Typically, a physical at your doctor’s office will include a fasting blood test. If your results come back in the 110-120 range, you are generally told that it is a little high, but not too much of a concern – you do not have pre-diabetes or diabetes yet.
Unfortunately for you, damage is already occurring in your system at levels well below what is being recognized as a pre-disease or disease state such as diabetes. The following is to help you see what is actually occurring, and why you need to take a more thorough look at your blood sugar level. Keep in mind that all of the following are occurring while you are perhaps being told your Glucose metabolism levels are not a problem.
Clinical studies and autopsies show damage occurs much earlier than anyone thought – at 100 mg/dl. Elevated blood sugar levels cause a unique set of problems that affect the entire body. To understand the complications of this, and how soon problems begin occurring, we need to review a general understanding of the hormone insulin.
Understanding Insulin & Glucagon’s Role in the Body
The goal for your body is to keep blood sugar levels in a narrow range regardless of what you eat…..processed foods, donuts, fruits, etc. For most people this is normally between 70 and 110. The doctor’s lab range usually shows it as 65 to 99. That is not really a lot of sugar in your bloodstream. For a person that weighs about 150 pounds, we are talking about less than 1/6th of an ounce. Fasting blood sugar should be about 80 to 85. (A Glucose Tolerance test is a better indicator and should not exceed 120 at two hours; however, medical offices rarely perform this test due to time and costs.)
Thanks to the pancreas, you body is equipped with a very effective system for maintaining this narrow range. When you eat a meal high in sugar (this can be carbohydrates not just sugar) and blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas (specifically the Beta Cells in the area of pancreas called the Islets of Langerhans) quickly release the hormone insulin. (Your body knows it has to keep blood sugar in balance so this occurs with extraordinary speed). The bloodstream quickly carries the insulin to all the cells in the body where the insulin triggers receptor sites on the cell walls, thus allowing the sugar to pass into the cell to be converted to energy.
If you eat more sugar then is needed for energy, it is stored as glycogen mostly in the liver but some is also stored in the muscles.
Once blood sugar levels are in normal range, the Beta Cells stop the production of insulin as the levels have been stabilized.
If your blood sugar starts to drop, the Alpha Cells from your pancreas release the other pancreatic hormone, glucagon, which triggers the release of the stored sugar (glycogen) from your liver and muscles, thus raising the blood sugar. The term “carb-loading” used by long distance runners and tri-athletes, refers their tying to fill their liver and muscles with this stored sugar, glycogen, for energy.
So far, everything is working fine in the body; however, at some point for various reasons (some of which are listed below), the insulin does not so easily pass through the cell walls causing the Beta Cells to have to increase the production of insulin, bombarding the cells to try to get the sugar into them for energy and balancing the blood sugar levels.
Following are the top reasons for cell walls and receptor cells not allowing insulin to cause the passage of sugar into the cells – with the first two being the most common:
- Too much sugar and carbs in the diet for a prolonged period of time requiring too much insulin release which can damage the receptor cells. (Diabetes was not much of an issue until processed and refined foods entered the national diet.)
- Too much transfat and saturated fat which can coat the cells, interfering with the insulin effectiveness. (Transfats have now been outlawed in restaurants in some states, but they are still in many foods). Again, Diabetes was not much of an issue until transfats, specifically margarine, were introduced into the national diet.
- Lack of the 46 essential nutrients that cells much have to properly function as designed. These nutrients must come from the food you eat or the supplements you take. Deficits in any of the 46 essentials can cause a disease state in the body. (The SONA vitamin line by Enerex USA is the best on the market).
- Genes that help regulate insulin may be damaged from toxins, metals, heredity, or other factors.
- Prolonged periods of stress – stress shuts down insulin, which causes blood levels to spike to make energy more available in times of need. The insulin production then spikes to bring the elevated sugar levels back down to normal.
As a result of this cell receptor issue, the cells in the body start to become resistant to the insulin being produced. Insulin levels must then be continually increased to force the sugar into the cells. This is the beginning of some other problems.
- If fat cells develop insulin resistance, they release triglycerides into the blood stream. And what are triglycerides made of…glucose (sugar), fatty acids, and water. So the free fatty acid levels rise in your bloodstream which is one of the warning signals of the Metabolic Syndrome (Increased risk for heart disease). Did you ever consider that the fatty acid problem in your bloodstream could be related to too much blood sugar?
- The increased insulin resistance in the liver and muscle cells means that they no longer store as much glucose, which again means that more sugar is in the bloodstream.
- Slightly elevated blood sugar levels (over 100) is the point where some of the Beta Cells begin to be damaged. Blood sugar over 110 causes damage to your retina.