Addressing the Special Needs of Insulin Resistance in both Men and Women
Both men and women have risks for developing insulin resistance, which can result in type 2 diabetes, once known as adult-onset diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body either resists the effects of insulin (the primary hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells), or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level.
Even though it is more common in adults, and used to be called “adult onset diabetes”, the occurrence of type 2 diabetes is increasing in children due to the increase in childhood obesity. Even though obesity in adults increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it is important to note that type 2 diabetes can occur in adults who are not obese.
While some hormones, such as insulin, effect blood glucose function equally in both men and women, other hormones (such as estradiol and testosterone) have their own effect on how each gender metabolizes blood glucose. Insulin resistance develops due to multiple causes, most of which can be modified by healthy lifestyle and dietary habits.
Obesity and inadequate physical activity are two risks that can be modified by lifestyle change. Genetic predispositions, such as diabetes or polycystic ovary disease in the family are additional risks. Genetic predispositions can be significantly influenced by healthy lifestyle and dietary habits as well.
Age is another predisposing factor towards insulin resistance, making both men and women more likely to develop insulin resistance with each passing year. Lifestyle strongly influences how age affects insulin resistance.
Foundations of Hormone Health & Blood Sugar Health
Blood sugar health can be supported by the same guidelines that support general hormone health. The foundations of hormone health include lifestyle and dietary choices that support optimal hormone function, a high grade multiple vitamin-mineral formulation, essential fatty acids rich in docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, and a high grade multiple species probiotic to support optimal health of digestive system and immune system. To learn more about the foundations of hormone health, please see the Hormone Health Guidelines series of articles.
Gender Specific Differences in Blood Sugar Health
While men and women both share common risks factors, such as lifestyle, age and genetic risk, the hormonal differences between men and women bring about some very different risk factors very significant to the specific gender. While both genders have estradiol and testosterone, the levels and ratios of those two sex hormones have completely different effects in women than they do in men. None-the-less, before addressing gender specific causes of insulin resistance, foundation interventions and primary support of glucose metabolism must be attended to in both men and women.