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1,5-Anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG) is a promising biomarker linked to blood sugar control and diabetes complications. 

1,5-Anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG) is a biomarker used to assess short-term glycemic control, particularly in individuals with diabetes. It provides a unique perspective on blood glucose fluctuations, offering insights into postprandial hyperglycemia. 

As a natural sugar, 1,5-AG can indicate short-term blood sugar changes, especially after meals.

This article explores the importance of 1,5-AG, focusing on its role in managing diabetes.

Given the rising diabetes rates globally, reliable biomarkers are needed to track blood sugar levels and predict diabetes-related issues. 

Understanding 1,5-Anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG)

Definition and Overview of 1,5-AG  [13.]

1,5-Anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG) is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol found in the body.  It shares structural similarities with glucose but differs in its metabolism and physiological functions. 

Specifically, 1,5-Anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG) is a 6-carbon monosaccharide similar to D-glucose, and it is naturally occurring in human plasma and cerebrospinal fluid. 

It is found in foods like soy, rice, pasta, and fruits, with daily intake averaging 4.5 mg.  [16.]   1,5-AG is easily absorbed in the intestine and freely filtered in the kidneys at a rate of 5-10 mg/mL per day.  [9.]  

Its reabsorption in the kidneys involves the SGLT4 transporter, which is competitively inhibited by glucose, affecting 1,5-AG levels in diabetes management.  

It is minimally metabolized in the body, although its serum levels are affected at the level of the kidneys by glucose concentrations in the bloodstream, making it an effective marker for postprandial hyperglycemia.  [10.]

Typically, 1,5-AG accumulates in various organs after intestinal absorption.  Since the compound is not metabolized, a stable blood level is maintained in individuals with blood glucose levels below 180 mg/dL through a balance of urinary excretion and reabsorption.  [12.]

In hyperglycemic states, urinary excretion of 1,5-AG increases, reducing its serum levels. Thus, serum 1,5-AG inversely reflects short-term glycemic control, particularly postprandial hyperglycemia.

1,5-AG Levels in Diabetes Management

In people with diabetes, 1,5-anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG) is a marker for hyperglycemia and glycemic variability. Because 1,5-AG’s reabsorption is competitively inhibited at the kidneys, 1,5-AG is inversely related to blood glucose levels.  A higher blood glucose concentration results in lower 1,5-AG blood levels.  

1,5-AG is useful for monitoring glycemic changes over the short to medium term in diabetic individuals. Studies have linked low 1,5-AG levels with increased risk of diabetes and, among diabetic patients, with complications such as retinopathy, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.  [9.]

The FDA approved the Glycomark™ test for 1,5-AG monitoring in 2003.  The Glycomark™ test is a blood test that shows an individual’s average post-meal glucose levels over 1-2 weeks, providing additional information outside of traditional HbA1c testing.  [1.]

It provides insight into recent trends towards or away from A1C goals, indicating improving or worsening glycemic control. The test is also independently associated with increased rates of diabetes complications. 

When used alongside A1C, GlycoMark offers a more comprehensive assessment of glycemic control and may increase early identification of prediabetic people at increased risk of developing symptoms of diabetes.  

Clinical Usefulness of 1,5-AG

The clinical utility of 1,5-anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG) in diabetes management lies in its ability to monitor short-term glycemic control. 

Unlike HbA1c, which reflects average glucose levels over two to three months, 1,5-AG is sensitive to glycemic changes in the preceding one to two weeks. It can detect early changes in glycemic control and postprandial glucose excursions, making it valuable for managing patients with recent glycemic variability, such as those on steroid therapy or with medication-induced hyperglycemia. 

Assessing 1,5-AG levels may provide additional benefit for certain groups of people.  

The fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test is more commonly used for diabetes screening than the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), which is the gold standard but more complicated. 

However, using only a fasting plasma glucose test may miss a significant number of Chinese diabetic patients who tend to present with isolated postprandial hyperglycemia rather than isolated fasting hyperglycemia, which is more common in European patients.  [17.] 

Therefore, relying solely on FPG for screening in the Chinese population could lead to underdiagnosis of diabetes.  [17.]

One study suggests that combining fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and serum 1,5-AG criteria can improve the diagnostic efficiency of diabetes screening in the Chinese population, reducing the need for oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) by over 40%.  [17.]

The optimal cut-off point for serum 1,5-AG in this population was identified as 15.9 μg/mL. This approach allows for more sensitive and convenient diabetes screening, aiding in early detection and intervention.  [17.]

It is important to note that 1,5-AG testing has clinical significance in exposing postprandial hyperglycemic episodes in type 2 diabetic patients with a HbA1c of 8% or below, but this effect is lost when HbA1c is higher than 8%.  [4., 12.] 

Laboratory Testing for 1,5-AG

Overview of Laboratory Test, Sample Collection, and Preparation

Laboratory testing for 1,5-AG typically involves the quantification of 1,5-AG levels in blood.  The Glycomark™ test is the FDA-approved blood test for 1,5-AG levels.  Sample collection typically requires a venipuncture.  

Interpretation of 1,5- AG Test Results

Reference Range for 1,5-AG Levels

Reference ranges for 1,5-AG levels are listed as: [1.]

<18 years: Not established

Adult male: 10.7−32.0 μg/mL

Adult female: 6.8−29.3 μg/mL

Glycemic control goal for diabetic patients: >10

Clinical Significance of High Levels of 1,5-AG

High levels of 1,5-anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG) are generally considered to be indicative of good glycemic control in individuals with diabetes. 

Unlike low levels, which suggest recent postprandial hyperglycemic episodes, high levels indicate that blood glucose levels have been well-managed and within the normal range, typically below the renal threshold for glucose.

Because 1,5-AG is not metabolized in the body, 1,5-AG levels in the blood remain relatively constant with blood glucose levels below 180 mg/dL.  [12.]

Therefore, elevated 1,5-AG levels can be interpreted as a positive sign in the management of diabetes, reflecting effective control of blood sugar levels and a lower risk of diabetes-related complications. 

However, it's important to note that the interpretation of 1,5-AG levels should be done in the context of other clinical and laboratory findings for a comprehensive assessment of glycemic control.

Clinical Significance of Low Levels of 1,5-AG

A decrease in 1,5-AG levels indicates recent, short-term hyperglycemia and high postprandial glycemic variability, which are important factors in the development and progression of diabetes-related complications. 

Low 1,5-AG and Diabetes Management  [11.]

Low levels of 1,5-Anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG) in patients with diabetes can signal poor short-term glycemic control, particularly reflecting episodes of postprandial hyperglycemia. 

This marker responds rapidly to changes in blood glucose levels, offering a valuable tool for monitoring glycemic control alongside traditional measures like HbA1c. In clinical studies, 1,5-AG has demonstrated sensitivity to glycemic changes within two weeks of therapy adjustments, whereas HbA1c typically shows responses after about one month. 

This makes 1,5-AG particularly useful for evaluating the effectiveness of antihyperglycemic treatments and adjusting therapeutic approaches swiftly to avoid complications associated with erratic glucose levels. 

In individuals with type 2 diabetes, low 1,5-AG levels may suggest poor glycemic control, especially recent postprandial hyperglycemia.  This is true even when other markers such as HbA1c indicate stable blood glucose levels. This can be particularly useful for adjusting treatment regimens to better manage glucose fluctuations.

Moreover, low levels of 1,5-AG have been associated with an increased risk of microvascular and macrovascular complications in people with diabetes. Studies have shown that individuals with lower 1,5-AG levels are at a higher risk of developing retinopathy, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.  [12.]

Therefore, monitoring 1,5-AG levels can provide valuable information for the early detection and prevention of diabetes-related complications, complementing other glycemic indicators and contributing to a more comprehensive approach to diabetes management.

Low 1,5-AG and Cardiovascular Outcomes  [15.]

Low levels of 1,5-anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG) are clinically significant as they are associated with increased long-term cardiac mortality in acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients with relatively low hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels. 

1,5-AG serves as a marker for postprandial hyperglycemia, and its reduction indicates higher glucose levels, which can predict cardiovascular risks even in well-controlled diabetic patients. Therefore, measuring 1,5-AG levels alongside HbA1c can provide a more comprehensive assessment of glycemic control and cardiovascular risk in patients with diabetes, particularly in those with HbA1c levels below 7.0%. 

Further studies are needed to determine the precise cut-off values for 1,5-AG levels in predicting cardiovascular events in different populations and conditions .

Testing Biomarkers Related to 1,5-AG

Testing other biomarkers associated with glucose metabolism and glycemic control, complement the assessment of 1,5-Anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG) levels. Understanding these related biomarkers provides a comprehensive picture of metabolic health and aids in the diagnosis and management of diabetes and related conditions.

Glycated Hemoglobin (HbA1c)

Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) is a well-established biomarker used in diabetes management, reflecting average blood glucose levels over the preceding 2-3 months. HbA1c forms when glucose irreversibly binds to hemoglobin in the bloodstream, providing an integrated measure of long-term glycemic control. Monitoring HbA1c levels helps assess diabetes risk, guide treatment decisions, and evaluate the effectiveness of therapy.

Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG)

Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) is a simple and widely used test for assessing blood glucose levels after an overnight fast. Elevated FPG levels indicate impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or diabetes mellitus, highlighting abnormalities in glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. 

Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed with two abnormal fasting plasma glucose tests of 126 mg/dL or higher.  [5.]


Fructosamine testing is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for monitoring glucose control, especially in situations where HbA1c tests may be unreliable, such as in patients with certain red blood cell disorders or kidney disease. 

This test measures the glycation of serum proteins like albumin over a period of two to three weeks, reflecting shorter-term changes in blood sugar levels. 

As fructosamine reflects the glycation of proteins with a faster turnover than the red blood cells measured by HbA1c, it can provide a more immediate picture of glycemic control, useful in adjusting diabetes management strategies more promptly.  [7.]

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)

The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) assesses glucose metabolism by measuring blood glucose levels before and after ingesting a standardized glucose solution. OGTT is used to diagnose gestational diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), and other glucose metabolism disorders. It provides insights into the body's ability to metabolize glucose and identifies individuals at risk for diabetes and related complications.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems measure interstitial glucose levels in real-time, offering a comprehensive view of glucose fluctuations throughout the day. CGM devices provide valuable data on glucose patterns, glycemic variability, and hypoglycemic episodes, facilitating personalized diabetes management strategies. CGM is particularly useful in optimizing insulin therapy, preventing hyperglycemia, and improving diabetes outcomes.

Clinical Applications of 1,5-AG Testing

Diagnosis and Monitoring of Diabetes

1,5-AG testing is a tool in the diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes mellitus. Decreased 1,5-AG levels aid in the early detection of impaired glucose control and in identifying individuals at risk for diabetes-related complications. 

Monitoring changes in 1,5-AG levels over time provides insights into the effectiveness of diabetes management strategies and guides adjustments to treatment plans.

Assessment of Glycemic Variability

Glycemic variability, characterized by fluctuations in blood glucose levels, is associated with an increased risk of diabetes complications, including cardiovascular disease and neuropathy. 1,5-AG testing offers a unique perspective on glycemic variability by capturing short-term changes in blood glucose levels, particularly postprandial hyperglycemia.

Integrating 1,5-AG measurements with other glycemic markers allows for a comprehensive assessment of glycemic control and variability, enabling tailored interventions to optimize diabetes management.

Prediction of Diabetes-Related Complications

Elevated blood glucose levels, especially postprandial hyperglycemia, are implicated in the development of diabetes-related complications including cardiovascular disease, retinopathy, and nephropathy. 

1,5-AG testing provides valuable prognostic information by reflecting recent glucose fluctuations and identifying individuals at higher risk for complications due to impaired glucose control. 

Personalized Diabetes Management

By incorporating 1,5-AG testing into routine clinical practice, healthcare providers can tailor diabetes management strategies to individual patient needs. Monitoring 1,5-AG levels allows for the identification of suboptimal glycemic control and the implementation of targeted interventions to improve glucose regulation. 

Additionally, 1,5-AG testing facilitates shared decision-making between patients and healthcare providers, empowering individuals to actively participate in their diabetes care and achieve better health outcomes.

Natural Ways to Optimize Blood Glucose Levels 

Healthy blood sugar begins with a healthy diet and lifestyle.  The following tools can support healthy blood sugar levels, including postprandial blood sugar.  It is essential for individuals with diabetes, impaired blood sugar management, or insulin resistance to work with a licensed healthcare provider.


  • Consume a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
  • Limit intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and beverages high in added sugars.
  • Monitor carbohydrate intake and focus on complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index.


  • Engage in regular physical activity such as walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling to help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Maintain a healthy weight through a combination of diet and exercise.  [8.]
  • Support healthy sleep habits and patterns; poor sleep is associated with worse glycemic control.  [14.]


  • Chromium: Helps improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.  [2.]
  • Berberine: berberine has potent hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects.  [16.]
  • Alpha-lipoic acid: Acts as an antioxidant and may enhance insulin sensitivity.  [6.]
  • Cinnamon: Contains compounds that mimic insulin and may help lower blood sugar levels.  [3.]

Consult with a healthcare provider before taking any supplements to determine the appropriate dosage and ensure compatibility with existing medications or health conditions.

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1,5-Anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG) is a natural sugar found in almost all foods and travels through your bloodstream. It's a special indicator that shows your body's average blood sugar levels over the past two weeks. Unlike other markers, 1,5-AG focuses on high blood sugar peaks - the moments when blood sugar levels go above normal. It's like a security camera, catching the sudden increases in blood sugar that might otherwise be missed. This makes 1,5-AG a helpful tool in understanding how your body manages sugar, giving you insights into how well your body handles the sugar from the food and drinks you have.
If Your Levels Are High
Elevated 1,5-AG levels may suggest that your body is doing a good job at controlling blood sugar. This could be because you're eating a balanced diet, staying active, or your body is just naturally good at regulating sugar levels. Sometimes, certain medications or supplements can also cause higher 1,5-AG levels. Additionally, there might be some underlying health conditions related to how your body processes sugar or hormones that could play a role in these higher levels.
Symptoms of High Levels
Symptoms of high levels of 1,5-AG are typically not noticeable, as this marker is not directly associated with specific physical manifestations.
If Your Levels are Low
Low levels of 1,5-AG might mean that your body is having a hard time keeping your blood sugar stable, causing it to spike more often than it should. This could be due to various reasons like the food you eat, stress, not getting enough exercise, or even certain medications you might be taking. Some specific health issues that could be linked to this include insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome, which both affect how your body uses sugar for energy. Remember, these conditions can often be managed and even reversed with the right lifestyle changes and care.
Symptoms of Low Levels
Symptoms of low levels of 1,5-AG may not be immediately noticeable, as this marker primarily captures hidden spikes in blood sugar. However, over time, frequent blood sugar spikes could lead to symptoms such as frequent urination, increased thirst, fatigue, blurred vision, and unexplained weight loss.
See References

[1.] 500115: GlycoMark® | Labcorp. Accessed April 11, 2024. 

[2.] Asbaghi O, Fatemeh N, Mahnaz RK, et al. Effects of chromium supplementation on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pharmacological Research. 2020;161:105098. doi: 

[3.] Crawford P. Effectiveness of cinnamon for lowering hemoglobin A1C in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Board Fam Med. 2009 Sep-Oct;22(5):507-12. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2009.05.080093. PMID: 19734396. 

[4.] DynaMedex. Accessed April 11, 2024. 

[5.] DynaMedex. Accessed April 12, 2024. 

[6.] Elbadawy AM, Abd Elmoniem RO, Elsayed AM. Alpha lipoic acid and diabetes mellitus: potential effects on peripheral neuropathy and different metabolic parameters. Alexandria Journal of Medicine. 2021;57(1):113-120. doi:  

[7.] Gounden V, Ngu M, Anastasopoulou C, et al. Fructosamine. [Updated 2023 Aug 14]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: 

[8.] Gummesson A, Nyman E, Knutsson M, Karpefors M. Effect of weight reduction on glycated haemoglobin in weight loss trials in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2017 Sep;19(9):1295-1305. doi: 10.1111/dom.12971. Epub 2017 May 22. PMID: 28417575. 

[9.] Juraschek SP, Miller ER 3rd, Appel LJ, Christenson RH, Sacks FM, Selvin E. Effects of dietary carbohydrate on 1,5-anhydroglucitol in a population without diabetes: results from the OmniCarb trial. Diabet Med. 2017 Oct;34(10):1407-1413. doi: 10.1111/dme.13391. Epub 2017 Jul 9. PMID: 28574153; PMCID: PMC5603394.

[10.] Koga M. 1,5-Anhydroglucitol and Glycated Albumin in Glycemia. Advances in Clinical Chemistry. Published online January 1, 2014:269-301. doi: 

[11.] McGill JB, Cole TG, Nowatzke W, et al. Circulating 1,5-Anhydroglucitol Levels in Adult Patients With Diabetes Reflect Longitudinal Changes of Glycemia. Diabetes Care. 2004;27(8):1859-1865. doi: 

[12.] Medicare Local Coverage Determination Policy. Accessed April 11, 2024. 

[13.] Migała M, Chałubińska-Fendler J, Zielińska M. 1,5-Anhydroglucitol as a Marker of Acute Hyperglycemia in Cardiovascular Events. Rev Diabet Stud. 2022 Jun 30;18(2):68-75. doi: 10.1900/RDS.2022.18.68. PMID: 35831937; PMCID: PMC10044046. 

[14.] Nakajima H, Kaneita Y, Yokoyama E, Harano S, Tamaki T, Ibuka E, Kaneko A, Takahashi I, Umeda T, Nakaji S, Ohida T. Association between sleep duration and hemoglobin A1c level. Sleep Med. 2008 Oct;9(7):745-52. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2007.07.017. Epub 2007 Oct 24. Erratum in: Sleep Med. 2009 Sep;10(8):937-8. PMID: 17921062 

[15.] Ouchi S, Shimada K, Miyazaki T, Takahashi S, Sugita Y, Shimizu M, Murata A, Kadoguchi T, Kato T, Aikawa T, Suda S, Sai E, Hiki M, Iwata H, Kasai T, Miyauchi K, Daida H. Low 1,5-anhydroglucitol levels are associated with long-term cardiac mortality in acute coronary syndrome patients with hemoglobin A1c levels less than 7.0. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2017 Nov 21;16(1):151. doi: 10.1186/s12933-017-0636-1. PMID: 29157245; PMCID: PMC5696682.

[16.] Yin J, Xing H, Ye J. Efficacy of berberine in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Metabolism. 2008 May;57(5):712-7. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2008.01.013. PMID: 18442638; PMCID: PMC2410097.

[17.] Ying L, He XX, Ma X, et al. Serum 1,5-anhydroglucitol when used with fasting plasma glucose improves the efficiency of diabetes screening in a Chinese population. 2017;7(1). doi: 

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