The Implications Of Elevated Glucose Levels.

© Free-Photo-Galler.orgIn the previous post I wrote about energy production and clearly, we need glucose to function. All of our cells use glucose for energy. However, even slightly elevated glucose levels can result in deadly implications. Sugar damages cells and excess glucose is one of the most ageing factors, which is responsible for diabetes and diabetic-like complications, inflammation, weight gain, arteriosclerosis, hormonal imbalance and inadequate cell growth and division.

Glucose accumulates in the blood mostly from carbohydrate foods (this includes sugars). Overconsumption of carbohydrates lessens the cellular sensitivity to insulin, resulting in excess glucose accumulation in the bloodstream. This leads to oxidative stress, inflammation and the onset of various degenerative diseases. Excess glucose also converts into triglycerides (fat) that is either stored as a body fat or accumulates in blood where they contribute to the formation of plaque. Saturated fat can also lessen insulin sensitivity. Cells loss of insulin sensitivity manifests itself in increased glucose levels because it is not utilised by energy producing cells. Fasting glucose raises, along with triglycerides and cholesterol, when people can’t utilise fat and breakdown carbohydrates.

Glucose levels also become higher with age, due to lessened cellular insulin sensitivity. In fact, research shows that over 75% of people over the age of 40-50 are suffering from prediabetic-related disorders. Thus elderly have to take drastic measures to combat elevated blood glucose.

A simple blood test can show your fasting blood glucose level.  Anything over 100 mg/dL can be diagnosed as onset of diabetes and those with readings over 86 mg/dL are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The ideal range is 70-85 mg/d.

Blood glucose levels can be controlled by reduced calorie intake, reduced carbohydrate intake or by enhancing the ability of our cells to efficiently utilise glucose for energy production, i. e. exercise. Many animal studies has demonstrated that calorie restriction diet reduces blood glucose, thus reducing the risk of age-related disease and extending the lifespan. Human studies suggest that keeping fasting glucose levels on the range of 70-85 mg/dL and not allowing after-meal glucose levels to spike higher than 40 mg/dL over the fasting limit, positively influence our longevity genes. For example, if one’s fasting glucose levels are 80 mg/dL, it should not be more than 120 mg/dL after a meal. If after-meal glucose levels reach above 140 mg/dL it increases the risk of almost all degenerative diseases, including retinal damage, arterial blockage, oxidative stress, inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, reduced coronary blood flow, increased risk of cancer, etc. Ideal daily calorie intake on calorie restriction diet depends on gender, body composition and level of activity. Generally, it ranges from 1200-1400 calories for women and less than 1800 for men. Those who find calorie restriction difficult, can follow Mediterranean/Low GI diet that I mentioned in my previous post. All forms of sugar, sweet fruit juices and processed foods and drinks should be avoided completely and the amount of sweet fruit consumption reduced to a minimum. Government’s “5-a-day” campaign has failed to specify that most of it should come from vegetables – not from fruit.

For those who just does not want or can’t excercise and reduce the calorie intake, there are certain formulas available on the market, that slow carbohydrate absorption to prevent blood sugar spike, and can block saturated fat absorption too. These formulas can reduce the glucose levels, but it will not reduce oxidative stress and inflammatory conditions associated with overeating. Remember: the more you take in – the more free radicals you produce as a result of digesting and breaking down food.

Metformin is a pharmaceutical drug used to treat type 2 diabetes and it is very effective for those at high risk of developing diabetes. Like many other drugs, it have some minor side effects and some contraindications. Do consult your doctor before taking it.

So book your blood test now and if needed, take some glucose reducing action before it’s too late.

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