber and turn it into small-chain fatty acids. One of those small-chain fatty acids is called butyrate. Butyrate may actually help support healthy blood sugar levels and help reverse insulin resistance.
Of course, vegetables are also packed with vitamins and nutrients that are essential for supporting a healthy body. In my opinion, a person would benefit greatly by consuming seven to ten cups of vegetables per day.
A Few Additional Things That May Help Reverse Insulin Resistance
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Vitamin D
Key Takeaways—How to Boost Insulin Sensitivity or Reverse Insulin Resistance
When a person is consuming an unhealthy diet or eating frequent meals, they can spike their insulin levels. Over time, your body tries to protect itself from excessive amounts of insulin, and you can end up with insulin resistance. The opposite of insulin resistance is something called insulin sensitivity. Having high insulin sensitivity means that your body is able to effectively use insulin to help balance your blood sugar levels like it should.
The great thing is that you can boost your insulin sensitivity, and insulin resistance can be reversed. Consider giving these tips to help reduce insulin resistance a try, and get on the right track to getting healthy.
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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.