Insulin Resistance

Insulin Resistance (aka pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome)

Insulin is a messenger in the body that allows glucose (blood sugar) to enter the cell where it can be used to produce energy.  Insulin levels rise when cells become resistant to its message.  If insulin resistance is allowed to progress, it will lead to type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance causes:

  • fatigue (because the sugar isn’t getting into the cells to make energy)
  • increased cholesterol production
  • more salt retention which raises blood pressure
  • raises blood sugar levels (can progress to diabetes)
  • encourages the body to store more fat – especially in the belly
  • prevents fat from being burned (prevents weight loss)
  • mood – alternating anxiety and depression
  • carbohydrate cravings
  • alcohol tolerance drops
  • caffeine tolerance can increase
  • more light sensitivity
  • night sweats

Insulin resistance is caused by:

  • genetics – you may have an inherited inability to tolerate carbohydrate, these genes can be turned on by emotional stress
  • stress – chronic stress; overexercising; traumatic events including surgeries, divorces, deaths in the family; chronic sleep disturbance or insufficiency
  • sedentary life
  • hormonal changes – perimenopause, menopause, andropause
  • nutrient deficiencies (minerals, fatty acids)
  • medications – e.g. beta-blockers, prednisone

Medical conditions related to insulin resistance – chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, PCOS, alzheimers disease, severe menopause, diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers (breast, ovarian, prostate)

Testing – fasting insulin and glucose, cholesterol panel, Vitamin D


  1. decrease need for insulin production by eating less carbohydrate (sugar, fruit, milk, breads, grains, potatoes etc)
  2. increase insulin sensitivity – sensible exercise and targeted supplements
  3. quality sleep and stress management

When I successfully treat insulin resistance, I usually see patients losing weight, improving energy and lowering their blood pressure, with the spin-off benefits of preventing progression to type 2 diabetes!