Let's talk about how blood sugar can impact your health and your fertility.
When you eat something your body breaks it down.For example when you eat carbohydrates it is broken down into simple sugars and used in the body as glucose.
When we measure blood sugar we refer to how much glucose is in the blood.
Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose.
Fats do not break down into glucose.
Proteins if blood sugar is high or protein stores are high it will break down into glucose.
Glucose in the bloodstream is dangerous!
High blood glucose leads the pancreas to secrete insulin.
So what does this all mean? Here's a quick explanation of how the body processes food.
We store glucose in our muscle tissue in the form of glycogen; our muscles use glycogen for fast fuel.
When glycogen stores are full then excess blood glucose will get shuttled into fat cells.
That's why it's important to balance blood sugar.
Especially if you are not exercising, it then becomes very difficult to lose weight.
What are some complications of high blood sugar?
When we are constantly eating carbohydrates our blood sugar will spike.
Over time this can lead to insulin resistance.
The receptors in the muscle and fat cells are no longer able to recognize insulin and then insulin stops being made. This can lead to diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
High Blood Sugar Symptoms:
•Fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome, low energy levels
•Weight fluctuations/weight loss
Low Blood Sugar Symptoms:
•Mood swings, nervousness or "jitteriness"
•Blurred, worsening vision
•Slow healing of skin wounds, dryness, cuts and bruises
•Heavy breathing and trouble exercising
•Extreme hunger and slight nausea
What are the numbers I should look out for for?
- Pre-diabetic – fasting blood sugar 100-125 mg/dl
- Diabetic – fasting blood sugar over 126 mg/dl
- Metabolic Syndrome – fasting blood sugar over 90 mg/dl
- Metabolic syndrome includes:
- high blood pressure – 130/85 mmHg
- elevated triglycerides – over 150 mg/dl
- low HDL – 45 mg/dl
- abdominal obesity (defined as waist circumference over 40 inches (men) and 35 inches (women)
How do I test my blood sugar levels?
2) Fasting blood sugar test – your physician can run this test
3) A1C – your physician can request this test or contact us to have a kit drop shipped to you
What is a normal blood sugar level?
Fasting Blood Sugar 80-90 mg/dl (USA) or 4.5-5 mmol/L (Canada)
What is ideal range for A1C?
A1C is the average of your fasting blood sugar over the past 3 months
Ideal level is 4-5.6
We can drop ship you a testing kit.Contact us for more information!
Fasting Blood Sugar
Drawing blood after not eating for at least 8 hours – test blood in the morning (remember many factors can impact your blood sugar including consuming too many carbohydrates, consuming inflammatory foods (check out the food sensitivity blog), disrupted sleep, and emotional or structural stress)
Blood Sugar Monitor
It's important to discover how lifestyle changes impact your blood sugar.That's why we always recommend keeping a food journal (see how you feel after you eat or during stressful periods).
You can test your levels after you eat and see how the food affected your blood sugar.
Here are some glucometer's to try (watch out though - the testing strips can be more expensive than the testing equipment!):
Here is a great article about why normal blood sugar is not always normal!
Time to get honest about your stressors:
Everyone experiences stress!It's part of our daily life.Stress can be a good thing, but prolonged stress can lead to elevated cortisol levels.
Learn more on the blog here about how you can improve your stressors.
If you have prolonged periods of stress the body continues to make cortisol at the expense of making hormones.
You see, your survival is more important than procreation.
Once you begin to learn how to improve your stress levels, the cortisol production can decrease and you'll be back to making sex hormones.
This chart shows how your body will bypass making sex hormones and instead make more cortisol!
What can you do to balance blood sugar?
1) Diet – aim for a low glycemic diet, good quality protein and fat, low processed foods, and whole foods.Here's a link to the gylcemic index! The fertility diet is a perfect choice. Join the 3-day fertility diet challenge here!
2) Include High Fibre Foods – include lots of fresh vegetables, apples, pears, nuts, seeds, and beans. Fibre slows absorption of glucose into the blood stream.High fibre foods help you feel full faster and longer, so you don't need to eat every hour!
3) Add Apple Cider Vinegar – first thing in the morning have 1 cup of water with 1 TBSP of Apple Cider Vinegar (link to my favourite brand). Apple cider helps to reduce the glycemic index of foods, you can also sprinkle on salads too.
4) Add Cinnamon – cinnamon helps to reduce blood sugar. Sprinkle on a sweet potato (cut sweet potatoes into slices, sprinkle with cinnamon and roast with coconut oil until crispy), or on your morning gluten free oatmeal.It helps insulin receptors to work better and slows the release of glucose.
5) Switch Sweeteners – avoid high fructose corn syrup, beet sugar, beet juice, and agave syrup (agave syrup is high in fructose, it doesn't raise blood sugar, but the fructose strains the liver, leading to fatty liver disease).Instead opt for raw honey, maple syrup, stevia (make sure stevia is organic such as Sweet Leaf), blackstrap molasses (high in calcium, magnesium and B vitamins), xylitol, and erythritol (be careful with xylitol and erythritol because could experience bloating and gas if there are gut issues).
6) Be Careful With Liquid Calories – soda/pop, Frappuccino's, sugary drinks are definitely not recommended. Opt for water, herbal tea and seltzer water.
7) Alcohol – alcohol has a lot of sugar, opt for dry wine, vodka or gin (but be careful of sulphites and histamines that are present in alcohol which could cause a reaction – if you experience any flushing with alcohol that is a histamine reaction – which could be due to a leaky gut)
8) Exercise and Movement – when you exercise you use glycogen stores. Even exercising for 3 minutes can help to lower your blood sugar by up to 10 points. Try this T-Tapp Hoe Down – it stimulates both the left brain and right brain at the same time!It got my heart pumping!
9) Sleep – not getting enough sleep stresses the body. A lack of sleep increases cortisol (stress hormone) and increases ghrelin (hunger hormone). Lack of sleep or disrupted sleep can cause insulin resistance the entire next day.When you get a good night's sleep your cravings will reduce.
10) Managing Stress – Stress will increase cortisol, which will then spike your blood sugar. Deep breathing is great to add to your day (try the app www.calm.com for guided breathing and mediation tips), alternate nostril breathing and fertility yoga offers a great way to tap into the relaxation response. Learn more here with our AM/PM Fertility Yoga Series. Also saying "no" and learning to set your boundaries. Enjoy yourself and don't strive for perfection.
Which Supplements Can Help With Blood Sugar?
1) Probiotics – once you balance the gut bacteria your cravings will reduce
2) Cinnamon- anti-inflammatory great to add to desserts, porridge (gluten free oatmeal and quinoa) and hot beverages such as golden milk!
3) Chromium – helps to maintain insulin sensitivity so a deficiency could lead to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
4) Magnesium – is responsible for 300 chemical reactions in the body and helps to minimize carbohydrate cravings.Add magnesium oil (Ancient Minerals) – rub on the bottoms of the feet (helps with leg cramps) and Magnesium Glycinate – (Designs for Health) – take 2 capsules before bed or according to package directions.If you are deficient in magnesium you could feel more anxiety when taking magnesium supplement so take things slowly. Taking magnesium supplements before bed can help with sleep.Also Epsom salt baths can be very beneficial too!
5) Gymnema Sylvestre – helps to block sugar receptors, place on tongue!
6) L- Glutamine – place powder on tongue (use 1 capsule), it will get into bloodstream faster, helps to improve Type 2 diabetes.
Not sure where to start? Book your free 30 minute Supercharge Your Fertility Discovery Call and we'll come up with a simple plan just for you.
Thanks to Brandy Buskow, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner for her recommendations!
Sarah Clark empowers couples to discover how lifestyle and diet can dramatically impact their chances of conceiving. She was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at 28 and had both her kids with donor eggs. Not until years later did she discover that the root cause of her infertility was a food intolerance. Join the Free Fab Fertile Support Group on Facebook for mini-challenges, motivation and inspiration!