Physical activity and proper nutrition are the most effective treatment to avoid the risk of getting type 2 diabetes
Valentina Ferragni, sister of the famous influencer Chiara, has recently turned the spotlight on a condition that can strike at any age, including children, overweight but also normal weight: insulin resistance. Weight gain and difficulty losing weight, fatigue and a dull mind with poor concentration are the first signs of the problem. It is important to talk to your doctor about it, also because proper nutrition and adequate physical activity can make the condition reversible.
- What's this
- Causes, risk factors and complications
- Treatment and diet
- Insulin resistance and weight loss
- How is it diagnosed
"The state of insulin resistance expresses the loss of metabolic health by a person", says prof. Pier Luigi Rossi, specialist in nutrition sciences and preventive medicine. "This condition means a reduced response of the body's cells to insulin which, despite its greater presence, fails to achieve its effects even when fasted".
But how does it develop? "The pancreas – explains the doctor – produces insulin after stimulating blood sugar, a value that increases following the intake of dietary carbohydrates. Each cell in the human body has receptors for the hormone insulin on its cell membrane. The union between the receptor and insulin activates the physiological reaction of the cell, which accepts the entry of glucose into it to be used in order to obtain biochemical energy. Glucose turns into ribose, which is used for the production of DNA, RNA. But when the cell membrane does not have the receptors, insulin is present but cannot act, hence the term insulin resistance. Glucose does not enter the cell and therefore there is an increase in blood sugar. However, this glucose ends up inside the hepatocytes, liver cells, where it is first transformed into glycogen and then into fatty acids, causing an accumulation of visceral fat with all its consequences ".
Causes, risk factors and complications
The causes of insulin resistance are numerous. It can be caused by hormonal factors and family history (genetic components). In most cases, it affects people affected by cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, elevated triglycerides in the blood, hypercholesterolemia …) and hepatic steatosis (fatty liver), pathologies that represent both causes and consequences of insulin resistance and which are often linked to an excess of visceral fat.
“All the main scientific researches – underlines prof. Pier Luigi Rossi – have shown that an excessive accumulation of adipose tissue in the upper part of the body represents a pathological risk factor. Not surprisingly, those who belong to the so-called android biotype, characterized by the accumulation of fat mainly on the neck, shoulders, arms, breasts, chest, lumbar and abdominal area have a higher risk of developing the condition of insulin resistance, where the insulin is present without exerting its natural function. An excess of insulin in the blood causes significant oxidative stress and a state of widespread glycation of collagen (collagen joins glucose), with breakdown of connective tissue and impaired cellular nutrition ".
"Having lost insulin sensitivity is a risk factor for diseases such as obesity, overweight, type 2 diabetes mellitus, arterial hypertension, arteriosclerosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cardiovascular diseases, high blood triglycerides, cholesterol, uric acid, malignant tumors, decreased testosterone (in men) and metabolic syndrome. It is therefore necessary to act with conviction to eliminate it ", suggests the expert.
Treatment and diet
The most effective and decisive treatment for insulin resistance is given by regular activity associated with weight loss and the adoption of a personalized diet. Nutrition therefore plays a decisive role in this health condition.
"As mentioned, insulin resistance – explains the doctor – means the excessive presence of long-chain saturated fatty acids: one of these is called palmitic acid and comes from foods of animal origin, such as fatty meat, cured meats, cheeses, dairy products ".
"To overcome it – continues the expert – it is necessary to identify the right dose of daily carbohydrates, reduce cheeses, meats and meat with long-chain fatty acids and increase the intake of omega 3 fatty acids contained in oil seeds, fish and extra virgin olive oil. Green light to the fibers contained in vegetables and grains, in particular barley and whole oats, which are rich in a precious water-soluble fiber called inulin, capable of regulating blood sugar levels ".
“It is also important to do motor activity regularly”, suggests prof. Pier Luigi Rossi. “The aerobic one, based on the legs, making at least 10 thousand steps a day, and the resistance one (weight lifting, elastic bands, resistance handles) to increase the lean muscle mass of the upper limbs and trunk are perfect”.
Insulin resistance and weight loss
Those affected by this state, even without reaching type 2 diabetes, usually have considerable difficulty in losing weight. "This is because his body is blocked in a pathological condition favoring the accumulation of fat mass, especially in the abdomen. Until the state of insulin resistance is removed it is really challenging to reduce body weight ”, says the doctor. In fact, if, due to resistance, the levels of insulin in the blood increase, the fats consumed through the diet will be pushed in greater proportions to be stored in the adipose tissue. At the same time, a high insulin value prevents stored fat from being released in order to produce energy for muscle cells. One of the first signs of a decline in insulin resistance is in fact a greater ability to concentrate and maintain constant attention, in addition to the "unblocking" of weight loss.
How is it diagnosed
Finding out if you have this condition is pretty simple. “We need two simple values that can be extrapolated from blood tests: fasting glycaemia and insulin. With these parameters it is possible to calculate the HOMA Index (Homeostasis Model Assessment), which is obtained through this formula: Fasting blood sugar (mg / 100ml) x fasting insulin (mUI / mL) / 405. The normal range values are included between 0.23 and 2.5 (for adults); 0.25 and 3.6 (for children). If the value obtained is higher than these parameters – concludes prof. Pier Luigi Rossi – it means that the person is in a condition of insulin resistance ”.
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