Reverse Insulin Resistance

Dr. Tarrin P. Lupo, D.C.

reverse insulin resistanceLove handles are a warning sign of insulin resistance

Can you reverse insulin resistance or pre-diabetes? Much like type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance symptoms are caused purely by years of a refined-carbohydrate diet. It is estimated that 60 million Americans suffer from insulin resistance and most of them are undiagnosed: it is considered the most pervasive health problem in the US and almost nobody knows what it is.

Through the combination of an insulin resistance diet and other lifestyle changes, a person can reverse his/her insulin resistance symptoms if they are caught in time. My patients speed up the unwinding process with the help of very specific insulin resistance supplements. 

Insulin Resistance Symptoms

  • Are you sleepy after you eat?
  • Do you feel like your brain works slower than it used to?
  • Are you becoming more forgetful?
  • Are you always cold even in warm weather?
  • Are you still gaining weight no matter how much you exercise?
  • Do diets no longer work?
  • Are you female but growing a faint beard while starting to go bald?
  • Are you a man who gains weight in the hips and are growing male breasts?
  • Do you have very strong cravings for sweets even after eating?
  • Does eating not relieve your hunger?
reverse insulin resistanceStubborn weight gain may be a sign of insulin resistance

Trying to reverse insulin resistance can get very complicated because it causes so many secondary conditions in the body.

Metabolic Syndrome (Insulin Resistance) Symptoms And Other Complications:

  • Stubborn weight gain
  • Plaquing of the arteries 
  • Adrenal gland burnout
  • Fatty liver
  • Kidney damage
  • Thyroid hormone disruption, causing thyroid issues
  • Chronic whole-body inflammation, sometimes causing joint pains
  • Diabetes
  • Circulation problems, including increased coagulability
  • Too much estrogen in men
  • Too much testosterone in women
  • Sexual dysfunction and loss of sex drive in both sexes
  • Skin tags or darkening of moles

Official Diagnosis Of Metabolic Syndrome (Insulin Resistance)

An official diagnosis of metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) can be given if a person has any 3 of the following:

  • HDL Cholesterol lower than 50mg/dl in women and lower than 40 mg/dl in men 
  • Triglycerides higher than 150mg/dl
  • Blood pressure over 135/85mm Hg
  • A 35-inch waist in women and a 40-inch waist in men
  • Fasting glucose from 100-126

Other Tests That Can Be Helpful

Ideally a full blood panel is very useful to figure out if you can reverse your insulin resistance. With a large blood test the doctor can feel more comfortable confirming that metabolic syndrome is the primary issue. Unfortunately insurance puts handcuffs on your doctor and considers the extra blood work "unnecessary." Most likely you will have to pay out-of-pocket if you want the most comprehensive work-up, giving your doctor the most complete picture of your particular issues.

reverse insulin resistanceA full blood panel is very useful to figure out if you can reverse your insulin resistance

At the bare minimum make sure your doctor orders a panel which includes:

  • HbA1c
  • Glucose
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol
  • LDL
  • HDL
  • VLDL
  • Cho/HDL Ratio
  • LDH
  • Liver enzyme SGPT
  • Uric Acid
  • Phosphorus
  • Insulin
  • eGFR
  • C-reactive protein
  • Fibrinogen

Insulin Resistance Definition

reverse insulin resistanceWhen someone has eaten a high-carbohydrate diet long enough, the cells build a tolerance to glucose

Insulin resistance is also known as pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and syndrome X. The body eventually develops the same response to any substance that is put into it frequently.  If someone drinks alcohol, smokes, or uses drugs enough their body becomes resistant to the desired effect (they develop a tolerance.) An alcohol drinker will have to keep increasing the amount they drink to get the same feeling. If you put enough chemical into you, eventually you will build a tolerance to it. This happens with everything like coffee, prescription drugs, and even sugar. 

Surprisingly your body can have the same effect from eating products made from animals such as meat, oils, cheeses, and all other dairy products. Fatty and oily animal-based foods make your body less effective at dealing with fat. In turn, it's more difficult to reverse insulin resistance.

A nasty phenomenon called lipotoxicity causes your cells to set up a stubborn feedback loop. Fat cells actually spill out their fatty material into muscle cells and interrupt proper glucose use. So the more fat you have on the body the slower your metabolism works, which makes you even fatter. This is why my patients say their weight just keeps getting worse no matter what they do.

  • Many doctors ignore the lipotoxicity and only focus on the carbohydrates as the cause of insulin resistance. I used to do the same thing until I started moving patients to a plant-based diet and saw amazing results. Staying away from meat, oil, and dairy can quell the lipotoxicity and give your waistline a fighting chance

If a person eats meat, oil, sugary sauces, and high refined carbohydrates they are creating the perfect storm to give themselves insulin resistance and eventually diabetes.

reverse insulin resistanceToo much glucose in the blood damages blood vessels

Your body needs sugar (glucose) to function, but if you have too much in the blood it is damaging to the blood vessels. As sugar hits your blood stream the body has to do something with the high toxic level, so it releases insulin. Insulin bonds to receptors on the cells and opens tiny channels in the cell wall to allow sugar to cross over. In a nut shell, insulin allows you to pull sugar out of the blood so the cell can burn glucose for energy.

The problem happens when you eat high amounts of refined carbohydrates every day. Your body builds a tolerance and you need higher and higher amounts of sugar to feed your cells. The cell receptors get broken or clogged from over-use and stop letting glucose into the cell. The body responds to the stubborn cell receptors by making high amounts of insulin until the cell membrane receptors finally give in and open. Over time you need more and more insulin spikes to force the channels to open on the membrane so you can use the sugar in your blood. 

  • The pancreas cells will eventually wear out since they are constantly making high amounts of insulin. When the pancreas cells give out, it’s called beta cell burnout and you become diabetic

How To Reverse Insulin Resistance

reverse insulin resistanceAdopt a plant-based diet is the short and straight answer for how to reverse insulin resistance

Can a person really reverse insulin resistance? Most of the time the answer is "yes," but it can be a slow road. It generally takes people years to develop this condition so it can take a while to unwind stubborn insulin resistance symptoms.

The first thing to do is to stop eating meals full of animal products, dairy, and anything high in refined carbohydrate sugars. Most of my patients have a meat, dairy, high-carbohydrate lifestyle and strong sugar cravings that keep them in a negative carbohydrate feedback loop. The more meat, dairy, and refined carbohydrates they eat the more they want. It’s a nasty catch-22; their bodies are flooded with sugar but the cells can’t use it so they react as if they are starving to death.

I like the raw food diet book for fast and healthy results. Perlot's food recommendations are tasty and easy to make. An insulin resistance diet is the biggest piece of the puzzle but not the only one.

Usually by the time I see a patient they have had metabolic syndrome for years and need extra help. In my experience just doing a plant-based diet is not enough if they have had insulin resistance for years. Many patients need extra nutritional support during their transition. The loss of sugar control also causes systemic inflammation which really complicates managing the condition. Think of inflammation as a kind of fire in the body. Insulin resistance supplements will help put out the fire, but the patient has to clean up his/her eating so they stop throwing gasoline on it.

Insulin Resistance Supplements

An anti-inflammatory diet is paramount, but some vitamins can support you and make the process faster and easier.

These are some good basic vitamins that can help:

insulin resistance supplementsSome vitamins can make the process faster and easier

If a person has been insulin resistant for years, basic vitamins might not cut it. I have seen people do much better on high power nutraceuticals when trying to reverse insulin resistance. Most of the time reversing insulin resistance is just too hard to go at it alone.

With really chronic and stubborn insulin resistance, only professional strength nutraceuticals will work. Before someone attempts this they should go to their doctor to confirm they have insulin resistance and come up with a plan of attack. Most people are going to need help to reverse insulin resistance because it can take months to years of diligence. However, switching to an anti-inflammatory diet (as mentioned above) will greatly speed this process.


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