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February 20, 2005

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Question from Gujarat, India:

What are real causes of insulin resistance? Is this situation diabetes? If obesity is only the reason that insulin cannot reach to receptor cells, then insulin resistance should be observed in all obese people. Because that its not the case, there must be other causes that insulin not utilized. Is insulin resistance also seen in non-obese people?

Answer:

You ask a great question that research has not totally explained. There is insulin resistance associated with obesity and then there are some people genetically “programmed” to have such insulin resistance. Exercise decreases insulin resistance by allowing muscle to utilize insulin more efficiently. Lowered carbohydrate intake also helps in such circumstances because there is less demand for insulin overall. Some medications also work on the insulin receptors to counteract such insulin resistance. But, it is all extremely complicated and we only know a small bit about how the system functions, even though this is a great deal more information than ever before.

SB