Insulin Resistance Syndrome
The insulin resistance syndrome (IRS) is a group of health risk factors that increase the likelihood of heart disease and perhaps other disorders, such as diabetes and some cancers. The risk factors that make up IRS include insulin resistance, which refers to the reduced ability of the hormone insulin to control the processing of glucose by the body. Other major risk factors often associated with IRS include high blood sugar and high blood triglycerides, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, high blood pressure, and excessive body fat in the abdominal region. People with IRS do not always have every one of these risk factors, but they usually have many of them. A qualified doctor should make the diagnosis of IRS after a thorough examination and blood tests.
Most people with type 2 diabetes have insulin resistance, but many more people who are not diabetic also have insulin resistance. Since insulin resistance itself often does not cause symptoms, these people may not be aware of their problem. Some authorities believe insulin resistance is partially inherited and partially due to lifestyle factors.
In addition to the recommendations below, some people may benefit from some of the recommendations given for type 2 diabetes. People with IRS should also benefit from health strategies that reduce the severity of the risk factors they possess, including obesity, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure.
Insulin Resistance Syndrome
Prescription for Natural Cures by: James F. Balch, M.D. & Mark Stengler, N.D.
Super Prescription #1 Glucomannon
Glucomannan is a type of water soluble dietary fiber that may reduce many risk factors in people with IRS. Take 8-13 grams per day to improve blood cholesterol and blood glucose.<
Super Prescription #2 Chromium Picolinate – LifeSource Products
Chromium has long been known to be helpful to people with insulin-related disorders. It plays a role in promoting insulin sensitivity. Preliminary evidence also suggests that insulin resistance may cause loss of chromium from the body, increasing the likelihood chromium deficiency.
Super Prescription #3 Calcium / Magnesium – LifeSource Products - See All of our Cal/Mag
Calcium has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in people with hypertension. Take 1,500 mg per day.
Super Prescription #4 CoQ10 – Coenzyme Q10 - LifeSource Products - See All of our CoQ10
Take 120 mg of CoQ10 per day to reduce glucose and insulin blood levels. (Especially in people with high blood pressure and heart disease).
Super Prescription #5 Magnesium - LifeSource Product
Magnesium deficiency can reduce insulin sensitivity and low dietary intake and low blood levels of magnesium have been associated with greater insulin resistance in non-diabetic people.
Super Prescription # 6 Vitamin E - LifeSource Product
Take 800 - 1,350 IU per day. Vitamin E has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in both healthy and hypertensive people in double-blind studies.
Super Prescription #7 Zinc Picolinate - LifeSource Product
Studies have reported that low zinc intake is associated with several of the risk factors common in IRS, and a low blood level of zinc is associated with insulin resistance in overweight people.
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- Overweight, especially in the trunk area
- Feelings of sluggishness after eating
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
A healthy, balanced diet high in vegetables, fruits, fish, and complex carbohydrates such as whole grain rice and pasta, is associated with protection from many aspects of IRS. Effects on glycemic index may be one reason dietary fiber is associated with better insulin sensitivity. Choose carbohydrates according to their effects on heart disease risk. Therefore, a diet low in refined carbohydrates and high in fiber appears most prudent. A weight loss diet lower in fat and higher in fish, along with exercise three times per week, improved several measures of insulin resistance, blood triglycerides and cholesterol, and blood pressure.
Foods to Avoid
Avoid refined carbohydrates, fried foods and sausages and any food high in saturated fat. Also avoid high salt intake.
Obesity, especially when fat accumulates in the abdominal region, increases the severity of insulin resistance. Loss of excess weight tends to improve insulin sensitivity. Weight loss also reduces many of the other health risk factors associated with IRS.
Cigarette smoking, in most, though not all, studies, as well as exposure to second-hand smoke and use of nicotine replacement products, have been associated with insulin resistance.
Alcohol consumption in the light to moderate range is associated with better insulin sensitivity in healthy, non-diabetic people. Since alcohol consumption also reduces other risk factors for heart disease, it does not appear that people with IRS would benefit from avoiding alcohol if they are currently light to moderate drinkers. However, alcohol is potentially addicting and can increase the risk of other diseases, so people with IRS who are not users of alcohol should consult a doctor before starting regular consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Either aerobic exercise or strength training improves insulin sensitivity in both healthy and insulin resistant people. Studies comparing strength training to aerobic exercise in insulin-resistant people have reported greater health benefits from strength training, but a combination of the two will probably be more effective than either one alone.
Insulin sensitivity decreases after certain stressful experiences, such as surgery, and decreased insulin sensitivity is associated with work-related mental and emotional stress, and other aspects of a stressful lifestyle.
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