Borderline Fasting Blood Sugar: Why It’s a Problem and 5 Ways to Fix It

The patient I am going to describe is unique in her own issues, but her frustration with conventional medicine could be duplicated in my practice many times over.

Louisa is a forty-five-year-old teacher and mother of two. After the birth of her children, she was unable to lose the twenty-five pounds she gained and she was experiencing profound fatigue. After watching one of my webinars on the epidemic of diabesity, which is broadly described as the continuum from mild insulin resistance (when your cells become numb to insulin) to full-blown diabetes and obesity, [1] Louisa asked her primary care physician to test her fasting blood sugar and check her thyroid. Her blood sugar came back at 98 mg/dl and her thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) was 2.7. Her doctor told her that both were in the normal range and that she was simply experiencing the effects of aging.

Her doctor was correct that the American Diabetes Association has identified a fasting plasma glucose level of 100-125 mg/dL as being pre-diabetic and anything below 100 is “normal.”[2] But if you were to wait until your glucose level is in that range, you’ve got a serious problem. In fact, current guidelines have been shown to miss the diagnosis of insulin resistance in 41 to 50 percent of the cases.[3],[4]

 Several studies demonstrate that fasting glucose levels should be less than 87 mg/dL.[5],[6] Anything above that is borderline and suggests insulin resistance, and most likely the cause of fatigue, low energy, more belly fat, sugar cravings, and difficulty with weight loss. You see, blood sugar should neither be too high in the morning nor go up and down excessively. For healthy weight and energy, your body needs to use glucose while keeping your serum blood sugar relatively stable.

 Fortunately, Louisa was not ready to accept a fast decline into old age with hallmarks of continually feeling tired and fat. For several days, I tested Louisa’s fasting blood sugar levels and they ranged between 95-119. Clearly, she was pre-diabetic and that was contributing to her inability to lose weight and her fatigue.  So she began my detoxification program, described in The Hormone Reset Diet, that’s designed to reset the seven hormones of metabolism, including insulin.

 The specific tactics that helped Louisa included the following:

  1. Start the day with a protein shake that contains < 1 gram of sugar. She used the Reset360 shake in chocolate and vanilla.
  2. Add extra fiber to the shake to help reset insulin.
  3. Take berberine and other insulin sensitizers (i.e., they counter the problem of insulin resistance), such as in our Detox Essentials or Aging Essentials.
  4. Drink more filtered water with apple cider vinegar. I recommend 2 to 3 large glasses of 12 to 16 ounces of water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar. It’s been shown to help reset insulin.[7]
  5. Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day. (Read The Hormone Reset Diet for more specific suggestions for the forms of exercise that reset your hormones.)

After completing the three-week detoxification program, Louisa’s fasting blood sugar was no longer borderline. It stabilized consistently between 75-85 mg/dL. She was able to lose weight, and she regained her energy. Several of the other tactics in The Hormone Reset Diet became habits, and as a bonus her ability to cope with stress dramatically improved.

If you’re interested in testing your own blood sugar at home, read this article on how to get started with a small device that costs about $25.

While weight loss and increased energy were Louisa’s primary goals, by reversing her diabesity, she concurrently reduced her risk of developing insulin resistance, high cholesterol, chronic inflammation, vascular disease, dementia, and other degenerative diseases.[8] Best of all, she feels less bloated and less hungry, burns fat, and has slowed down the aging process.

 

 

 

[1] Farag, YM, et al. “Diabesity: an overview of a rising epidemic.” Nephrol Dial Transplant, no. 26 (2011): 28-35.

[2] “Diagnosing diabetes and learning about prediabetes.” American Diabetes Association. November 21, 2016, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diagnosis/?print=t.

[3] Casagrande, SS, et al. “Utility of the US preventive services task force criteria for diabetes screening.” Am J Prev Med, no. 45 (2013): 167-174.

[4] Khan, SH, et al. “Frequency of impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes mellitus in subjects with fasting glucose below 6.1 mnol/L (110 mg/dL).” East Mediterr Health, no. 19 (2013): 175-180.

[5] Casagrande, SS, et al. “Utility of the US preventive services task force criteria for diabetes screening.” Am J Prev Med, no. 45 (2013): 167-174.

[6] Tirosh, A, et al. “Normal fasting plasma glucose levels and type 2 diabetes in young men.” N Engl J Med, no. 353 (2005): 1454-1462.

[7] Johnston, C, et al. “Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes Care, no. 27 (2004): 281-282.

[8] The Emerging risk factors collaboration. “Diabetes mellitus, fasting glucose, and risk of cause-specific death.” N Engl J Med, no. 364 (2011): 829-841.

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Sara Gottfried MD About Sara Gottfried MD

Sara Gottfried, MD is the New York Times bestselling author of the new book, Younger: A Breakthrough Program to Reset Your Genes, Reverse Aging, and Turn Back the Clock 10 Years. Her previous New York Times bestsellers are The Hormone Cure and The Hormone Reset Diet. After graduating from Harvard Medical School and MIT, Dr. Gottfried completed her residency at the University of California at San Francisco. She is a board-certified gynecologist who teaches natural hormone balancing in her novel online programs so that women can lose weight, detoxify, and slow down aging. Dr. Gottfried lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband and two daughters.