The Dangers Of High Blood Sugar And Natural Solutions
By Nutrition Consultant, Jess Robinson
High blood sugar is linked to problems such as insulin resistance, obesity and type 2 diabetes. When you eat food that contains carbohydrates (or sugars), this causes a rise in your blood sugar level. As a response to the rise in blood sugar, your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin is essentially a storage hormone, as it sends a signal to our cells to open up and store nutrients. If you consume a lot of flour and sugar containing foods, your blood sugar (glucose) will rise rapidly causing a rapid increase in insulin levels. Insulin resistance occurs when there’s been a high demand for insulin for an extended period of time until eventually our body becomes resistant to the message; and more glucose is stored as fat rather than used for energy.
Signs and symptoms of chronically high insulin levels:
- Fatty liver – When our liver cells become infiltrated with fat and our liver is unable to function optimally.
- Carb or sugar cravings – Individuals with elevated insulin will have a huge appetite and nothing will hit the spot better than carbs.
- Elevated blood sugar – A fasting blood sugar level higher than 97mg/dL (5.4mmol/L) indicates insulin resistance.
- Skin issues – Insulin promotes higher levels of the male hormone testosterone, and increases the sensitivity of your face to testosterone. This increases your chances of having acne and greasy skin.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome – This disease is characterized by excess levels of testosterone in the body, and insulin promotes high testosterone.
- Scalp hair loss in women
- High blood pressure
- Swollen ankles – Insulin causes sodium and water retention, therefore making insulin resistant people look puffy. Fluid retention can occur in different areas of the body, such as your fingers, face and abdomen.
- Monitor your blood sugar
A large number of people have diabetes type 2, but are undiagnosed. If you haven’t had your blood sugar checked within the last 2 years, go to your doctor for a test. You should get a fasting blood sugar test as well as an HbA1c test. It is necessary to get both as a one off fasting blood sugar test can be a poor indicator of your glucose tolerance, as this type of test does not indicate how high your blood sugar gets after a meal. If you consume a lot of sugar and grains you may have elevated blood sugar levels for a large portion of the day, that a fasting blood test may not pick up on. A glycated haemoglobin test (HbA1c) is much more reliable as it better indicates your blood sugar for the past three months during the day and night. Your HbA1c should be below 5.5%.
- Follow a low-carb diet
People with insulin resistance cannot handle ordinary amounts of carbohydrate in their diet; as they oversecrete insulin in response to eating carbs. Sugar, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, breakfast cereals, sugary drinks and anything made of flour will all cause a dramatic rise in blood sugar, therefore these foods should be avoided. If you are insulin resistant you are less likely to feel satisfied after eating these foods, as a result you tend to overeat. There is an excellent low-carb eating plan in Dr Cabot’s book ‘Diabetes Type 2: You Can Reverse It Naturally’.
- Eat more protein
It is essential to consume some form of protein with every meal to help stabilise blood sugar levels, promote fullness and aid weight loss. Sources of protein include eggs, seafood, lean meat, whey protein, nuts, seeds and legumes. Synd-X is a low-carb high protein powder that is not only delicious, but excellent for lowering blood sugar levels and promoting satiety. Glicemic Balance capsules contain the herbs and nutrients to improve insulin sensitivity, keep blood sugar balanced, as well as reducing hunger cravings. Take 1 capsule with meals to reap the benefits.
- Exercise regularly
It should come as no surprise that exercise has significant health benefits such as reducing blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health, promoting a healthy mood and aiding weight loss. However, were you aware that physical activity naturally lowers blood sugar and insulin levels? That’s right, exercise is critical for preventing weight gain and for preventing the development of diabetes in the first place. Ideally, you should exercise every day for a minimum of 30 minutes, and if this is not feasible then at least 5 days a week. It is essential to get some cardiovascular exercises and strength training in. Good cardiovascular exercises include walking, running, cycling or swimming, and weight training can involve weights or exercises using your own body weight.
- Prioritize sleep
People often underestimate the importance of good quality sleep. It is recommended to get between 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Falling short of this can make you more prone to weight gain and high blood sugar. Lack of sleep causes lower levels of the hormone leptin in the body, the satiety hormone, and increases levels of the hormone ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Sleep deprivation also causes fatigue and lack of motivation which means you are less likely to exercise and make healthy food choices. If you have trouble getting to sleep, Magnesium is an excellent mineral for promoting relaxation and for maintaining good quality sleep. There are further sleep tips in Dr Cabot’s book ‘Tired of Not Sleeping?’.
- Love your liver
Maintaining a healthy liver is essential for balancing blood sugar levels, as if your liver is not functioning optimally you will be susceptible to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and sugar cravings. Fatty liver is when your liver becomes clogged with fat and this impairs your livers ability to act as the primary fat-burning organ and master detoxifier. Fatty liver diagnosis often occurs years before a diabetes diagnosis. Taking a quality liver tonic like Livatone Plus provides the nutrients needed to improve the health and efficiency of your liver. Berberine is an herbal extract that is especially beneficial for type 2 diabetics as studies have indicated it can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and even support weight loss.
“The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease”.