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Essential Oils for Insulin Resistance

By Jodi Cohen

A person writing the words "insulin resistance" in a notebook, suggesting a focus on medical study or healthcare information, with a stethoscope and syringe indicating a clinical setting.

Insulin is an important hormone that helps balance blood sugar, or glucose, the critical fuel for our bodies and our brain. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and allows cells to absorb and use glucose. It also assists the glucose in your blood to enter your cells in your muscles, fat, and liver and to be used for energy.

As you eat, your blood glucose levels increase. Your pancreas releases insulin into your blood to help lower your blood glucose levels and to keep the levels at a balanced, normal range.


What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance occurs when your body is unable to respond to and use the insulin that you produce.  More specifically, the cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and are unable to easily absorb glucose from your blood for energy. To make up for it, your pancreas makes more insulin to overcome your body’s weak response to insulin and keep your blood glucose levels at a healthy range, by helping to carry glucose out of the blood and into your cells.

Over time, the beta cells in your pancreas may not be able to keep up with the excessively high insulin demand (i.e., pancreas fatigue). As a result, excess glucose builds up in your bloodstream and blood sugar levels go up, which over time can contribute to health concerns like diabetes, chronic inflammation, cognitive decline, hypertension and weight gain.

Essential oils can help unravel insulin resistance and help you maintain healthy, balanced blood sugar levels.


Symptoms of Insulin Resistance

If you have insulin resistance, but your pancreas can increase insulin production to keep your blood sugar levels in range, you won’t have any symptoms.  If your pancreas is experiencing fatigue, you may experience symptoms like:

  • Cravings for sugar, carbohydrates, or coffee
  • Sleepiness or energy dips in afternoon
  • Irritability or feelings of shakiness if meals are skipped or delayed
  • Difficulty concentrating when hungry
  • Difficulty falling asleep or awakening hours after going to bed and finding it difficult to go back to sleep
  • Fatigue after meals
  • Weight in the abdomen or difficulty losing weight
  • Frequent thirst or urination
  • Slow-healing cuts and sores.
  • Need for stimulants such as coffee after meals


What Causes Insulin Resistance?

The following factors can contribute to insulin resistance:

  • High levels of insulin circulating in your blood
  • High level of inflammation in your body
  • Excessive fat stored in your pancreas and liver
  • Poor Sleep
  • Chronic stress
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High blood pressure


Essential Oils for Insulin Resistance

Research demonstrates that essential oils can be used to enhance insulin sensitivity and lower glucose levels.  For example, research on “Effects of a novel formulation of essential oils on glucose-insulin metabolism in diabetic and hypertensive rats”  found that essential oils lowered circulating glucose levels and enhance insulin sensitivity.

A similar 2013 study found that cinnamon essential oil may help improve blood sugar control in rats with diabetes, possibly by protecting beta cells in the pancreas.

In a similar 2008 study, researchers found that coriander seed essential oil helped to reduce levels of enzymes in the pancreas in a way that helped reduce blood sugar levels in rats with diabetes. The researchers noted that the beta cells in the pancreas were more active after using coriander seed oil which may help increase insulin levels and reduce blood sugar.

Clove essential oil, found in Parasympathetic® blend, may help manage or prevent features of diabetes that result from oxidative stress a process that occurs when the body does not produce enough antioxidants to battle free radicals, i.e. unstable molecules that damage cells throughout the body.


Essential Oils to Support the Organs of Blood Sugar Regulation

To keep blood sugar levels balanced and reduce concerns about insulin resilience, it helps to support the organs of blood sugar regulation along with diet and lifestyle choices.  For example, consider the following essential oils to support the organs of blood sugar balance.

Pancreas™: The digestive system breaks down the carbohydrates from food into glucose, which goes straight into the bloodstream, causing blood sugar concentrations to rise. The pancreas releases insulin to transport the glucose into the cells. As more and more cells receive glucose, blood sugar levels return to normal. Excess glucose is stored as glycogen (stored glucose) in the liver and muscles. If you have not eaten for a while and blood glucose concentrations drop, the pancreas releases another hormone called glucagon. Glucagon triggers the breakdown of glycogen into glucose, thus pushing blood glucose levels back up to normal. Pancreas™ oil facilitates this normal function of the pancreas.

Liver™: The liver acts as the body’s glucose (energy) reservoir and helps to maintain steady and constant blood sugar levels by balancing the uptake, storage, and release of glucose, depending on the body’s need for energy. More specifically, excess glucose is removed from the blood and converted into glycogen (the storage form of glucose), which is stored in the liver.  When blood sugar levels drop, the liver initiates a process called glycogenolysis, where glycogen is converted back into glucose, or by converting other sugars into glucose, gradually releasing it into the bloodstream until levels approach normal range. Finally, the liver produces ketones from fats when glucose is in short supply.

Adrenal®: Blood sugar imbalances can exhaust the adrenals. For example, eating a sugary meal will spike then quickly crash blood sugar, requiring the adrenals to release cortisol to stabilize blood sugar. Similarly, stress hormones such as adrenaline (epinephrine) can increase blood sugar levels to meet your body’s demands for energy. Every stress response is a blood sugar response. Fatigued adrenal glands can struggle to produce and release cortisol, which in turn throws off the body’s balance of blood sugar.

You can grab all three of these blends in the Blood Sugar Support Kit.


Parasympathetic®:  As mentioned above, clove essential oil, found in Parasympathetic® blend, may help balance blood sugar. Research shows that Parasympathetic activation helps to balance blood sugar, by reducing glucose release and increasing pancreatic insulin secretion.   The inability to shift into the parasympathetic state leads the liver to continuously release glucose.  It is important to shift out of the “fight or flight” state of emergency into the parasympathetic “rest, digest and heal” state to turn off the release of emergency blood sugar.

What’s more the Parasympathetic® blend contains several key ingredients known to keep blood sugar under control. Research has shown that the phenol concentration found in clove oil helps regulate insulin, by increasing the secretion of insulin and improving the function of cells that produce insulin.

Topically applying the Parasympathetic® blend on the vagus nerve behind the on the neck may help balance blood sugar.


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About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.