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Reversing Insulin Resistance

Testing for insulin resistance:

  1. Testing for the hormone insulin which can be done as a simple fasting insulin test. This is different from a fasting glucose test.
  2. The Homa IR index which can be used to detect milder insulin resistance, and is a ratio of 3 fasting insulins to glucose. This should measure less than 1.5.
  3. The glucose tolerance test with insulin is the test where you do a fasting blood test and then test again at 1 and 2 hours after consuming a glucose drink. The difference is that this time, you’re testing glucose and insulin fasted and then at 1 and 2 hours after the glucose drink. Healthy fasting insulin levels (should be less than 10 mIU/L (60 pmol/L). One and two hours after the glucose challenge, a healthy insulin should be less than 60 mIU/L or 410 pmol/L. 

Support healthy insulin levels:

  • Sleep 8-9 hours/night.
  • Do not restrict calories.
  • Eat satiating meals with protein, fat and fiber.
  • Consume leafy greens.
  • Strength training.
  • 10-20 minute walks after meals.
  • Supplement with magnesium. 
  • Avoiding ultra-processed food (“acellular” carbohydrates).
  • Address any underlying gut dysbiosis as gut inflammation can cause or worsen insulin resistance.
  • Wake up to sunlight. 
  • Opt for a consistent eating schedule, which also helps circadian rhythm.
  • Reduce stress and optimize your parasympathetic system.
  • Boost your levels of oxytocin by cuddling, hugging, etc., a loved one or spending time with friends.
  • For women: balanced levels of estrogen and progesterone enhances insulin sensitivity.
    • Additionally, not having too high of androgens (check the androgen index of the hormones contraceptive you are using), as too much testosterone can reduce insulin sensitivity.
  • Reduce high-dose fructose intake such as fruit juices, honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.. (this does not include starchy carbs such as sweet potatoes and rice which are highly satiating). Stay below 25 g
  • Reduce inflammatory foods such as added sugars, wheat, dairy, and alcohol, which can further cause sugar cravings.
  • Circadian fasting: 12-14 hour fasting overnight, between dinner and breakfast. This may look like a 7 pm - 7 am “fasting” window.
  • Have a higher protein breakfast with green vegetables and consume your starch for lunch and/or dinner for all of the benefits, especially its calming effects on the nervous system and to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the night. 
  • Read more on reversing insulin resistance here.

Do you have insulin resistant PCOS? If so, read more here.

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