Insulin resistance and fertility – explained

What is insulin resistance?

After each meal, your blood sugar/glucose increases. This is a healthy body’s reaction. You need glucose to function. As a response, the pancreas releases insulin to absorb the glucose. Insulin lowers blood sugars by guiding them into the muscle, fat, and liver.

All is good while insulin regulation works well. Unfortunately, some unhealthy lifestyle habits can easily tip insulin off the balance.

Here is the list of the main causes of insulin resistance

  • Excess weight
  • High amounts of fat stored in the liver and pancreas
  • Unhealthy diet: high-calorie, high-carbohydrate or high-sugar
  • Low physical activity
  • High doses of steroids over long periods of time
  • Chronic stress
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Excessive insulin
  • High levels of inflammation

Being overweight is one of the main reasons for developing insulin resistance. It is a vicious cycle. The excess fat cells produce hormones encouraging insulin resistance. The higher insulin is, the hungrier you are. The more you eat, the harder it is to process excess blood sugars. Consequently, you start storing excess glucose as fat. And the cycle keeps spiralling.

Dangers of insulin resistance when trying to conceive

There are no obvious symptoms of insulin resistance. Because better blood sugar control improves fertility, we recommend that you consider improving insulin resistance with diet and lifestyle. This is especially important when one or more of the following factors apply to you:

  • Irregular cycles
  • Low ovarian reserve
  • PCOS
  • History of miscarriage (both male and female)
  • Recurrent miscarriages (both male and female)
  • Excess weight (both male and female)
  • Type 2 diabetes (both male and female)
  • Failed IVF cycle (both male and female).