Pre-Diabetes & its Numbers
According to the American Diabetes Association, some 98 million people have pre-diabetes. There are two blood tests commonly used to determine a diagnosis: a fasting glucose (sugar) and the A1C. If you have numbers higher than “normal” but lower than what is considered “diabetic”, you have “pre-diabetes”.
Get the tests and check your numbers. Per the ADA, you may be diagnosed with pre-diabetes if you have the following test values:
- An A1C of 5.7 - 6.4%
- Fasting blood glucose of 100 - 125 mg/dL
- An oral glucose tolerance test (2-hour blood test) blood glucose of 140 - 199 mg/dL
Consider these numbers: of those diagnosed with diabetes, 85-90% are type 2 or adult onset diabetes, which means the disease could have been prevented if discovered early enough. So if your health care professional says you have pre-diabetes, be glad you know. It does not mean you will automatically get diabetes. Think of it as a red flag or warning sign. Change your diet (less sugar and fat) and add exercise if you can. Lower your numbers to lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
How did your blood sugar get out of control?
Mostly diet and inactivity. Eating too much sugar raises blood levels. Since sugar is a fuel source, if you don’t exercise, you can’t “burn” it off. When too much sugar stays in your bloodstream, hyperglycemia occurs. Normally, when blood sugar levels get high, your pancreas releases the hormone insulin which tells the body to absorb the excess to get blood sugar levels back to normal. If the pancreas is overworked or if cells become insulin resistant and don’t absorb the excess, the sugar stays in the blood stream, unregulated, which may cause irreversible damage to cells and tissues.
Are there symptoms to warn you? Not usually. That’s why getting blood sugar tests as part of your annual exam is a good idea.
What happens if you do nothing about your blood sugar?
A lot -- and it is all bad. So do not let your pre-diabetes develop into type 2 diabetes! Here is what could happen if high blood sugar controls your body.
- Stress on pancreas results in losing the ability to control insulin and blood sugar anywhere in the body which leads to even more harm
- Damage to blood vessels which affects multiple organ
- in the heart t (stroke, heart attack)
- “hardening” of arteries (atherosclerotic heart disease risk)
- in the kidneys which compromises function (organ failure, dialysis)
- Damage to nerves
- neuropathy, tingling, pain and loss of feeling in the hands, legs & feet
- gastroparesis, ability of stomach to empty (bloating, fullness)
- slow GI tract motility (cramps, constipation)
- diabetic retinopathy (vision loss, blindness)
- Lower immunity & resistance to infections (viral, fungal, bacterial)
- Slower wound healing
- Dyslipidemia/cholesterol issues (lower HDL, higher LDL & triglycerides, increases heart disease risk)
- Erectile dysfunction in men
- Weight loss without trying or too quickly (loss of fluids, nutrients, fatigue)
How does Alpha Lipoic Acid help with blood sugar health?
Alpha lipoic acid is a unique nutrient in that it has a dual nature. That means it has two beneficial roles. The first is as an antioxidant and the second is that it helps metabolize fats and sugars.
First, as an antioxidant, ALA protects cells inside and outside the cell because it is both water and fat soluble (bioavailable). Every cell has a lipid or fatty outer membrane and is about 70% water inside. Protecting cells on the inside means protecting your DNA, energy factories and everything else that tells the cell what to do. Protecting cell barriers helps keep invading pathogens out but also maintains membrane duties of cell to cell communication, energy transport and so on.
Excess blood sugars cause inflammation and other oxidative damage to cells, blood vessels and nerves. Protecting the cells against this oxidative damage is a critical role ALA fulfills that helps keep cells healthier and functioning properly. Nerve cells in particular are victims of high blood sugar insult. By shielding nerve cells from damage, ALA defends against neuropathy. In fact, research shows ALA is given for diabetic neuropathy treatment.
Secondly, ALA helps metabolize fats and sugars, and strengthens the liver. Since the liver is the detoxifying organ, everything passes through it before going into the bloodstream. Keeping the liver healthy also aids its function in processing fats, especially cholesterol. Research suggests a link between pre-diabetes and non-alcohol fatty liver disease. It seems having one affects your risk of getting the other and vice-versa. ALA helps both!
Alpha lipoic acid is such a versatile nutrient that it is hard to stop boasting about its benefits. Obviously, no-one can say that if you take ALA , you won’t get diabetes. But if you have been given the pre-diabetes label, you may be able to shake it off with ALA and a few healthy lifestyle changes of diet and exercise. That part is up to you!
How much should you take? It depends on your numbers. Start with ALA 250 mg a day and increase to twice a day. Don’t take too close to bedtime as it may give you energy! Higher strength ALA 600 mg is another choice, once or twice a day. An extra bonus is that ALA recycles vitamin E and C so you boost your antioxidant protection for overall enhanced health, too.
Get your blood sugar checked. And if your numbers are not what they need to be, take action with ALA!
Read more about ALA and its many benefits in these TyH articles
- Alpha Lipoic Acid, Aiding the Treatment of Diabetes
- Alpha Lipoic Acid, Defending Your Liver
- Alpha Lipoic Acid, The Antioxidant with Energy
- Alpha Lipoic Acid & Weight Loss
- Alpha Lipoic Acid, What's in it for me?
- The Pre-Diabetes Predicament
©TyH Publications (M. Squires)
For informational purposes only. Not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any medical condition, nor substitute for your healthcare professionals medical advice.