A lot of women with PCOS are insulin resistant (IR). For some IR has been shown to be the cause of their PCOS. If your PCOS is caused by IR, with lifestyle modifications alone, you can effectively decrease the severity of your symptoms and lead a better quality of life. To do so, you need to understand insulin resistance.
Insulin Resistance (IR) as the name suggests, is a condition where the body becomes resistant to the hormone insulin.
How does this happen?Insulin is the hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar levels. When foods that contain carbohydrates are digested, they break down into glocuse (sugar) which is absorbed into the blood. This causes a spike in blood sugar levels. To counter that, the body releases the hormone insulin which helps bring down the blood sugar back to normal range.
In people with insulin resistance, the cells in their body are less receptive to the hormone insulin. So when their blood sugar goes up and insulin is released, it has no effect on their blood sugar. This causes the blood glucose level to remain high. Because the cells are not responding, the body releases more and more insulin, in an attempt to bring the blood glucose back down to normal range.
As a result, they not only have high blood sugar, they also end up with high levels of insulin circulating in the body which in turn leads to other hormonal disruptions that manifest as PCOS. Left unchecked, a person who is insulin resistant will go on to develop Type II Diabetes.
You can find out if you are insulin resistant through a blood test. Without a blood test, if you notice your PCOS symptoms worsen as you put on more weight, then you probably have IR. Other symptoms of high blood sugar are:
- Brain fogginess/inability to focus
- High blood sugar
- Intestinal bloating
- Weight gain
- Increased blood fat levels
- Increased weight gain
- Dark patches on the skin
The best diet for someone with IR is a Low Glycemic Index Diet. The glycemic index measures the effects of certain foods on the blood sugar levels. The higher the GI value of a food, the higher it raises your blood sugar and you do not want that. So, you want to consume foods with a low GI so that your blood sugar levels are constant and your body doesn't need to pump out so much insulin.
I've decided to tackle this topic bit by bit. Coming next next: The 10 Minute Diet Guide to Reducing Insulin Resistance.