What Is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin Resistance is when your cells do not respond as they are designed to insulin and cannot use the glucose in your blood stream for energy. Every cell in our body has insulin receptors. Insulin is a hormone and has different action depending on the cell. It will have a different action in a bone cell than a liver cell or a muscle cell.

Insulin's most recognized role is escorting glucose into a cell to be used as energy. Our muscles are the main group that will rely on insulin to move glucose from the blood stream to the muscle cell. This is often referred to "knocking on the door" or that insulin is "the key" to open the door of the cell to allow glucose to enter. When we become insulin resistant it is like the locks keep getting changed. Our cells become full of glucose from our diet and a no vacancy sign goes up. The extra glucose will then stay in our blood stream and eventually lead to metabolic disorders.

We can be Insulin Resistant for years before elevated blood sugars are detected. Elevated fasting insulin is not a routine blood test for many Doctors.

What are the symptoms of Insulin Resistance?

The medical community recognizes the following symptoms of Insulin Resistance:

  • A waistline over 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women
  • Blood pressure readings of 130/80 or higher
  • A fasting glucose level over 100 mg/dL
  • A fasting triglyceride level over 150 mg/dL
  • An HDL cholesterol level under 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women
  • Skin tags
  • Patches of dark, velvety skin called acanthosis nigricans

Additionally, Insulin Resistance can be recognized by the following:

  • Extreme thirst or hunger.
  • Feeling hungry even after a meal.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Feeling tired or exhausted.
  • Frequent infections.
  • Frequent yeast infections

Insulin Resistance is the beginning of many metabolic disorders.

Currently, testing for fasting insulin is not a routine procedure by doctors. Testing for Insulin Resistance often is not done until other symptoms of metabolic diseases are present.

In other words, until your doctor suspects Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, Cardiovascular Disease, PCOS/ED, Hypertension, Liver Disease or infertility they may not even test for Insulin Resistance.

Insulin Resistance is the beginning of metabolic disorders. If left untreated it will lead to progression of all symptoms and may lead to one or more of the metabolic diseases listed above.

How to Reverse Insulin Resistance and how to reclaim your health will be the subject of a future blog. Join our Facebook Group Reversing Insulin Resistance for up-to-date tips and discussion.


Written by Joy Sypher 
Fact-checked by Dr. Ben Zacherl
Published: July 24th 2021