The Connection Between Insulin Resistance, Hormonal Imbalances & How You Feel

Written by Melissa Slemp
Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance has reached an alarming rate, but it’s a very treatable condition that doesn’t have to turn into type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. With proper awareness we all have more control over our health destiny than we may realize!

By making some simple changes to nutrition, exercise habits and lifestyle, you can regulate your blood sugar, which will lead to a much better quality of life and how you feel.

Let’s start with a quick review of how normal blood sugar management works. Blood sugar control in the body is run like a tight ship – the hormones are brilliantly designed to work together and balance each other out.

As food enters the digestive tract, the pancreas hears about it and sends its trusty general, insulin, to start getting the cells ready to receive all that sugar as it gets digested and processed.

The pancreas is getting information the whole time from the scouts around the body, and once it hears that the sugar levels are starting to go down, it sends out another trusted general, glucagon, to tell the cells to stop taking in the sugar so that the levels don’t get too low.

When the system stops working properly, the cells don’t receive the sugar, and it stays in the bloodstream. Insulin resistance is what happens when the signal is going out, but the cells are just ignoring it. Think of it like a traffic jam and how the ambulance can’t get through.

What’s going on here is that there’s so much inflammation blocking the cells that the important stuff can’t get in. There’s plenty of insulin, but nothing happens when it gets released – which leads to lots of insulin AND sugar in the blood stream.

When insulin resistance first starts, the traffic isn’t too bad, and eventually the cells begin to take up the glucose. Therefore, it often goes unnoticed in the early stages. But, as it gets worse, it’s harder and harder for insulin to do its job.

The cells in the body that respond to insulin include the muscles, liver, and fat tissue. They’re affected when this happens because they’re the major players in energy usage and storage.

There are seven major factors that contribute to insulin resistance, and they are:

Obesity

1. Obesity especially abdominal fat, plays a major role in blood sugar balance.

2. Diet is the most influential factor to consider in fighting insulin resistance.

3. InflammationChronic inflammation in the fatty tissue, and chronic inflammation related to disordered gut bacteria.

4. Stress negatively affects the hypothalamic- pituitary adrenal axis (also known as the HPA axis), increasing the amount of cortisol that’s released into the system. This increased cortisol has a direct influence on insulin, as well as on the fat cells.

5. Lack of sleep – As you know, sleep is crucial to good health. While we sleep, our body repairs all the damage that has been done during the day. Too little sleep can increase your risk of heart disease, disrupt your appetite, and interfere with fertility. It also affects blood sugar management.

6. Toxins, include plastic derivatives such as bisphenol A, as well as pesticides, nitrites, mercury, cadmium, flame retardants, and polychlorinated biphenyls. Many of these have a direct impact on the beta cells in the pancreas, which are responsible for producing insulin.

7. ExerciseExercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, both directly and through weight loss. In fact, exercising in short, intense bursts with breaks in between, called high intensity interval training, or HIIT, helps to consume excess sugar and improve insulin regulation.

I speak with experience, as I was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes 36 years ago when I was 14 years old. The difference with my Type 1 Diabetes is that my body no longer produces any insulin, so I manually inject it to keep my blood sugars within a normal range.

Needless to say, it’s been quite the journey figuring out what works and doesn’t work to keep my blood sugars stable and maintain my health. I can tell you that on days that I’m not eating as well and or when I’m busy working and not as active, my blood sugars levels are higher.

Diabetes Glycemia

To correct this, I need to inject more insulin to lower my blood sugar level. This is a roller coaster ride of eating & injecting insulin in my cells to receive and then to feel balanced again. This is a physical and emotional roller coaster ride for our bodies and minds and it leaves us feeling tired, cranky and dehydrated.

Guess what? Your body experiences this same roller coaster ride, as it affects your mood, energy and overall health when it is stressed with too much sugar in the bloodstream. I now know that eating low complex carbohydrates, healthy fat and protein with every meal is what requires less insulin to help balance my blood sugar level.

This is another reason I studied holistic nutrition, as it was a better way to serve my own health and to help educate and inspire others to do the same. I love what I do!!!

“TIPS that’s help me thrive with TYPE 1 Diabetes for 36 years”!!

1. Include a complex carbohydrate (fiber), lean protein and healthy fat in every meal & snack

2. Balance blood sugar with plenty of healthy fats & protein.

3. Emphasize quality sleep.

4. Reduce Stress & spend quality time with family & friends.

5. Exercise and weight resistance to balance blood sugar levels.

6. Check blood sugar often to learn trends.

7. Learn what works and STICK TO IT!

Often, illness and later chronic illness first begins with unmanaged blood sugar levels. It’s very important for us to pay close attention to symptoms and signs when our bodies are not functioning properly. As I listed above when we know the facts of why you’re not feeling well, it’s easy to take steps, begin lifestyle changes and to heal naturally.

A healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle choices is the preventive way to gain long-term health. If you’ve been told by your Dr. that you need to lower your blood sugars, then I hope these few tips help you and I urge you to take the steps necessary to better your own health. Good luck!

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Feature Image Credit: shutterstock.com
Inpost Image Credit: shutterstock.com
Author

Contributor : Melissa Slemp ()

This Article Has Been Published on January 2, 2018 and Last Modified on November 22, 2018

Melissa Slemp is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach & also certified through I.A.H.C. (International Association for Health Coaches). She received her training at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She is also an A.F.A.A.. certified personal trainer. She's lived with Insulin Dependent Diabetes for 36 years and because she understands the daily challenges of this disease, decided to specialize in helping others with these same challenges.

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