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Insulin Resistance and Your Bloodwork

What is Insulin Resistance? Simply put, IR is a disease before a disease (diabetes). It is linked not only to obesity, but also to stress, pregnancy and peri-menopause and oral contraceptives.


New findings show that insulin resistance starts to create damage in the body from the get go. It causes beta cell destruction of the pancreas as well as microvascular complications (brain, eye, etc.).


Early detection and treatment is vital to reversing organ damage and full blown diabetes. The diabetes cut-off is very strict but the IR cut-off is murky. Bloodwork is incredibly valuable to run.

The labs I run depend very much on the individual patient and are thorough to allow for an optimal treatment plan strategy.

Fasting glucose and fasting insulin on their own are helpful and these values also give us a ratio called HOMA-IR. This calculation is an excellent way to identify the dynamic between your baseline (fasting) blood sugar and the responsive hormone, insulin. Ideally, we want HOMA-IR to be less than 2-2.5.

HbA1c is a common marker that is influenced by iron, B12 and folic acid deficiency. This means that we need to rule out a nutrient deficiency with higher HbA1c values before jumping to IR treatment. Ideally, we’re aiming for a value of 5.5 or below.

Waist circumference alone contributes significantly to additional risk factors and is easy to assess. High weight circumference (male >102cm/40in, female >88cm/35in) astronomically elevates risk of IR and future diabetes.

The diagnostic criteria for diabetes is really clear. However, the diagnostic criteria for IR is less clear. I confidently use labs, history, physical exam and my knowledge of risk to communicate to you where you are at and to determine a goal-oriented treatment strategy moving forward!

Disclaimer: All content in this blog is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

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