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You need more than just good sugar control to beat type 2 diabetes
High sugar levels ARE A PROBLEM !
Sugar shreds blood vessels
There is no doubt about it, when sugar levels are sky high – blood vessels get “shredded”. This causes complications. When it happens in BIG blood vessels, you end up with cardiovascular disease. When it happens in LITTLE blood vessels, you end up with –opathies. Eyes, kidneys and nerves are particularly vulnerable.
So doing what you can, to keep sugar levels in-check, is ABSOLUTELY imperative.
But, is the problem REALLY about HIGH sugar levels ?
High sugar not the problem ?
A group of European researchers, asked this somewhat UNTHINKABLE question.
What they found was rather surprising.
It turns out, high sugar is not actually devastating to the average cell that lines our blood vessels. It’s not ideal, but it can be handled.
What pushes the high sugar level into a crisis situation, for these vascular cells, is the presence of something else.
What makes sugar dangerous ?
The research team got their hands on some human blood vessel cells.
The cells came from the aorta’s of five organ donors. Individual cells (human aortic smooth muscle cells) were teased out of the aorta and then grown in dishes in the lab.
To team observed how they cells handled sugar.
They did a pretty thorough job, looking at
- transporter activity (GLUT1),
- the activity levels of key enzymes involved in glucose metabolism
- the activity levels of NF-kB, otherwise known as the inflammasome, it is an indication of how “upset” a cell is
- as well as the overall redox status of the cell.
Then came the “fun” stuff.
The sugar diaries
The cells were exposed to different situations.
Situation 1 – high sugar levels. The sugar levels were bumped up from 5 mM to 22 mM.
Situation 2 – inflammation. The inflammation was created by bathing the cells in an inflammatory cytokine, called interleukin 1 beta. This is typically elevated in someone with metabolic problems
Situation 3 – high sugar levels plus inflammation
So what happened ?
High sugar levels do NOTHING
The high sugar levels by themselves DID NOTHING.
The cells actually just ignored it.
They didn’t even bother bringing more of it on board. It floated right past them.
More sugar on the outside immaterial
The glucose gate they’re using to bring sugar in, the GLU1 transporter, can only take in so much sugar at any given moment in time.
NOTE : This is not the same glucose gate implicated in glucose intolerance. GLU4 is the one that is not functioning in liver, muscle and fat cells in people who are insulin resistant.
More sugar on the outside, makes zero difference.
Entry through the gate at low sugar levels is already pretty close to maximum.
But this all changed when interleukin 1 beta was added to the mix.
Inflammation causes more gates
The interleukin 1 beta, sparked a flurry of activity. The production line for glucose gates saw an upturn in activity. There is no point in making gates and then not using them. So the newly formed gates were rapidly moved to the cell surface and put into service.
It did allow the cells to take up and burn more sugar.
Any time inflammatory signals are circulating, there is probably a problem. Think INVASION of the biological kind. It takes resources to whip these little critters into shape. So having access to more sugar is going to be rather helpful.
But, having access to these resources is not pathological.
Inflammation + extra sugar is dangerous
With more gates bringing sugar in, and extra sugar being available, the cell kicks things up a notch – this changes the cell’s redox status.
Signalling T-R-O-U-B-L-E with a capital T.
With the inflammasome out and about – the situation goes from BAD to WORSE.
So what ?
Biochemisty versus health
Knowing all the biochemistry is important for science types, but what does it mean for diabetic types ?
It re-affirms the battle for health is not just about sugar levels.
Sugar control step 1
Make no bones about it, you ABSOLUTELY need to keep your sugar levels as low as possible, if you want to avoid the nasty complications of type 2 diabetes.
But, concentrating all your efforts here, is UNLIKELY to be ENOUGH.
Several big clinical trials have hinted that tightly controlling sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, doesn’t STOP the BIG blood vessel (macrovascular) complications.
Step 2 – reduce inflammation
Either by decreasing your exposure to things that cause inflammation and/or by boosting your defence mechanisms.
The list of things that cause inflammation is a long one and varies from one person to the next. If you would like some help, figuring out your triggers, sign up for a body audit.
Insulin the inflammatory factor
One inflammatory factor, everyone with metabolic problems has, is TOO MUCH INSULIN. You see insulin has your body’s fire chief tire up and this contributes to inflammation. Click here for tips & strategies that will help you REIN IN INSULIN.
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