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Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition where many of the body's tissues don't respond well to insulin. This means the pancreas has to to pump out more insulin to get the same effect.

Our evidence-based analysis on insulin resistance features 4 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by and reviewed by the Examine team.
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Summary of Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is an important issue in public health due to its increasing prevalence[1] among nondiabetic adults and because it often precedes the development of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes, which, once present, increases the risk for other diseases, including cancers[2]. Insulin resistance is thought to have an inflammatory component[3].

There are lots of ways[4] to measure insulin resistance. The gold standard is the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp. In this technique, insulin is infused into a vein to reach a constant level in the blood. Since insulin is being pumped into the blood, the person has artificially high insulin, or hyperinsulinemia. Simultaneously, glucose is also infused at a varying rate until the blood glucose level stabilizes at a normal level. When a person’s blood glucose is normal, this is called eugylcemia (the Greek root “eu-” means “good”). At this point, the rate of glucose infusion exactly equals the amount being taken up by the body’s tissues, which is a direct measure of insulin sensitivity. The more glucose that has to be infused to keep euglycemic, the more’s being taken up, meaning the tissue is more sensitive to insulin.

The problem with this technique is it takes a couple of hours and is relatively expensive. Thus, estimates of insulin resistance that are cheaper and easier to measured have been developed. Two major ones are HOMA-IR and QUICKI. Both just require a single blood draw where fasting glucose and C-peptide (a byproduct of insulin synthesis) are measured. These values are then plugged into an equation that estimates insulin sensitivity. However, these estimations aren’t perfect.

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Human Effect Matrix

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The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies to tell you what supplements affect Insulin Resistance.

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Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Supplement Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-a Notable Low See all 3 studies
Paleo may decrease HOMA-IR more so than other healthy diets, but this effect may not persist beyond 6 months.
grade-d Minor High See all 3 studies
Insulin resistance seems to be improved by these protocols, particularly when the feeding window occurs early in the day.
grade-d - - See study

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Click here to see all 4 references.