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How to Prevent & Reverse Insulin Resistance

The Biological Role of Insulin

Insulin is a pancreatic hormone that governs the regulation blood glucose levels. Its primary biological  role is to lower the concentration of glucose in the blood by promoting glucose uptake and storage by cells, especially muscle and fat cells. Insulin also regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats by stimulating the liver to take up glucose and convert it to glycogen for storage and by suppressing the release of glucose into the blood. By controlling glucose homeostasis, insulin helps to maintain a stable energy supply to the body’s cells while also preventing high blood sugar, which can lead to serious health complications over time.


What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, leading to high levels of blood sugar. As a result, the pancreas needs to produce more insulin to regulate blood glucose levels, potentially leading to the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. 

The Pathogenesis of Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a complex phenomenon caused by a multifactorial combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors which leads to impaired insulin signaling and a subsequent loss of glucose homeostasis . Some of the primary drivers of insulin resistance include:

  1. Obesity: Excessive fat deposits, especially around the waist, can distort insulin signaling and lead to insulin resistance.
  2. Physical inactivity: Lack of physical activity can cause muscle cells to become resistant to insulin, leading to an increase in blood sugar levels.
  3. Poor diet: A diet high in simple sugars, refined carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats can contribute to insulin resistance by increasing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
  4. Genetics: Certain genetic variations can increase the risk of developing insulin resistance, although the exact mechanisms are not well understood.
  5. Chronic stress: Chronic stress can increase the levels of hormones like cortisol that interfere with insulin function and contribute to insulin resistance.
  6. Aging: As people get older, their cells become less responsive to insulin, increasing the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
  7. Medications: Certain medications, such as corticosteroids and some antipsychotic drugs, can interfere with insulin function and contribute to insulin resistance.

It’s important to note that these factors can interact with each other and have a cumulative effect on insulin resistance.


Functional Medicine & Insulin Resistance

Functional Medicine is a holistic approach to health that considers the complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that contribute to chronic health conditions like insulin resistance. At EvoHealth Kansas Functional Medicine our personalized and evidence-based Functional Medicine approach to insulin resistance typically includes the following steps:

  1. Comprehensive evaluation: A certified functional medicine practitioner will perform a comprehensive evaluation to identify the underlying causes of insulin resistance, including a detailed medical and lifestyle history as well as comprehensive laboratory testing.
  2. Personalized treatment plan: Based on the evaluation, the practitioner will develop a personalized and precision based treatment plan that addresses the specific factors contributing to the patient’s insulin resistance.
  3. Diet and nutrition: EvoHealth often emphasizes a nutrient-dense, whole food diet to support healthy insulin function. This may include reducing refined carbohydrates and sugar, increasing fiber and healthy fats, and eating more non-starchy vegetables. Dietary modifications will always be personalized to the individual.
  4. Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep, are also critical components of a functional medicine approach to insulin resistance.
  5. Supplementation: In some cases, the practitioner may recommend targeted supplements to address specific nutrient deficiencies or imbalances that contribute to insulin resistance.
  6. Monitoring and adjustments: The practitioner will monitor the patient’s progress and make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed to ensure optimal outcomes.

The goal of a functional medicine approach to insulin resistance is to identify and address the root causes of the condition and support the body’s natural ability to restore balance and optimal health.

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