Insulin resistance has become a significant health care problem in the US, yet it is preventable and reversible through lifestyle changes, proper nutrition, supplements, exercise and stress management. Weight loss and exercise are among the best approaches for restoring the body's ability to respond to insulin.
Previous research has shown a variety of health benefits from resistant starch, including helping with obesity, cholesterol levels, constipation, and the production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the gut.
According to a new review published last week in Lipids in Health and Disease, researchers investigated the effect of resistant start supplementation on mitigating insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity.
This review consisted of 14 randomized clinical trials including 515 patients published between 2006 and 2017. All these studies took place over a 4 to 12-week period with the exception of one study that lasted one year. There were 6 studies on obesity without type 2 diabetes and 8 studies focusing on patients with type 2 diabetes. Six of the studies on diabetes included obesity while the other two with diabetes did not include obesity.
The research team found a better effect from resistant starch supplementation in patients with type 2 diabetes who were obese. The dosage of resistant starch can have different effects. A higher dose of 30-40 grams per day decreased fasting glucose levels; however, 10 grams per day was effective in lowering fasting insulin levels.
A high fiber diet leads to the production of SCFAs in the gastrointestinal tract. SCFAs can help increase insulin sensitivity, improve glucose tolerance, and reduce B-cell apoptosis by modulating the gut microbiome.
Other research has indicated that obesity has a microbial component that alters the caloric extraction from ingested food. For example, if one has more Bacteroidetes bacteria, the individual tends to be leaner. High Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes ratios have been known to increase the caloric extraction from food and these individuals tend to be more obese. This also ties together the importance of dietary fiber, prebiotics, and weight loss.
Resistant starch should be considered for patients with obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and metabolic syndrome. It can also be a great substitute to regular starch in baked goods, which lowers the caloric density and glycemic index of food products. Other nutrients to consider for these patients include curcumin, tocotrienols, fish oil, magnesium and glycine.
By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS