Momentum in the Mountains 2024


High Fat Storing Hormone Comes Before High Blood Glucose Levels

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 05/31/2024

Here's something that might catch you off guard: blood sugar levels considered normal have shifted a lot over the last hundred years. What was once seen as healthy would now get flagged as prediabetes or even diabetes. Wild, right?

But here's the thing: fasting insulin testing is the real MVP when it comes to catching metabolic issues early on. Forget fasting blood glucose tests - those are so last century.

If you want to get ahead of the game and keep your health in check, you need to know your fasting insulin levels. And I'm here to tell you all about it.

Understanding Normal Blood Sugar Levels Over Time

Blood sugar levels have changed over the years. What was once considered normal is now seen as a sign of prediabetes or even diabetes. Let's take a look at how the definition of normal blood sugar has evolved and what it means for our health.

Historical Blood Sugar Levels

In 1925, normal blood sugar levels were between 90 and 120 milligrams per deciliter. Fast forward to 1968 and they were 130 milligrams per deciliter. By 1978, they dropped to 115 milligrams per deciliter.

From 1997 to 2003, normal blood sugar levels were considered to be 110 milligrams per deciliter. But between 2004 and 2007, they went back down to 100 milligrams per deciliter. So what's the deal with all these changes?

Impact of Changing Definitions

Lowering the threshold for what's considered a normal blood sugar level has changed how we identify and manage diabetes and prediabetes. With these stricter numbers, more people are finding themselves diagnosed with these conditions.

But here's the thing - just because the definition of normal has changed doesn't necessarily mean that our bodies have. We may be labeling people as having a problem when really, their blood sugar levels are just fine for them.

On the other hand, catching diabetes and prediabetes early can help prevent serious health problems down the road. So it's a bit of a balancing act.

The Importance of Fasting Insulin Testing

When it comes to understanding your risk for conditions like prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, fasting insulin testing is where it's at. But what exactly is fasting insulin and why should you care about it? Let's break it down.

Fasting Insulin vs. Fasting Blood Glucose

Fasting insulin and fasting blood glucose are two different tests that can give you a picture of your metabolic health. Fasting blood glucose measures your blood sugar levels after you haven't eaten for at least 8 hours.

Fasting insulin, on the other hand, measures the amount of insulin in your blood after fasting.

You know what's surprising? Even with normal fasting blood glucose levels, your insulin could be running high. This is where things start to get intriguing.

Early Detection of Prediabetes

If your fasting insulin levels are high, it might be a warning sign of insulin resistance. This condition often comes before prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Interestingly, research indicates that elevated fasting insulin is actually a stronger predictor of prediabetes than high blood sugar.

If you test your fasting insulin levels, you'll be able to detect signs of insulin resistance sooner rather than later. From there, consider adjusting your diet, getting more active each day, or possibly taking medicine to ward off prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Concerned about potential health risks? Ask your healthcare provider if you should get a fasting insulin test. This simple check could help spot problems early on, giving you more control over your well-being.

Symptoms and Implications of High Insulin Levels

High insulin levels, also known as hyperinsulinemia, can cause a whole host of symptoms and health problems. But what exactly are the signs of high insulin and what does it mean for your health? Let's take a closer look.

Person on a scale

Common Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of high insulin levels include:

  • Fatigue, especially after eating

  • Weight gain, particularly around the belly

  • Cravings for sugary or starchy foods

  • Difficulty concentrating or brain fog

  • Skin tags or dark patches of skin (acanthosis nigricans)

If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's worth talking to your healthcare professional about getting your insulin levels checked.

Health Risks

High insulin levels can lead to some serious health problems if left unchecked. One of the biggest risks is low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. This can happen if your body is producing too much insulin and your blood sugar levels drop too low.

If your insulin levels stay elevated for too long, you might end up facing problems such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart disease, or certain cancers. Spotting these high levels early on lets you take steps to manage them effectively.

If you do have elevated insulin levels, your healthcare provider may recommend lifestyle changes like eating a lower-carb diet, getting more exercise, and losing weight if necessary.

In some cases, medication may also be needed to help bring your insulin levels back into a healthy range.

Conducting a Fasting Insulin Test

If you're thinking about checking your fasting insulin levels, start by chatting with your healthcare provider. They'll arrange the test and tell you how to get ready for it. Here's what usually happens:

Preparation for the Test

To get an accurate result, you'll need to fast for at least 8-12 hours before the test. This means no food or drink other than water. You should also avoid alcohol and strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours before the test.

If you're taking any medications, be sure to let your healthcare provider know. Some medications can affect insulin levels and may need to be adjusted or stopped temporarily before the test.

What to Expect During the Test

The fasting insulin test is a simple blood test that can be done at your healthcare provider's office or a lab. A small sample of blood will be taken from a vein in your arm and sent off for analysis.

You may feel a slight sting when the needle is inserted, but the test itself is quick and relatively painless. After the test, you can resume your normal activities and eat and drink as usual.

You'll usually get your test results in a few days. At your next appointment, your healthcare provider will explain what they mean and let you know if more tests or treatments are needed.

Interpreting Fasting Insulin Test Results

So you've gotten your fasting insulin test results back - now what? Interpreting the numbers can be a bit tricky, but your healthcare provider can help you make sense of it all. Here's a general breakdown of what different fasting insulin levels might mean:

Understanding Your Results

A normal fasting insulin level is typically considered to be anything below 25 mIU/L. If your levels are higher than that, it could be a sign of insulin resistance or prediabetes.

Remember, what's considered "normal" can differ based on the lab and specific test used. It's really important to review your results with your healthcare provider who knows your health history and risk factors.

Poor Liver Response to Insulin

Next Steps After Testing

If your fasting insulin levels come back high, don't panic. There are plenty of things you can do to help bring them back down into a healthy range.

Your healthcare provider might suggest you make some lifestyle changes, like eating fewer carbs, exercising more often, and losing a bit of weight if needed.

They could also want to run extra tests such as a glucose tolerance test or hemoglobin A1c test to better understand your blood sugar levels.

Sometimes, medication might be needed to help control insulin resistance or stop it from turning into type 2 diabetes. Your healthcare provider will create a treatment plan that fits your specific needs and goals.

Don't hesitate to ask about anything related to your health. By staying informed and supported, you'll be able to control your blood sugar level better and live more fully.

Balancing Act

Understanding normal blood sugar levels and the importance of fasting insulin testing is crucial for maintaining metabolic health.

Fasting insulin testing provides insights into how effectively your body manages glucose, revealing potential insulin resistance or prediabetes.

A key process in this balance is gluconeogenesis, where the liver produces glucose from non-carbohydrate sources, ensuring a steady energy supply, especially during fasting or low-carb diets.

Proper management of these factors can help prevent metabolic disorders and maintain overall well-being.


Normal blood sugar levels and the importance of fasting insulin testing - it's not just a mouthful, it's a game-changer.

We've seen how the definition of "normal" has shifted over time, and how fasting insulin tests can catch metabolic problems way before fasting blood glucose tests even have a clue.

High insulin levels can cause all sorts of nasty symptoms and put you at risk for some serious health issues. But the good news is, you can stay on top of it with a simple fasting insulin test.

And once you know your numbers, you can take control of your health like never before.

So don't wait until it's too late. Talk to your healthcare provider about getting a fasting insulin test. Your body will thank you for it. Trust me, I know from experience - and I want you to have the same peace of mind that comes with taking charge of your metabolic health.

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