March 5, 2011

035 Insulin Resistance Syndrome [26 Oct 2009]

When we digest a meal, much of our food is converted into glucose which is absorbed into the blood stream. The pancreas then produces and secretes insulin which facilitates the movement of glucose through the cell walls into the cells of the body. Here the glucose is burned to produce ATP which the cells use for energy.

Insulin Resistance Syndrome is a metabolic disorder in which the cells resist the uptake of glucose. Both insulin and glucose levels build up in the blood stream, triggering the pancreas to produce more and more insulin. Since the glucose can’t get into the cells where it is needed, it is converted in the liver and stored as belly fat. Cholesterol and triglyceride levels increase and HDL (good “cholesterol”) decrease. High blood pressure is also commonly associated with IRS. The high levels of blood insulin may lead to carbohydrate cravings and the lack of glucose in the muscle cells cause low energy or fatigue. Over time IRS can lead to Type 2 diabetes.

Insulin Resistance is often under diagnosed. There is no one test that can directly detect insulin resistance. Instead, a doctor will look at a patient's entire clinical picture and may suspect that the patient has insulin resistance if he has increased glucose levels, increased levels of triglycerides and LDL, and decreased concentrations of HDL. (

What can be done to reverse insulin resistance? A low carb diet, exercise and losing weight are usually suggested. But losing weight is difficult when it seems that your body is turning everything you eat into fat. Several natural products have been found to help with insulin resistance.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) at therapeutic levels of 600mg/day has been found to enhance insulin function and reduce insulin resistance. In Germany, ALA is an approved medical treatment for peripheral neuropathy, a common complication of diabetes, because it quickly clears the bloodstream of excess glucose. Note that people with Type 1 diabetes should use ALA under physician supervision only. Also the R+ isomer of ALA is the active form; cheaper ALA supplements that don’t show R+ on the label are only half as effective.

Cinnamon is also showing promise as an aid to overcoming insulin resistance. Cinnamon seems to work best as a capsule or as a tea. Ginger and fenugreek are other spices found to have blood sugar lowering properties.

Insulin Resistance can lead to very serious health consequences like heart disease and diabetes. Recognizing and dealing with it at this stage is critical.

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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