Are you wondering what it means to have low insulin levels? Are you confused as to what insulin means for blood sugar levels? We are here to help.
We have broken down what it means to have low insulin levels and what that does to your blood sugar. We have also explained what can cause low insulin levels and how to increase your levels if needed.
What Is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas, a small organ just behind the stomach. Insulin is responsible for allowing cells to absorb sugar from the blood. Blood sugar is the primary energy source in the body.
If insulin gets too low, the cells will not be able to get the energy they need, which can cause high blood sugar. If you have too much insulin in your blood, the cells can pull too much sugar out of the blood, causing low blood sugar issues. Basically, both low and high levels of insulin in the blood can lead to serious health problems.
What Causes Low Insulin
While people can have genetic reasons for low insulin, mainly an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack cells that make insulin from the pancreas, there are also reasons for low insulin that have to do with lifestyle.
Here are some lifestyle reasons for low insulin levels and poor metabolic health.
Weight can be a big factor when it comes to insulin. Obesity can cause insulin resistance, which is where the cells do not react to the insulin, causing them not to absorb the sugar, as well as low insulin levels. Low insulin levels and symptoms of insulin resistance are felt similarly in the body.
People with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) often struggle with insulin resistance, and studies have shown promising results when attempting to treat it with diet management.
Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals in the body. These are oxygen molecules with an unpaired electron. These electrons go out in the body to find an electron to attach to and can cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can attack the functions that create insulin, causing there to be a decrease in production.
Stress can wreak havoc on your body in a lot of ways. When you have a lot of stress, your body releases high amounts of cortisol. Cortisol impairs insulin levels, causing them to drop, and in turn, raises blood sugar.
Signs of Low Insulin Levels
If your insulin levels are low, your blood sugar levels will be high. You may feel excessive hunger or thirst, have a rapid heartbeat or palpitations, vision problems, tiredness, or vomiting, among other potential symptoms and health conditions.
To know for sure if your insulin levels are low, you would need to see your doctor for a proper blood test.
Ways to Increase Insulin Levels
If your low insulin levels are not due to a genetic condition, there are ways to help raise your insulin levels. Low insulin levels can be serious, so it is best to see a doctor right away if you feel like you may have this condition.
As we said before, stress can play a big role in insulin levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone, and it can cause insulin levels to lower. Finding ways to calm your nerves can help you balance out your insulin.
One of our favorite ways to reduce stress is by relaxing in a pool with a cold drink. Reading a book, exercising, watching your favorite show, spending time with a loved one, or practicing mindfulness are all ways that can help you reduce your stress and balance insulin levels.
The main issue with low insulin is that the glucose, or sugar, in your blood is too high. Exercise can lower blood sugar for 24 hours or more. During exercise, the sensitivity to insulin goes up, so your muscles can use the insulin to pull glucose out of the blood for the body’s main source of energy. When they contract, the muscles can also pull the glucose out of the bloodstream, whether there is insulin or not.
When you are first starting an exercise routine, start slow and listen to your body. You don’t need to break any records. If you were more sedentary before, any movement is a step in the right direction. Walking is a great way to start incorporating more physical activity.
Sleep can affect a lot of things, including insulin and how the body reacts to it.
Prioritizing sleep is one way to balance insulin levels. Setting up a bedtime routine can help you have a better night's rest. Turning off your phone an hour before bed, not drinking caffeine during the day, and setting a consistent bedtime are great ways to fall asleep easier and sleep more soundly.
Whole Food Diet
When thinking about a diet plan for low insulin levels or high blood sugar, you want to look for foods with a low glycemic index (GI). Whole foods are key to having a balanced diet full of vitamins, antioxidants, protein, and fat. Stick to vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, beans, and seeds. Stay away from highly processed, fatty, and sugary foods.
Carbohydrates also raise blood sugar levels the most, so that’s something to watch out for.
Even though we think of fruits as being sweet, they are actually lower on the GI scale, other than pineapple and melons. Foods high in fiber like oatmeal are great options. It takes a while for your body to digest oatmeal, so it provides energy for your body longer.
If you have high insulin levels, recommended foods include salmon and other fatty fish, as they are rich sources of omega-3s. You can get similar results by taking fish oil.
Weight management is a very personal journey that looks different for everyone. Using all of the tips we have already discussed, like exercise, prioritizing sleep, reducing stress, and eating a whole food diet, can all work together to help with weight management.
That said, just because you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle does not mean you have to take out all of the joys in life. One way to do this is by adding in VINA Prebiotic Soda. Not only will you get the satisfying pop of a bubbly soda, but it has added benefits like prebiotics and brain-boosting minerals.
Adding in treats that are delicious and health forward is a great way not to feel so deprived. The more you feel like all of your needs are met, the more you may follow through with a new plan.
Low insulin levels can be a very serious health problem. Talking to your doctor about the reasons why your levels are low is extremely important. After a blood sample is taken (just a small prick of the vein) to test your blood glucose levels, they may prescribe medication or a supplement to raise your lower insulin levels.
Low insulin levels are bad—but so are high insulin levels. Your cells need insulin to pull out the sugar from the blood to use it for energy. If your cells cannot pull out the sugar, there is not enough energy for them to do their jobs, and blood sugar levels go up.
Stress management, exercise, sleep, diet, weight management, and medications can help to increase your insulin levels.
VINA sodas are a low-sugar drink. Sweetened only with organic stevia and flavored with real juices, drinking our soda works well on a low sugar diet.
Insulin | Hormone Health Network
Is Oxidative Stress the Pathogenic Mechanism Underlying Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease? The Common Soil Hypothesis Revisited | AHA Journals
Cortisol Is Negatively Associated with Insulin Sensitivity in Overweight Latino Youth | nih.gov
Hyperglycemia: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments & Prevention | Cleveland Clinic
Blood Sugar and Exercise | ADA | diabetes.org
Sleep disorders and the development of insulin resistance and obesity | nih.gov