Insulin Resistance

Call it Syndrome X, metabolic syndrome, or pre-diabetes, you (yes, you) can manage, control, and eventually reverse insulin resistance.

The sooner you stop its progression, the easier it is. Start today, please!

To get started,
  1. Decide why you want to manage your prediabetes for yourself.
  2. Pick a short-term goal and a long-term goal. You don't have to change everything at once! In fact, trying to do that is rarely successful. So start somewhere, once that change is routine then add another change.
  3. Prepare for set-backs (just get back on your good routine), congratulate yourself for the small successes, and keep at it.

From here, these are just my notes. I plan to come back to clean up the presentation.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes: increased thirst, increased urination, dry mouth, increased hunger especially after eating, nausea and occasionally vomiting, blurred vision, frequent skin or urinary infections, fatigue.

Here's what you can do.
  • Lose weight
    • Even 5% can help! Also, there's typically a weight-loss plateau at 10% weight loss, so when you get there, hold it for a year than start again on weight loss
    • As a bonus, less weight means your knees will feel better too!
    • Be especially concerned about weight gain around the middle (sign of impaired carbohydrate metabolism, possibly androgenic cause)
  • Exercise
    • Both weight loss and exercise are very tough until you make headway elsewhere! But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
    • Add about 10 minutes of exercise here and there. I like "8 Minutes in the Morning" by Jorge Cruise for strength training in the morning, and "The Core Program for Women" by Peggy Brill for stretching before bed
  • Eat balanced meals
    • I weigh myself every morning, and I noticed some dinners (like spaghetti) caused a big jump in my weight while others (beans and rice) didn't
    • low-fat protein, low fat, low salt, plenty of produce (especially less-starchy), whole grains, fiber, and lots of water
    • increase your intake of water (can you double it?) and fiber (but gradually!)
    • reduce your intake of fat (however, essential fatty acids and monounsaturated fats are very good in moderation) and salt
    • essential fatty acids: unless you're vegan, take fish oil instead of flax oil because flax oil metabolism is an inflammatory pathway and fish oil isn't. You don't need additional inflammation!
    • switch carbs to less processed whole grains, from simple carbs to complex carbs ... as long as you eat complex carbs, ignore the diet hype about carb restriction (because long-term weight loss is more likely with a high-carb diet, and resting metabolism drops)
    • Potatoes can reduce blood pressure without adding weight (unlike potato chips).
    • eat stone fruits, like peaches, plums, and cherries
    • Eat blueberries!
    • avoid sugar (glycemic index is a good yardstick, except for agave nectar which should be avoided since it is higher fructose than high fructose corn syrup, and fructose is very difficult for your liver to metabolize); basically, avoid non-fruit sources of fructose, and reduce sugar intake
    • consider 6 small meals of 300 to 400 calories each; or protein and fiber at each meal and snack since those will sustain the longest
  • Get plenty of sleep
    • This is key!
  • Reduce stress
    • as best as you can
  • Control the side effects
    • typically high cholesterol and high blood pressure (diuretics work well on both high blood pressure and prediabetes, so you could try drinking lots more water first)
  • Get support!
  • Quit smoking (and reduce second-hand smoke), drink moderately if you drink or don't drink alcohol

You might have a vitamin deficiency. A deficiency is more likely to be the effect of insulin resistance than its cause, but it's another consideration. Americans are often low in Vitamin D (unless you live in the tropics), iodine, and iron. Almost all of this information is from Dr. Gott (and, where noted that it's from Dr. Gott, it's probably copied verbatim because these are my research notes that I haven't cleaned up yet).
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Like B2, vitamin B3, weight loss vitamin, is essential for normal thyroid hormone production. Vitamin B3 is also part of the glucose tolerance factor (GTF) that is released every time blood sugar rises. Good food sources of Vitamin B3 include: Wheat bran, liver, tuna, turkey, chicken, meat, eggs, fish, mackerel, salmon, oats, barley, wheatflakes, cheese, dried fruit, oats, brown rice. B3 helps your body use sugars and fatty acids, produces energy in all cells of your body, plus helps enzymes function normally. Can be found in meat, poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, fish, and added to enriched and fortified products. Females ages 15-50 need 15 mg daily. Gott: B3 (niacin) assists the body in processing proteins and fats. It also helps the skin, digestive tract and nervous system to remain healthy. Deficiency can result in diarrhea, weakness, skin disorders and pellagra. Excesses can cause stomach upset, skin flushing and itching, and rash. The most common cause of too much niacin is from supplemental niacin taken to reduce cholesterol levels; therefore, it should be introduced gradually to prevent unwanted side effects.
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Vitamin B6, weight loss vitamin, regulates the production of thyroid hormone and metabolism. Good food sources of Vitamin B6, brewer's yeast, wheat bran, wheatgerm, oats, sardines, mackerel, poultry, beef, avocado, bananas, brown rice, cabbage, dried fruit, molasses, eggs. B6 helps produce insulin and turn tryptophan into niacin and serotonin. The best sources are chicken, fish, and liver. Also found in moderate amounts in nuts, legumes, and whole grains. Females ages 15-50 need 1.6 mgs daily. Gott: B6 (pyridoxine) aids in the formation of red blood cells and maintains brain function. Deficiency can cause kidney stones, anemia and nausea. Excess can cause leg pain and more.
  • Vitamin B12: B12 helps your body use fatty acids, amino acids and is vital to your metabolism. It can improve cholesterol levels. Found in meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy foods. Can also be found in fortified foods. Females ages 15 and up need 2.0 mcgs daily. Gott: B12 (cyanocobalamin) maintains red blood cells, is important for metabolism and the maintenance of the central nervous system, and helps to make DNA. Deficiency can result in pernicious anemia and tingling of the fingers and toes.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C provides a range of health benefits including proper conversion of glucose to energy in the cells. Good food sources of vitamin C include: blackcurrants, broccoli, green peppers, kiwi fruits, Brussels Sprouts, lemons, oranges, strawberries, cabbage. Recent studies show that vitamin C helps control cortisol (the fat storage hormone), during stress. In animal studies, those that were exposed to stress and did not take vitamin C had cortisol levels three times higher than stressed animals who took vitamin C. It also helps repair red blood cells, bones, and other tissue, boosts immune system, produces collagen, a connective tisue that forms structure by holding muscles, bones and tissues together, and helps absorb iron, which is vital for energy. Best sources are fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits and red and green peppers. You can also get it from papayas, cantaloupes, strawberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus and parsley. Females need 250-500 mgs daily. Vitamin C is helpful in converting glucose to energy and it has many health benefits. It is the best weight loss vitamin which helps in controlling weight. It is found in oranges, lemon, strawberries, broccoli, cabbage, kiwi, and Brussels sprouts. Gott: C (ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant necessary for the growth and repair of tissues. It helps repair bones, teeth and cartilage. Excesses can cause kidney stones, upset stomach and an increase in iron absorption.
  • Vitamin D: Gott: D (calciferol) helps teeth and bones stay healthy. Deficiency can result in osteoporosis, fractures and rickets (in children). Excesses can cause diarrhea, constipation, weakness and other problems. WebMD: may reduce risk of diabetes, go out in the sun!
  • Vitamin H / Biotin can be low in diabetes, although most people still get enough in their diet.
  • Vitamin K: Found in alfalfa, broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables and soybeans. Also: brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, egg yolks, liver, oatmeal, rye, and wheat. Blood, bones, metabolism and liver function. Brittle or fragile bones, low platelet count in blood and poor blood clotting, high glucose in blood. Vitamin K plays an essential role in blood clotting and bone formation. Can help to prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin K also converts glucose into glycogen for storage in the liver.
  • Calcium: Recent inconclusive studies have found that calcium supresses the parathyroid hormone, which regulates fat storage increasing fat burning and preventing fat storage. Can be found in all dairy foods, and dark green leafy vegetbles. Females 25 and older need 800 mgs daily. Recent clinical studies demonstrate a positive relationship between calcium intake and weight-loss. Controlled weight loss studies indicate that increasing calcium intake by the equivalent of two dairy servings per day can reduce the risk of overweight, perhaps by as much as 70 percent. Calcium needs Vitamin D. Absorption improves with Vitamin C and L-lysine. Recommended Ca:Mg ratio is 2:1.
  • Chromium: Works with insulin to help your body use glucose or blood sugar. Essential for people with diets consisting of mostly processed foods. Found in meat, eggs, whole grain products, and cheese. There is no RDA for chromium but studies have proven that 400 mcgs a day effectively reduce blood sugar. Chromium is required for the metabolism of sugar. Pregnancy and lactation can reduce chromium. Without sufficient chromium, insulin is less effective in regulating blood-glucose levels. In this way, chromium helps to control cravings and reduce hunger. Good food sources of chromium include: egg yolks, molasses, beef, hard cheese, liver, fruit juices, whole grain bread. Found in apples, black pepper, calves liver, cheese, meat and whole grains, grapes, cheese, chicken, corn and corn oil, dairy products, mushrooms, potatoes, beer, oysters, brown rice and dried beans. Adrenal glands, brain, blood, circulatory system, heart, immune system, liver and white blood cells. Disturbed amino acid metabolism, increased serum cholesterol, impaired glucose tolerance, lack of energy, myopia, protein/calorie malnutrition, susceptibility to infection; Lowered or escalated blood sugar levels, coronary artery disease. It is essential to the metabolism of glucose and is needed for energy and the synthesis of cholesterol, fats and protein.
  • Magnesium: Essential for protein synthesis, regulates blood sugar, releases energy from nutrients, increases calcium absorption, helps muscles relax after contraction, and conducts nerve impulses. Many studies show that magnesium also reduces pms symptoms including cravings for carbs and chocolate [excess estrogen linked to sweets craving]. Found in legumes, nuts, whole grains and green vegetables. Females 15 and older need 280 mgs daily. It's not clear if magnesium helps people who have problems with insulin secretion, but it tends to be low in those people.
  • Manganese: Manganese helps regulate fat metabolism and blood-glucose. It is needed for a healthy thyroid function which itself is essential to maintain a healthy weight. Good food sources of manganese include: tea, wheatgerm, spinach, split peas, nuts, oatgerm, oatmeal, pineapple, green leafy vegetables.
  • Sodium: One of the essentials in maintaining electrolyte balance -- virtually all foods contain sodium. Celery, cheese, eggs, meat, milk and dairy products, miso, poultry, processed foods, salt, seafood and sea vegetables. Blood, lymphatic system, muscles and nerves. Appetite loss, cramps, decreased resistance to infection, eye disturbances, fatigue, intestinal gas, muscle shrinkage, vomiting, weakness; confusion, low blood sugar, dehydration, lethargy, heart palpatations and heart attack. Sodium is necessary for maintaining the proper water balance and blood pH. It is also needed for stomach, nerve and muscle function.
  • Vanadium may increase the body's sensitivity to insulin, but be cautious with heavy minerals (don't over-do it).
  • Zinc: Zinc helps to regulate appetite. Zinc is also needed for the correct functioning of hormones, like insulin. Zinc deficiency is common among smokers, heavy drinkers, some vegetarians, people with chronic illness and those on non-nutritious or very low calorie diets. Good sources of Zinc include: shellfish, herring, wheatgerm, lean beef or lamb, eggs, lentils, Brazil nuts, almonds, chicken. Estrogen can suppress zinc. Phytate, present in staple foods like cereals, corn and rice, has a strong negative effect on zinc absorption.
  • Fiber: A high intake of fiber, from foods and supplements, lowers the risk of heart disease and may also be useful in treating diabetes and insulin resistance (prediabetes). If you have issues with fiber, take note if most of your fiber is soluble or insoluble, and switch to the other.

While you're improving your diet, you'll still want your food to taste appealing, so experiment with these low-or-no-calorie ingredients:
  • cardamom
  • cinnamon
  • mustard, especially flavored ones (but be careful of the calories in honey mustard!)
  • nutmeg
  • vanilla extract
  • vinegar of any kind, balsamic to sherry

And now the scary side. Watch out for diabetic neuropathy (unexplained nerve pain). Hands and feet may feel numb, tingling, crawling. May be worse at night when you need your sleep! Avoid chromium picolinate, the most common formulation, because of inconclusive links to additional neuropathy; I have best results with Carlson Labs chelated chromium. Also, due to increased risk, please know the signs of heart attack and stroke!

Other reasons you want to conquer (or avoid) insulin resistance:

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