5 Dietary supplements for Insulin Management

Insulin is excreted from the pancreas when we eat sugary foods – basically all carbohydrates. While most people only associate insulin with sugar and weight gain, it also plays an important role in building muscle. Insulin is considered to be one of the most anabolic or muscle building hormones in the body, so it’s pretty important when it comes to building lean muscle. However, too much insulin will cause you to gain excess fat.

HOW INSULIN WORKS

5 Insulin Control Supplements - Manage Blood Sugar & Improve Body CompositionAfter a meal, blood sugar rises and insulin is released to control blood sugar levels and make sure that it is reaching normal levels. Once insulin is released, the blood is stripped of sugar and delivered directly to the muscles to help reload glycogen. However, the muscles have a limited capacity to store sugar or glucose. As soon as the muscles’ glycogen stores are full, the glucose is transported directly to fat or adipose tissue for storage.

NUTRIENT TIMING

5 Insulin Control Supplements - Manage Blood Sugar & Improve Body CompositionThe key to managing your insulin is strategic nutrient control. You should be eating most of your carbohydrates when your glycogen stores are most depleted; B. after training or first thing in the morning. Then, for the rest of the day, you should maintain healthy insulin and blood sugar levels by eating low glycemic, high fiber carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, nuts, and even the occasional fruit. In fact, you should only intentionally increase insulin levels after exercising during the “anabolic window”.

5 ADDITIONS

5 Insulin Control Supplements - Manage Blood Sugar & Improve Body CompositionThat being said, there are also some supplements that you should consider to help improve blood sugar control and insulin levels throughout the day.

Alpha lipoic acid: This powerful antioxidant is believed to be an insulin mimic, which means that it mimics the effects of insulin in the body. It has been found that ALA activates several pathways involved in the transport of glucose in muscle cells, but also cell signals that lead to muscle growth, improved cells’ insulin sensitivity and increased glycogen storage capacity! You can find ALA in many post-workout supplements to increase glycogen recharge as well as the uptake of nutrients by muscles. That means you can also add it yourself. Try 500 mg to 800 mg of ALA with your post-workout meal.

Gymnema Slyvestre: This plant has been shown to improve glucose control, delay blood sugar uptake, but also improve insulin action by increasing insulin sensitivity. It can also improve the muscle’s ability to synthesize glycogen. An effective dose is 200 to 250 mg taken twice a day.

Fenugreek extract: This plant extract, also known as 4-hydroxyisoleucine, has been found to be very effective in regulating blood sugar levels while increasing glycogen storage capacity in muscle cells. In a study conducted with cyclists, muscle glycogen resynthesis increased significantly by 63% when post-exercise supplementation containing dextrose and 4-hydroxyisoleucine was taken while only taking dextrose alone. Fenugreek extract or 4-hydroxyisoleucine can be added after and before a workout to help the muscles absorb nutrients, but it can also be added on its own. Try a dose of 500 mg of fenugreek extract or 4-hydroxyisoleucine after exercise, standardized to at least 60% saponins.

Cinnamon Cassia Bark Extract: This spice, which you will likely add to your morning oatmeal, can actually help control insulin and increase the rate at which glucose is cleared from the blood. As an insulin mimic, cinnamon has been shown to increase glucose uptake by activating the GLUT-4 receptor, which is responsible for glucose uptake in muscle cells. Cinnamon has also been shown to have some other positive health benefits, including lowering LDL or bad cholesterol and increasing HDL or good cholesterol. While adding cinnamon to your food can be helpful, research supports using a 4: 1 extract of cinnamon cassia bark to get the results found in research.

Chrome: This micromineral can have some serious insulin control benefits. Chromium can aid in carbohydrate metabolism, increase insulin receptor activity and even increase the sensitivity of the pancreas to glucose levels in the blood. Chromium has also been found to increase the number of insulin receptors and aid in insulin signaling, reducing the risk of insulin resistance. Chromium can be found in post-workout supplements, often in combination with ALA, or in your daily multivitamin. The usual dose of chromium is 200 µg per day.

REFERENCES

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Chen G et al. Chromium activates the glucose transporter 4-trade and increases the insulin-stimulated glucose transport in 3T3-L1 adipocytes via a cholesterol-dependent mechanism. Moles of endocrinol. 2006. 20 (4): 857-6. 70.

Davis PA, Yokoyama W. Intake of cinnamon lowers fasting blood sugar: meta-analysis. J Med Food. 2011: 1-6.

Hlebowicz J, Darwiche G, Bjorgell O and Almer LO. Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood sugar, gastric emptying and satiety in healthy volunteers. On J Clin Nutr 2007; 85: 1552- 1556.

Jacob S. et al. Thioctic acid effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Biofactors. 1999. 10 (2-3): 169-74.

Konrad D., Somwar R., Sweeney G., Yaworsky K., Hayashi M., Ramlal T. et al. The antihyperglycemic drug alpha-lipoic acid stimulates glucose uptake via both GLUT4 translocation and GLUT4 activation: possible role of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase in GLUT4 activation. Diabetes 2001. 50 (6): 1464-1. 71.

Lee WJ, Song KH, Koh EH, Won JC, Kim HS, Park HS, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid increases insulin sensitivity by activating AMPK in skeletal muscle. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2005. 332 (3): 885- 91.

Pattar GR, Tackett L., Liu P., Elmendorf JS. Chromium picolinate has a positive effect on the glucose transporter system by influencing cholesterol homeostasis in adipocytes cultured under hyperglycemic diabetic conditions. Mutat Res 2006; 610: 93- 100.

Rubin BC, Gaskill SE, Slivka D, Harger SG. Adding fenugreek extract (Trigonella foenum-graceum) to the glucose feed increases muscle glycogen resynthesis after training. Amino acids. 2005. 28 (1): 71-6.

Shanmgasundaram ER et al. Use of Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract to control blood sugar in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J Ethnopharmacol. 1990. 30 (3): 281-2. 94.

Slivka D., Cuddy J., Hailes W., Harger S., Ruby B. Glycogen resynthesis and training performance by adding fenugreek extract (4-hydroxyisoleucine) for carbohydrate feeding after training. Amino acids. 2008. 35 (2): 439- 44.

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