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Insulin resistance disrupts our ability to effectively regulate our sugar intake. This can lead to health problems such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Read on to discover 5 ways you can decrease insulin resistance.

A significant genetic contribution has been identified for insulin resistance [R]. Go to SelfDecode to learn how you can have your own genetic makeup investigated for insulin-related mutations.

Insulin Resistance and Poor Health

The problem isn’t insulin, but rather insulin resistance.  If you are insulin resistant your brain will not get the message that insulin is trying hard to convey (that you have high levels of sugar in your bloodstream).

In this way, insulin resistance promotes hunger. You eat and insulin is released, but your body tells you to eat some more despite the ability of insulin to act as a satiety hormone. Hence why obesity is linked to brain insulin resistance [R].

When rats had their brain insulin receptors removed, they ate more, developed insulin resistance, and became obese [R]. There is a correlation between insulin resistance and fat accumulation in the liver [R].

Insulin resistance was shown to be directly correlated to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in a literature review [R].

Elevated blood free fatty acids (FFA) were shown to cause insulin resistance [R].

In diabetics, insulin resistance was shown to severely inhibit a marker for muscular performance (glycogen synthesis and uptake) [R]. Also, waist and thigh circumference (predictors of insulin resistance) were negatively correlated with the percentage of type 1 muscle fibers [R].

When rats were fed a high-fat diet insulin resistance occurred first in fat and liver tissue than in muscle tissue [R].

In prediabetic subjects, insulin resistance was linked to atherogenic changes [R].

TNF-a levels were linked to the development of insulin resistance in obese patients.  TNF-a was shown to inhibit the ability of insulin to exert its effects on the insulin receptor [R].

IKKB (a mediator of inflammatory cytokine Nf-kb production) has been linked to the development of insulin resistance [R].

Anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-10) is able to counter the insulin resistance caused by inflammatory cytokine (IL-6) [R].

Insulin is able to induce the secretion of an inflammatory marker (MCP-1), which may contribute to many diseases associated with hyperinsulinemia [R].

Leptin was shown in rats to increase insulin sensitivity [R]. Leptin inhibits the ability of insulin to cause glucose uptake and fat synthesis in fatty tissue [R].

In individuals with low levels of HGH (human growth hormone) supplementation of rHGH was able to lower insulin sensitivity [R].

There is a direct correlation between insulin resistance and chronic kidney disease pathology [R].

Methods for Decreasing Insulin Resistance

1) Weight Loss Decreases Insulin Resistance

Weight loss has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity [R].

If you are overweight, the single most important thing you can do is lose weight.

2) Exercise Decreases Insulin Resistance

In a literature review, high-intensity interval exercise (like sprints) was correlated with greater insulin sensitivity [R].

Exercise without weight loss showed improvements in insulin resistance in sedentary adults [R].

3) Moderate Alcohol Consumption Decreases Insulin Resistance

In postmenopausal women, moderate consumption of alcohol (30g per day) was associated with greater insulin sensitivity [R].

4) Resistant Starch Decreases Insulin Resistance

In ten healthy subjects supplementation of resistant starch was able to increase insulin sensitivity [R].

5) Supplements that Decrease Insulin Resistance

Vitamins and Minerals

Other Supplements

Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick

At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.

That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:

  • Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
  • SelfDecode – a software tool that will help you analyze your genetic data from companies such as 23andme and ancestry. You will learn how your health is being impacted by your genes, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage.
  • SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
  • SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
  • Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
  • Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
  • Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
  • BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
  • SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


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  • Anne

    Hello Joe. Rhodiola is an amazing supplement for insulin resistance (and much more!!). And I would also add Biotin to your list. Love your website! I have also self-hacked myself back to health after being terribly misdiagnosed and at death’s door in 2006. Thank God for the internet because I would be dead if I had relied on my internist. Continued success to you!

    1. Shea Kennisher

      Thanks, Anne! Glad to hear you’re doing better.

  • Coach Macon

    Great Article on IGF-1! I have been taking and marketing colostrum which is loaded with IGF-1 & IGF-2. Its platforms like this that make people more aware of alternative methods of maintaining better health. Be Well,
    Coach Macon

  • Su Doubleday Mburu

    Hi, I am really annoyed with a site you link to. It advertises hi-maize and states it ‘contains no allergens’, I beg to differ I have a worsening problem with both white and yellow maize. When such a simple thing can make such a claim which is innaccurate it makes me wonder about the more difficult to understand ideas you have tried to explain.

  • Trang


    Could you please explain further why Berberine helps for overweight and thin people? As I found myself having insulin resistance yet wonder whether should take Berberine since I am kind of hard to gain weight person. Thank you.

  • Jacki Morgan

    Hi. I’ve just discovered your website and can totally relate to pretty much all of the associated conditions etc. you could be writing about me. I’m a bit overwhelmed by the number of supplements etc and wonder if there is a way to begin with the most important etc cost is obviously one issue but more than that I don’t want to just rush out an buy everything I would like to know if there is a preferred order to add in the supplements to the diet (which I am definitely going to try). Thanks so much for taking the time to make all of this reassuring stuff available and for free. Amazing. Thanks I feel very emotional right now since it feels like I’ve discovered someone who just might understand what it’s like

  • Martin Pierce

    I don’t know where you get the idea that “too many” antioxidants can contribute to insulin resistance. Would you mind enlightening us on that? Thanks.

    1. Selfhacked

      I’m not sure where I read that but, some ROS is needed for insulin signaling.

      More of a theoretical concern at this point

      1. Martin Pierce

        Studies like this are often confusing to me, even when I read the journalist’s translation of the scientific report. Having said that, this news report smells like BS to me.

        If mice are one step removed from humans, it seems like abnormal mice must be two steps removed.

        I get the point about the one group of mice (which lack a certain enzyme) being more susceptible to insulin resistance when they get more antioxidants. But it looks to me like they need to do further testing to find out if the same thing applies to normal mice.

        How about this quote: “he said oxidative stress may be working not to damage the body but to…”

        What?? Does this mean we have to trash all the studies about oxidation damaging the body, and about antioxidants promoting health and longevity?

        This study is not convincing to me at all. I think the key is to reduce the sugar spikes.

        1. Selfhacked

          The human body is a complex system, where things aren’t good or bad but rather usually “it depends.” The body needs a balance of oxidative stress and antioxidants. Clinical trials show that excessive dosages of antioxidants increase cancer risk and likely cause more harm than good. This was news circa 2009.

  • Glenn Matii

    Hi! you recommend to drink tea – Jasmine, Matcha, Green, White – after meals. What about evening meals? What kind of tea is the best to drink after evening to not damage sleep? decaffeinated? What do you drink?

    1. Selfhacked


  • Daniel Sobrado

    Avoid all oils? Including Extra Virging Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Flax seed oil?

    1. Selfhacked

      Yes. I plan to modify the diet and allow oils only if they are measured out (maximum 2 tablespoons) and the meal consists solely of a salad. Only EVOO would be allowed. Coconut oil and ghee will be allowed in cooking only if measured out (maximum 1 tablespoon) and if calories are restricted below the person’s baseline or if fat from other food sources is controlled. Basically, I don’t have a serious problem with oils if they are ingested in a highly controlled manner.

  • Noam L.

    I am really glad that I found your blog and ideas. I love the simplicity. I do have two big concerns about your recommendations though.

    1. Histamine intolerance – I have some kind of histamine intolerance. When I eat food that produces histamine I feel fatigued, sleep badly and get itchy hives + major brain fog.

    The regime you propose is extremely high in histamine producing foods and supplements. Kombucha and other fermented foods have histamine producing bacteria such as Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. ACV produces tons.

    Fish and eggs, green bananas, N-flakes (and all yeasty foods), tomatoes powder, berries, olives, citrus fruits, etc are all big offenders. Almost all spices and particularly cinnamon, Chayawanprash blend produce histamine response. Honey is terrible, especially raw.

    Even exercising in full stomach or taking cold shower after eating produces histamine.

    In general, all foods that are not quickly perishable, not fresh and contain some amount of protein are known to produce histamine . Gut permeability could get worse with high levels of histamine.

    I developed histamine intolerance after eating a modified Mediterranean diet in Israel for 3 years that was based sauerkraut, wild salmon, brown and white rice, olives, avocado, Bullion, tons of home made tahini (sesame seeds) mixed with raw honey, tons of nuts, all spices, eggs, kefir and aged cheese (I am not sensitive to casein or lactose ) and raw fish. No supplements other than zinc/x3 a week + kelp powder.

    At the beginning of the diet I felt great, energetic and healthier than ever but when I entered the third year of the diet I started to get all the symptoms I mentioned before and was unable to to relate it to my diet.

    I personally had theory (unsupported by sufficient scientific evidence) that eating histamine producing food is good (even necessary, healing and great). BUT, it must be cycled; high histamine for some period of time and then low histamine afterwards.

    Many documented traditions used to eat histamine producing foods (smoked, fermented, shelled grinded , powdered, etc) for some period of the year (especially winter) and then returned to fresh, quickly perishable, low histamine foods.

    Eating high histamine diet for a long time might be unsustainable and cause mast cell dis-stabilization (1).

    Even Greg Pomerantz whose high carb experiment you referenced got allergies and hives when he reintroduced rice and salmon to his diet and concluded that his diet should be cycled.

    I the long term consumption of high histamine foods lead my histamine levels to go crazy.

    One way that helped me detect my problem was my sudden good reaction to fresh cucumbers, apples, fennel, kale apples , sweet potatos and red onion (all include quercetin and histamine lowering properties ) and small portion eating (which decreases histamine significantly).

    I ended up solving some of my problems by introducing histamine lowering foods and supplementing with natural sources of quercetin, luteoilin and rutin (mangosteen) + consuming histamine degrading probio like Bifidobacterium infantis and prebiotics like colostrum.

    With that said, reading your blog I see that you include TONS of great practices that really LOWER histamine:

    – small portion eating + CR (most powerful histamine lowering practices)
    – Destress (It is documented that your body produces tons of histamine only from thinking about food)
    -Ginger (H2 receptor antagonist as strong as Zantac)
    -white/green tea (prevents IgE reactions)
    -Spirulina (allergic rhhinitis (-))
    – Olive leaf (mast cell stabilizing )
    -Flax (anti arthritic)
    – Tumeric / Curcumin + ginger (inhibit anaphylactic shock and stabilizes mast cells)
    – Peppermint + oregano + basil (nasal allergies + histamine inhibition)
    – Garlic
    – Buckwheat + black rice (anti – anaphylactic)

    My concern is that your proposed diet is still to rich in high histamine foods to be sustainable (at least for me) for more than a month. What do you think?

    2. Moderate Mercury poisoning – A recent heavy metal test that I took showed that I have moderately high levels of mercury in my system (probably due to my amalgam silver fillings). Some of your recommendations include mercury-chelating agents like NAC and ALA that take mercury from tissues to circulated in the bloodstream and possibly cross the BBB. I do not want that. I haven’t found any serious evidence to prove this claim but am also afraid to experiment.

    If you could try and lift my doubts I will be 100 percent confident in testing the regime (as soon as today) which I believe is refreshing and smart.


      I did mention that people should stay away from foods they’re allergic to. Fermented foods are healthy for the vast majority of people. People with your issues may do well to stay away from fermented, cured and citrus foods. You’ve listed other foods that I haven’t seen any evidence that cause a release of histamine. If you can give me sources I’d appreciate it.

      Cinnamon and histamine

      There is an issue with LA, but I haven’t seen such concerns with NAC. Use with MCP and spirulina if you’re concerned.

      As far as developing a histamine intolerance, I see no evidence that it was caused by that diet. The Mediterranean has hundreds of studies supporting its health benefits. I haven’t seen any evidence that such a diet can cause histamine intolerance. There are thousands of variables at play and becoming histamine intolerant after adopting a Mediterranean diet doesn’t demonstrate that the diet caused these allergies. Fresh foods are always better than powders or dried foods, as a general principal, though.

      1. Kevin

        Perhaps if one eats high histamine foods for many years, they could deplete the beneficial bacteria that degrade histamine?

        1. Nattha Wannissorn

          By definition, no, because the bacteria are self-replicating.

  • David

    N-acetylcysteine as an antidote in methylmercury poisoning.

    Methylmercury transport across the blood-brain barrieri by an amino acid carrier.

    I have tons of amalgam filling and anxiety. I worry that taking NAC could somehow transport mercury into the brain. I have heard that it may be possible. do you have any information on it?


      I think your worries are unfounded, as I don’t see your conclusion following from the premises

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