Five Hacks for Improving Blood Sugar Sensitivity from a Functional Medicine Perspective

by 
Dr. Frank Tortorice
Five Hacks for Improving Blood Sugar Sensitivity from a Functional Medicine Perspective


Diabetes Mellitus (DM), Prediabetes, Insulin Resistance, and Diabetes Type 3 (Alzheimer’s Disease caused by Glucotoxicity) are exploding in the Western World and large countries like China and India over the last two decades.

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Studies from the CDC show that over 100 million Americans have DM or prediabetes mellitus. In China, prediabetes affects 38.1% of the population, and diabetes mellitus affects over 12.4%. Prediabetes in India is estimated to be up to 14%.

Diabetes Mellitus is defined as having a fasting blood sugar of at least 126 on two separate occasions or having a HgA1C of at least 6.5.

Prediabetes is defined as having a fasting blood sugar of 100 -125 or a HgA1C of 5.7 - 6.4. But a recently published study involving a large number of patients showed that diabetic risk increases approximately 6% for every fasting blood sugar (FBS) point that goes above 84. Based on these numbers, many patients do not know that they have prediabetes and are at increased health risks.

Therefore it’s important to know the signs and symptoms associated with blood sugar dysregulation.

Signs & Symptoms of Blood Sugar Sensitivity

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Drowsiness in the early afternoon
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Frequent urination

Possible Causes of Blood Sugar Sensitivity

  • Obesity, especially abdominal fat
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • High carbohydrate diet
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Family history of Diabetes
  • Smoking

Functional Labs to Test for Blood Sugar Sensitivity

Five Hacks for Improving Blood Sugar Sensitivity

  1. Decrease your intake of Linoleic Acid. While some linoleic is good for us to consume, we are eating a number 5-10 times the healthy recommended amounts. Lower levels of linoleic acid may help with insulin resistance, but the much higher levels found in today’s meals lead to a myriad of health problems, including an increase in overall inflammation and blood sugars. High linoleic acid is commonly found in conventionally farmed pork or poultry products.
  2. Practice intermittent fasting. Many books have already been written on IF, but some authors believe you can get many health benefits (including improved blood sugar sensitivity) in as little as 12 hours of fasting. The 24-48 hour fasts also have benefits, but most of the benefits can accrue at 12-16 hours mark. Some experts feel that fasting just two times a week may provide lasting benefits. Fast mimicking plans such as Prolon may help improve insulin resistance. Consult your doctor before starting any prolonged fast due to possible side effects if you are on any prescription medications.
  3. Get proper, restful sleep of 7-9 hours nightly. Not getting enough adequate sleep can lead to many problems, including diabetes mellitus.
  4. Wait at least 3 hours after eating to go to sleep. This helps with several beneficial health properties, including autophagy and insulin sensitivity.
  5. Practice EWOT (Exercise with Oxygen Therapy) Although relatively new to the marketplace, EWOT centers are springing up in many communities. A 20-minute session (such as a recumbent bike or treadmill while wearing a special mask) has innumerable benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity, improving immunity, and even reversing diabetic retinopathy.

Summary

Many people can have prediabetes with no symptoms. An early diagnosis is critical for stopping the progression of this chronic disease. Working with a Functional Doctor and adhering to the lifestyle and medications can help delay or avoid the complications of this dreaded disease.

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References

American Sleep Apnea Association. “Sleep Apnea Information for Clinicians.” Www.sleepapnea.org, 26 May 2021, https://www.sleepapnea.org/learn/sleep-apnea-information-clinicians/.

A.P.;, Simopoulos. “Is Insulin Resistance Influenced by Dietary Linoleic Acid and Trans Fatty Acids?” Free Radical Biology & Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8001841/.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, July 18). New CDC report: More than 100 million Americans have Diabetes or prediabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html

Jose J, Thomas N. How should one tackle prediabetes in India? Indian J Med Res. 2018 Dec;148(6):675-676. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30777999/

Lee HJ;Seo HI;Cha HY;Yang YJ;Kwon SH;Yang SJ; “Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease: Mechanisms and Nutritional Aspects.” Clinical Nutrition Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30406052/#:~:text=It%20has%20been%20speculated%20that,mechanisms%20underlying%20diabetes%2Drelated%20dementia.

Limin Wang, M. P. H. (2021, December 28). Prevalence and treatment of Diabetes in China, 2013-2018. JAMA. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2787545#:~:text=The%20combined%20prevalence%20of%20diabetes,a%20previous%20diagnosis%20of%20diabetes.

Nichols GA, Hillier TA, Brown JB. “Normal fasting plasma glucose and risk of type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Am J Med. 2008 Jun;121(6):519-24. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18501234/

S.R.;, Ogilvie RP;Patel. “The Epidemiology of Sleep and Diabetes.” Current Diabetes Reports, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30120578/.

Squibb, Author Mark. “The Definitive Guide to Exercise with Oxygen Therapy (EWOT).” LiveO2, https://liveo2.com/ewot/.

Wang L, Peng W, Zhao Z, Zhang M, Shi Z, Song Z, Zhang X, Li C, Huang Z, Sun X, Wang L, Zhou M, Wu J, Wang Y. Prevalence and Treatment of Diabetes in China, 2013-2018. JAMA. 2021 Dec 28;326(24):2498-2506. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20335585/

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Dr. Frank Tortorice
MD, ABIM, IFMCP
Website
Kresser Institute ADAPT Practitioner, Level 1. CSCS certified. Owner of Bay Area Wellness Center (BAWC) in Burlingame, California. Gut Health, Weight Management, Overall Wellness Care, Mold Toxicity, Heavy Metal Eradication, Adrenal Dysfunction, Enhance Cognition and Reverse Brain Decline
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