Scientists devise a more accurate way to gauge blood sugar averages in diabetes


Combining the power of advanced math with tests commonly used to measure blood sugar, scientists from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have created a new model that more accurately accounts for long-term blood sugar fluctuations in people with diabetes. The disease affects more than 422 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization and more than 29 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By factoring in the age of each patient¹s red blood cells, the new method offers a more precise, individualized gauge of three-month averages and reduces in half the error rate of the most commonly used ‘ but sometimes inaccurate ‘ test known as A1C. Findings of the study are described Oct. 5 in Science Translational Medicine.

“What we currently deem the gold standard for estimating average blood glucose is nowhere as precise as it should be,” said senior investigator John Higgins, an associate professor of systems biology at HMS and a clinical pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Our study not only pinpoints the root of the inaccuracy but also offers a way to get around it.”

The A1C test led to notable off-target estimates in about a third of more than 200 patients whose test results were analyzed as part of the research. The team found these inaccuracies stemmed entirely from individual variations in the life span of a person¹s red blood cells.

In a final step, the scientists calculated new, age-adjusted estimates and tested their predictive accuracy by comparing them to actual measured directly via continuous glucose monitors ‘ wearable devices that read a person¹s blood sugar every five minutes.

Incorporating the new model into existing tests, the researchers said, could lead to more precise diagnosis, monitoring and better-tailored treatments.

Estimating a person¹s three-month blood sugar average is the best indicator of disease control and the most accurate predictor of looming complications, according to experts. Persistently elevated blood sugar can, over time, damage the heart, brain, kidneys, eyes, nerves and other organs.

Because blood sugar varies by the hour and even by the minute, capturing “an average” to account for fluctuations over an extended period is a far better indicator of disease status than taking a “snapshot” measurement at one time.

To estimate blood sugar averages, physicians use the A1C test as a proxy. The A1C measures so-called glycated hemoglobin ‘ the amount of sugar soaked up by red blood cells over an extended period of time.

The test, however, is somewhat imprecise. As little as 15 milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood could signal the difference between high normal values in a person without diabetes and low abnormal values in someone with the disease. The A1C test can lead to identical readings for people with average blood sugar levels that differ by as much as 60 mg/dl. At the same time, people with similar blood sugar levels can end up having widely divergent results. Researchers are not sure what fuels this discrepancy, but the age of red blood cells has recently emerged as a prime suspect.

“Like a water-soaked sponge that¹s been sitting on the kitchen sink for days, older red blood cells tend to have absorbed more glucose, while newly produced red blood cells have less because they haven¹t been around as long,” Higgins said.

Thus, the researchers said, two people with the same amount of sugar in their blood but could end up with different results on their A1C test depending on the average lifespan of their red blood cells.

To eliminate the influence of age-related variation, the HMS team developed a formula that factors in the life span of a person’s red blood cells. The formula is based on several values, including directly measured glucose levels, and, crucially, on earlier findings by Higgins’ team showing that in each person, the lifespan of red blood cells is tightly regulated, within 1 percent or so. Next, researchers compared the age-adjusted blood sugar estimates to estimates derived from the standard A1C test and then to readouts of glucose levels measured directly by continuous glucose monitors.

The standard A1C test provided values that were significantly off target ‘ by 15 mg/dl or more ‘ in one out of three patients. By factoring in red blood cell age, however, the scientists reduced the error rate to 1 in 10.

For example, using the standard A1c test, one patient’s glycated hemoglobin levels measured at 8.1 percent, leading to an estimated blood sugar level of 186 mg/dl. When the researchers factored in the person’s red blood cell age ‘ 45 days ‘ the estimate went up to 209 mg/dl. Compared with the actual glucose levels measured by a continuous glucose monitor ‘ 210mg/dl ‘ the age-adjusted estimate was off by a mere point. By contrast, the standard estimate was off by 24 points.

Incorporating the age-adjusted formula into current A1C testing approaches would significantly boost the accuracy of glucose estimates, the researchers said. Under the new model, patients could wear a glucose monitor for a few weeks to have their blood sugar tracked as a baseline, also allowing physicians to calculate the average age of a person¹s red blood cells before having the monitor removed.

“Physicians treating recently diagnosed patients would immediately know what a patient¹s red blood cell age is,” Higgins said. “The patient’s test results can then be adjusted to factor in the age and get a result that more accurately reflects the actual levels of blood sugar, allowing them to tailor treatment accordingly.”

14 Signs Showing That Your Blood Sugar Is Very High

There are many people around the world who suffer from this health condition. Diabetes is a metabolic disease, in which the blood sugar levels are high. But, people with diabetes are not the only ones who should we worried about their blood sugar levels. Every person in the world should be worried about their own blood sugar levels. This is extremely important, because when a healthy person has high blood sugar levels for a longer period of time, it can lead to diabetes or other more serious health problems. You should know that some other foods can cause spikes and raise your blood sugar levels, not just candies, cakes, sodas and other sugary stuff.

What are the causes of high blood sugar symptoms?
You could be experiencing high blood sugar symptoms if you feel always hungry, if you gained weight even if you are trying to lower them, or if you have stomach problems.
Factors that can contribute to high blood sugar are:
-Poor diet
-Lack of regular exercise
-Certain health conditions
-Use of certain medications


High blood sugar is just a symptom of diabetes, so it does not mean that you have diabetes. But,in some case, an individual experiencing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) could have no symptoms at all. But, the most commonly experienced symptoms are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Always being hungry
  • Frequent urination and/or urination during the night
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Daily fatigue or extreme tiredness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Excess abdominal fat/weight gain
  • Recurrent infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Impotence
  • Slow healing of cuts and wounds
  • Nerve problems
  • Stomach problems

Use this glycemic index food list to decrease high blood sugar symptoms:

You should use this glycemic index food list to decrease the high blood sugar symptoms. Glycemic index (GI) measures how some specific food that contains high amounts of carbohydrates can increase the blood sugar levels. These foods are ranked based on how they compare to a reference food – either glucose or white bread. This means that a food, which has a high glycemic index will raise the blood sugar levels more than a food with a medium or low glycemic index. The glycemic index scale goes from 0 to 100. You should also know that foods with high glycemic index are digested much faster, compared to the foods with low glycemic index. So, you can stop or prevent the high blood sugar symptoms just by consuming foods with low glycemic index.

You will prevent the high blood sugar symptoms if you consume more foods with low glycemic index, because these foods will reduce the insulin levels. Foods that have low glycemic index have other benefits for your health as well. They are very useful and effective in the weight loss process. So, if you want to lose weight, control your blood sugar levels and improve your health in general – then you should use this glycemic index food chart and consume foods with low glycemic index. These foods will help you achieve your goals much easier.

Glycemic Index Food List (for a few common foods)
1 egg-0
1 cup hummus – 6
1 cup broccoli – 10
1 medium yellow onion – 10
1 cup walnuts – 15
1 cup cashews – 22
1 cup cherries – 22
½ large grapefruit – 25
1 cup yogurt (without sugar added) – 23
1 Turkey sausage – 28
1 cup butter beans – 31
1 cup kidney beans – 34
1 medium apple – 38
8 oz. tomato juice – 38
1 cup spaghetti – 42
1 cup green grapes – 46
8 oz. pineapple juice – 46
1 large carrot – 47
1 medium orange – 48
1 large banana – 52
1 cup peas – 54
There are all low glycemic foods and they are ideal to consume. The scale is from 0 to 54 for low glycemic foods.
1 cup brown rice – 55
1 tablespoon honey – 55
1 cup oatmeal – 58
1 serving macaroni and cheese – 64
1 cup white rice – 64
These are moderate glycemic foods, and they should be used with caution. The scale is from 55 to 69 for moderate glycemic foods.
1 slice white bread – 70
2 cups popcorn – 72
1 glazed doughnut – 76
1 rice cake – 78
1 medium baked potato – 85
Corn flakes cereal – 92
50 grams glucose – 100
These are high glycemic foods, and you should try to avoid them or to completely eliminate them from your diet. The scale is from 70 to 100.

Flaxseed for Better Health and Better Blood Sugars?

I just love flaxseed, and one I supplement with daily.  Flaxseed has an amazing amount of benefits to help promote overall health. In saying that, how can one find flaxseed? What actual benefits does organic flaxseed provide? Can it help prevent your blood sugars from spiking? For that and much, much more, continue reading!

flaxseed health benefits

Flaxseed oil is an excellent supplement that supports the body’s vital systems. It is rich in the omega-3 essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. Although omega-3s are crucial to human health, they are not manufactured by the body, so it’s important to get a steady supply through dietary sources and supplements.

There are two types of essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6. Most Americans get enough omega-6 fatty acids from dietary sources such as meat, eggs and dairy. Omega-3s are necessary for growth, heart health and brain function, but many of us do not get enough of them from dietary sources. reports that multiple studies have shown that omega-3 supplements may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. These supplements have also been studied as a treatment for depression and other mental illnesses, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, ADHD, osteoporosis, and even cancer prevention.

Benefits of Flaxseed

Flaxseed oil offers a wide range of health benefits. There are some studies showing that flaxseed oil can reduce total cholesterol and LDL (low density lipoprotein also known as badcholesterol). This, however, is dependent on how well the alpha-linolenic acid is broken down into EPA and DHA.

Flaxseed oil is likely to make platelets less sticky, which could help to reduce the risk of heart attack. It may also lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels (fat in the blood). Flaxseed oil has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to regulate the heartbeat, further supporting good cardiovascular health. In addition, the flax seed contains compounds called lignans. Studies show that patients taking lignans had a 75% reduction in atherosclerotic plaque buildup.

Flaxseed itself is recommended for those who suffer from Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome because it is thought to be able to heal the lining of the stomach and reduce inflammation.

The ALA found in flaxseed inhibited tumor growth and incidence in animal studies. In addition, the lignans in flaxseed are thought to bind to estrogen receptors, reducing the risk of estrogen-driven breast cancer.

Flaxseed as an Antioxidant?

Overall, flaxseed is an antioxidant, which contributes to its cancer-fighting abilities. One study shows that taking flaxseed daily improves the dry eye condition that occurs with Sjogren’s syndrome. This condition is an autoimmune disorder where the immune systems attack salivary glands and tear producing glands.

Flaxseed is also thought to slightly improve blood sugar, assisting in the treatment of diabetes. In addition, it aids in general digestion because it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. The ALA and lignans found in flaxseed block pro-flammatory agents in the body.This action provides relief for many ailments. For instance, this could improve conditions for people with asthma. It can help with the recovery of sprains and other injuries where inflammation is present.

For women in the menopausal stage, one study reports that 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed twice per day reduced the number of hot flashes by 50% and the intensity by 57%. This is likely due to the estrogenic properties of the lignans.  For this reason, flaxseed is an effective supplement to treat some symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome.

Flaxseed and Blood Sugars

More research certainly needs to be done and I can only speak for myself as a type 1 but one of the main reasons why I love flaxseed oil and I supplement with it is that I always notice that my blood sugars are much more stable and I don’t see as many of those major spikes throughout the day, especially with my morning fasting blood sugars.

There are a couple of studies out there that I also found interesting but this one I can definitely relate to.  A Canadian study that was published in the British Journal of Nutrition that showed subjects who consumed 50g of flaxseed in meals for four weeks experienced a 27 percent decline in blood sugar levels after eating. You can read that by clicking here.

Another 2007 Chinese study showed that consuming a flaxseed, a derived dose of 360 mg lignan for 12 weeks modestly lowered hemoglobin A1C levels in type 2 diabetics.  You can read about that by clicking here.

Now I’m not encouraging you to run out and start sucking down bottles of flaxseed oil, but this could be another tool (a health tool) to add to your arsenal so make it appoint to talk to your doctor if you think this is something that can benefit you.  Not only that, you want to make sure it will not interfere with any other medications that you may be taking along with asking them how much you should take starting out.

Also, if you do decide to get a flaxseed oil, please make it appoint to get Non-GMO, organic flaxseed oil that is cold pressed.  There are so many variations out on the market today and a ton of knock offs that are highly processed and hold little to zero nutritional value.  If you have questions on the ones that I use, feel free to send me a message or post a comment below and we can discuss.

Side Effects of Flaxseed

Now that we have talked about the good, what about the bad? Ground flaxseed may produce some initial flatulence, but this won’t last long. Ensure that you drink plenty of water to prevent ground flaxseed from swelling up and obstructing your throat or digestive tract. Some side effects of flaxseed are stomach discomfort, diarrhea and nausea. Other rare side effects include watery eyes, difficulty in breathing and rash.

Individuals who are allergic to the Linaceae plant family will need to avoid this. Possible side effects of flaxseed allergy may include rash, itching or shortness of breath. Be cautious when taking flaxseed if you have high blood sugar level. Pregnant women are not advised to take flaxseed for fear of birth defects and spontaneous abortion. Consumption of flaxseed may reduce the effectiveness of many drugs, vitamins and minerals.

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Can a Hot Bath Cut Blood Sugar and Burn Calories?

Can you get the benefits of exercise without exercising? In the last century, as more people moved off small, family-owned farms to live in large cities and towns, the exercise they experienced decreased dramatically. Over the next several decades, an entire exercise industry emerged.

Monitor Blood Sugar

Story at-a-glance

  • Hot tubs, saunas and cold baths have all been used to burn calories and normalize insulin levels
  • Benefits to using heat include improved immune system function, detoxification, increased growth hormone and more restful sleep
  • Cold thermogenesis may also improve your pain tolerance, cold tolerance, reduce food cravings and reduce overall body fat

New fitness experts had two ways of marketing their workouts. The programs or devices were either so easy a child could do it, or they pushed you to experience limits you didn’t think possible.

Using a hot tub or hot sauna after a workout was one of the strategies some used to increase their calorie burn after working out. Apparently they were on to something.

Recent research confirms that not only are more calories burned when your body temperature rises in a hot bath, but it also has a surprisingly beneficial effect on your blood sugar.

Hot Baths, Exercise and Energy Expenditure

An initial pilot study by exercise physiologist Steve Faulkner, Ph.D., measured the effect of raising core temperature on blood sugar levels and calories burned.1

A small group of volunteers were fitted with devices to monitor blood sugar, equipment to measure calories burned and rectal thermometers to measure core body temperature.

The first phase used a hot bath kept at a steady 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) until the volunteer’s body temperature had risen and stabilized. The second phase used an hour of exercise on a stationary bike.

The researchers found energy expenditure increased by 80 percent sitting in a hot bath for an hour. This didn’t approach the energy expenditure from riding a bike for an hour, but was extremely close to a brisk 30-minute walk. Riding the bike burned 630 calories and the hot bath burned 140 calories in an hour.2

Heat and Peak Glucose Output

The second factor they evaluated was peak glucose output, or the rise in glucose in your blood after a meal, also called post-prandial hyperglycemia.3 The participants ate a meal of similar composition a couple of hours after their hot bath and after exercising for an hour.

Your blood sugar level after a meal is a risk marker for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. If you don’t have diabetes, your pancreas secretes small amounts of insulin throughout the day in response to the amount of blood glucose and other factors.4

However, as your body becomes more resistant to insulin, the amount of glucose rises in your blood as your cells do not effectively utilize the available insulin. In Faulkner’s study, the volunteers were healthy individuals without a history ofdiabetes. According to Faulkner:5

“What we found was that peak glucose was actually quite a bit lower after the bath, compared with exercise, which was completely unexpected.”

The post-meal glucose levels were actually 10 percent lower after a hot bath than after an hour of exercise. Faulkner theorizes this may be the result of the work ofheat shock proteins (HSPs) released when your body temperature rises.6

These proteins are part of your defense system and may help shunt glucose from your blood stream into your skeletal muscles, thus reducing your blood glucose levels. They are released when your body is under stress such as inflammation, infection and exercise.

Can Heat Shock Proteins Improve Insulin Sensitivity?

This is the question researchers from the University of Kansas attempted to answer with aging mice in 1985.7 Their results were repeated successfully in more recent research.8,9 Newer technology also enabled scientists to more specifically identify HSPs responsible for skeletal uptake of blood glucose.

HSPs are involved in muscle preservation, decreasing oxidative stress and inhibiting inflammatory responses.10 Animal studies have demonstrated increasing HSP72 in mice resulted in decreased age-related oxidative stress, protection from muscle damage and from diet-induced insulin resistance.

Increasing amounts of HSP were able to improve insulin sensitivity in animal models. Although powerful, Faulkner does not suggest that a hot bath or sauna daily should replace exercise, as exercise has significantly more benefits than reducing post-meal glucose output and energy expenditure.11

From Faulkner’s perspective, increasing your core temperature through hot baths and saunas would be most beneficial if you struggle with insulin resistance and controlling blood sugar, or are physically unable to exercise.

The Many Health Benefits of Heat

Hot baths and saunas (which can be designed for either wet or dry heat) have other advantages besides boosting calorie burning or improving insulin sensitivity, including:

Sweating during heavy exercise, in a hot tub or in a sauna, may help you excrete heavy metals and other toxic elements you’ve acquired from your environment.

Sweating helps you excrete phthalates (common in personal care products),12cadmium, arsenic, lead and mercury.13 Researchers recommend assessing sweat as a method for evaluating the accumulation of toxins in the body as your body uses sweat to eliminate many different types.14

Saunas increase your heart rate, energy expenditure and calorie burn. Dry heat in a sauna burns more calories than a hot bath. The number of calories will depend upon your body weight, height, sex and age, but generally runs between 300 and 500 calories per 30 minute session.15

However, weight loss you experience on the day of your sauna is usually related to fluid loss from sweating. To fully utilize the calorie burn you experience in the sauna, it’s important that you not eat additional calories to offset the loss.

Saunas will increase your secretion of growth hormone,16 essential to muscle growth and health maintenance. In combination with improved insulin sensitivity, you may experience greater fat loss.17

As a sauna increases your core temperature to 38.2 degrees Celsius or just under 101 degrees Fahrenheit it stimulates your immune system.18 Other research demonstrates saunas may reduce your potential to get a cold or the flu.19

If you are looking for deeper, more relaxed sleep, look for a sauna.20 It helps relieve chronic stress and may even ameliorate symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.21,22

Important Safety Considerations

Each of the benefits linked to the use of hot baths and saunas results in a longer life and a reduced potential for heart disease. Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) found an association between frequent sauna use and lower death rate from cardiovascular disease and stroke.23 But before you jump into the first sauna or hot tub you can find, there are a few safety factors you’ll want to consider:

If you are going to soak in a hot bath or hot tub, make sure the water is filtered so you are not opening your pores in hot water and loading your body with chlorine, fluoride and disinfection byproducts (DBPs). If you don’t have access to a filtered water tub, consider using an infrared sauna described below.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Heat stress or heat stroke are real possibilities from excessive fluid loss. The potential for the effects of significant dehydration are higher when you use a sauna after a hard workout. Carry a water bottle with you and drink frequently. But don’t drink the water from a hot tub! The water is not hot enough to kill organisms, but may be hot enough to break down chlorine in a public hot tub.24

If you experience a headache after using a sauna or hot tub, you may want to use a cool rag over your head so your body will cool more easily. Your core temperature will still rise, but the experience may be more pleasant for you.25

If you and your wife are trying to have a baby, you’ll want to steer clear of the sauna. As your body heat rises, so does the temperature of your testicles, reducing your fertility. This reduces your sperm count and motility (how well sperm swim). The effect is reversible, but can take up to five weeks.26 You’ll also want to avoid the sauna during pregnancy as it may cause fetal abnormalities.27

A sauna or hot bath is supposed to be relaxing and not a torture chamber. Your body is designed to function optimally at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). Raising your core temperature above above 104.8 degrees Fahrenheit (40.4 degrees Celsius) is a medical emergency. Staying in a sauna longer than you should, or becoming severely dehydrated, can lead to death. Avoid using a sauna by yourself, always sauna with a buddy.

Your Healthiest Heat Choice

According to Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D., increasing your core temperature for short periods, as is done by using a sauna, may offer dramatic improvements to your athletic performance. She calls this concept “hyperthermic conditioning,” which emerging research suggests has multiple positive effects on your body, from increased endurance to the growth of new brain cells.

Infrared saunas are a great option, and can significantly expedite the detoxification process. It heats your tissues several inches deep, which can enhance your natural metabolic processes. It also enhances circulation and helps oxygenate your tissues.

The difference between an infrared sauna and the traditional Finnish-style sauna is that the latter heats you from the outside in, like an oven. The infrared sauna heats you from the inside out, allowing for better detoxification. Steam baths are also great for detoxifying your water-based organs. So if you have lung, kidney, or bladder problems, a steam bath with some essential oil can be beneficial.

Your skin is a major organ of elimination. Unfortunately, you probably spend most of your time in a climate controlled environment and do very little sweating. Using a sauna can help restore elimination through your skin, improving detoxification, athletic performance, brain health and muscle endurance. If you’ve never used a sauna before, you’ll want to start slowly to accommodate the detoxification process which can be significant.

If you’re using an infrared sauna, heat it to 150 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit (71 to 82 degrees Celsius) and start with approximately four minutes in the sauna. Add 30 seconds to each additional sauna until you’re using the sauna for 15 to 30 minutes. Finnish moist saunas are hotter, ranging from 180 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit (82 to 87.8 degrees Celsius), so the time you spend in there will typically be less.

Work your way up to 10 or 20 minutes. Infrared saunas may emit electromagnetic fields (EMF), so it’s important to use a shielded sauna. You can measure the EMF from the sauna you use with a milligauss meter to ensure your safety. Health issues associated with EMF exposure may include a variety of cancers, dementia, impaired immunity and heart disease.28

To learn more about the different types of saunas available, and considerations to keep in mind when buying them, please see my interview with Steve Benda who is trained in power systems and nuclear engineering, and has spent many years designing saunas.

Is Cold as Effective as Heat?

Done correctly, cold thermogenesis may be as effective as heat to burn calories, with an added benefit.29 Exposure to cold activates brown fat tissue that can generate heat as it burns white fat found in your stomach, buttocks, hips and legs. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is inversely related to your body mass index (BMI). In other words, the more BAT you have the lower your BMI and body fat percentage.30 Activating your BAT may increase your calorie burn and reduce your body fat.

Animal and human models have demonstrated that cold exposure may also enhance your insulin sensitivity.31,32,33,34 Frequent cold exposure may reduce your overall body fat, reduce food cravings, support your immune system and increase your pain and cold tolerance.35

If you’re on beta-blocker medications (used to treat blood pressure), be sure to discuss your plans with your medical doctor before using extended heat or cold therapy. These medications can reduce your heart’s ability to respond to an increased core body temperature, resulting in lightheadedness or fainting.

If you suffer from peripheral vascular disease, experience peripheral neuropathy, have diabetes or smoke, you should also consult with your physician before using either heat or cold therapy, as a reduction in blood supply to your extremities or sensation could lead to localized skin damage.

‘Sugar gel’ helps premature babies

A dose of sugar given as a gel rubbed into the inside of the cheek is a cheap and effective way to protect premature babies against brain damage, say experts.

Dangerously low blood sugar affects about one in 10 babies born too early. Untreated, it can cause permanent harm.

Researchers from New Zealand tested the gel therapy in 242 babies under their care and, based on the results, say it should now be a first-line treatment.

Their work is published in The Lancet.

Sugar dose

Dextrose gel treatment costs just over £1 per baby and is simpler to administer than glucose via a drip, say Prof Jane Harding and her team at the University of Auckland.

 premature baby

Current treatment typically involves extra feeding and repeated blood tests to measure blood sugar levels.

But many babies are admitted to intensive care and given intravenous glucose because their blood sugar remains low – a condition doctors call hypoglycaemia.

The study assessed whether treatment with dextrose gel was more effective than feeding alone at reversing hypoglycaemia.

Neil Marlow, from the Institute for Women’s Health at University College London, said that although dextrose gel had fallen into disuse, these findings suggested it should be resurrected as a treatment.

We now had high-quality evidence that it was of value, he said.

Andy Cole, chief executive of premature baby charity Bliss, said: “This is a very interesting piece of new research and we always welcome anything that has the potential to improve outcomes for babies born premature or sick.

“This is a cost-effective treatment and could reduce admissions to intensive care services, which are already working at high capacity levels.

“While the early results of this research show benefits to babies born with low blood sugars, it is clear there is more research to be done to implement this treatment.”

5 Things That Happen if You Quit Sugar for Life

First, let’s set the record straight by saying that sugar in and of itself isn’t evil, per se. It occurs naturally in plenty of foods, including fruits and milk. With that being said, adding excess sugar to your dietary intake simply isn’t necessary. In fact, you’ll notice numerous positive things happen when you decide to quit sugar for life.

Although people living in the Western world have been trained to desire sugary treats, as well as foods that include copious amounts of sugar for flavoring, we certainly don’t need it. If you stop eating anything but naturally occurring sugars, you’ll notice that 5 very distinctive things will happen.

1. Your Energy Will Improve

Ironically, many of us have a tendency to reach for sugar-filled items, including so-called energy drinks and caffeinated beverages, when we’re tired. Yet without all the sugar, we’re guaranteed to have a higher energy level naturally. In other words, all that sugar is blocking our body’s ability to keep our energy stores at maximal levels. Plus, there will be no up-and-down with your blood sugar, so afternoon crashes will become an experience of the past.

2. Your Weight Will Stabilize

Sugar makes you crave more sugar, and we’re not just talking about sugar in its raw form. Let’s face it: most sugar comes in high-fat and/or high-carb foods that have been processed or at least contain tons of unwanted ingredients. There is, of course, the exception of fruit, which are nearly all sugar.

By going on a sugar detox, your body will not be subjected to the need to deal with all those additional calories. You won’t feel hungry, and you’ll end up losing weight – or at least not seeing the scale fluctuate as dramatically.

3. Your Intestines and Colon Will Perform More Efficiently

If your insides could tell you what they wanted on a daily basis, they would say lots of fiber and a minimum amount of tough-to-digest, impure foods. When you remove sugar, you’re enabling your tummy and bowels to reset their abilities to process what you’ve eaten. You may even find that you go to the bathroom more often … this is a good thing. It means everything is getting back to a normal routine.

4. You’ll Stop Wanting Sugar

It’s a fact: sugar begets sugar. After you rid it from your food regimen, you’ll slowly begin to lose the desire to eat anything with sugar in it. Fruits will taste plenty sweet, and if you do take a bite of a cake or pie, you’ll be shocked at how overpowering and overly sweet it seems.

5. Your Skin Will Look Healthier

Have you noticed that you can’t seem to crack the case on why your acne appears and disappears despite all the creams, potions, and ointments you’re using? It may be that sugar is hurting your skin from the inside out. Many people report that their skin feels and looks healthier after they stop giving in to sugar’s pull.

Ready to Start Your Sugar Detox and Quit Sugar for Life?

While a cold turkey approach to your sugar detox isn’t always recommended, especially if you’ve been a sugar-holic for most of your lifetime, it’s definitely a good idea to start cutting back now. The faster you begin, the faster you’ll start to reap the advantages of going sugar-free.

In fact, in light of the countless dangers of consuming too much sugar, the World Health Organization has changed its sugar recommendation—advising no more than 5% of your daily calories should come from the sweet stuff, down from the previously recommended 10 percent. Considering the average American consumes close to 5 grams each day, we have some work to do.

Start small by evaluating everything you’re eating and drinking. If you are addicted to sugar-laced coffee drinks sold at popular coffeehouses, scale back on how many times you drink them. Then, scale back some more. Soon, omit certain sugar-laden products. Over time, you will physiologically adjust to your new habits.

Remember that it takes about three weeks before a new way of doing something becomes a comfortable routine. If you have slight missteps, such as eating a candy bar after a stressful workday, just keep forging ahead.


The results of your diligence will definitely be worth it.

Sugar Addiction Doesn’t Just Lead To Obesity; It Affects Your Heart Health, Brain Function, And Even Your Sex Life

sugar high
The adverse effects a high-sugar diet can have on the human body include more than just obesity. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

In moderation, sugar is essential for a healthy body. Millions of years ago our ancestors relied on sugar-rich fruit for survival. Not only did the nutrient give them enormous amounts of energy, but it also helped in the storage of fat — something which could be the difference between life and death during hard times. Those who didn’t consume enough sugar had neither the energy nor physical capabilities to reproduce and therefore were unable to pass on their genes.

As a result, the human brain evolved an interesting survival mechanism: a near-insatiable desire for sweetness. Sadly, in modern days this evolutionary edge often does more harm than help. Many, especially in the United States, consume far more sugar than is needed for survival. While weight gain and teeth decay may be the most obvious consequences of excessive sugar consumption, there are many other “hidden” effects of consuming too much of the sweet stuff.


When consumed, sugar enters into the blood stream, and at high levels blood sugar has adverse effects on our most important organ: the heart. In a 2013 study published in theJournal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that large amounts of sugar, particularly glucose, stressed out the heart and decreased the muscle’s function. If left to progress for too long, this eventually leads to heart failure, The Cleveland Clinic reported.

High amounts of fructose, another type of sugar commonly found in artificially sweetened food, lowers levels of “good” cholesterol, Women’s Health reported. This can trigger the production of a certain type of fat known as triglycerides, which travel from the liver to the arteries and increase your risk for experiencing a heart attack or stroke.


A 2002 study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, stumbled upon a frightening link between excessive sugar consumption and brain health. The study found that diets high in sugar affected the neuronal and behavioral plasticity associated with a chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This leads to decreased function in the ability to efficiently form new memories and store new information. Other research has also linked low levels of this chemical to depression and dementia.


The kidneys play an important role in filtering our blood, so high levels of sugar in the blood can cause excessive work and subsequent damage. High amounts of blood sugar are known to be one of the main contributors to type 2 diabetes. Many years of excessive sugar filtration seriously compromise kidney function and this may lead to waste products leaking into the body.

According to the American Diabetes Association, the eventual result of decreasd kidney function is kidney disease. If left untreated, the kidney will completely fail. Individuals with kidney failure need to receive an organ transplant or have their blood filtered by a machine via dialysis.

SUGAR_PREVENTION_finalEating too much sugar can affect many parts of the human body. Photo courtesy of Tantika Tivorat viaPrevention

Sexual Health

Because high amounts of sugar in a diet can affect blood flow, excessive sugar consumption is also linked to erectile dysfunction in men. A 2005 study from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that one particular sugar interferes with the chain of events needed to achieve and maintain an erection. The blood sugar, O-GlcNAc, is present in elevated levels in those with diabetes and has been observed to interrupt the enzyme responsible for a successful erection, News Medical reported.

A 2007 study also found that consuming too much fructose and glucose could turn off the gene that regulates the levels of active sex testosterone and estrogen, two important human sex hormones.


Arthritis is a term used to describe various types of joint pain and inflammation. According to a 2002 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in elevated levels processed sugar can increase the inflammation which causes joint pain. For this reason, those who suffer from chronic arthritis are advised to keep their sugar consumption low, although individuals of various health descriptions will benefit from a low sugar diet.


Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a dermatologist and nutritionist, told The Huffington Post that large consumptions of sugar are “a burst of inflammation throughout the body.” Just as the inflammation caused by sugar can lead to joint pain, this same inflammation breaks down the collagen and elastin in our skin.

The unfortunate result of this is an acceleration of the aging process and increased sagging skin and wrinkles. Those with high sugar diets are also more likely to develop insulin resistance, which can cause excess hair growth and dark patches to appear on the neck and in body creases.


The liver is not immune to the effects of excessive sugar consumption. High sugar diets lead to fat build-up in the liver which, in some cases, causes the liver to become inflamed. If left untreated, this will eventually have the same effect on the liver as excess alcohol consumption, which leads to the formation of scar tissue, a condition known as cirrhosis.

“The most common cause of liver cirrhosis is alcohol, and after that it’s fatty liver disease, from bad diet,” Dr. Aseem Malhotra, a London cardiologist and member of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges obesity group told The Daily Mail.



For those with diabetes, managing blood sugar is a balancing act — if blood sugar is too high it raises the risk for nerve damage, blindness, kidney failure, and heart trouble, and if too low it can lead to a seizure or unconsciousness.

Now a team of scientists from the United Kingdom and the University of Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center has taken a step forward in understanding how the brain senses low glucose levels and triggers the body’s response. The discovery may accelerate work to safely control diabetes.

Researchers identified a novel pathway buried deep within a region of the brain called the parabrachial nucleus that produces cholecystokinin (CCK), a brain hormone that acts as a crucial sensor of blood glucose levels. The hormone helps orchestrate responses around the body when levels drop too low, according to the study published in Nature Neuroscience.

“It is remarkable to find that such an incredibly small set of cells in the brain play such an important role in maintaining normal glucose levels,” says study authorLora K. Heisler, Chair of Human Nutrition at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition & Health at the University of Aberdeen.

It’s known that CCK cells in the brain modify things like appetite and anxiety but they had previously been overlooked in relation to blood sugar levels, authors say.

“The discovery of the important function of this brain hormone raises the possibility of using drugs targeting the CCK system to boost defences against hypoglycaemia, the clinical syndrome that results from low blood sugar,” says study author Martin G. Myers, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., the Marilyn H. Vincent Professor in Diabetes Research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center.

The authors worked with an international team or researchers from the University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, University of Chicago on the findings.

Heisler says the identification of the role played by CCK could be of particular significance to an estimated 20 percent of those with diabetes who suffer side effects of low blood sugar, called hypoclycemia.

“When patients suffer repeated bouts of hypoglycemia they can develop ‘unawareness’ which means they find it difficult to detect symptoms that their blood sugar levels are falling and it is this group particularly that we hope could benefit from our findings in regard to the role played by CCK,” Heisler says.


Did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure? Diabetes is a leading risk factor for kidney disease and is characterized by high levels of blood sugar. It occurs when your body does not make enough insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of sugar in your blood, or cannot use normal amounts of insulin properly. High blood sugar levels have a damaging ripple effect in many parts of your body, causing harm to the kidneys. In honor of November being Diabetes Awareness Month, here are6 surprising facts about diabetes and the kidneys:

  1. Diabetes accounts for 44% percent of new cases of kidney failure and more than 35% of people aged 20 years or older with diabetes have chronic kidney disease. Controlling blood sugar levels is a key factor in protecting the kidneys and preventing or slowing kidney disease. Controlling high blood pressure is also important.
  2. Prediabetes can damage the kidneys. Prediabetes refers to the beginning stage of diabetes also called the precursor stage. At this point, blood sugar levels are not normal, but not quite at the point of having diabetes. Because people with prediabetes often do not experience any physical signs of the disease, regular check-ups are very important. The A1C (A-one-C) test is an abbreviation for hemoglobin A1C. This test measures your average blood glucose over the last 3 months. An A1c test between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicates that you may have prediabetes. When a person has prediabetes, it is still possible to reverse the symptoms by losing weight. Changing your diet and exercise habit can make a big difference when it comes to preventing type 2 diabetes and protecting the kidneys!
  3. Protein in the urine is the earliest sign of kidney disease in those with diabetes and prediabetes. It’s easy to detect protein in the urine, but you need to know to look for it. A urine test should be done on an annual basis in all people with diabetes, so ask your healthcare practitioner to check your urine for “albuminuria.” The National Kidney Foundation also offers free kidney health screenings across the country to check for protein in the urine through its KEEP Healthy program. Find KEEP Healthy event near you!
  4. Diabetes injures the small blood vessels in the kidneys. When the blood vessels in the kidneys are injured, the kidneys cannot clean the blood properly and the body will retain more water and salt than it should. This can cause weight gain and ankle swelling, as well as waste materials building up in your blood. Diabetes can also damage blood vessels throughout the body, affecting not only the kidneys, but other organs and tissues such as skin, nerves, muscles, intestines and the heart. Damaged blood vessels can lead to high blood pressure and rapid hardening of the arteries, which can further harm the kidneys.
  5. Diabetes can damage the nerves in your body. This can cause difficulty in emptying your bladder and the pressure resulting from your full bladder can back up and injure the kidneys. Also, if urine remains in your bladder for a long time, you can develop an infection from the rapid growth of bacteria in urine that has a high sugar level.
  6. High triglyceride levels place you at increased risk for developing diabetes and prediabetes.Triglycerides are a form of stored fat found in the blood. A test for triglycerides is typically part of the panel you receive to test your cholesterol and other blood lipids. If after a routine blood test, your healthcare practitioner told you that you have high triglycerides, you are at an increased risk for developing diabetes and prediabetes as well as forms of heart disease. High triglycerides are also common in those with kidney disease, so this blood test should be on your radar.

Solving the Blood Sugar Mystery

When you have type 1 diabetes and your blood sugars run high for a short period for no discernible reason, you have a checklist of troubleshooting tasks you have to tend to:

  • Am I sick? Getting sick?
  • Am I taking a medication?
  • Am I stressed?
  • Am I more sedentary than usual?
  • Did I overtreat a low blood sugar?
  • Did I underestimate the dose I last took?
  • Did I forget to initiate that dose?
  • Did I even receive the dose I initiated?
  • Is my pump malfunctioning?
  • Is my cannula (catheter) kinked?
  • Is my tissue at that site not absorbing the insulin?
  • Do I have an infected site?
  • Did my insulin go bad?
  • If it did go bad, is the whole glass vial spoiled or did it go bad in the pump cartridge?
  • Are these my unlucky socks?

I removed this insulin from this pod,
but which of them was the culprit? I’ll never know.

It’s a ridiculous list. And there are times when you run through each point and find half of them that could be the culprit.

I propose that insulin manufacturers consider providing us with some kind of control solution or litmus test to evaluate the efficacy of our insulin.

It would be so easy to prime a drop or two from my pump onto a strip and see evidence that my cartridge insulin was compromised. It would be so easy to draw up a small amount from the glass vial and test it against a control that would allow me to see that I need to open a brand new vial.

Instead, we’re asked to discard the whole vial and open a new one. Discard the whole pump setting and insert a new one. Start from scratch. If you can’t isolate the variable, just CHANGE ALL THE THINGS.

It usually fixes the problem, but it’s not at all economical. A vial of insulin costs me (or my insurance) an arm and a leg ($100+) and to toss one simply because you don’t know and can’t risk playing around with this shit is inefficient. I’d love to be able to call a pump company and say, “no, it wasn’t the insulin – it was your apparatus” or tell Sanofi or Lilly or Novo that “yes, absolutely, my insulin spoils after ___ time in the heat or ___ time in my pump cartridge.”

When I was pumping on the t:slim, it was clear to me that the insulin had changed because the color and consistency had changed, but insulin can go bad without those telltale signs. For two days at the Friends for Life conference, I might as well have been pumping water with my Omnipod. My numbers would not come down. A brand new pod and new batch of insulin fixed it, as it did again this morning after 12 hours of highs and 4 separate boluses of insulin and 2 injections. I’m finally below 200 mg/dL.

But would it be so difficult to develop a user-end litmus test for our insulin beyond using my own body as the test subject?

I don’t know. But I’d like to find out.

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