How to treat insulin resistance naturally – Best help for it.

How to treat insulin resistance naturally at home?

We have all heard about the insulin hormone, specifically, it is associated with diabetes.

This is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. It is basically work on carbohydrate utilization as an energy source. But what is insulin resistance? Diabetes and other metabolic disorders develop from insulin resistance over the years.

We always want to know how to treat insulin resistance naturally. Is it possible? Yes, it is possible to some extent.

Before knowing how to treat insulin resistance naturally let’s check what is insulin resistance.

Insulin carries glucose from the bloodstream to body cells to make energy. Cells have their own internal members who open the cell membrane and receive glucose. They are called as insulin receptors. How to treat insulin resistance naturally it is very important to ensure the proper opening of these receptors.

When we take carbohydrate foods, the pancreas produces insulin to carry them into the body cells. There are two main purposes of it. One is to give body cells energy. Another one is to maintain the blood glucose level in the normal range. When we take energy as per our daily energy needs and do regular physical exercise, the insulin receptors can work efficiently.  So cells open and take glucose inside the cell and use it as an energy resource.

When we regularly take excessive amounts of carbohydrates than our actual need, an excessive amount of insulin is needed to flush the extra glucose into the body cells. And the pancreas forces itself to produce more and more insulin to manage the extra sugar in the blood. At some point, insulin receptors reject to take the glucose or the pancreas fails to produce more insulin or both happen simultaneously. In this stage, blood contains a higher amount of insulin but the cells remain hungry for glucose. This situation is called insulin resistance.

Lifestyle reversal is the key answer to the question how to treat insulin resistance naturally. Controlling calorie intake helps in this situation.

Insulin resistance and weight gain: Why insulin resistance happens?

The high flush of calories from food in carbohydrate and protein form pushes the pancreas to release more insulin. When cells have taken the maximum amount of glucose inside them, extra calories remain in the blood. More insulin is released to minimize blood glucose, but cells refuse to take and they are changed into fat cells and deposited mostly in the liver. Blood is flooded with glucose, amino acids, and insulin and insulin resistance happens. Before reversing knowing how to treat insulin resistance naturally is very important.

The primary insulin resistance sites are muscle (skeletal, smooth, cardiac), adipose tissue, leucocytes, and mammary glands (responsible for milk production in a lactating mom). These sites do not allow circulatory glucose and amino acids into the cells in a resistant state. But they remain in an energy deficit condition, the person feels hungrier and eats more. This eating stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin.

The extra insulin converts the extra calories into the fat. This is how insulin resistance causes weight gain. How to treat insulin resistance naturally you have to prevent the reasons behind it.

So it is very important to consume one’s exact amount of calories according to his/her body’s needs.

The key how to treat insulin resistance naturally lies in the cause of it. The most common reasons are:

  1. An inactive lifestyle, all day sitting, sleeping, or moving very little with no exercise.
  2. Family history.
  3. High triglycerides or low HDL in blood.
  4. High blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg or above).
  5. A woman diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
  6. Women who had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth.
  7. History of stroke.
  8. Overweight or obese. BMI more than 23 (although the ideal BMI is 22, more than 23 increases the chance of having diabetes 3.6-fold.
  9. Age over 45,
  10. High fructose intake from sugar (sucrose, high fructose corn syrup) and fruits.
  11. Excessive oxidative stress and long-term inflammation.
  12. Alterations of good gut microbiota to bad microbiota increase the chance of having insulin resistance.
  13. Certain medications i.e. HIV medication, anti-psychotics, steroids etc.
  14. Some disease conditions like obstructive sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Cushing’s syndrome, and lipodystrophy syndrome (very low amount of fat in the body).

How to treat insulin resistance naturally: Symptoms

There is actually no prominent symptom that can be said a symptom of insulin resistance. It usually can be detected when a person goes for an annual health checkup or other disease treatment.

To understand how to treat insulin resistance naturally a doctor will go for some symptoms. Such as-

  1. Waistline more than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women.
  2. Velvety skin patches around the neck, it is called Acanthosis Nigricans.
  3. Irregular menstrual cycle.
  4. Blood pressure is more than 130/80 mm Hg.
  5. HDL cholesterol is less than 40 mg/dl in men and less than 50 mg/dl in women.

Effects of Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a silent abnormal body situation that can lead to various diseases. They can turn into several disease states and finally can yield the disease itself. If a person tries to know how to treat insulin resistance naturally the following symptoms should be checked:

  • Hyperglycemia (Leads to diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver or NAFLD, or both at the same time)
  • Hypertension (leads to cardiac disease, heart attack, stroke, paralysis etc.)
  • Dyslipidemia (Leads to heart disease, and liver disease).
  • Hyperuricemia (Leads to gout, and kidney stones).
  • Elevated inflammatory markers

(Leads the body from opening to bacterial/viral infections, heart disease, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or even cancer).

  • Endothelial dysfunction (related to heart disease, stroke, vascular diseases, kidney diseases), and
  • Prothrombotic state (problems related to blood clotting).
  • Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD), a disease highly related to infertility in females.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is now called type 3 diabetes. It is due to chronic insulin resistance and insulin deficiency in the brain. Type 2 diabetes may enhance this disease progression.

Once the insulin resistance happens inside the body, it takes around 10 to 15 years to develop diabetes. So the importance of how to treat insulin resistance naturally is very high.

Blood test for insulin resistance

Now how do you test for insulin resistance? Knowing how to treat insulin resistance naturally is an important step. There are several tests to identify if someone is insulin resistant. Usually, your doctor will ask for a blood test of fasting blood glucose (FBG), HBA1c, and Homeostasis model assessment insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). These test results will reveal whether you have insulin resistance or not.

HBA1c will reveal the previous 3 months’ blood glucose results while FBG will give you the instant blood glucose situation. If the result lies between the following results, you may develop prediabetes. If so, you have to go for an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to confirm it. To treat insulin resistance naturally, you may have to do the following tests.

  • HBA1c – 5.7 to 6.4 percent
  • FBG – 100 to 125 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter)
  • HOMA-IR – >1.9 (for non-diabetic)

Persons who are prediabetic tend to develop diabetes within the next 5 to 10 years. HOMA-IR normal range is between 1.0 to 1.4. more than 1.9 means the person is early insulin resistant. Above 2.9 indicates significant insulin resistance.

Lifestyle Modifications to Reverse Insulin Resistance

A lifestyle intervention with a healthy diet and regular physical exercise mostly prevents insulin resistance development. How to treat insulin resistance naturally depends on the proper maintenance of a modified lifestyle.

A high carbohydrate diet and high-fat diet releases consistently glucose and free fatty acids, resulting in competition to enter the cell. High free fatty acid influx reduces the mitochondrial utilization of glucose, so cells shut down their doors to blood glucose. So reversing this situation helps to open those cell receptors to blood glucose and reduces the release of extra insulin as well.

Counting calories and balancing meals according to one person’s own energy requirement with the substitution of unhealthy food for healthy food is crucial for this reversing process.

Foods that help insulin resistance

Glycemic Index of Food

The foods that quickly increase blood glucose spikes are high glycemic index (GI) foods. Simple sugar, and refined foods have very high GI. They draw more insulin than low-GI foods.  To avoid sugar spikes, low GI food is very helpful.

Whole grain foods and unprocessed foods have low GI.  GI ranges are

  • Low GI food: 1 to 55
  • Medium GI food: 56 to 69
  • High GI food: 70 and higher.

Mixing high-GI foods with high-fiber foods can reduce the blood glucose spike. How to treat insulin resistance naturally involves small portions of high GI food at a meal. Vegetables and whole-grain foods help to control insulin resistance.

Foods made with all-purpose-flour include white bread, paratha, dumplings, pizza, pasta, noodles, crackers and potato, yam, sugar and sugary beverages like soft drinks (coke, sprite, cola etc.), white rice, french fry, etc. have very high GI. How to treat insulin resistance naturally always choose whole wheat bread, oats, brown rice, brown pasta etc.

how to treat insulin resistance naturally

Fiber from vegetables, legumes, and fruits helps to reduce high GI food intake. As fruits also contain fructose, portions should be controlled to 2 to 3 servings a day depending on a person’s daily calorie needs. They also provide a good quantity of vitamins, and minerals that are responsible for good metabolism and good health. How to treat insulin resistance naturally you have to take fruits again they must be taken within a limited range.

Always choose low salt and low sodium options in case of pickled or canned food. Canned products need to be washed thoroughly with clean water. Include an ample amount of protein (0.8 gm protein per kg ideal body weight, consult with your dietitian) and a moderate amount of oil.

Dairy

Include dairy as milk, yoghurt, cheese, curd, buttermilk, kefir etc. You must have to adjust it with daily calories. They are good source of protein and calcium. The people who are lactose intolerant can use milk substitute from soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk etc. Alterations from unhealthy to healthy food options open channels for how to treat insulin resistance naturally.

Incorporate Plant Foods

Nuts are very good food for reversing insulin resistance. A cohort study showed that women who consume at least 5 times a week reduced 27% of developing type 2 diabetes than women who rarely or never consumed nuts.

How to treat insulin resistance naturally also includes increasing plant food in daily diet. Including whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and fiber in the diet increases the intake of antioxidants, polyphenols, certain vitamins, and minerals. They also reduce the intake of high amounts of animal protein that is harmful in excessive amounts, particularly all processed food and meat products. They are proven to protect against developing and mortality from insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

 Avoid Fructose

Reduce or omit direct sugar, sugary drinks, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and heavy intake of fruits. You can find HFCS in most packaged food, in the ingredients label. All sweet deserts, soda or soft drinks, alcohol, and sweetened tea/coffee are major sources of these harmful things.

Some products claim they do not use glucose as they increase blood glucose levels, but they use fructose as a sweetener. Excessive fructose either from packaged food or from fruit source induce triglyceride (TG) or fat production directly in the liver. Excessive TG in the blood also diminishes insulin sensitivity. In case of how to treat insulin resistance naturally, you have to eliminate these causes from your food habit.

Artificial Sweetener

Artificial sweeteners mimicking the activity of sugar induce insulin surge in the blood. When they enter the intestine, they induce incretin hormones (GLP-1, GIP) which create a signal to secret insulin. It results in unnecessary insulin release and causes insulin resistance. Hence high intake of artificial sweeteners should be avoided. To increase insulin sensitivity and know how to treat insulin resistance naturally appropriate use of artificial sweeteners should be ensured.

PUFA and MUFA

A diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acid and mono-unsaturated fatty acid and a very low amount of saturated fatty acid helps. The fats that are solid at room temperature are saturated fats that mostly come from animals. Avoid or limit vanaspati, margarine, lard, and beef/mutton fat as they are sources of saturated fat. How to treat insulin resistance naturally includes considering these choices.

Include olive oil, canola oil, mustard oil, and coconut oil in your food in moderation. Include fat from fish, fish oil, almonds, walnuts, cashews, and flaxseed as they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. High saturated fat increases LDL cholesterol quickly and disturbs the insulin balance also.

Restrict Calories

Several studies have found calorie restriction induces long-term insulin regulation with good health compared with other dietary approaches. Restricting calories in a balanced way with low carbohydrate intake reverses insulin resistance in a better and long-term way.

It was found that a restricted calorie diet with or without exercise significantly improves insulin sensitivity.

Cook at Home

How to treat insulin resistance naturally includes cooking at home. Food from your kitchen is far better than packaged or processed foods. Read the labels of packaged foods and check the ingredient list. In this way, you can avoid maximum preservatives, sugars, and trans fats as well as you can preserve your health. Saturated fat and trans fat intake are highly responsible for increasing insulin resistance and mortality from metabolic diseases.

Mediterranean Diet For Insulin Resistance

Among all diet patterns Mediterranean diet is proved best diet for insulin resistance. This diet consists mainly higher content of extra virgin olive oils, nuts and seeds, red wine, fish, vegetables, and polyphenol-rich elements. Non-alcoholics can take red grapes instead of red wine as the root element is resveratrol which is beneficial for Insulin resistance.

The polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) from olive oil, seeds, and fish, anthocyanins from purple vegetables and fruits, resveratrol from grapes, and the Extra Virgin Olive Oil-derived, oleacein are the key components for reversing insulin resistance. In searching for how to treat insulin resistance naturally you can adopt this diet.

Exercise to reverse insulin resistance

Strength exercises open the insulin receptors mostly and enhance insulin uptake efficiently. Our liver is the main storage area of glycogen, the storage form of carbohydrates. Skeletal muscles also store glycogen. Regular physical activity allows the skeletal muscle to efficiently produce energy (ATP-adenosine triphosphate) from glycogen and increase the function of GLUT 4 (glucose transporter 4). GLUT 4 transports the blood glucose into the cell. Thus, how to treat insulin resistance naturally exercise can reverse insulin resistance.

If you recognize you have insulin resistance you should start exercising regularly. A simple brisk walking for around 30 – 60 minutes can help a lot. Walking exercise can significantly effective strategy against abdominal obesity and insulin resistance.

Studies have observed that insulin resistance can be reduced up to 48 hours after each exercise in the human body. 

Weight Loss

We are in an obesity epidemic right now. Not all overweight/obese individuals are insulin-resistant, but all insulin-resistant individuals are overweight/obese. The more overweight an individual, the more likely he or she is insulin resistant and at increased risk of developing all the abnormalities associated with this defect in insulin action.

Insulin resistance induces obesity. Child obesity also increasingly diagnosed with insulin resistance and diabetes. In the process of how to treat insulin resistance naturally weight loss is now recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) to reverse diabetes.

It can be achieved through bariatric surgery, low-calorie intake, or low-carbohydrate intake. Bariatric surgery is relatively effective but there is a high chance of getting post-operative complications thus making this option challenging.   

A 6-month personalized lifestyle intervention was conducted in at-risk Saudi women with insulin resistance and prediabetes who are used to leading a sedentary life. Personal dietary counseling with modest weight loss was very effective in preventing the development of diabetes.

Stress and sleep management

In modern civilization, deep night sleep is very much disturbed. This results in the destruction of the circadian rhythm. Around 7 to 8 hours night sleep is mandatory for a good metabolic response. In the process of how to treat insulin resistance naturally, you have to become careful about your sleep cycle.

Stress often reduces sleep quality. Sleep deprivation changes our hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis function and increases glucocorticoid production. It enhances the system that your body automatically produces glucose, so insulin is also produced with low levels of adiponectin level. Adiponectins are involved in controlling glucose intake. A low level of it is associated with higher food intake and abnormal body weight.

This whole process leads to insulin resistance and inflammation.

In the long run, it results in diabetes and other complications as well.

Improving sleep quality from the early night around 7/8 hours can reverse insulin resistance. This is very important in case of how to treat insulin resistance naturally. Using any kind of device should be stopped within 8 to 9 pm including mobile, pc, laptop, gaming device, TV etc. The environment of the room should be calm, no light and no sound should be there. Early and deep sleep will reduce your health stress and insulin resistance-related diseases more efficiently.

Final Thoughts

In most cases, we achieve insulin resistance over the years. It is mainly what we achieve from our faulty lifestyle and consuming higher calories continuously. Thus it has become a pandemic now. So it is very important to know how to treat insulin resistance naturally. Modifying all the causes behind it should be changed in a healthy way, so a person can benefit.

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