Many people who struggle with weight loss may be insulin resistant. One in four Americans may have, or may develop, insulin resistance as a result of a genetic predisposition, according to Sheri Barke, a registered dietitian with College of the Canyons in California. Insulin resistant cells do not efficiently utilize insulin, leaving glucose in the blood, resulting in weight gain and diabetes type 2. Cinnamon and chromium may help to increase insulin sensitivity and assist in weight loss.
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Insulin Resistance and Weight Gain
When you eat, insulin is secreted from your pancreas into your blood to facilitate the uptake of blood glucose into your cells. Cells that become resistant to this process cannot utilize the glucose and leave excess amounts of it in your blood. Insulin then takes the excess blood glucose and stores it as fat. At the same time, the excess serum glucose triggers your pancreas to secrete more insulin, which in turn increases your hunger. This vicious circle may lead to weight gain.
In a state of insulin resistance, your cells do not react properly to insulin, leaving high levels of glucose in your bloodstream. Whenever there is glucose circulating in your blood, your pancreas is alerted to send out more insulin. Even though there is plenty of insulin available to complete the task, more insulin is secreted. This is called hyperinsulinemia, which has debilitating consequences on your pancreas. Over time, your pancreas wears out and puts you at risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and other health problems.
Chromium and Weight Loss
Chromium comes in two forms, hexavalent, for industrial use, and trivalent, which your body needs for assisting insulin in getting glucose into your cells. Insulin binds to the glucose molecule, readying it to enter the cell membrane. Chromium unlocks the cell membrane’s door to allow the insulin and glucose to pass. A 2003 research article in "Nutrition Research Reviews" noted that by improving serum chromium levels, blood glucose levels improved, as did insulin sensitivity and lean body mass. Because lower insulin levels are required and lean body mass improves, weight loss may result.
Cinnamon and Weight Loss
Cinnamon carries an active ingredient called MHCP that is a polyphenol. MHCP is able to imitate insulin and trigger your cells to accept glucose. It also works hand-in-hand with insulin. A December 2003 study in "Diabetes Care" took 60 people with diabetes and gave half cinnamon over 40 days, and the other half a placebo. The results showed that taking 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduced serum glucose. Reducing blood glucose may reduce the effects of insulin resistance and lead to weight loss.