Insulin Sensitivity is a function of how well your body can handle glucose (blood sugar) through insulin secretion. Insulin is secreted from an organ called the pancreas in response to elevating blood sugar, and the less insulin that is needed to get the job done is how sensitive you are to insulin.
For a somewhat full review of insulin sensitivity, please refer to our FAQ page on increasing insulin sensitivity.
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In general, being more insulin sensitive is better. If you had to blindly choose between being insulin sensitive or resistant, sensitive is probably the way to go.
Keep in mind that there are times where insulin resistance is good. The third trimester of pregnancy is one where insulin resistance is good as by hindering the ability of the mother to get glucose the baby gets more (up until a point, gestational diabetes is not that good) and fat loss diets and supplements tend to induce transient states of insulin resistance; the latter is not wholly bad because you should be having less food anyways and thus there really isn't any drastic spike in blood glucose to be resistant to on a fat loss diet (if you are doing it right).
The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (excluding animal/petri-dish studies) to tell you what what supplements affect Insulin Sensitivity
|Grade||Level of Evidence|
|A||Robust research conducted with repeated double blind clinical trials|
|B||Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled|
|C||Single double blind study or multiple cohort studies|
|D||Uncontrolled or observational studies only|
|Level of Evidence ||Supplement||Change||Magnitude of Effect Size ||Scientific Consensus||Comments|
No significant influence on insulin sensitivity seems to be the consensus, although there are isolated reports of both an increase and decrease (in response to a glucose... show
|A||Conjugated Linoleic Acid|
For the most part, ineffective; too unreliable to reach any conclusions in regards to the efficacy of CLA. There appears to be some manner of interaction, but both sensitization... show
|B||Green Tea Catechins|
Mixed effects on insulin sensitivity, possible improvements seen in unhealthy persons
An increase in insulin sensitivity appears to exist with carnitine supplementation, and at least once has been noted in otherwise healthy lean males. This may be secondary... show
More evidence than not suggests no significant improvement in insulin sensitivity, although it is still a minor possibility
Long term insulin sensitivity does not appear to be highly affected, but acutely nicotine exposure can reduce insulin sensitivity
A decrease in insulin sensitivity is noted acutely when caffeine is taken alongside carbohydrates, thought to be secondary to reducing glucose deposition.
There appears to be increases in insulin sensitivity as assessed by HOMA-IR, which is thought to be secondary to aiding pancreatic function
Improvements in insulin sensitivity can occur secondary to increasing pancreatic insulin secretion
An increase in insulin sensitivity has been noted with fenugreek ingestion
No significant influence on insulin sensitivity has been noted
Notable due to reaching near 30% improvement in obese persons and only being localized to muscle tissue and the liver, but not adipose tissue
No significant influence on insulin sensitivity
No significant alterations in insulin sensitivity noted
Has been noted to increase insulin sensitivity to a larger degree than casein when consumed by obese persons in a part of a fat loss diet; has not yet demonstrated an insulin... show
Requires more evidence to establish its potency
Although an insulin sensitizing effect cannot be fully ruled out at this point in time, the more robust evidence currently does not support this insulin sensitizing effect... show
No significant changes in insulin sensitivity following licorice ingestion
No significant observed effects on insulin sensitivity.
Currently no evidence to support efficacy, although it may increase insulin sensitivity (requires more research)
Appears to be pretty effective at increasing insulin sensitivity acutely after a meal, which may be due to reduced insulin in serum.
|C||Olive leaf extract|
An increase in insulin sensitivity has been noted in otherwise healthy persons (Matsuda Index and oral glucose tolerance test) and thought secondary to the pancreas; may... show
There appears to be an increase in insulin sensitivity seen with resveratrol at doses low enough to be achieved via wine consumption, all tests currently in obese and unhealthy... show
No significant interactions between insulin sensitivity and stinging nettle yet detected
No significant influences on insulin sensitivity seem apparent with DHEA supplementation
Improvement in insulin sensitivity may be secondary to weight loss
See 2 studies
An improvement in insulin sensitivity is noted in diabetics which is fairly notable; no studies in otherwise healthy persons at this time
Insulin sensitivity is unaffected in otherwise healthy lean persons given this supplement
An increase in insulin sensitivity has been noted to be secondary to reducing liver fat; an inherent influence on insulin sensitivity is uncertain
Despite a slight reduction in blood glucose, no significant influence on insulin sensitivity noted
Mixed effects on insulin sensitivity in persons who may be suffering form metabolic acidosis, with one positive and one null result
An increase in insulin sensitivity has been noted in persons with impaired glucose tolerance using arginine for long periods of time; this is thought to be secondary to... show
No significant influences on insulin sensitivity with caffeinated coffee
May improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics, requires more evidence though as the one study was confounded with fat loss.
No significant influence on insulin sensitivity in diabetics
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