AuthorNick Ovenden

Insulin Resistance

Recent studies have shown dramatic increases in the percentage of Americans suffering from some form of Insulin Resistance. This may, or may not, mean anything to you right now. However, I believe it is something that all of us need to become aware of. It is a growing epidemic that can be controlled with a few dietary and behavioral modifications.

What is it?
According to “Cracking the Metabolic Code”, the definition of Insulin Resistance is “an inability of insulin to facilitate glucose uptake from the blood into cells. In laymen’s terms, it means that your body is not effective at absorbing insulin after it is released into the bloodstream. When you eat carbohydrates (sugars) it increases your blood sugar which stimulates the release of insulin into your blood stream in order to help regulate your blood sugar. If you are Insulin Resistant then your body is unable to use the carbohydrates as energy and stores it around the belly as fat (visceral fat). Visceral fat is known to be a main culprit in many diseases such as Cancer, Type II Diabetes, Obesity, Depression and Heart Disease. Excessive visceral fat also stimulates the release of over 100 different chemicals that negatively affect your metabolism.

Do I have it?
Here are some common symptoms of Insulin Resistance:
1. Fatigue.
2. Brain fogginess and inability to focus
3. High blood sugar.
4. Intestinal bloating—most intestinal gas is produced from indigestible carbohydrates in the diet.
5. Sleepiness, especially after meals.
6. Weight gain, fat storage, difficulty losing weight—for most people, excess weight is from high fat storage; the fat in IR is generally stored in and around abdominal organs in both males and females. It is currently suspected that hormone production in that fat are a precipitating cause of insulin resistance.
7. Increased blood triglyceride levels. (Ideally your triglyceride to HDL ratio would be 1:1)
8. Increased blood pressure. Many people with hypertension are either diabetic or pre-diabetic and have elevated insulin levels due to insulin resistance. One of insulin’s effects is to control arterial wall tension throughout the body.
9. Depression
10. Lower Body Temperature
11. Have a Fasting Glucose higher than 90 mg/dL

How do I fight it?
1. Exercise- High Intensity has been shown to be the most effective form of training in allowing the body to become more insulin sensitive (effect can last for up to 16 hours)
2. Sleep- Getting between 7-9 hours of sleep will allow your body to recover
3. Diet- It is suggested that implementing a high protein, low carbohydrate diet will help negate the effects of Insulin Resistance. BE SURE to get at least 9 – 13 servings of vegetables and 2 – 3 fruits daily.
4. Supplementation- Supplements are vital for counteracting Insulin Resistance. Here is the list of supplements Dr. Jim LaValle recommends for IR:
a. Multi-Vitamins- High Quality grade (Life Time AM/PM)
b. Fish Oil
c. Lean Source
d. Alpha Lipoic Acid
e. Vitamin D
f. Magnesium

1. LaValle, J. (2004). Cracking the Metabolic Code. Stacy Lundin Yale: Basic Health Publications.
2. Wikipedia Internet Source,

Overview of Omega-3’s

Most of us have heard the importance of taking fish oil. However, we don’t know exactly why it’s good for us. First of all, fish oil is an Omega-3 fatty acid which is classified as a Polyunsaturated fat, or a “good fat.” Besides being a “good fat,” Omega-3 fatty acids are further broken down into three different types, each benefitting our health in different ways.

The first type of Omega-3 is called Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA). The body can NOT produce ALA, thus making it an essential fatty acid and requiring us to take it in through our diet. Flaxseed or Flaxseed oil are the two best and easiest ways to get your ALA intake. ALA can help significantly reduce the risk of cancer because it contains Lignans, which are cancer fighting agents.

The other 2 types of Omega-3 fatty acids are Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), both of which can be found in wild fish as well as in fish oil supplements. These two types of Omega-3’s are not essential fatty acids, but the body doesn’t do very well with producing them. Therefore, it is necessary to take them in through our diet as well. EPA’s and DHA’s play a big role in many different functions within the body. One of these functions is that these omega-3’s make the cell membranes of your body more fluid, allowing your cells to communicate more readily. When your feel-good transmitters can communicate better you apt to be in a better mood. This has a positive effect on depression. Omega-3’s also act as a natural blood thinner, positively effecting several different functions of the body including: improving blood circulation, preventing blood clots (which cause heart attacks and strokes), lowering blood pressure, and improving insulin and glucose metabolism.

The other important thing to discuss when talking about Omega-3 fatty acids is that it is an anti-inflammatory. This is critical because inflammation plays a huge role in nearly every degenerative disease including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s.

As you can tell, Omega-3 fatty acids are a very important part of your everyday nutrition and play several different roles in the body. Here is a recap of the positive effects taking Omega-3 fatty acids can have on the body and its functions.

Flaxseed Oil (ALA):
– contains Lignans which is a cancer-fighting agent

Fish Oil (EPA and DHA):
– increases fluidity in cell membranes
– decreases depression
– natural blood thinner
– increases circulation
– decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke
– lowers blood pressure
– improves insulin and glucose metabolism (very important in diabetics)
– acts as an anti-inflammatory
– increases brain development in fetus’s (important for pregnant women)
– increases the health of your hair, nails and skin
– decreases triglyceride levels (lowers bad cholesterol)

1. Bowden, J. (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Beverly, MA: Far Winds Press.

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