It has been previously noted that diabetes raises the risk for osteopenia and osteoporosis, although the mechanism has not been well understood. Rather than focusing on blood sugar levels, the researchers in a newly published study compared bone density readings to fasting blood tests that looked at both blood sugar and insulin levels. The two blood tests were combined to determine the degree of personal insulin resistance: if your blood sugar is normal or elevated and your insulin level is unexpectedly high, you are presumed to have insulin resistance. It has taken quite a large amount of insulin to achieve the result of whatever level of blood sugar you have. If your insulin levels are low, your body is more adept at handling blood sugar levels. (If your insulin levels are close to zero and your sugar levels high, you are likely to have type 1 diabetes.)
The findings in the study were that insulin resistance – which can often be suspected before someone is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes – is the critical risk factor for thin or weak bones. In other words, having a high insulin level prevents you from maintaining normal bone density or restoring any lost bone density.
You might have to ask your physician to check a fasting insulin level when your fasting blood sugar is checked; comparing the two will give your physician some idea of your degree of insulin resistance. A finding of insulin resistance can be reversed, as can type 2 diabetes, by eating fewer carbohydrates, as described in the Weight Loss Eating Plan.