Have you heard about insulin resistance and maybe even been told you have it? Have you been curious to know what is insulin resistance exactly?
Well, hopefully this post can help clear up those questions for you.
What Is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance is an impairment of insulin action in the body, and more specifically a change in insulin receptor cells. In the body we have insulin receptor cells in the fat tissue, liver and muscles that accept the response of insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar and gets activated when we eat sugar and carbohydrates. In our body, glycemic control (aka blood sugar level) is kept within a tight range. And insulin action is required throughout the body as the central nervous system uses it’s signals to control energy metabolism and balance, for reproduction, for brain function, and other functions too.
Essentially insulin resistance occurs when the insulin receptor cells do not respond to the action of insulin on those cells.
In the liver insulin resistance increases glucose output and impairs insulins ability to inhibit liver glucose production, a process known as gluconeogenesis. What this means is that the liver keeps producing glucose (aka sugar) even if blood sugar levels are already high and this only causes more insulin to be produced, increasing insulin resistance.
Muscles normally absorb glucose from the bloodstream and store it as glycogen so the body can break it down later for energy. Insulin resistance in these cells prevents uptake into muscle cells. This is especially important post meal, when the muscle tissue clears a lot of the glucose. If this is inhibited blood glucose levels rises more.
Insulin resistance also occurs in fat cells. Fat cells don’t contribute to high blood sugar but high insulin in the blood promotes more fat storage which can contribute to weight gain and continue the vicious cycle.
Many metabolic changes occur in the body during insulin resistance and this increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and many other diseases such as heart disease, cancer and even dementia. Insulin resistance occurs before the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. In any case insulin resistance sets us up for numerous health problems so we want to avoid it by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and living a healthy lifestyle. Because it’s these 3 things that cause insulin resistance in the first place.
Just another reason to eat good food and live well
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