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Insulin Resistance


Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows the body’s cells to absorb glucose (sugar) to use as energy. There are certain conditions that can cause an individual’s cells to be unable to use insulin, causing glucose to build up in the blood. When glucose levels are higher than normal, it can increase one’s risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Thankfully, if insulin resistance is detected early enough, there are various lifestyle changes that one can make to treat and even reverse the effects of the condition. To learn more about insulin resistance treatment, find a provider here.


There are several contributing causes of insulin resistance, genetic factors can be considered but lifestyle and eating plans are thought to be the most significant. Risk factors that can increase your chances of developing insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes are:

  • Adherence to a diet that is low-fat but high in simple carbohydrate intake. Simple carbohydrates include:
  • bread, pasta, cereals, chips, crackers, tortillas,
  • potatoes, white rice and other starchy vegetables
  • sugar, sugary treats, soft drinks and fruit juices
  • High sugar fruits such as bananas, grapes, raisins and melons.
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle, or a lack of regular physical activity
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Sleep issues


Insulin resistance can make you feel shaky or cranky (low blood sugar in the early stages), crave sweets and carbohydrates, have heart palpitations after eating simple carbohydrates, and gain weight around the middle. Sometimes dark patches can appear on the neck, groin, and armpits (acanthosis nigricans) and skin tags can appear. If left untreated, insulin resistance can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.

Classic diabetes symptoms can include:

  • Extreme thirst or hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Tingling sensations in your hands or feet
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections

Insulin resistance can also be associated with the following conditions:

  • High Cholesterol and Triglycerides
  • Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Fatty liver
  • Arteriosclerosis (thickening of intestinal walls)
  • Skin tags


Due to its largely asymptomatic nature, regular blood tests are the best way to diagnose insulin resistance. These blood tests can include:

  • A1C test: measures average blood sugar over a period of 2-3 months
  • Insulin levels can be tested with Fasting Insulin or C-Peptide serum tests
  • Fasting blood glucose test: requires that you not eat or drink anything for 8 hours
  • Glucose tolerance testing: a blood sample is taken once, and then again two hours after taking a sugary drink


A diagnosis of insulin resistance or prediabetes should be treated as a warning, and, thankfully, healthy lifestyle changes can usually reverse the condition. Treatment of insulin resistance usually involves eating a healthy diet. Best results are seen by following a Paleo or Ketogenic eating style:

  • Low sugar fruits (like berries)
  • Non-starchy vegetables (low glycemic index)
  • Nuts (exclude cashews and peanuts)
  • dairy products
  • Cold water fish, free-range meats (beef and chicken) and game meats
  • Plenty of healthy fats including fish oil, MCT and coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, and avocados

Low glycemic index fruits and vegetables do not quickly increase your blood sugar, thus preventing a quick, increased release of insulin. High glycemic index foods to avoid are named in the simple carbohydrate list above. Additionally, individuals with prediabetes may be able to prevent developing type 2 diabetes by exercising for 30 minutes every weekday, or by losing weight.

Experts believe 85-90% of the problem is caused by the wrong eating style. Exercise is believed to be important by stimulating use of blood sugar for conversion to energy. Medications and supplements have been shown to help treat insulin resistance.

Metformin is a drug that can be used to treat type 2 diabetes by preventing the liver from releasing glucose into the blood and helping muscle and fat cells remove insulin.

Supplements that have been studied for their effectiveness include Berberine, High dose Alpha Lipoic Acid, D-Chiro-Inositol, Bergamot, Gymnema Sylvestre, Chromium, Biotin, and Cinnamon 

Talk with your healthcare provider about which treatment would be best for you. 

Find A Provider Near You

While it can be difficult to detect insulin resistance, the condition can be controlled and even reversed with healthy lifestyle changes. Find a provider, and schedule an appointment with an insulin resistance specialist today! 


What Is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance is a condition in which cells in the body are unable to effectively use insulin. Insulin allows the body to absorb glucose (sugar), so someone with insulin resistance has higher than normal blood glucose levels.

Is Insulin Resistance the Same as Diabetes?

No, but insulin resistance can seriously increase your risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

What Are Symptoms of Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance can make you feel shaky or cranky (low blood sugar in the early stages), crave sweets and carbohydrates, and gain weight around the middle. Sometimes dark patches can appear on the neck, groin, and armpits (acanthosis nigricans) and skin tags can appear.

How Can You Detect Insulin Resistance?

Along with symptoms, insulin resistance may be detected with a blood tests. Look for rising levels of glucose, Hemoglobin A1c, Insulin, Cholesterol and triglycerides.

How Can You Control Insulin Resistance?

You can reverse and reduce insulin resistance and prediabetes with healthy lifestyle changes, such as an eating style stressing low glycemic index foods, healthy proteins and fats, exercise, and -if needed- medications and professional supplements.

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