PCOS and Insulin Resistance are Related. How Intermittent Fasting can help
Guest blog: DoFasting
You might have heard of intermittent fasting due to its recent popularity. But do you know about its various health benefits, including the effect of fasting on insulin resistance and how that impacts PCOS in women?
If not, you are in the right place! Read on for everything you need to know about intermittent fasting, insulin resistance, and how it might help women struggling with PCOS.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
In the weight loss market, intermittent fasting has become a buzzword in recent years.
But this method is not just beneficial for shedding pounds— here is evidence to prove that intermittent fasting also brings a myriad of health benefits, from lowering blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, improving cognitive ability, and slowing the aging process.
And for anyone struggling with PCOS, one of the critical advantages of intermittent fasting is its ability to stabilize insulin resistance— but what is intermittent fasting, and how does it work?
Intermittent fasting works by pushing the body into ketosis, which is an enhanced stage of the entire metabolic process, due to a calorie deficit. During ketosis, your metabolism starts to target fat stores in the body instead of glucose in the bloodstream.
And that combination of fat burning and calorie restriction during periods of fasting— ranging between 6 hours to 24 hours— is responsible for all the health benefits of this method, including lowering insulin resistance.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Impact Insulin Resistance?
Intermittent fasting is one of the best methods to tackle insulin resistance and let the body regulate blood sugar levels naturally.
Your blood sugar levels are affected by the carbohydrates you eat because the body processes and breaks down carbs into sugar or glucose.
Essentially, fasting reduces your blood sugar levels by restricting calories and switching the metabolic switch in your body.
This switch puts your body in a state of ketosis, where the body stops holding onto excess glucose and begins burning fat for fuel, allowing glucose to safely leave your bloodstream and body.
As the extra glucose departs, your pancreas stops producing excess insulin, and the hormones in the metabolism level out again. Thus, intermittent fasting reduces insulin resistance levels and stabilizes hormonal output.
How Can Intermittent Fasting Help With PCOS?
Now that we have a good handle on the overall function of insulin, glucose, and the effects of intermittent fasting, let’s discuss the connection between insulin resistance and PCOS.
One common myth is that only unfit women experience PCOS, but that’s not true. Insulin resistance can be the culprit in many ways— remember how extra glucose is stored around the body as fat?
If you suffer from insulin resistance, the likelihood of having extra fat is much higher, as are your chances of weight-gained PCOS. But even if you have what is known as “lean” PCOS, where your body weight does not affect the syndrome, insulin resistance is still a vital issue.
High insulin and PCOS are a chicken and egg issue, where elevated insulin levels are both a symptom of PCOS and an underlying cause.
Because problems with insulin resistance are so closely linked to PCOS, the syndrome’s other effects include endocrine and metabolic issues that contribute to blood sugar levels repeatedly.
But to break this cycle, intermittent fasting can be one of the best tools at your disposal.
By intermittently fasting, not only do your blood sugar levels naturally decline due to a reduced carbohydrate intake, but the enhanced metabolic processes help your hormones do their jobs— including insulin.
Instead of insulin resistance and unchecked blood sugar spikes, intermittent fasting gives you control over glucose levels and a healthy metabolism, better immune system responses, and stabilized insulin hormones.
Why Is Insulin Resistance Important?
Not only does extra glucose in your body become fatty buildups, but it also raises your overall blood sugar levels. And this higher concentration of sugar inside the body and bloodstream can lead to pre-diabetes and diabetes, if not reduced.
Insulin resistance is critical here— because your pancreas keeps producing the hormone, you will also have excessive amounts of insulin in the body, which impacts many normal functions, including fertility.
What are the Signs of Insulin Resistance?
If you suspect that you might be dealing with insulin resistance or an issue with your blood sugar not being absorbed properly, there are a few symptoms to watch out for, including:
- Extreme hunger, even after eating.
- Extreme thirst.
- Frequent infections.
- Frequent urination.
- Feeling exhausted.
- High blood sugar levels in blood work.
- Susceptibility to illnesses.
- Tingling sensations in the extremities.
Though many things can negatively impact your blood sugar levels and insulin production (including sleeping poorly, decreased physical activity, over-caffeination, excessive alcohol consumption, and heightened stress), these are the primary identification markers.
If you believe you might be suffering from insulin resistance based on these signs, have your healthcare professional run specific blood tests to confirm it.
But if the tests come back positive, there is a way to help naturally lower or stabilize insulin resistance without pills, poking, or prodding!
So, if you are one of the many people who struggle with PCOS and its ramifications daily— don’t worry; you are not alone.
In fact, because of the prevalence of PCOS, studies have made leaps and bounds to identify critical factors that contribute to the syndrome and some avenues that can help alleviate the symptoms.
And if your body is in a state of insulin resistance, you are actually in luck! That’s because there is a time-restricted eating plan that might help reduce the effects of PCOS and enhance your well-being.
So, if it sounds right for you and your lifestyle, why not give intermittent fasting a try?
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