Insulin sensitivity: disease or medication?
Insulin is one of the most important hormones secreted by the body through the pancreas. It regulates the amount of nutrients in the blood, which in turn plays an important role in controlling blood sugar and affecting the digestion of fats and proteins. Is insulin sensitivity good or bad? We will learn that in this article.
The difference between insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance
Insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance are two sides of the same coin: When you eat a carbohydrate-rich meal, your blood sugar levels rise; This causes the cells of the pancreas to release the hormone insulin into the blood.
- If you are allergic to insulin : Insulin begins to help cells absorb sugar from the blood. What leads and helps lower blood sugar levels.
- For insulin resistance: cells no longer respond to insulin; forces the pancreas to produce more insulin; This leads to increased blood sugar levels.
From the above we conclude that insulin sensitivity plays an important role in lowering blood sugar levels. What helps keep the body healthy, and how can insulin sensitivity be calculated?
Insulin sensitivity calculator
The insulin sensitivity factor can be calculated in two different ways:
- Natural insulin: Use the 1500 rule, which tells you how much blood sugar will drop per unit of regular insulin.
For example, if you take 30 units of regular insulin per day, we divide 1500 by 30 and that comes to 50, which means that one unit of regular insulin lowers your blood sugar by about 50 mg/dL.
- Short-acting insulin: Use the 1800 rule, which tells you how much less blood sugar will fall per unit of short-acting insulin.
For example, if we take 30 units of short-acting insulin per day, we divide 1800 by 30 and that means that one unit of short-acting insulin lowers blood sugar by about 60 mg/dL.
How does lifestyle contribute to insulin sensitivity?
People looking to improve insulin sensitivity can make the following lifestyle changes:
1. Do more exercise
Exercising more is one way to improve insulin sensitivity. After reviewing 11 reliable studies, it was found that there is a link between increased physical activity and improved insulin sensitivity.
The review recommended a structured training program; This will help in consuming some of the glucose in the blood, which will result in the maintenance of normal blood sugar levels.
2. Combine different exercises
A review published in 2013 found that certain types of exercise increase insulin sensitivity more than others and recommended 30 minutes of exercise at least five times a week. These exercises should include aerobics three times a week and weight training twice a week.
3. Get more sleep
Getting more sleep can improve insulin sensitivity. A study of 16 healthy people who did not sleep long enough increased their sleep by 1 hour per day for 6 weeks; This helped increase insulin sensitivity.
The effect of diet on insulin sensitivity
Research suggests that certain dietary changes can increase insulin sensitivity, such as:
1. Less carbohydrates and more unsaturated fats
Recent research suggests that replacing carbohydrates with unsaturated fats may improve insulin sensitivity in some people. One study found the effects of different diets on people with high blood pressure, an important factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.
The researchers concluded that eating fewer carbohydrates and more unsaturated fats for 6 weeks improved insulin sensitivity. Additionally, a recent 2018 review indicated that a low-carb diet may actually increase insulin resistance, especially if a person does not lose weight while following the diet.
Finally, a review of nearly 102 studies found that replacing carbohydrates and saturated fats with unsaturated fats can improve blood sugar regulation.
2. More soluble fiber
Soluble fiber is vegetable fiber, although it belongs to the group of carbohydrates, the body cannot completely break it down. Therefore, there is no noticeable increase in blood sugar.
Soluble fiber helps delay gastric emptying, the time it takes a meal to reach the small intestine, and one study showed that this delay can lower blood sugar levels after meals, especially in people with type 2 diabetes.
Another study suggests that eating more soluble fiber may help reduce insulin resistance in women.
3. Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting focuses on meal timing rather than diet. After using intermittent fasting in a number of people by limiting calorie intake from 1 to 3 days a week and eating free food on the remaining days, it was found that intermittent fasting helped reduce Insulin resistance, but more research is needed.
Supplements that increase insulin sensitivity
According to studies, some supplements help reduce insulin resistance and thus improve insulin sensitivity in humans. Examples of these supplements include:
Probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids
Taking probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids can improve insulin sensitivity, especially in people who are overweight.
A 2014 study looked at the effects of probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids on insulin sensitivity in 60 overweight but healthy adults.
The researchers reported that supplementing with probiotics or omega-3 fatty acids for 6 weeks significantly improved insulin sensitivity compared to a placebo, and the increase in insulin sensitivity was greater in people who took the two supplements together.
Magnesium supplements can also be very beneficial for people looking to improve insulin sensitivity, as studies conducted over a period of 4 months have shown that these supplements significantly improve insulin resistance in people with and without diabetes.
Resveratrol is a natural compound found in the skin of grapes. It is also available as a dietary supplement. Studies have shown that taking resveratrol supplements significantly improves glucose control and insulin sensitivity in diabetics.
But scientists haven’t found the same results in people without diabetes, so more research is needed.
Ultimately, low insulin sensitivity is an indicator of diabetes risk, so it’s best to exercise well, get enough sleep, eat wholesome foods like foods high in unsaturated fats, or even take supplements to see a doctor if your blood sugar levels change. the blood ;