Insulin Resistance is the dysfunctional medical conditions in which the body’s natural amounts of insulin are not sufficient to produce an optimal insulin response from fat, muscle and liver cells. Insulin Resistance in fat cells diminishes the effects of insulin on fats which tend to accumulate and lead to elevated fatty acids in the blood plasma. Insulin Resistance in muscle cells leads to the storage of glucose as glycogen while Insulin Resistance in liver cells results in failed control of glycogen production which elevates glucose in the bloodstream.
Scientists hypothesize that high plasma levels of insulin and glucose which stem from Insulin Resistance are the origins of the Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus) and their various complications. It was Professor Wilhelm Falta (Vienna, 1931) who first introduced the concept and Sir Harold Percival Himsworth of the University College Hospital Medical Center in London confirmed it in 1936.
The symptoms of Insulin Resistance vary greatly due to the overall health of the person, the age, as well as the person’s lifestyle and gender. The most commonly occurring, however, are:
• High blood sugar.
• Increased blood triglyceride levels.
• Elevated blood pressure (hypertension).
• Bloated intestines due to increased gas which is produced from ingesting carbohydrates.
• Low physical energy and overall body fatigue.
• Impaired concentration and diminished ability to focus. This may also be considered as mental weariness.
• The unbalanced metabolic process often leads to psychological effects such as depression and anxiety.
• Sleepiness soon after eating a meal that contains more than 20 or 30 percent carbohydrates.
• Fat storage around the abdominal organs in men and women alike. This, therefore, leads to weight gain and the difficulty in losing it.
The Origins of Resistance
The origins and causes of Insulin Resistance have not been conclusively determined but there is some undeniable and fundamental evidence which points to several culprits:
- Heredity. The most often pronounced suspected culprit would be heredity as more families have been observe whose close members have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes that resulted from Insulin Resistance while other families had no members with such afflictions.
- Carbohydrates. There is strong evidence that lays the blame on high carbohydrate diets.
- Glucosamine. Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is often prescribed for a variety of problems related to joints and some studies have blamed it for triggering Insulin Resistance in some individuals.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This is an endocrine disorder which occurs in approximately five percent of all women. It has been closely associated with Insulin Resistance but it is unclear whether Polycystic Ovary Syndrome leads to Insulin Resistance or, conversely, that Insulin Resistance leads to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
- Fructose and Sucrose. Studies have shown that the increased fructose and sucrose in today’s diets, particularly in the Western world, are in direct proportion to the rise in diagnosed cases of Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. It then becomes reasonable to assume that diets rich in fructose and/or sucrose may lead to Insulin Resistance.
- Obesity. Morbidly overweight people seem to be more prone to Insulin Resistance.
The most effective and most frequently prescribed treatment for Insulin Resistance is exercise, weight loss and a lowered carbohydrate diet.