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Did you know that insulin is often the root cause of many major health concerns? Insulin resistance, which is a sign that you are feeding your body too much sugar and it is starting to take a toll, is a risk factor for a wide range of problems. These include serious diseases like type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and more. So how do you know if you have this condition? Read on to discover the best test for insulin resistance.
This test will help alert you if your body is having a hard time with insulin function. And it can let you know if you need to start making changes to get healthier.
In this article, I will cover...
- What is insulin resistance?
- The dangers of insulin problems.
- The best test for insulin resistance.
- Another easy way to measure for this risk factor.
- Tips for improving insulin levels.
- Key takeaways.
Let's start by taking a closer look at what insulin resistance is.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin is a hormone made by an organ called the pancreas. The body uses this hormone to keep blood sugar levels in check.
So when we eat foods that contain sugars or carbs and we spike our blood glucose levels, the pancreas makes insulin. This forces glucose levels to go back down to normal.
However, when we feed our bodies sugar over and over, it doesn't like it. And so the body has developed a way to protect itself against excess sugar intake.
That is where insulin resistance comes in. It is the body's defense mechanism against high sugar and insulin. The body adjusts to stop the absorption of insulin, to help us get back to lower, more normal levels.
This method helps the body get back in balance in the short run. But in the end, our insulin function becomes totally impaired.
For further info on this condition, check out this video where I share more.
The dangers of insulin resistance
When we eat too many carbs and sugar, our bodies are forced to protect themselves against high blood glucose. And so we can develop insulin resistance.
But it turns out that the damage caused by insulin resistance is even worse than the damage caused by high glucose levels.
So when insulin gets out of balance and we get insulin resistance, our bodies end up taking a major toll. The damaging effects are wide ranging in the body.
You've probably heard of the association between blood glucose, insulin, and type 2 diabetes. But the concerns of insulin resistance extend far beyond type 2 diabetes alone
It increases your risk for many different health problems. These include:
- Weight gain and belly fat. This is a common cause of fat around the belly and excess weight.
- Metabolic syndrome. A combination of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, belly fat, and high blood glucose, metabolic syndrome is also caused by insulin resistance.
- Diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more are linked to insulin.
- Mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and memory issues. These can sometimes be caused by blood sugar and insulin problems.
And that is just the start. So many different health concerns and diseases have insulin issues at the root.
The best test for insulin resistance
It is important to keep our blood sugar levels and insulin levels in check. And it is important to be aware if you have insulin resistance.
Because if you do, you'll want to act fast. If you start now, you can try and prevent some of the major health concerns. Type 2 diabetes, memory problems, and cardiovascular disease are no laughing matter.
So how do you know if you have this problem? How can you test for insulin resistance?
The best test for insulin resistance is called HOMA-IR. So what is this blood test, and what does it measure?
The basics of the HOMA-IR test
HOMA-IR stands for homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance. Quite the mouthful, isn't it? Let's break down what it really means.
Homeostatic comes from the word homeostasis. That basically means a condition where the body is adjusting its internal function based on changes in the outside environment so that is can stay constant.
In other words, your body likes to keep things the same. Think body temperature of 98.6, blood pressure of 120/80, or pulse rate of 72.
Your body wants to keep glucose levels at a normal, relatively constant number as well. The HOMA-IR test works by measuring how hard the body is working to keep glucose down.
Here's what the results of the test mean:
- If you have a high HOMA-IR result, you have high levels of insulin resistance. Your body is having a hard time keeping blood glucose levels in check.
- If you have low HOMA-IR, you have low insulin resistance. In this case, your insulin is still working well. Your body is still insulin sensitive, and responding to it well.
Who should take the HOMA-IR test?
I would recommend people take this test for two reasons.
- If you want to get a good baseline of where you are now. When you first start out with lifestyle changes like keto or intermittent fasting, it is helpful to see where you are starting out. What condition is your body in now, and how hard is it struggling to function in a healthy way? By having a baseline, you can use these numbers to compare to afterwards. Take the test again after you've been at it a while, and see how much things have improved.
- If you are concerned because your blood sugars are elevated. Perhaps you've just started keto, and have actually seen a small jump in blood sugar levels. Do this test, and you will likely find that even though you've got slightly elevated blood sugar, your insulin function is still okay. This initial jump in glucose levels is actually common and normal when just starting off. That is because all of a sudden you have a lot less insulin. And during the keto-adaptation phase, it might take a while to find a new balance.
Whatever the reason, taking this test can help you get a good idea of where things are at for you.
Another way to measure insulin resistance
This blood test is the best way to know how well your insulin function is doing. And it can help you determine if you have insulin resistance or not.
Another great way to measure insulin resistance can be done at home, just by taking a few quick measurements. It involves the ratio between your height and waist.
Learn all about how to take the measurement and how to calculate your result in this video.
How can you improve insulin levels?
If you are insulin resistant, you should act fast. Making lifestyle changes to bring things back in balance is really important.
You are at high risk for many health problems if you keep spiking your blood sugar and insulin.
If your HOMA-IR numbers are high, you'll want to start shifting things for yourself. So what can you do to reverse the problem and get healthy again?
Here are some of the top ways to help fix insulin resistance.
- Try keto. The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It works on the principle of getting your body into a state of ketosis. This means that your body is burning fat as fuel, rather than using glucose as fuel. It is a great diet to help improve insulin function because your body turns to process fat. And it doesn't have to deal with glucose spikes and having to make a bunch of insulin.
- Do intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is another way to help your insulin levels. By not eating constantly, you prevent spiking your blood sugar over and over again. This puts much less pressure on insulin, allowing things to stay better in balance. With this way of eating, you only eat at designated mealtimes, and you fast the rest of the day. There is no snacking in between. To learn more, go here.
For more tips on improving insulin function, check out this video. It lists 13 things that spike insulin. The list might surprise you, and it includes things like taking statins, eating grains, and having nutrient deficiencies.
High insulin levels and insulin resistance are very damaging to the body. Insulin resistance can be at the root of many common conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease and heart attack
- Weight gain and belly fat
- Memory problems
These are all things that you want to avoid if you want to live a long and happy life. Knowing the status of your insulin function can be very helpful in monitoring your risk factors. That's where this best test for insulin resistance comes in.
Here are a few things to keep in mind regarding this test and what to do about concerning results.
- The HOMA-IR test is the best test for insulin problems. It will help you measure how hard your body has to work to bring glucose back to normal levels.
- Consider the test as a baseline before your start lifestyle changes. Doing the test before and after can help you monitor your results.
- If you have a high HOMA-IR number, then you need to start doing something to improve your health. Keto and intermittent fasting are some of the top ways to lower insulin and glucose.
Before things get any worse and you develop prediabetes, type 2 diabetes itself, or a wide range of other serious health concerns, start making some healthy choices.
Changing the way you eat will play a big role in bringing things back into balance. My recommendation for lowering the need for insulin includes trying keto and intermittent fasting. You will see great results if you try this way of eating and stick to it.
From weight loss to greater energy to improved mood, fixing insulin problems with this approach can make you feel great.
Have you ever tried the HOMA-IR test? Share your thoughts below by leaving me a comment.