With so much talk around insulin, insulin resistance and the (scary) rise of diabetes, we thought it would be useful to share some must-know facts about this important hormone.
Insulin is one of the most powerful hormones in the body. It’s produced by the pancreas, and it plays a major role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fat.
It breaks down carbohydrates, converting them into glucose, which is a very important energy source for your body.
So what is insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance is when your cells stop responding to the normal actions of insulin.
In a healthy body, blood glucose levels rise after a meal, prompting the pancreas to release insulin into the blood. Insulin and glucose then travel in the blood, to cells throughout the body.
In a body that’s insulin resistant, the pancreas tries to rectify things by producing more and more insulin, until it can’t produce enough insulin to meet the body’s perceived demands. This is when blood sugar levels rise, potentially triggering all sorts of other risky conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Without insulin to effectively regulate sugar spikes, more sugar than is needed infiltrates our blood. The unused sugar is ultimately converted into fat and is then stored. This is why weight gain is such a common symptom of insulin resistance.
There are a number of causes of insulin resistance, including genetics, obesity, pregnancy, high cholesterol or blood pressure, stress or persistent inactivity.
A healthy diet and regular exercise are the basic and fundamental steps to managing insulin resistance, although those struggling with it will have to be more diligent than most. Interestingly, the spice cinnamon is recommended to individuals suffering from insulin resistance, as it functions similarly to insulin.
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.