holistic health & pain managment
Insulin Sensitivity

What Is Insulin Resistance?

You may have heard the term that someone is ‘Insulin Resistant’, but what does it mean?

It All Starts In The Pancreas

Insulin is a hormone, and its life starts in the pancreas. When we eat things like sugar, refined foods such as grains, really anything sweet, our pancreas kicks in to produce insulin. The primary function of insulin is to help move the sugar from the bloodstream and shuttle it into our cells.

So What’s The Definition Of High Blood Sugar?

A regular fasted blood sugar reading for a healthy person should be in the region of 3.9 to 5.5 mmol/L (millimoles per litre).  This reading my go as high at 7.8 mmol/L within two hours of eating. Below are NICE’s guidelines when it comes to a healthy blood sugar and whether someone is diabetic or prediabetic. Please note that their fasted reading is a little higher than 5.5 mmol/L as we have set out above.

Plasma glucose test Normal Prediabetes Diabetes
Random Below 11.1 mmol/l
Below 200 mg/dl
N/A 11.1 mmol/l or more
200 mg/dl or more
Fasting Below 6.1 mmol/l
Below 108 mg/dl
6.1 to 6.9 mmol/l
108 to 125 mg/dl
7.0 mmol/l or more
126 mg/dl or more
2 hour post-prandial Below 7.8 mmol/l
Below 140 mg/dl
7.8 to 11.0 mmol/l
140 to 199 mg/dl
11.1 mmol/l or more
200 mg/dl or more

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar comes about when we are consuming lots of sugars, and higher levels of insulin have to come along to try to reduce the blood sugars down. However, sometimes the sugars can go too far down.  People on diabetic medication can also suffer from this problem as the job of these drugs is to keep blood at normal levels, but they can be pushed past normal.

The Door Won’t Open

Insulin’s job is to knock at the door of a cell and shuttle the sugars from the blood into the cell. Now these cells maybe fat or muscle cells, but the main priority is to clear sugar from our bloodstream. When we are insulin sensitive, this process works and carries out the intended job, but when we lose insulin sensitivity, sugars build up in the bloodstream and cause no end of problems. The pancreas manufactures more and more insulin, trying to bring down the blood sugar.

The Blood Sugar Roller Coaster Which Leads To Type 2 Diabetes

Our bodies are not designed to consume the level of sugars and refined foods that are abundantly available today. If we go back several hundred years or more, sugar was scarce, with humans only occasionally having access to seasonal fruits and berries. This meant that the process of the pancreas producing insulin was not required anywhere near as often as it is today. Many of us have just worn out the function of glucose clearance from the bloodstream.

It Is Reversable

Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes are reversible. Now your doctor is unlikely to know this, as he or she will be advising to eat a little less, exercise a bit more and maybe take a drug or two to keep your sugars under control. Unfortunately, many of these medicines only make matters worse.

All that needs to happen is allow the body to reset. As with most ‘chronic illnesses’ or health problems, our bodies will attempt to heal, but we are intent on putting obstacles in the way. Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes are no different. If we allow the body not to need to produce insulin, then the mechanism will repair and surprisingly in pretty short order; usually under 90 days.

Diet Got You This Problem, And It Will Get You Out

As with so many health problems, lifestyle choices are usually the culprit. Treating Insulin Resistance is no different. If we eliminate as many sugars from the diet as possible, eat fewer inflammatory foods such as bread and processed goods, consume good healthy fats; we are well on the way to the body experiencing that overdue reset.