Blood sugar and blood glucose are synonymous terms. Ideally your blood sugar is tightly regulated into a narrow healthy range. The body uses insulin and glucagon to help regulate. If your blood sugar rises past the upper end of that healthy range, the body’s healthy response is to release insulin that helps move the glucose into the cells. If the glucose level drops below the healthy range, glucagon is secreted to stimulate the release of stored glucose in the liver.
Sounds easy enough but like any system that is stressed too much, it can begin to fail for many reasons. The result is chronic low blood sugar, high blood sugar or blood sugar that cycles too high then too low before finding a more ideal level. Anything but a healthy blood range will have important health consequences. Low blood sugar interferes with brain activity resulting in fatigue and the wholesale killing of brain cells. High blood sugar causes such a long list of problems that we will need to address that another day.
Some people develop an autoimmune reaction in the pancreas that destroys the cells responsible for making the insulin. This is called Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). This most frequently begins in childhood is so is sometimes called Juvenile Onset Diabetes. T1D usually is a rapidly progressing disease and requires insulin injections within 3-5 years of the onset of the autoimmune reaction.
On a side note, some researchers have noted that T1D is controlled by about 15 different genes. Gluten sensitivity (GS) is controlled by about 12 genes and T1D and GS share about 6 of these. A child diagnosed with T1D should also be checked for GS with a Cyrex Labs Array 3 wheat antibody test. The blood sugar response for a Type 1 diabetic on a gluten free diet is variable. The important thing is to identify other health risk factors and manage them as quickly as possible to prevent other consequences.
Adult onset diabetes or Type II Diabetes (T2D) can happen at any age but in the past was more typical in middle-aged adults. Typical to T2D is lowered ability to move glucose into the cells because the cells sensitivity to insulin is dropping. That means that initially insulin levels are normal but blood glucose rises because the cells have trouble removing the glucose from the blood. Eventually the pancreas can fatigue causing lowered insulin levels.
It should be noted that insulin in anything higher than healthy levels is highly toxic.
Effective management of diabetes involves diet and exercise. These two steps work wonders to help control the progression of this devastating disorder. Most will find a paleo-type diet effective. That means meat, fruits and vegetables and very little if any grain. Most diabetics will also be gluten sensitive as mentioned earlier so a gluten-free diet will most likely be the best route and that includes corn and oats as well as wheat, rye and barley.
Several supplements have been shown to help manage rising blood sugar. Our most popular are: NuMedica's CiNNergy
and Integrative Therapeutics Glycemic Manager