Insulin sensitivity refers to how responsive your cells are to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates the level of glucose or sugar in your bloodstream. It does this by facilitating glucose uptake into the cells for energy. Lower insulin sensitivity or insulin resistance often leads to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. But the question remains – what leads to decreased insulin sensitivity?
The answer resides in a mix of genetic factors, lifestyle choices, and certain health conditions. Here are several key causal factors.
A lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain and a build-up of fat cells, especially around the abdomen, lowering insulin sensitivity and causing insulin resistance.
Regular consumption of highly processed foods, high in sugars and unhealthy fats, can spike blood sugar levels, leading to a constant demand for insulin and gradually promoting insulin resistance.
Excess fat, particularly around the abdomen, increases inflammation in the body and makes cells more resistant to insulin.
Prolonged stress elevates cortisol levels in the body, which can increase insulin production, disrupting the delicate balance and causing insulin resistance over time.
Lack of quality sleep disrupts the body’s hormones, including insulin, leading to reduced insulin sensitivity.
Family history and certain genetic factors can predispose individuals to reduced insulin sensitivity, although lifestyle factors often trigger its onset.
Women with PCOS frequently experience insulin resistance, as the syndrome is often associated with an imbalance of insulin metabolism.
Having understood the causes, the solution for improving insulin sensitivity largely rests in adopting a healthier lifestyle – regular exercise, a balanced diet, good sleep hygiene, and effective stress management techniques.
While insulin sensitivity might seem like a profound concept, understanding its causes helps us to take positive steps toward prevention. By making mindful choices and prioritizing our health, we can pave the way for improved insulin sensitivity, better blood sugar management, and holistic well-being.