With 51% of the U.S. population now being overweight, it’s no surprise that blood sugar levels have risen as well. Most of us are living fast-paced lifestyles and reaching for quick, highly processed foods that are packed full of sugar and contain little to no nutrients. If not stopped, this pattern will continue to have detrimental effects as many of us will literally eat ourselves to death.
Symptoms of Elevated Blood Sugar
While it is true that the body needs glucose for the ongoing process of energy production. Too much of it can be detrimental. Signs that an individual is experiencing high blood sugar include:
- Brain fog
- Excessive thirst and hunger
- Excessive urination or increased urinary output
If experiencing the symptoms above, it is best to seek a medical professional to perform testing. Glucose and hemoglobin are the two most common tests to measure blood glucose levels. While most doctors will say that a glucose range of 70-110 is good, ideally, it should really be closer to 60-90. An ideal marker for the hemoglobin A1C test is 5.0.
In addition to these tests, a doctor may suggest a triglycerides test as these tend to be elevated when blood sugar is too high. Triglycerides are simply fat in the bloodstream that increases with excess sugar because the body converts sugar not needed for energy production into fat. Doctors will recommend staying below 150 on triglyceride tests, but individuals should stay under 75 to avoid metabolic or pre-metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes.
The Role of Insulin
When an individual is diagnosed with diabetes, depending on the situation, he or she may be prescribed insulin. What most people don’t realize, however, is that the body is designed to make insulin on its own allowing it to use or store glucose for energy production.
Insulin is produced in the pancreas and is made out of several nutrients. These include magnesium, vitamin B12, and, most importantly, zinc, which holds all of the components of insulin together. Being deficient in any of these could result in low or poor insulin production.
Important Vitamins and Minerals
Throughout the whole process of energy production from the creation of insulin to the break down of sugar, several vitamins and minerals are required. Without them, these processes will not work, ultimately, impacting the functioning of the body. These include:
- Niacin (B3) and Chromium (Glucose Tolerance Factor) – These support insulin receptors
- Calcium and Inositol – These support the door to the receptors. Without them, glucose remains trapped in the bloodstream.
- Vitamins B and C, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, Copper, and CoQ10 – These are needed for energy production in the cell which allows the body to function, heal and repair.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D receptors are on the pancreas communicating to the pancreas when the bloodstream needs insulin.
Without these, metabolizing and utilizing glucose properly would be a challenge, if non-existent. Individuals suspecting an issue with blood sugar should also be tested to ensure they do not have a deficiency in these vitamins and minerals.
Controlling Excess Sugar
Whether blood sugar is too high or too low, it can be controlled through food input. One of the most glucose-driving foods is grain, followed by dairy and sugar. With a diet high in these foods, it is extremely difficult to control blood sugar levels.
Caffeine can also stimulate an elevation in glucose by prompting the liver to produce or release glucose into the bloodstream, creating a sort of “sugar high.” Similarly, stress also forces glucose into the bloodstream, and once there, the body must activate its cycle to get rid of it. While not all stress can be controlled, taking steps like getting more sleep and exercise, and setting boundaries with friends and family can help reduce it.
Sugar’s Effects on the Body
As blood glucose levels remain high for a prolonged period of time, the body will break down and disease can start to set in. One reason for this is glycation or a stickiness produced by the excess sugar in the blood. Over time, this can start to affect proteins and hormones, changing their functions and impacting organs.
Blood vessels may also be affected by this condition, especially the smallest ones found in the eyes and kidneys. This is why many diabetics have eye and kidney problems and are sometimes faced with blindness or forced to seek dialysis treatments.
With such an impact on the body, it should be no surprise that elevated blood glucose levels can cause several conditions and diseases, including:
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s, or what some are referring to as Type 3 Diabetes
- Kidney failure
- Slow or poor healing leading to gangrene
- Oxygen deprivation
- Poor immune function
- High blood pressure
- Rapid growth of cancer cells
Diabetics specifically will tend to develop:
- Neurological problems in the feet
Rather than getting to the root of the problem, many doctors will simply prescribe medication to treat the symptoms of these. The medications prescribed, however, can in turn cause deficiencies in several vitamins and minerals that are key to the proper generation of energy. For example, Metformin, a medication prescribed for diabetes, can cause deficiencies in CoQ10, Folate, and B12 leading to brain fog, fatigue, and hormonal imbalance.
Finding the Balance
While all of these symptoms and diseases are scary, the good news is that there is a solution that doesn’t require medication or seeing a doctor at all. It comes down to finding a balance in the diet with an equal distribution of fats, proteins, and healthy carbohydrates. While fad diets, like Keto, may work in the short term, most people find them difficult to stick with over long periods of time, causing them to revert back to old habits.
After the diet, exercise is one of the primary criteria for overcoming insulin resistance. With that in mind, try implementing an exercise program you can stick with. Find something that fits easily into your lifestyle and don’t be afraid to regularly switch it up. Taking these steps and finding a proper balance now will really make a difference in your health in the long run.