Insulin Manifesto Series
Messing with insulin is crucial. No components should be overlooked, and all the material we discuss here and in our other insulin articles should be read and understood to full capacity! Let’s finish this bad boy up with listing the remaining nutrients / strategies for increasing insulin sensitivity…
4. Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha Lipoic Acid or ALA – not to be confused with the omega-3 fatty acid alpha linolenic acid – is a neat nutrient, indeed.
Not only does it assist in maintaining (or improving) insulin sensitivity, but it also acts as a potent antioxidant. I’d say it’s pretty darn close to being a true supplement superhero. But if you read studies on ALA (aka thioctic acid), you’ll find that some of the studies point to a more neutral effect, as opposed to the incredibly beneficial effects other studies seem to show. Well, it turns out that of the two naturally occurring isomers (r & l ALA), the r seems to be the beneficial one. For that reason, if you’re going to supplement with ALA, I recommend going with r-ALA, which is what I do.
5. Cyanidin 3-Glucoside
Whoa! Relax, we’ll tell you what it is – Cyanidin 3-Glucoside is Cyanidin (found in berries) bound to Glucose.
If ALA is almost a supplement superhero, then Cyanidin 3-Glucoside is the real deal.
And Cyanidin 3-Glucoside (a.k.a. C3G) is about as cutting-edge as it gets – nothing old school about this supplement!
Cyanidin 3-Glucoside (Cyanidin bound to glucose) is a specific type of anthocyanin that appears to be the most significant in terms of physiological effects. Anthocyanins give certain fruits and berries their rich, dark color. Although that role isn’t all that exciting for us, its physiological effects are.
For starters, C3G appears to have anti-carcinogenic properties (6). Although avoiding cancer may not be one of your resolutions for 2013, I think we’d both agree that anything that might help us stay healthy is a bonus. Here’s where things get really neat – C3G has rather potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Alone, that’s just another neat “health” benefit, but C3G has an anti-inflammatory effect on fat cells. This is great, because inflamed fat cells tend to send faulty signals, which unfortunately is horrible for body composition. By repairing the inflammation and faulty signaling, overall glucose tolerance (and insulin sensitivity) are dramatically improved
6. Carb Management
Last, but certainly not least! One of the simplest, and usually most overlooked, aspects of manipulating insulin sensitivity, is knowing what proper carbs to eat.
In short, pounding your body with an abundance of carbs day in and day out, especially high GI carbs, can desensitize your body to carbohydrates. And it does this through a reduction in insulin sensitivity.
…even if your goal is to gain muscle mass, consider implementing periods of low-carb dieting. It’s a strategy I’ve used with great success, so much so that it’s part of my standard operating procedure.
For many reasons, I’m a big fan of cyclical type diets – macro-cycling I call it. One of those reasons is that implementing a low-carb diet can re-sensitize your body to carbs (5). Then, when you go back to eating more carbs, your body is more likely to store them as glycogen as opposed to shuttling them off to be stored as adipose tissue. Even if you don’t macro-cycle your diet, at least opt for reasonable amounts of lower GI carbs in all your meals, with the possible exception of your post-workout meal. This will reduce your average daily insulin output and, over time, help improve – or at least maintain – your insulin sensitivity.
Well that about wraps up the info we wanted to divulge about increasing insulin sensitivity. Head over to T-Nation’s article to get some more in depth reading, and definitely don’t overlook The Insulin Manifesto – Spike and The Insulin Manifesto – Sensitivity. Good luck and may your insulin spike to high levels!!