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Thread: The Optimal Blood Glucose Levels thread page

  1. #1
    healthseekerKate's Avatar
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    The Optimal Blood Glucose Levels thread

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    I'm a nondiabetic who recently purchased a blood glucose meter to keep track of how different foods and meal sizes affect my blood glucose levels. However, to date, I haven't been able to find a definitive source of info to tell me what the optimal (from a primal, and not CW, perspective) blood glucose levels are. There seem to be plenty of sites that list supposedly optimal glucose levels for *diabetics*, but not too much info for healthy people; also, from a lot of what I've read, CW glucose recommendations are much too high to actually be healthy.

    Mark's MDA post on Blood Markers cites the CW values, but doesn't go into whether genuinely optimal primal values would be different:
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/blood-test-markers/

    I'm hoping that we can use this thread for everyone to contribute whatever accurate knowledge they have about optimal blood glucose levels, so that we can arrive at a reasonable estimate of the levels we should be aiming for.

    Here are a few interesting (although not necessarily accurate!) resources I've found.

    a) http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/14045621.php
    Claims that the highest allowable healthy postprandial (after-meal) glucose level is 140 mg/dL, and that anything higher causes organ damage.

    Here is this site's target values:

    Fasting: under 100 mg/dL
    1 hour postprandial: 140 mg/dL
    2 hours postprandial: 120 mg/dL

    ------------------------------------------------
    b) Dr. Barry Sears claims that it's possible to have healthy/normal blood glucose levels, but still have an impaired insulin response; he recommends having a fasting *insulin* test done:
    http://www.drsears.com/tabId/399/ite...g-glucose.aspx

    His recommended ranges for 2 different blood tests:
    http://www.drsears.com/tabId/399/ite...ood-tests.aspx

    "I believe your blood test without fasting was most likely glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), which is used to identify the average plasma glucose concentration over 2-3 months. An excellent range would be less than 5 percent. Ideally, the fasting insulin test should be less than 10; 5 is excellent."

    ---------------------------------------------------
    c) Here are the Cleveland Clinic's guidelines (aka CW) for optimal & acceptable blood glucose ranges at different times of day;

    Time of Test:------------------IDEAL:----------------------ACCEPTABLE:
    Before Meals-------------------80-120 mg/dL-------------80 - 140 mg/dL
    Two Hours After Eating-------less than 140 mg/dL------less than 180 mg/dL
    Before Bedtime Snack---------100 - 140 mg/dL----------100 - 160 mg/dL


    Thanks in advance for any clarifications or additional info that anyone has.
    Last edited by healthseekerKate; 11-02-2010 at 09:39 AM.

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    I have nothing to add at the moment, but I am definitely interested. I am also non-diabetic but have over the past few months started testing my glucose.

  3. #3
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    RE: b. It definitely is possible to have impaired insulin but normal blood glucose levels. I was diagnosed with insulin resistance a few years ago; the healthy range for insulin is up to 26, but I think mine was 29. My blood glucose and hba1c were both within range, I think. I've actually never had non-normal or alarming blood sugar readings. The last time I checked it with a glucometer was about 2 hours after a meal of meat and vegetables, and it was at 79 mg/dL.

    But for some reason a lot of doctors just do not check insulin. I have another blood test tomorrow, but for some reason it's a policy at my endocrinologist's practice to *not* check insulin. I would love to know what my insulin level is now, because that's what I actually have a problem with. I wish there was a way to check it easily, like there is with blood sugar.

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    imasin,
    My old endo didn't check insulin level either. He preferred checking insulin by testing C-Peptide. You might want ask if your endo does this test.

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    peril's Avatar
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    I suspect that the CW reference range is too high. Since going primal, my fasting blood glucose has regularly been lower than the lab reference range. I think the last measurement was 3.4 mmol/L (~65 mg/dL)
    Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

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    I am interested too. I just over into the diabetic range before starting metformin and watching my carbs. I have improved but still not great.
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    I like the information listed here:
    http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/16422495.php
    Last edited by marcadav; 11-02-2010 at 10:53 PM.

  8. #8
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    Thanks to everyone for all of the useful info!

    Here's a brief summary of the most important info in the link that marcadav posted:

    A normal fasting blood sugar (which is also the blood sugar a normal person will see right before a meal) is:
    83 mg/dl (4.6 mmol/L) or less.

    --------------------------------------------
    Independent of what they eat, the blood sugar of a truly normal person is:
    Under 120 mg/dl (6.6 mmol/L) one or two hours after a meal.
    Most normal people are under 100 mg/dl (5.5 mmol/L) two hours after eating.

    --------------------------------------------
    A truly normal A1c is between 4.6% and 5.4%

    A1cs are not as good a measure of actual blood sugar control in individuals as they are for groups. An A1c of 5.1% maps to an average blood sugar of 100 mg/dl (5.6 mmol/L) or less when group statistics are analyzed, but normal variations in how our red blood cells work make the A1cs of truly normal individuals fall into a wider range.

    Some people's A1cs are always a bit higher than their measured blood sugars would predict. Some are always lower.
    Last edited by healthseekerKate; 11-03-2010 at 11:31 AM.

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    Other issues that I would be interested to have additional info about:

    ~ Sometimes, I will record my fasting glucose e.g. 3 hours after a meal and then 6 hours after the meal, with nothing eaten in between; and the 6-hour postprandial reading will be significantly *higher* than the 3-hour postprandial reading. Is it normal/acceptable for blood glucose to *rise* during a period of fasting, or might this indicate some sort of problem?

    ~ Are optimal glucose levels the same for every human (male/female, child/adult, regardless of size or ethnicity), or might they differ by group (e.g. maybe females should optimally have lower levels than males)?

    ~ Does menstrual cycle affect glucose readings?

    ~ I've read several explanations for why glucose readings taken soon after rising, early in the morning, can be disturbingly high. (I've actually read that *not* having a snack before bedtime can be one cause of this.) What is the highest acceptable early-morning reading?

    ~ Ideally, before every glucose reading, you should clean your sample surface (fingertip or palm) with an alcohol swab, and change the lancet tip for every sample taken. However, for those who like to take frequent readings, this turns into a cumbersome and expensive process. If the alcohol swabbing and new lancet aren't done each time, could this significantly affect the accuracy of the readings? If so, which way would they be likely to be incorrect -- too low, or too high?

    ~ If one is fasting, what glucose readings should be expected throughout the fast? e.g. after 6, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48 hours of fasting? Is there a minimum blood glucose value that if reached, should always mean we *have* to eat asap to avoid complications of hypoglycemia? What is considered to be a "dangerously low" blood glucose level? Should a healthy person be able to perform an extended fast without having to worry about too-low levels, or is this something that should be monitored by anyone on a fast?

    ~ Can nutritional supplements affect glucose levels? I noticed that, on one occasion, my levels rose 20 points after taking just 2 caps of strontium citrate with water on an empty stomach. Wondering if this was a fluke, or if supplements (maybe the ingredients of the gelcaps?) are known to raise glucose levels.
    Last edited by healthseekerKate; 11-04-2010 at 02:27 PM.

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    I'm just going to throw this out into the ether, take it for what it's worth--

    You're trying to micromanage your pancreas and your liver, not to mention your every cell.

    If you are not diabetic, and are not prediabetic, and you've given no indication that you have other health issues or a history of diabetes in your family as a concern... Well, what do you hope to gain?

    I'm not sure anyone has the answers you're looking for. There are people who THINK they do, both CW and out-of-the-box. But... well, I've been reading for a year now, and I'm not convinced about any of them. You may come to a different conclusion, and more power to you if you think you've found your answers, I guess.

    But the question remains--what do you hope to gain by such monitoring? At what point does tweaking of diet become obsession that loses sight of other health goals?

    Again--no judgment. I'm diabetic--and a little obsessed at times. I think sometimes it's the obsession that causes more harm--if I were healthy, I don't think I'd go down the path of constant monitoring and attempts to control...

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