Test for Insulin Resistance at Home

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glucometer

 

Last weeks article ran a little long, so I’m going to make it up to you and make this one pretty short.

 

Before we dive into the test, it’s important to note that there are several other markers that can be used to help you and your doctor understand how you may be managing sugar (fasting glucose, cholesterol, cholesterol/triglyceride ratio, insulin, c-peptide, and HA1c). The following test is quick, cheap, and will tell you much more about the way you are currently managing sugar than any single blood test.

 

Disclaimer: Please talk to your doctor before taking this test at home.

 

The test is called the glucose tolerance test and it’s dead simple. All you are really doing is drinking some sugar and charting how your body is managing your blood sugar levels over a 2 hour period. What could be easier than that?

 

What you’ll need

  1. Glucometer – It’s the device diabetics use to monitor their blood sugar. You can get one at the drugstore or Walmart for around $15-20.

  2. 8 test strips to use in the glucometer – many of the glucometers will come with strips… just make sure you have at least 8.

  3. High glucose drink – Many drugstores sell a glucose tolerance test drink or you can just use grape juice. You will need about 75 grams of sugar from the grape juice, which is usually between 12-16 ounces depending on the brand. You can quickly figure that out by looking at the sugar content and serving size.

 

Prepare for the test

  1. Buy your supplies

  2. Pick a quiet morning to take the test. Allow yourself a morning where you can relax and do nothing for 2 hours.

  3. Eat normally the night before

  4. Get familiar with the glucometer and try it once. These devices have 1 purpose and they are made to be very easy to use, but it’s still a good idea to make sure it works and that you feel comfortable when the test starts.

 

Take the test

  1. Do not eat or do anything physical the morning of the test.

  2. G1 – Use the glucometer to get your fasting glucose level for your baseline

  3. Drink your sugar

  4. G2 – 20 minutes after drinking the sugar

  5. G3 – 40 minutes

  6. G4 – 60 minutes

  7. G5 – 90 minutes

  8. G6 – 120 minutes

That’s it… you’re done!

 

Now let’s look at what all this might mean. It helps to chart this out on a piece of paper. Let’s look at 3 possible outcomes.

 

First, what does normal look like?

A good fasting number is between 70-100. If you started around 90, spiked to 120 in the first 20 minutes, and then gradually when back down to 90 by the end, then that would be a pretty normal test. The main points to look for in a normal test:

  • Start in the normal range

  • Never goes too high or too low

  • Ends where you started

normal

Example of a Normal result

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

Hypoglycemia can be an early sign of insulin resistance. Basically your body will produce too much insulin which pulls your blood sugar down too low. Points to look for:

  • Spikes too high after 20 minutes

  • Drops below 70

hypoglycemia

Example of Hypoglycemia

Insulin Resistance

This is what we’ve been talking about for 3 weeks. Your body is just not responding to insulin.  This results in elevated insulin and glucose levels… and neither are good. Points to look for:

  • Spikes too high after 20 minutes

  • Ends above the normal range

insulin resistance

Example of Insulin Resistance

Note: a similar result could also mean you are not producing enough insulin. If your test results do not look normal, you should talk it over with your doctor.

 

There you have it… good luck and let me know how it goes!

 

I actually need to do this again myself. I did this at home about 6 or 7 years ago when I was starting to compete again. It’s a very easy and extremely powerful test.

 

Disclaimer #2: This is for informational purposes only… please talk to your doctor first.

 

photo by nrgtribe (flickr creative commons)

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Co-Founder of NutritionGeeks, retired USAPL drug-free powerlifter, volunteer youth wrestling coach, father of 3 amazing boys and interested in all things health

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