3 Vitamins to Naturally Improve Insulin Sensitivity
By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Mon 24 September 2018
Medical Review by Dr. Vlad Belghiru, MD
Insulin resistance isn't fun. It means that your cells resist the hormone, causing your pancreas to pump out more and more to float around in the bloodstream, and when insulin is in the blood but doesn't get into the cell, a host of negative effects take place.
When insulin gets into the cell however, it's one of the most important and beneficial hormones of the body.
Which is why, today I'm going to write a little bit about three crucially important vitamins that help maintain insulin sensitivity.
Here they are:
Vitamin D is pretty impressive, and extremely important, especially for people who don't spend a lot of time in the sun.
Some of the benefits of vitamin D supplementation include, significant increases in testosterone levels, better bone health, and cardiovascular support.
And when it comes to vitamins that help fix insulin resistance, vitamin D can certainly help a ton.
In fact, one of the strongest indicators of developing a type 2 diabetes and full-blown insulin resistance syndrome, is low vitamin D levels in serum.
In a study done in 2013, 50 000 IU of vitamin D per week was able to dramatically lower serum fasting glucose and insulin levels, suggesting improved insulin sensitivity and reduced insulin resistance in the cells. Similar studies have been conducted before with results on par.
The mechanism seems to be linked to improved calcium metabolism and to the upregulation of the insulin receptor genes.
Vitamin K2 is the fat-soluble of the K vitamins, whereas vitamin K1 as the water-soluble kind comes primarily from vegetables.
These vitamins are often grouped together, although research is showing that vitamin K2 has somewhat different effects in the body.
For men, it's definitely more important than K1, as vitamin K2 is able to increase testosterone secretion.
When it comes to insulin resistance, vitamin K2 is beneficial by improving the calcium metabolism, which results in improved insulin sensitivity as seen in these two human studies (study, study).
As are the two vitamins above, vitamin A is also fat-soluble and extremely important for multiple bodily functions.
It's necessary for eye sight, testosterone production, and thyroid hormone production.
And when it comes to insulin, vitamin A can help reverse insulin resistance by increasing the activity of the insulin receptors within cells, resulting in improved insulin sensitivity in human subjects.
There are two different types of vitamin A. The retinoids that come primarily from animal products, and the carotenoids that are basically precursors to vitamin A that come mainly from plants and vegetables.
Which is better? Well they both work, but the former has higher bio-availibity and seemingly is better at producing the benefits that higher intake of carotenoids.