Why Insulin Resistance is Important to Understand

Insulin resistance is important to understand, but few people do understand it. There are three main points to digest, figuratively speaking. Those three points are: 1) Your body’s regulation of insulin has a lot to do with how you store fat. 2) Abnormally high insulin levels can cause stubborn weight gain. 3) Your insulin levels are regulated by other hormone cycles.

It’s crucial to understand that insulin is a hormone, and it is created in the pancreas. Insulin’s purpose is to help your body’s cells absorb glucose and use it for energy. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) clearly defines insulin’s role in blood glucose control:

  • Insulin helps muscle, fat, and liver cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream, lowering blood glucose levels.
  • Insulin stimulates the liver and muscle tissue to store excess glucose. The stored form of glucose is called glycogen.
  • Insulin also lowers blood glucose levels by reducing glucose production in the liver.

A Women to Women article states, “Over 80 million Americans suffer from insulin resistance, and it appears to sit at the center of a web of related health problems. Women who are insulin resistant are at much greater risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, high cholesterol, breast cancer and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).”

At Protea we run extensive labs on our patients, and we find that some women who have healthy eating habits still can’t loose weight. The red flag we find most often is abnormally high insulin levels. Not only does high insulin result in weight gain that won’t go away, but the NIDDK states, “Some experts believe obesity, especially excess fat around the waist, is a primary cause of insulin resistance.” It’s clear to see that insulin and weight management are inextricably linked. It’s also important to understand your insulin levels are regulated by other hormone cycles.

Your body is a complex ecosystem, and it sends you signals that aren’t always easy to understand. The fact is: a woman with high insulin, who has a healthy diet, is going to store fat. If your insulin is high, and unable to be controlled, it doesn’t matter what you’re eating. So what’s going on here? That question is answered by dedicated lab work, the results of which we’ll discuss in our next entry: How Estrogen Causes Insulin Resistance.