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8 Best Supplements To Help With Your Insulin Resistance

Medically reviewed by 
8 Best Supplements To Help With Your Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance, or the body’s inability to properly use the hormone insulin, dramatically impacts an individual's health and can progress to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes when not properly managed. About 1 in 3 adults suffers from insulin resistance. 

When used correctly, dietary supplements (along with diet and exercise) are supportive strategies that help improve insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of irreversible forms of diabetes.

This article explores the most promising insulin resistance supplements based on scientific evidence.


What Is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance develops when the body doesn’t respond appropriately to the hormone insulin. The pancreas makes insulin to regulate the amount of sugar circulating in the bloodstream.

Insulin resistance, also called impaired insulin sensitivity, negatively affects how cells in the liver, fat, and muscles react to insulin and receive glucose from the bloodstream. Blood sugar eventually becomes too high, boosting the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, insulin resistance is often reversible when detected early and managed effectively.

Common Causes and Symptoms

The common causes and symptoms of insulin resistance include:


Waist circumferences of 40 inches or higher in men and 35 inches or more in women are associated with insulin resistance. 

A diet high in carbohydrates, added sugars, highly processed foods, and saturated fats may heighten the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. This type of diet puts stress on the pancreas to produce excess insulin. 


Many people with insulin resistance don't have any symptoms until their condition progresses to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. The symptoms associated with high blood sugar and diabetes  include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Increased hunger
  • Skin infections
  • Vaginal infections 
  • Slow-healing sores or cuts
  • Eye changes
  • Skin tags
  • Darkened skin patches

Individuals with these symptoms should see a healthcare provider for an evaluation. About 1 in 3 adults in the United States have prediabetes. 

8 Best Supplements To Help With Your Insulin Resistance

The following dietary supplements may help reduce insulin resistance, lessening the risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

#1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps improve insulin sensitivity due to its effects on blood glucose levels. Studies show that vitamin C supplements can increase insulin production and secretion, reduce blood sugar, and improve insulin resistance. 

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 75 milligrams for women, 90 milligrams for men, 85 milligrams during pregnancy, and 120 milligrams for nursing women. These are minimum amounts, but some individuals need more. 

#2. Chromium

Chromium is a mineral that influences glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, particularly in individuals with prediabetes and diabetes. Researchers found that supplementing with 400 micrograms of chromium for eight weeks had beneficial effects on insulin resistance, low-density lipoprotein (LCL) cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.

#3. Probiotics

Probiotics play a role in managing blood sugar levels and can improve insulin resistance. Examples of the specific probiotic strains studied for their use in controlling blood sugar and reducing insulin resistance are as follows: Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Bacillus, Lactococcus, Streptococcus, Clostridium, and others. 

Yogurt and other fermented foods are also good sources of probiotics

#4. Inositol

Inositol is a key factor in cellular glucose uptake, and it's particularly effective for treating conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Studies confirm that inositol helps improve insulin resistance, as well as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, PCOS, and metabolic syndrome

#5. Folic Acid

Folic acid (vitamin B9) supplements have also been shown to decrease insulin resistance and improve glycemic control during diabetes management and prevention. Many multivitamin supplements also contain folic acid. Examples of folate-rich foods include meats, fortified whole grains, leafy greens, and other vegetables, such as avocados and legumes. 

#6. Zinc

Research suggests that zinc supplementation (an average of 35 milligrams per day) reduces blood glucose levels, insulin resistance, and fasting insulin. Zinc is often a staple in most multivitamin supplements and is found in the following zinc-rich foods: beef, oysters, crab, turkey, fish, shrimp, fortified breakfast cereals and other fortified whole grains, nuts, seeds, lentils, sardines, eggs, and dairy foods. 

#7. Potassium

Low potassium has been shown to increase the risk of insulin resistance, fasting blood sugar, and type 2 diabetes. It’s important to get enough potassium through foods, dietary supplements, or both to optimize insulin sensitivity and lessen the risk of or better manage diabetes. Examples of potassium-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, orange juice, milk, yogurt, and chicken. 

#8. L-Carnitine

Carnitine, sourced from amino acids, is another dietary supplement with optimal effects on insulin sensitivity. Researchers found that ingesting 0.25 to 4 grams of L-carnitine daily reduces insulin resistance, fasting blood sugar, and HbA1c

Can Supplements Improve Insulin Sensitivity?

Examples of research-backed supplements shown to improve insulin sensitivity (the body’s ability to properly use the hormone insulin) include:

After discussing their health needs with their healthcare provider, individuals can take a multivitamin supplement to meet many of their essential vitamin and mineral requirements.

While taking insulin resistance supplements helps support insulin sensitivity, they should complement lifestyle changes rather than replace them. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits is a highly effective way to reverse insulin resistance and lessen the risk of diabetes or better manage this common chronic disease. 

Considerations Before Taking Supplements

It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider prior to starting any new supplement regimen, in particular for individuals who take medications or have been diagnosed with diabetes or another chronic disease. Supplements can vary in bioavailability and may interact with medications, and they aren’t as tightly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as foods and medications. 

Other Strategies to Improve Insulin Resistance

In addition to supplementation, other natural approaches to enhance insulin sensitivity include:

  • Increase physical activity, including both resistance and aerobic training.
  • Get at least seven hours of sleep in each 24-hour period.
  • Reduce stress using massage, meditation, yoga, tai chi, or deep breathing exercises.
  • Achieve a healthy weight. Overweight and obese individuals should focus on losing 5-7% of their initial weight to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Consume healthy fiber-rich foods like beans, peas, other legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Eat lean protein foods (Greek yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese, organic meat, fish, and chicken).
  • Choose heart-healthy fats (olive oil, other plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, avocadoes, and nut butter).
  • Limit the following foods: refined carbohydrates, other highly processed foods, alcohol, sugar-sweetened drinks, fried foods, desserts, sugar-sweetened condiments, high-fat meats, and highly processed meats (hot dogs, sausage, etc.). 
  • Drink more water (about 16 cups of fluids daily for men and 12 cups for women). The urine should be clear or light yellow in color. 

Consider eating large amounts of plant-based foods, as research suggests that plant-based diets lessen the risk of developing 2 diabetes. 


Key Takeaways

The key takeaways from this article include:

  • Combining insulin-resistance supplements with healthy lifestyle habits can reduce insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and the risk of developing prediabetes or diabetes.
  • Insulin resistance supplements include vitamin C, chromium, probiotics, inositol, folic acid, zinc, potassium, and L-carnitine.
  • Healthy habits that lessen the risk of insulin resistance include getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, eating nutritious whole (high-fiber) foods, maintaining a healthy body weight, drinking more water, and minimizing stress. It’s also important to limit or avoid alcohol and quit smoking.

Individuals should check with a healthcare provider before trying any new dietary supplements, including insulin resistance supplements, to ensure utmost safety and effectiveness.   

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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