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Know Your Numbers: Blood Glucose

Glucose is a fancy word for sugar. Your body breaks down and uses sugar for energy. When we refer to glucose in our blood it is a broken-down, simplified version of a carbohydrate. We find glucose in food sources such as bread, pasta, and fruit. While we can get some blood glucose from other sources such as protein and fats their contribution is minimal. For more info and detail on carbohydrates check out our “Do you Know Your Macros” series of articles.

Fasting Blood Glucose Levels

Hypoglycemia = less than 50 mg/dL

Normal = Between 65-99 mg/dL

Hyperglycemia = Greater than or equal to 100 mg/dL

As mentioned in our article on blood sugar regulation it is very important to keep these levels well balanced. In that article, we go over some strategies on how to do that. In this article, we are going to look at your blood test and blood sugar levels. Most of us only get blood tests done when we go to the doctor for our yearly physical and never put much thought into it. We usually get the call from their assistant that says, “Everything looks good. Have a good day” and leave it at that. Rarely do we ever actually look at the numbers and even if we do get a copy of the actual results we don’t know what it means. We are going to look at some of the common blood test people get and go over what the results mean and what “Normal” means as well.

Hypoglycemia

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia include:

  • Sweating
  • Hunger
  • Trembling
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Blurred Vision
  • Coma and death can occur if the hypoglycemic event is not stabilized

Lifestyle recommendations for people with low blood glucose (after consulting your doctor of course!)

  • Choose low glycemic foods with sustained glucose release throughout the day to avoid the spikes and drops
  • Increase lean protein intake Organic grass fed is best with higher omega-3 content. It is also a good source of chromium, and zinc
  • Eliminate simple, refined sugars and carbs like breads and pasta
  • Increase fiber intake
  • Regular physical activity will help your body better manage glucose levels
  • Carry a source of glucose with you so when you feel the symptoms coming on you can keep your levels from crashing too far.

Supplementation (after consulting your doctor of course!)

  • Good quality daily multivitamin
  • Take a quality Omega-3 Fish oil
  • Take a quality chromium supplement (chromium helps improve insulin regulation and glucose tolerance)

Hyperglycemia

While low blood sugars can lead to some serious health issues, having consistently high fasting blood sugars have many more health complications associated with it. High fasting blood glucose levels indicate that there is a dysfunction in your body’s insulin response. In medical terms this means you have insulin resistance and/or are progressing toward type 2 diabetes. Insulin is released by your pancreas in response to high blood sugar levels. It allows the cells to pull the glucose in and burn it for energy. So with type 2 diabetes you body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or your cells are not responding properly. Either way, your cells are unable to bring the glucose into the cells fast enough and, therefore, your blood glucose stays too high for too long. Having high blood sugar levels will cause damage and health issues such as increased triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels. These can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and a host of other serious health issues which we will cover in another article.

High blood sugar will lead to increased belly fat. Which is obviously not fun, but it can lead to very serious health issues. First off, the higher the fat the closer the fat is to your vital organs and can impede on their normal functions. Secondly, belly fat is metabolically active, which means that it produces inflammatory byproducts such as chemicals, hormones, and enzymes. These byproducts can lead to and increase the rate

Factors that increase your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes

There are many different factors that play a role in your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, here are just few to give you an idea

  • Genetics
  • Diet
  • Stress
  • Envirnmental toxins
  • Sleep quality

Genetics

People with immediate family who have type 2 diabetes are about 3 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people without a family history.

Diet

The type and amount of food you eat will have a huge impact on the development and progression of type 2 diabetes, particularly refined sugars. This include things such as sweets and desserts, sugary soft drinks, and alcohol. Avoiding these type of foods can decrease your risk for developing type 2 diabetes and a lot of the health issues associated with diabetes.

Stress

Increased levels of stress cause a lot of hormonal imbalances, inflammation, as well as thyroid issues. The stress hormone, cortisol, can increase the risk of diabetes related health issues including nerve damage and vision problems

Nutrient Deficiencies

Chromium

Chromium is essential for proper insulin receptor functioning and are typically found to be low in typical diets

Magnesium

Magnesium plays a role in regulating the release and activity of insulin, as well as helps regulate inflammatory markers.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps increase the efficacy of insulin and also has anti-inflammatory effects.

Zinc

Zinc plays a key role in the synthesis and action of insulin.

Symptoms of Hyperglycemia include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing infections

Lifestyle recommendations for people with high blood glucose (after consulting your doctor of course!)

  • Choose low glycemic foods with sustained glucose release throughout the day to avoid the spikes and drops
  • Increase lean protein intake Organic grass fed is best with higher omega-3 content. It is also a good source of chromium, and zinc
  • Eliminate simple, refined sugars and carbs like breads and pasta
  • Increase fiber intake
  • Regular physical activity will help your body better manage glucose levels
  • Use healthy oils and fats to help minimize blood sugar spikes
  • Add some cinnamon to your food, cinnamon has been shown to low blood sugar levels

Supplementation (after consulting your doctor of course!)

  • Good quality daily multivitamin
  • Take a quality Omega-3 Fish oil
  • Take a quality chromium supplement (chromium helps improve insulin regulation and glucose tolerance)
  • Vitamin-D supplementation is critical

As you can see it's absolutely critical the you know your numbers!! they will not only steer you in the right direction for a healthy life but they could save your life! Stay tuned for more in this series!!

-- Comment below if you have blood test numbers you would like us to review!!​ --
Stephen Cummock
 

I am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through NSCA, Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified through the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, Level 1 Sports Performance Coach through the USA weightlifting Organization, Level 1 Precision Nutrition Certified, as well as a Corrective Exercise Specialist, Performance Enhancement Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer through NASM. I have over 10 years of experience in the health and fitness industry and 3 years of experience as an NCAA D1 strength and conditioning coach. I completed my bachelor’s degree from University of Northern Colorado in Exercise Sciences in 2010 and finished my Master’s in Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics in 2012. I have worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from special populations, weight loss, and even up to professional athletes. I have trained and educated people on how to become top notch personal trainers.

Corrie Cummock - 7 months ago

I had a physical this year and my doctor recommended I take magnesium 500 everyday day. I didn’t really question it but you made me feel better about taking it. Doctors act so busy anymore you feel like your actually bothering them. Some days my eyes really bug me. This was very enjoyable reading! I will definitely pay more attention to myself and the symptoms.

    Stephen Cummock - 7 months ago

    Yes! Knowing you it would be very helpful to your health if you managed your blood sugars! Magnesium will help and so will chromium…something easy to do is add some cinnamon to your diet…like in shakes or something…NOT on powdered donuts 😂

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