How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes by Improving Insulin Sensitivity

A new study has shown that people with prediabetes can reverse their condition and lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by enhancing their insulin sensitivity through lifestyle changes.

Prediabetes is a state where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC, more than 88 million American adults have prediabetes, and most of them are unaware of it. Prediabetes increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, and some cancers. It also makes it more likely that a person will develop type 2 diabetes in the future.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how the body uses glucose, the main source of energy for the cells. In type 2 diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin, or does not respond well to it. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose enter the cells from the bloodstream. When there is too much glucose in the blood, it can cause damage to various organs and tissues.

How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes by Improving Insulin Sensitivity
How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes by Improving Insulin Sensitivity

How Can Prediabetes be Reversed?

The good news is that prediabetes can be reversed, and type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed, by improving insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity refers to how well the cells respond to insulin and use glucose. The higher the insulin sensitivity, the lower the amount of insulin needed to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range.

A recent study by scientists at the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) investigated how and why people with prediabetes can enter remission, meaning their blood sugar levels return to normal. The study involved 1,105 participants with prediabetes who were put on a healthy diet and increased their physical activity for one year. After the intervention, 298 participants lost at least 5% of their body weight and entered remission.

The researchers found that the key factor that determined whether a person entered remission or not was not weight loss, but insulin sensitivity. The participants who entered remission had significantly improved their insulin sensitivity compared to those who did not. They also had reduced their visceral abdominal fat, which is the fat that surrounds the internal organs and is linked to insulin resistance and inflammation.

What are the Benefits of Improving Insulin Sensitivity?

The study showed that improving insulin sensitivity through lifestyle changes can have multiple benefits for people with prediabetes. Not only can it reverse prediabetes and prevent type 2 diabetes, but it can also protect against other complications associated with high blood sugar levels.

The researchers found that the participants who entered remission had lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, lower inflammation markers, and better kidney function than those who did not. They also had lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetic kidney disease in the future.

How to Improve Insulin Sensitivity Naturally?

The study suggests that lifestyle changes are the most effective way to improve insulin sensitivity and reverse prediabetes. The researchers recommend following these steps:

  • Eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Avoid refined carbohydrates, added sugars, processed foods, and trans fats.
  • Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes a day, preferably in the morning or afternoon. Choose activities that you enjoy and that raise your heart rate and make you sweat. You can also do strength training to build muscle mass and improve glucose metabolism.
  • Lose excess weight if you are overweight or obese. Aim for a gradual and sustainable weight loss of about 1 to 2 pounds per week. Losing even 5% of your body weight can make a big difference in your insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels.
  • Manage your stress levels by practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or hobbies. Chronic stress can increase cortisol levels, which can impair insulin action and increase blood sugar levels.
  • Get enough sleep every night by following a regular sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and blue light before bedtime. Lack of sleep can disrupt your hormones and affect your glucose regulation.
  • Quit smoking if you are a smoker. Smoking can impair blood flow and damage your blood vessels, which can worsen insulin resistance and increase your risk of diabetes complications.

By following these lifestyle changes, you can improve your insulin sensitivity and reverse prediabetes naturally. You can also prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and lower your risk of other health problems.

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