HOMA-IR Calculator for Insulin Resistance
While we have talked a lot about insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, we haven’t talked about ways to calculate your risk of insulin resistance.
The HOMA-IR (HOmeostasis Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance) formula was designed in the 1980’s by researchers in Oxford, U.K. 1 to help estimate if patients were at risk for becoming insulin resistant or not. The HOMA-IR calculator only requires knowing your fasting insulin and fasting glucose levels and then calculates the HOMA-IR score.
The HOMA-IR score is an easy way to calculate someone’s likelihood of being insulin resistant or not. Before this calculation was developed, the best way to determine insulin sensitivity or insulin resistance was with a hyperinsulinemic euglycemic metabolic clamp. Essentially giving insulin and glucose through an IV and then measuring the glucose response. Not something easy to do outside of a well-funded research lab.
High HOMA-IR scores can indicate high insulin resistance (low insulin sensitivity) and may be an indication of the development of pre-diabetes or diabetes.
A high HOMA-IR score may also be an independent risk for developing heart disease in Type 2 diabetics. 2
Very Insulin Sensitivity (Low Insulin Resistance) when HOMA-IR < 1.4
Low Insulin Sensititivity ( High Insulin Resistance) when HOMA-IR > 2.9
Understanding your HOMA-IR results
For the HOMA-IR score, a lower score (less than 1.4) means that you are insulin sensitive (not insulin resistance). A HOMA-IR score above 2.0 most likely means that you have (are are developing) insulin resistance.
Is the HOMA-IR score accurate?
There have been several follow-up studies that have validated the reliability of the HOMA-IR score for measuring the level of insulin resistance/insulin sensitivity. One study 3 followed 55 Type 2 diabetic patients and found that the HOMA-IR score was an easy and reliable way to track insulin resistance.
How to improve your HOMA-IR score
If you have a high HOMA-IR score, then most likely you have some level of insulin resistance. To improve your HOMA-IR score, its important to improve either fasting insulin and/or fasting glucose levels. Typically, focusing on eating a healthier, lower carbohydrate diet can improve insulin sensitivity
Incorporating regular exercise can also help improve insulin sensitivity 4. Other studies 5 6 have shown that both resistance exercise such as weight lifting as well as aerobic exercise can improve insulin sensitivity in people with Type 2 diabetics.
You can also calculate your Glucose-Ketone Index with our GKI Calculator here.
Want to learn more about insulin resistance?