Elevated blood glucose is not just a problem for diabetics. As new evidence accumulates, it’s clear that aging individuals have elevated blood glucose levels leading to cardiovascular disease. This was demonstrated in a 22-year follow-up study of nearly 2,000 healthy non-diabetic men as reported in Diabetes Care. The authors reported that for those men with a fasting blood glucose level over 85 mg/dL there was a 40% increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
While most physicians use the fasting blood glucose threshold of 100 mg/dL, this study clearly showed that even at this level there is a substantial increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the authors Bjornholt, Erikssen, and Aaser:
“. . . fasting blood glucose values in the upper normal range appears to be an important independent predictor of cardiovascular death in nondiabetic apparently healthy middle-aged men.”
Where Does Elevated Blood Glucose Come From?
Our body’s primary energy source is glucose. All cells use it. The body’s digestion of carbohydrate foods are the primary source of blood glucose. Unfortunately, the typical American diet is high in carbohydrate foods especially those with high glycemic values. The higher the glycemic value of a food source the quicker it’s absorbed to elevate your blood glucose level. According to Life Extension, “when after-meal glucose levels surge above 140 mg/dL, risks of virtually all degenerative diseases increase.”
The dangers from elevated blood glucose is so strong that the International Diabetes Federation has issued the following warning for non-diabetics who have elevated blood glucose levels above 140 mg/dL. You are at significant risk for:
- Retinal damage to the eye
- Arterial blockage
- Oxidative stress
- Increased inflammation
- Endothelial dysfunction
- Reduced coronary blood flow
- Increased cancer risk
Of these 7 risk factors, the only one that does not have a cardiovascular component is cancer.
As we age, our cellular sensitivity to insulin diminishes for a variety of reasons. This allows excess glucose to accumulate in our bloodstream. Excess glucose is converted to triglycerides that are stored as unwanted fat. Or, these triglycerides will accumulate in the bloodstream where they contribute to the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. Additionally, surplus glucose will react with your body’s proteins forming Advanced Glycation End products, which accelerates the aging process, causes chronic inflammation, and produces destructive free radicals.
How Do You Combat Elevated Blood Glucose?
Because digested carbohydrate foods are the primary source of blood glucose, the easiest way to combat elevated blood glucose is to reduce our calorie intake, especially foods that have high glycemic values. Learning how to consume a Mediterranean diet, with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and beans can be an excellent dietary option to consider.
For those choosing not to reduce their excess caloric intake than you need to consider blocking calorie absorption either with natural supplements or medication. Four popular natural supplements that help reduce the impact of excess calorie intake are Propolmannan, Phaseolus Vulgaris, Invingia Gabonensis, and Green Tea Phytosome. These typically work by inhibiting the digestive enzymes used to break down carbohydrate and fatty foods. If you opt for a pharmaceutical drug then the anti-diabetic drug called Metformin seems to be your best option. Metformin has a long history of safe human use in helping to lower blood glucose. However, the dose of metformin varies considerably so you should work with your health care provider if you choose this option.
You Must Repair the Damage of Elevated Blood Glucose!
No matter the method you use to lower your elevated blood glucose levels, damage to the endothelium will occur. Whether this damage be from oxidative stress caused by blood glucose, glycation end products, or plaque formation leading to atherosclerosis you need to have in place an active program to repair and nourish your endothelial cells so that they can properly produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is the master signaling molecule of your entire cardiovascular system. It actively helps to repair the damage to the endothelium while keeping blood platelet cells from sticking together to form clots.
When you properly repair the endothelium for improved nitric oxide production you improve blood circulation. This improves the body’s ability to use oxygen, which in turn improves the cells’ ability to properly use blood glucose in the production of energy.
It’s amazing how important your endothelium is in preventing the damage caused by blood glucose as well as making sure that it is properly used.
Together we can work to save a million lives!
Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry, and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.