What’s diabetes resistance and how to improve it

Diabetes resistance estimates how well protected your body is from the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It is calculated by analysing various health markers in your blood (also known as biomarkers). However, we summarised all these biomarkers into a single health indicator score that’s easy to understand. Here's more on how diabetes resistance affects your health and ways to improve it.

Your diabetes resistance –– in other words, your shield strength against developing type 2 diabetes –– has a direct link to your body’s energy metabolism process. To briefly explain how this works, let’s understand the biology behind it. As you might already know, carbohydrates from your food break down into glucose which helps the cells produce energy. However, there’s one more crucial aspect of this function –– regulating the right energy uptake and utilisation in your body –– which is done by a hormone called insulin. In simpler words, the insulin allows your body to use enough amount of sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates for energy to use today and then store glucose for future use. Thereby, insulin also keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia). Impaired insulin sensitivity increases blood sugar levels in your body, which can develop into type 2 diabetes over time.

How we calculate your diabetes resistance?

To estimate your diabetes resistance score, we measure multiple biomarkers ––glucose, GlycA, ApoB, ApoA1, ApoB/ApoA1 ratio, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, VLDL-cholesterol, PUFA%, MUFA%, omega-6% and SFA%. Medical research shows how changes in the level of these biomarkers are associated with a person’s long-term type 2 diabetes risk. Based on this knowledge, we summarise your biomarker results into a single score to show how resistant your body is currently to type 2 diabetes.

Biomarkers analysed to estimate diabetes resistance

Glucose, GlycA, ApoB, ApoA1, ApoB/ApoA1 ratio, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, VLDL-cholesterol, PUFA%, MUFA%, Omega-6%, SFA%.

One-score summary

Blood values are difficult to understand without medical knowledge. My Nightingale, therefore, summaries all these biomarker results into one easy-to-understand score that maxes at 100. The higher you score, the better is your diabetes resistance.

Your type 2 diabetes risk in the next 10 years

To give you a more long-term view, My Nightingale also provides an estimated risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years.

How to improve your diabetes resistance score

Both diet and physical activeness can help reduce your type 2 diabetes risk.

Diet

Research says, including more fibre, whole grains and cut down on sugar and saturated fats help reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.

The first step to improve your diabetes resistance with food would be to cut down your refined-sugar intake and move over to a more fibre-rich diet. Studies show, cutting down on sodas, pastries and replacing white rice and bread with wholegrain options helps. More fibre means adding all sorts of vegetables, legumes and fruits to your daily meals. The thumb rule recommendation for daily fruits and veggies intake is 500 grams (including cooked vegetables). In terms of portions, this roughly comes to about 5 handfuls each day. Even small changes like having overnight oats every morning for breakfast or switching to a high-fibre breakfast cereal makes a difference. So, when you go shopping for breakfast cereals next time, use the 10-10 rule –– no less than 10% of fibre and no more than 10% of sugar.

Exercise

Studies show, just 2 to 3 hours per week is enough to improve your diabetes resistance.

Physical activity helps muscle cells to take glucose from the blood and keep up normal energy production in your body. And all kinds of exercises count –– long endurance activities, short and more strenuous exercises and even lifting weights that help you build and maintain muscle strength. Just 2 to 3 hours of such activities per week is enough to build your diabetes resistance, but you can always do more if you feel like it. That’s anyway good for your overall health. Also, for guidance, there are many free resources on the internet, including videos and apps. Just search for keywords like ‘freehand’ or ‘no-equipment’ endurance training and you'll find many tutorials with different time lengths and intensity. Pick the one that suits you the best. Also, it doesn’t necessarily have to be exercise or sports –– dancing, gardening and even doing house chores like cleaning and carrying heavy shopping –– are all part of being physically active.

Along with diabetes resistance, My Nightingale blood analysis gives you over 20 different health results from a single blood sample. It includes a health index that gives an overview of your health, 6 health indicator –– heart age, diabetes resistance, fatty acid balance, inflammation, cholesterol balance and blood sugar –– that provide one-score summaries of different aspects of your wellbeing and numerous other biomarkers (such as GlycA, omegas, glucose and BCAAs) that give an in-depth insight into your metabolic health.