Bio-Hacking Blood Glucose and looking at Insulin Resistance
I have been obsessed over the last week or so bio-hacking my blood glucose levels, testing as soon as I wake up, before meals, after meals, after feeding Indie, before exercise after exercise. Being science and diagnostic in my way of thinking I am intrigued so see what effect external and internal influences have on my body in a positive and negative way. Blood sugar issues can lead to many different health problems and be the catalyst for hormone disruption. But it is easily controlled if you know how.
- I was mostly in range for optimum blood glucose ranges.
- It spiked to 5.8 after an almond latte
- Sweet Potato spiked it the most at 6.6
- After exercise (boxing) it decreased, as you would expect.
- I have been in metabolic chaos previous to being pregnant so I was happy with these results.
When the body is healthy the cells take in all the glucose circulating in the blood. But, if our bodies can’t regulate glucose because it’s too high it can be toxic to our body. Insulin resistance occurs and this is when problems start to occur.
Some basic blood sugar physiology…
- We eat food,
- Through digestion the food gets broken,
- It goes through the liver,
- Into the blood as glucose,
- Brain ‘says’ elevated level of blood glucose,
- Need to get into cells quickly,
- Beta cells in the pancreas release insulin,
- Insulin ‘talks’ to our cells,
- Cells have receptors,
- Inside cells there are messengers that talk and let glucose in,
- Cells now have energy to complete the essential tasks.
When the system malfunctions….?
- The liver and muscle cells get filled up with glucose first,
- Any excess keeps circulating in the blood for a while,
- The pancreases releases more insulin,
- The cells become resistant because they’re full,
- The glucose is stored in fats cells,
- The body makes more fat to store more sugar which becomes fat,
- So high blood glucose = high insulin = increase fat = increase inflammation = increase blood pressure, cholesterol, cardio risk, mood disorders and brain degeneration.
So what about the brain…?
Our brains are glucose hogs. The brain requires glucose to function or it will shut down and we would fall unconscious. This is why it doesn’t need insulin to get glucose into the brain cells like other cells. This is why the liver releases a constant stream of glucose into the blood stream at all times. If you were to burn off all the stored glycogen, your body would switch to using fat and then protein as an energy source.
What can cause us to have high blood glucose…
- Diabetes 1 – the body doesn’t make any or only small amounts of insulin. Therefore the blood glucose can’t be converted into energy and keeps circulating in the body.
- Diabetes 2 – The pancreas stops making adequate insulin due to environmental and/or a genetic predisposition.
- Too many carbohydrates, especially the refined type such as breads, pastas, soft drinks, sweets, and fast food
- Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in women can be a contributing factor. High androgens can cause insulin resistance, which can cause elevated blood glucose.
- Intermittent fasting for some people can elevate cortisol levels which in turn elevates blood sugar.
- Chronic inflammation throughout the body from poor lifestyle choices
- Physical or psychological stress
What can we do about maintaining a healthy blood glucose level?
- Eating a diet of whole, real, natural foods consistently.
- Lose weight.
- Exercise regularly. Anaerobic exercise and strength training are most efficient to deplete glycogen stores, which has a positive effect on glucose uptake.
- Eat food with a low glycemic index to minimize the rate carbohydrate is converted into the bloodstream.
- Eat a diet with a low glycemic load; foods with a low quantity of carbohydrates. However not too low, it’s counter-productive and you can end up in an insulin-resistant state anyway.
- Include cinnamon in your diet. It helps stimulates glucose uptake by fat cells, lowering glucose and insulin levels.
- Cook with ginger and garlic. Both help improve insulin sensitivity.
- Having apple cider vinegar before eating increases insulin sensitivity and reduces a spike in blood sugar after a meal.
- Supplement with a blood sugar support, inositol, chromium and Chinese herbs.
What should your levels be?
From my research there doesn’t seem to be a global consensus of what blood glucose levels should be. According to Diabetes Australia your fasting blood glucose should be between 4 and 6mmol/L. Which is taken as soon as you wake up or after 8 hours of fasting.
Other times to take readings to track your blood glucose are below in the table. These levels vary depending on what literature you are reading. Use this table only as a guide.
1 hr after a meal<7.8
2 hrs after a meal<6.7
3 hrs after a meal4-6
What if my levels are out of these ranges?
Seek medical advice, it could mean you are at risk of pre-diabetes or diabetes. Prevention is the best cure and you can avoid many lifestyle diseases through changing your lifestyle habits. Blood sugar is easily controlled if you don’t have an underlying condition.
You can hack your own blood glucose levels or contact me if you want some guidance and a program.