What Is Insulin Resistance?
Take Home Message
Insulin is a hormone secreted by an organ called the pancreas.
Its main role is to regulate the amount of nutrients circulating in the bloodstream.
Although insulin is mostly implicated in blood sugar management, it also affects fat and protein metabolism.
When we eat a meal that contains carbohydrates, the amount of blood sugar in the bloodstream increases.
This is sensed by the cells in the pancreas, which then release insulin into the blood.
Then insulin travels around the bloodstream, telling the body's cells that they should pick up sugar from the blood.
This leads to reduced amounts of sugar in the blood, and puts it where it is intended to go, into the cells for use or storage.
This is important, because high amounts of sugar in the blood can have toxic effects, causing severe harm and potentially leading to death if untreated.
However, due to various reasons (discussed below), sometimes the cellsstop respondingto the insulin like they are supposed to.
In other words, they become "resistant" to the insulin.
When this happens, the pancreas start producing even more insulin to bring the blood sugar levels down. This leads to high insulin levels in the blood, termed hyperinsulinemia.
This may continue to develop for a long time. The cells become increasingly more insulin resistant, and both insulin and blood sugar levels go up.
Eventually, the pancreas may not be able to keep up anymore and the cells in the pancreas may become damaged.
This leads to decreased insulin production, so now there are low amounts of insulinandcells that don't respond to the little insulin that is available. This can lead to skyrocketing blood sugar levels.
When blood sugar levels exceed a certain threshold, a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is made. In fact, this is a simplified version of how type 2 diabetes develops.
Insulin resistance is themaincause of this common disease that affects about 9% of people worldwide (5).
Resistance vs Sensitivity
Insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity are two sides of the same coin.
If you are insulin resistant, then you have low insulin sensitivity. Conversely, if you are insulin sensitive then you have low insulin resistance.
Being insulin resistant is a bad thing, while being insulin sensitive is good.Bottom Line:Insulin resistance implies that the cells are not responding well to the hormone insulin. This causes higher insulin levels, higher blood sugar levels and may lead to type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
Video: Insulin, Insulin Resistance & Belly Fat: SIMPLIFIED
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