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Old 08-03-2010, 09:09 AM   #1
Deepak Rao
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Insulin Resistance

Hello, I am new to this board, and have a few questions. Type 2 diabetes runs in my family, and I found out that I have excessively high insulin levels. Those could soon decline and I could face full-blown diabetes. I am trying to get in better shape to prevent its onset. I need to lose about 60 pounds, however. I know that hardcore Crossfitters are in excellent all-around shape. However, I have been gradually increasing my exercise regimen. Does anyone know of the relationship or any studies regarding physical fitness and insulin resistance? I know that insulin resistance is partly genetic, but I wonder if I can reverse it or make it better in the long run.
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:20 AM   #2
Lawrence "Bo" Boland III
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Re: Insulin Resistance

Deepak, Read about the Paleo Diet, and read Robb Wolf's blog (google it). He talks a lot about insulin resistance and how to combat Type 2 Diabetes (or for someone who is borderline).

I think that exercise is great for you, but the majority of your progress will be done with diet.
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:31 AM   #3
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Insulin Resistance

Like the man said, diet is the big thing you need to fix. Whatever you were eating that made you 60 pounds overweight also gets most of the blame for your insulin resistance.

Which is not to say you shouldn't exercise. Exercise helps reduce and even out your blood sugar levels, which means your pancreas won't have to work as hard.

Katherine
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:44 AM   #4
Deepak Rao
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Re: Insulin Resistance

Of course, in order to lose weight, diet is most important. I am trying to keep my carbohydrate intake as low as possible, and have been exercising. It's not quite the Paleo approach, but it is as close as possible. Physical fitness is a long-term goal of mine. I wonder how measures of physical fitness, such as the VO2 max, would correlate with insulin sensitivity. I wonder about how insulin sensitive hardcore Crossfitters, who can do the WODs very quickly, are.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:10 AM   #5
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Insulin Resistance

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Originally Posted by Deepak Rao View Post
Of course, in order to lose weight, diet is most important. I am trying to keep my carbohydrate intake as low as possible, and have been exercising. It's not quite the Paleo approach, but it is as close as possible. Physical fitness is a long-term goal of mine. I wonder how measures of physical fitness, such as the VO2 max, would correlate with insulin sensitivity. I wonder about how insulin sensitive hardcore Crossfitters, who can do the WODs very quickly, are.
I would say that the fraction of insulin-sensitive elite Crossfitters is probably vanishingly small. There's a very strong correlation between insulin sensitivity and excess weight, and elite Crossfitters simply aren't overweight.

I am not a doctor, but a quick Google search on "insulin sensitivity and physical fitness" found mixed results on correlations between insulin sensitivity and specific measures of fitness, such as VO2 max. It's pretty clear that improved fitness and increased physical activity help with insulin sensitivity, but it's very difficult to deconvolute the relationship between body composition, fitness, and insulin sensitivity. That is, does being fit help insulin sensitivity directly, or because it improves body composition? One study that goes into some detail on all of this is:
http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/v1...by200411a.html (WFS)

This would also be a good conversation to have with your doctor and/or endocrinologist.

Katherine
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Old 08-03-2010, 11:01 AM   #6
Deepak Rao
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Re: Insulin Resistance

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
I would say that the fraction of insulin-sensitive elite Crossfitters is probably vanishingly small. There's a very strong correlation between insulin sensitivity and excess weight, and elite Crossfitters simply aren't overweight.
I think you meant to say that insulin sensitivity is inversely related to excess weight. By this definition, the hardcore Crossfitters, owing to their low body fat, are very insulin sensitive.

There was this study I found, which claims that muscle oxidative capacity is positively correlated with insulin sensitivity: http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/con...ull/88/11/5444. According to this study, triathletes, w/ around 8-9% bodyfat on average and high VO2 maxes, are markedly insulin sensitive. I guess that elite Crossfitters, while more varied in their training than triathletes, will likely have similar numbers.
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Old 08-03-2010, 11:07 AM   #7
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Insulin Resistance

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Originally Posted by Deepak Rao View Post
I think you meant to say that insulin sensitivity is inversely related to excess weight. By this definition, the hardcore Crossfitters, owing to their low body fat, are very insulin sensitive.

There was this study I found, which claims that muscle oxidative capacity is positively correlated with insulin sensitivity: http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/con...ull/88/11/5444. According to this study, triathletes, w/ around 8-9% bodyfat on average and high VO2 maxes, are markedly insulin sensitive. I guess that elite Crossfitters, while more varied in their training than triathletes, will likely have similar numbers.
Yes, you're right. I got resistance and sensitivity backwards.

Let's just say that an elite Crossfitter's Type II diabetes risk is probably extremely low.

Katherine
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