Insulin Resistance | Causes, Symptoms, Natural Treatments

We are in the midst of an obesity and diabetes epidemic.

People are consuming an excess of calories and all of the wrong types of calories.

This has led to an increase in the condition called insulin resistance.

It is estimated that more than 2 out of 3 Americans are classified as overweight or obese according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)1.

Research has established that high levels of stored body fat are linked to high levels of insulin resistance2. Both high BMI and high body fat percentage are significantly associated with this condition2.

The amount of stored adipose tissue you have can alter hormone levels, which also impacts insulin resistance development.

Insulin resistance is the link between metabolic syndrome and a heart attack.

Insulin resistance is linked to high blood pressure and low HDL levels, both of which are associated with heart disease.

The good news is that you can prevent and reverse insulin resistance.

Take control of your health and do the things you need to do to take care of your body and your heart.

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is when the body’s cells don’t respond to insulin’s action and so they can’t take glucose into the cell. Insulin resistance is usually the result of obesity.

The body’s molecules change and so they don’t recognize insulin’s action.

As weight and age increase, this increases the risk for the development of insulin resistance. This is because these factors can influence how well your cells respond to the insulin hormone or if you produce enough of this hormone.

How is it related to diabetes and heart disease?

If someone has diabetes, they are much more likely to develop heart disease. And vice versa. If someone has heart disease, they are much more likely to develop diabetes. Diabetes has been labeled a “cardiovascular disease”.

They’ve even found that people with heart disease but not diabetes have documented disturbances to the insulin resistance glucose metabolism, i.e. insulin resistance.

Most people who have heart disease are also insulin resistant.

What are the risk factors for insulin resistance?

  • Overweight or obese
  • People with metabolic syndrome
  • Increasing age
  • Family history
  • Ethnicity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Health conditions like hypertension or heart disease
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Certain medications such as glucocorticoids
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hormonal imbalances

What are the symptoms of insulin resistance?

The best way to tell if you have insulin resistance is to get your blood sugar levels tested.

There really are no specific symptoms of insulin resistance and it can go undetected for years.

Some other signs include but are not limited to:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive cravings, hunger or feeling hungry after meals
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Excessive hairiness
  • Migraines
  • Upper abdominal fat
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Absence of menstruation
  • Dark skin on the back of neck or in the armpits, which is called acanthosis nigricans
  • Skin tags
  • High blood pressure

What does insulin do?

Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas to regulate the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

In a normal scenario, high blood glucose (i.e. from a meal you’ve just eaten) stimulates insulin to uptake glucose out of the blood and into the cell. Insulin then stores that glucose in the form of glycogen in the liver and muscle. Once that takes place, blood glucose is lowered, and insulin secretion is inhibited. The body is balanced.

In insulin resistance, the cells become resistant to insulin and can’t take up glucose out of the blood, so glucose builds up in the blood. This is also considered pre-diabetes.

Insulin also leads to fat storage. When insulin levels are high, you CANNOT lose weight.

What are the best foods for insulin resistance?

The right combination of foods can help to regulate insulin and keep blood sugar in check.

  1. Increase fiber intake
    Fiber slows down the glycemic response and so can prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar. Additionally, high-fiber foods tend to boost satiety and decrease cravings for unhealthy foods. High-fiber foods also tend to be high in nutrients that assist in lowering inflammation.
  2. Eat good fats
    Consume healthy fats like avocados, olives and fish regularly. Monounsaturated fats like those in avocados and olives have been shown to improve glycemic response. Omega 3 polyunsaturated fats found in fish like salmon have been shown to lower inflammation, which helps to improve insulin response.
  3. Get enough high-quality protein
    Choose organic, grass-fed meat. Grass-fed meat is rich in helpful nutrients like chromium and magnesium, which aid in blood sugar control. They also contain key anti-inflammatory fats and antioxidants, which lower inflammation and oxidative stress.
  4. Limit processed foods
    These tend to be high in added sugar, salt and unhealthy trans fats. This leads to increased adiposity and increases one’s chances for developing insulin resistance. Snack on healthy foods that fuel your body.
  5. Lower carb intake
    Cut back on carbohydrates and choose them wisely. When you do have carbs, choose nutritionally dense ones like vegetables. Follow a Paleo diet. Monitor carbohydrate intake as this assists in glycemic control.
  6. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages
    Avoid sugary beverages. These cause obesity, which results in insulin resistance. Opt for water or unsweetened tea.

What are the best supplements for insulin resistance?

  • Berberine
    Berberine acts in a similar mechanism to the diabetes drug Metformin. Berberine can activate a metabolic master switch enzyme in cells. It can significantly reduce blood sugar levels. It also helps to regulate lipid levels and inflammation, which aids in blood sugar control.
  • Daily Greens
    Flavonoids or polyphenols increase insulin response and decrease insulin resistance through the insulin resistance antioxidant action. They also reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which helps the body perform its reactions better.
  • Multivitamin
    Our multi contains chromium, which has been shown to increase the activity of insulin and improve blood sugar. During this time of healing the body also needs high quality nutrients to support its daily functions.

What are other things you can do to prevent or reverse it?

    • Exercise regularly
      Get at least 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity activity, 5 or more days per week. Outside activity is best.
    • Get your weight under control
      Obesity is linked to insulin resistance and a myriad of other chronic diseases. Know what your ideal weight should be. Seek out a nutritionist if you need assistance. Call us today to meet with our nutritionist.
    • Heal leaky gut
      Leaky gut syndrome has been associated with the development of insulin resistance. Leaky gut causes widespread, systemic inflammation. Inflammation is a known factor in insulin resistance development.
    • Eat a Paleo diet
      This has been proven to help normalize blood sugar levels, lower inflammation and support overall health and wellness.
    • Cook healthy!
      Eliminate processed, sugary beverages and foods. Try using heart-healthy spices in place of sweeteners in recipes! Cook with heart-healthy cooking oils daily.
    • Read food labels
      New label regulations have required food labels to now include an “added sugars” section, which allows consumers to see if sugars are added or naturally occurring.
    • See a Doctor of Chiropractic
      Get adjusted by a chiropractor regularly to aid in total body health and functioning.
    • Get regular sunshine

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to insulin resistance. For all health issues,                          think sunshine first.

Summary of information:

  • Obesity and insulin resistance are on the rise.
  • The good news is that this condition is easily prevented and treated.
  • Diet and lifestyle are two of the greatest things you can do for your health. Eat a healthy Paleo diet and choose evidence-backed supplements to support your health and prevent against insulin resistance.



  1. NHANES:
  2. Martinez et al., 2017:

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