Insulin resistance is a term that has now become a household name. It refers to a condition that arises in the body such that the normal quantities of insulin are not enough to produce what would be called normal insulin response.The body in other words does not respond adequately to the normal amounts of insulin because it is insulin resistant. This condition is associated with insulin insensitivity which is a weakened response to a person’s own insulin. We could also say that insulin insensitivity occurs when the normal amount of insulin secreted into the bloodstream appears insufficient for the uptake of glucose by the body cells such as muscle cells.
How does insulin work? when you eat a carbohydrate meal insulin is secreted by the pancrease. The insulin produced is released into the blood stream and travels throughout the body. It controls the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Insulin is also important in regulating many events in the cells of the body such as their growth.The amount of insulin secreted depends on the amount of glucose produced after the digestion of the carbs.The insulin facilitates the absorption of glucose into the various cells such as muscle and fat cells which need glucose. Without insulin the body cells experience starvation despite the presence of glucose in the blood. Some people call this "starvation in the midst of plenty".
To maintain normal blood glucose, in people with insulin insensitivity the pancreas secretes more and more insulin but the muscle cells are not able to take up glucose as in normal cells. In people with this condition the blood insulin levels tend to be constantly higher than in normal people. The excess insulin initiates a series of events that eventually hurt a person’s health.The condition in which there is excess insulin in the blood is called "hyperinsulinemia". There are several disorders associated with "hyperinsulinemia" grouped together as Syndrome X or metabolic Syndrome X. The most common feature in people with this condition is accumulation of belly fat in males accumulation of fat.
When a person with insulin insensitivity eats carbohydrates, the carbohydrates undergo digestion to produce glucose, which is released into the bloodstream. Digestion of carbohydrates will therefore result in increased levels of blood glucose. The increased levels of blood glucose trigger the release of insulin from the pancreas into the bloodstream. This insulin promotes entry of the blood glucose into the cells. Insulin also leads to synthesis of a storage carbohydrate called glycogen in the liver and skeletal muscle. Most of the glucose is used to make fat which is stored.
Some carbohydrates release glucose into the bloodstream very rapidly sending a flood of glucose and triggering high level of insulin release. The excess insulin causes the blood sugar level to fall sharply bringing fatigue and craving for more carbohydrates. This cycle continues and obesity occurs.
In insulin insensitivity the more carbohydrate a person eats the more their blood sugar falls due to over secretion of insulin. In addition a person with insulin insensitivity feels hungrier and eats more carbohydrates. Most of the excess carbohydrates are again converted to fat and stored in the visceral organs such as the abdomen leading to wait gain lots of belly fat and increased triglyceride levels in both males and females.
A lot of belly fat is associated with insulin insensitivity in men while in females most of the fat is store in the buttocks. Even people who are not overweight may have a lot of triglycerides in the blood in they have insulin insensitivity.
Having high levels of blood triglycerides or fat, obesity, and belly fat are indicators of insulin resistance.(For more information click here)
Limiting consumption of carbohydrates and especially those with high glycaemic index can control insulin insensitivity. If you have insulin resistance you must make a change in your life-style by reducing the need for insulin. You will need to alter your diet so that the need for insulin is lowered.
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