Today’s post kicks off the series, “How to Improve Fasting Blood Sugar Levels.” This will be the first series of 4, so stick with me for the next month and pick up a few tips each week and try to apply them to your life.
What Is A Fasting Blood Sugar?
A quick refresh, fasting blood sugar is a test of blood glucose after someone has been fasting for at least 8 hours, and this is typically overnight.
A normal fasting blood sugar level for someone without diabetes is less than 100 mg/dL, but in functional nutrition that is less than 85 mg/dL.
While I do have diabetes, I still aim for the 85 mg/dL, but this is dependent on the person and where someone is at in their management. It’s an aggressive goal, and someone with diabetes would need to make gradual changes and be very graceful with the process.
But before getting caught up in numbers, let’s look at some of the low hanging fruit of how to improve fasting blood sugar levels.
To Improve Fasting Blood Sugar Levels, One Must First Improve Insulin Resistance
Why Should We Care About Blood Sugar Levels?
Blood sugar control, diabetic or not, plays into everything for health and longevity but also learning (school), socializing, mental concentration, mental health, weight loss, inflammation and above all, someone’s quality of life.
What Is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance (IR) happens in the body when it is cranky from either processed food, too much food, too much fat or sugar (carbs), stress, infection, sickness, sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, or even just lack of movement and more. It is when your cells stop responding to insulin and therefore we either have to inject more or the pancreas has to pump more out. It is incredibly common with over 32.2% of the U.S. population has IR, and this is coming from 2012 data, which is old.
Insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity are two sides of the same coin and as someone with type 1 diabetes, we talk about insulin sensitivity all the time in the doctor’s office.
IR is Rising in Type 1 Diabetes? Aka “Double Diabetes”
Insulin resistance has been proposed as one of the reasons for suboptimal glycemic control in T1 diabetes, associated with increased insulin dose requirements and further weight gain.
Yet, it is comforting to know we can take action to change this. What are some of the easier things to evaluate and practice?
Improve IR By Starting With the Low Hanging Fruit
- Solidify sleep. Know your needs and get to know yourself. Realistically, how much sleep do you need to feel refreshed? For most people, this is somewhere between 7-9 hours. Also, improve the quality of your sleep by taking 400mg of magnesium before bed and if need be herbals. Email me with questions. Research shows that just 4 nights of sleep deprivation can spike insulin resistance up to 40% and metabolically age someone 10-20 years.
- Optimize your meal times and do your best to eat your 3 meals around the same time of the day each day.
- Hydrate. Drink half of your weight in ounces each day. Have a good water bottle ready to go to tackle this goal.
- Move. While exercise is great for our health and insulin sensitivity, moving your body, to help circulate blood every hour, can be arguably more important. Set a timer on your watch while your work, or place a few calendar notes in your work calendar to get up for water multiple times a day.
- Fast 12-13 hours every night, closing the kitchen after your dinner and waiting until morning to enjoy anything more. Water and herbal tea are fine to have while fasting. I’d say yes to coffee too, but if you are trying to improve fasting blood sugar and insulin resistance, coffee has been shown to impair such.
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