5 Supplements to Improve Insulin Sensitivity
There are many ways of proactively caring for and targeting a healthy blood sugar level. Maintaining a healthy diet or taking alternative medicine supplements can be great first steps, but did you know chiropractic care has proven to improve and level out blood sugar?
Studies have shown a connection between the central nervous system and blood sugar levels. Care of the central nervous system is an essential part of a chiropractor’s services. Aligning the spine and reducing inflammation or pain along it is a standard procedure. Carlson Chiropractic Center believes that when the central nervous system is properly cared for, all body parts can work more efficiently.
How can Chiropractic Care Help Insulin Sensitivity?
What does the spine have to do with blood sugar? Imagine an interference with the electrical current flowing through the wires. If the current hits an obstacle or blockage, it loses function and appliances and lights won't work or might even catch fire.
The two areas that supply the pancreas with support and protection are the upper neck and back. If the nerve supply from the upper neck or middle back is disturbed, pancreatic function suffers. The body can decrease the production of enzymes to digest proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It can also affect insulin production resulting in insulin sensitivity.
What is Insulin?
Insulin is the hormone that controls how our body responds when blood sugar is high. A constant blood sugar supply is vital, and it must stay within a tight range. If it goes too low or high, severe illness and, potentially, even death can occur.
When functioning correctly, insulin will act as a ‘gatekeeper,’ telling our body to shuttle sugar into the cell. Insulin levels will spike when blood sugar levels elevate, usually after eating carbohydrates. This increase will then tell our body what to do with the extra blood sugar, for example, store it as fat.
What is Insulin Sensitivity?
The term insulin sensitivity basically describes how receptive our cells are to insulin.
Imagine for a moment that a cell was like your house and you were hungry. Now imagine you wanted a pizza because, like the cell that needs blood sugar (glucose) for energy, you need pizza. You call your favorite delivery pizza and the delivery person shows up to your door, you exchange money and pizza, and now you have energy in the form of pizza. Now, what happens if you call the pizza company and every pizza company in a 100 mile radius shows up at your door? They are banging on windows, front and back doors, walls, all trying to deliver pizza to you. What do you do? You shut down. So too does the cell when it is bombarded with insulin. It turns off many of the receptors ("down-regulates" the insulin 500-700 receptors per cell). With these down-regulated receptor sites, the cell has now become less sensitive to insulin. That means that the cell still needs sugar, but no one is there to open the door and let it in. This is insulin resistance.
After some time, insulin resistance can cause serious health issues. These are caused by both the physical presence of excess glucose in the blood and by constantly elevated insulin levels causing an immune response and inflammation.
In addition to chiropractic care, supplements can also be useful in supporting your blood sugar levels. With so many options on the market, choosing which supplement to take can be confusing. These are some alternative medicine supplements we recommend.
- Berberine is a beneficial supplement and has been proven to enhance carbohydrate metabolism. Berberine helps by lowering insulin and blood sugar, lowers triglycerides and also helps to lower glycosylated hemoglobin. This is a marker that tells you how your blood sugar has been doing for the last 2-3 months.
- Gymnema Sylvestre is nicknamed the Sugar Buster. This alternative medicine supplement is an ayurvedic herb that helps lower blood sugar. Fun party trick…get some liquid gymnema and add a few drops to your tongue. Wait a minute and place a sugar cube on your tongue. It will taste like sand. This is a powerful herb that also reduces the amount of glucose that is absorbed in your intestines, stimulates insulin release from the pancreas and may even help regenerate cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid helps to burn glucose, converting sugar to energy. ALA is both a fat and water-soluble antioxidant that can work on all tissues of the body. Several studies suggest alpha-lipoic acid helps lower blood sugar levels. Its ability to kill free radicals may help people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, who have pain, burning, itching, tingling and numbness in arms and legs from nerve damage. Researchers also believe that alpha-lipoic acid helps improve insulin sensitivity.
- Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid has been shown to improve A1C numbers, lower blood glucose and is a great antioxidant to protect the lining of the blood vessels against damage from excess glucose.
- L-Glutamine is our favorite amino acid for decreasing sugar cravings. Take 500 mg a day for six weeks. This can really help you cut down on those pesky carbs.
- Other Alternative Medicine Supplements include fenugreek, cinnamon, chromium and zinc which also enhance blood sugar and insulin control.
In conclusion, there are many ways to improve your body's handling of blood sugar levels. With chiropractic care, a healthy diet and supplements, insulin sensitivity can be improved. Just remember that while blood glucose levels may not be a priority for many people because it is not cosmetically visible, it has an enormous effect on body composition and long-term health.
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