Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body becomes less sensitive to the blood-sugar-lowering effects of insulin, resulting in excessively high blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance requires higher than normal output of insulin to bring blood sugar levels into a safe range. Over time, insulin resistance may tax the ability of your pancreas to keep up with high insulin demands, and type 2 diabetes can develop. Dyslipidemia, more commonly referred to as hypercholesterolemia, is a condition characterized by abnormal levels of lipids and lipoproteins in the blood stream. Lipoproteins are complexes of protein with lipids and serve as the transport form of lipids. Elevated insulin and blood sugar levels in insulin resistance may lead to dyslipidemia in some people.
Insulin Resistance and Cholesterol
Insulin resistance affects cholesterol in several important ways, according to Julia Steinberger, M.D., lead author of a study published in the 2003 issue of the journal "Circulation." Insulin resistance increases the liver's production of very low density lipoprotein cholesterol, VLDL, one of the bad forms of cholesterol. Insulin resistance also increases triglyceride and low density lipoptrotein, LDL, levels. Nor is high density lipoprotein, HDL, the good form of cholesterol, spared from the detrimental effects of this condition, as insulin resistance has been shown to decrease levels of HDL by causing HDL to be broken faster than it is produced.
Insulin resistance is associated with high triglyceride levels, low levels of high density lipoprotein, HDL, the good form of cholesterol, and low levels of apoprotein A1, the protein backbone of HDL cholesterol. In a study conducted by the organization on insulin resistance and dyslipidemia in African Americans, average age 35, results showed a gender difference. Women with insulin resistance showed similar levels of cholesterol to insulin-sensitive women, but insulin-resistant men had higher triglycerides, higher VLDL cholesterol and lower levels of HDL. In both men and women, higher body fat was associated with insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance and associated dyslipidemia may be reversible with chromium supplementation, according to a study published in the 2008 issue of the journal "Molecular Endocrinology." In the laboratory animal study, chromium picolinate decreased levels of cholesterol in cell membranes, which when elevated displace a membrane component that promotes insulin sensitivity. Chromium supplementation improved insulin sensitivity and lowered cholesterol levels, leading the researchers to conclude that cholesterol levels in cell membranes may play a part in cholesterol-related insulin resistance and that chromium supplementation may be an effective method for improving insulin resistance and lowering cholesterol levels.
Berberine, a substance found in Oregon grape and barberry plants, may improve insulin resistance and associated dyslipidemia, according to a study published in the 2011 issue of the journal "Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin." In the laboratory animal study, nine weeks of supplementation with berberine reduced insulin resistance in fat tissue and improved diabetic dyslipidemia. The researchers concluded that berberine improved insulin resistance, by making abdominal fat cells more insulin sensitive.