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  • Writer's pictureTina Shiver

Insulin Resistance: Using a Functional Medicine Approach to Reduce Risk

Word art depicting medical conditions associated with insulin resistance.

The Causes of Insulin Resistance

Poor diet, lack of exercise and perhaps stress, can be the start of insulin resistance in the body. Other reasons could be hormone in-balance and increased dieting. With insulin resistance the body fails to respond to the hormone insulin.

Insulin is produced by the pancreas and helps with the regulation of blood sugar. If your body is experiencing insulin resistance, then your body stops responding to the insulin and does not convert glucose for use by muscles and tissues. The body continues to produce insulin which in turn causes elevated insulin, thus the name insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance can cause:

  • Weight gain (especially belly fat)

  • Irritability

  • Fatigue

  • Depression

  • Ankles swelling or burning feet

How Functional Medicine Treats Insulin Resistance

A Functional Medicine Practitioner will seek to uncover the root cause of why a person has insulin resistance.

Key areas to start with would include:

  • Full health history (from birth to present)

  • Prenatal history if available

  • All medications

  • Diet

Medications are important to look at because of the impact the medication could have on nutrient depletion or how the medication could change the physiology of the body.

An example of a medication depleting a nutrient is when a person take’s a Statin to lower cholesterol there is a chance it will also deplete CoQ10. A person could begin to have high and low blood sugar with blood sugar medications if they have not changed their diet or if they are over medicated.

Where to Start

With diet it is again an individualized approach, however you want to target:

  • Individualized Food Plan

  • Low Glycemic Index

  • High in Fiber

  • Low in Simple Sugar

  • Quality Fats

Foods to Reduce Insulin Resistance

  • Phytonutrients: Fenugreek seeds, cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon, isoflavones from soybeans, beta glucan from oats and barley can all help with lowering blood sugar

  • Macronutrients: Protein Carbohydrates

  • Fats: Legumes, Dairy/Dairy Alternatives, Nuts and Seeds, Non-Starchy Vegetables

  • Starches, Fruits, Whole Grains

The Benefits of Controlling Insulin Resistance

By lowering your risk of developing insulin resistance, you in turn decrease your risk of cardiac symptoms. Losing weight, especially belly fat, is key to improving heart health, reducing blood pressure and lowering inflammation in the body.

Dietary changes along with exercise are key to reducing your risk or reversing insulin resistance.

Talk to a registered dietitian/functional medicine provider to discuss a food plan.

Check out the Instagram post this week on stuffed mushrooms that will be loaded with fiber is a low glycemic index recipe.

Until next time...remember to eat healthy and move.


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