Insulin is our storage hormone. When we eat, our body detects a rise in blood sugar (glucose). Our body doesn’t like blood sugar to be high. This is because cells can be damaged if it’s high for prolonged periods of time. These cells include those in the brain, liver, pancreas, heart, and eyes. Therefore, in response to high blood sugar, the body stores excess glucose in muscle and liver cells for later use.
Insulin is the hormone that allows this to happen. It tells the cells to open up and let the glucose in. Insulin is excreted by the pancreas. It binds to a receptor on the cell and tells it to open up. This process is similar to the way a key opens a door. Insulin resistance occurs when insulin no longer works effectively due to chronic low grade inflammation. The key has been used too much, the lock gets worn and the key no longer fits.
As a result, the blood glucose level stays high. The brain believes that more insulin is required. It sends a message to the pancreas to get it to make even more. However, the ‘lock’ is still worn so the extra insulin doesn’t help. If this process continues over a long period of time, the pancreas becomes so fatigued that it’s unable to produce enough insulin. This is called Type 2 diabetes.
How Do I Know If I Have Insulin Resistance?
A blood test can tell you whether you have insulin resistance. This should measure fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin, then drinking the yummy glucose solution, and returning in an hour for another blood sample. The best is the 3 hour test because it will show the entire cycle of glucose & insulin. Second best is the 2 hour test. Other tests to include; HbA1c (long-term blood glucose performance), and your vitamin D level, as one of it’s jobs is to protect your cells from becoming insulin resistant.
Insulin Resistance Summary
Can causes excess androgen's, which causes a lot of unpleasant hormonal symptoms.
Longer term, insulin resistance can develop into Type 2 diabetes, putting one at risk for all manner of nasty metabolic diseases.
It needs to be diagnosed by blood tests from your doctor, but some signs that you may be insulin resistant include:
– Blood sugar crashes (aka hangry attacks)
– Putting on weight around your belly
– Struggling to lose weight
– Dark velvety patches on your skin
– Skin tags
Just remember, it is reversible, so you need to address it now.