Chromium is a trace mineral that is vital for the breakdown of carbohydrate, fat and protein, as well as maintaining balanced blood sugar levels.
One role of chromium is to increase the number of insulin receptors on the surface of cells. Having more receptors means more glucose can move into cells, preventing high blood glucose.
This helps insulin to become more efficient, meaning the body needs less of it to get sugar into cells to produce energy.
Chromium deficiency can therefore increase insulin resistance, potentially influencing the progression of high blood glucose and diabetes.
Remember that insulin resistance always changes, the body can alter how sensitive your cells are to insulin depending on your body’s needs at that given time. Severe insulin resistance is the main characteristic of type 2 diabetes, meaning it may be more applicable to support type 2.
Chromium Rich Foods
Make sure you are eating at least 2 of these daily!
Whole wheat bread
Beef and poultry
Chromium picolinate supplements are often ‘recommended’ for people who are prone to insulin resistance. E.g. Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and pre-diabetes. I always recommend opting for foods rich in specific nutrients first, rather than jumping straight to supplements.
Some research has shown that chromium picolinate supplements can increase the action of insulin, potentially leading to severe hypoglycaemic episodes. Therefore please do not take any chromium supplements if you are taking any form of diabetic medication, always speak to a medical professional first.
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Everyone living with diabetes knows how draining hypoglycaemia can be, particularly when low sugars frequently occur. Until recently the long-term dangers of hypoglycaemia have not really been spoken about, or known. So I wanted to write a post about what recent research has started to find.
This post is not intended to scare you, but to share knowledge and to help prevent hypoglycaemia.
Frequent hypoglycaemic episodes have now been linked to increasing the risk of developing complications of diabetes, such as heart disease, retinopathy, kidney disease and impaired cognitive function (memory loss specifically). More research is needed to gain more understanding on why and for treatments on these complications.
The best way to avoid further health complications is to prevent hypoglycaemic episodes in the first place.
My tips on avoiding frequent hypoglycaemia
1. Invest in technology
If it is possible, the best place to start is to get a CGM or FGM so you can monitor your sugar levels more easily. I use the Freestyle Libre and this has really improved my diabetes control. Preventing hypos has become so much easier!
2. Set your alarms with precaution
If you use a CGM or FGM with an alarm system, I recommend setting the low boundary slightly higher. This way the alarm will go off just before you dip into a hypo, giving you more time to treat and prevent the hypo.
My low alarm is set at 4.5 mmol/L, which gives me time to get my levels upbefore they drop lower.
3. Learn your trends
If you have frequent hypoglycaemia, try to recordwhen your levels drop. For example, I tend to drop during the night if I have done a lot of running, to avoid this I decrease my insulin dose with dinner and I try to run earlier in the day if possible.
4. Avoid ‘rage bolusing’
If you are having a stubborn high glucose, try to not over-correct and take lots of insulin. I know this can be annoying, but we are much better off getting high sugar levels down gradually, to avoid subsequent hypoglycaemia.
5. Always carry your favourite snacks!!
Thank you for reading Dangers of Frequent Hypoglycaemia, I hope this post is useful, let me know if you would like more tips on this topic! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!
Here are 4 nutrients that promote insulin sensitivity and blood glucose balance.
Having good insulin sensitivity means glucose can move around the body and be used more efficiently. This reduces your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, and supports your overall health.
* These nutrients ARE NOT ‘cures’ of diabetes, they can be useful in managing glucose levels.
Cinnamon mimics insulin, meaning receptors are more sensitive and glucose can move into cells easily. This helps to prevent hyperglycaemia as less glucose remains in the bloodstream.
It is really easy to get in your diet, sprinkle some cinnamon powder in your porridge, coffee or on toast. Also use either powder or sticks in your recipes. Cinnamon is delicious in asian dishes, jerk chicken and chilli-con carnie!
Chromium is a mineral linked to glucose homeostasis in the body. It increases the activity of the enzyme tyrosine-kinase which increases the uptake of glucose into cells.
Broccoli, brazil nuts, apples, potatoes and lean meats are all very high in chromium!
Berberine is a phytochemical present in many plants. It has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity through receptor activity, as well as regulating the amount of insulin secreted from the pancreas (in non-type 1 diabetics).
Herbs that contain berberine include barberry, goldenseal, Oregon grape and turmeric.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been seen to amplify insulin sensitivity. This may be due to its structural role in cell membranes and insulin receptors. Omega-3 is also vital for brain and eye health, as well as reducing inflammation.
Have 3-4 portions of oily fish per week (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring). Vegetarian sources include 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts.
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The Keto Diet is very popular at the moment, with people trying it for quick weight loss or the management of different diseases.
There is lots to know about this diet so I am writing multiple posts to provide you with everything you need to know!
What is the Keto Diet
The Keto Diet is when fat is the main food group consumed. Roughly 75% of calories consumed are from fat, 20% from protein, and only 5% from carbohydrates.
After a few days of eating keto, our body enters a state called ketosis. Ketosis is when our body is using fat as our main energy source, rather than carbohydrates. We begin to use ketones rather than glucose at a cellular level.
Our body also increases gluconeogeneis, which is when glucose is created from other sources (such as fat and protein).
Most people experience some symptoms for the first few days of eating keto. This can include fatigue, brain fog, cravings and GI symptoms. This is important to know if try eating keto.
Weight loss – eating keto can cause rapid weight loss. This is because we carry less water when we consume less carbohydrates. Furthermore, the body starts to use up our fat stores for energy.
Increasing brain function – The brain can use ketones more efficiently which can decrease brain fog, fatigue and increase concentration for some people.
Management of some diseases – Research has shown the keto diet can help to manage childhood epilepsy and type 2 diabetes (more to come on this on another post). Some research has also demonstrated benefits in some cancers, but more research is needed for us to know for sure.
Nutritional deficiencies –Removing carbohydrates for a long time can result in B vitamin and fibre deficiency. This can cause problems such as fatigue, brain fog, constipation, some skin conditions and many more.
Increasing ‘bad’ cholesterol –Some people turn to consuming more red meat and processed foods. These foods can increase our LDL cholesterol, potentially increasing the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Impacting kidney function, bone density and potentially increasing the risk of some cancers –This is also linked to food choices when eating keto. Eating a lot of processed foods and meats can be very detrimental to our health.
It’s hard to follow – It obviously takes a lot of will power to consistently eat keto. It can also limit socialising as most restaurants do not cater for the keto diet.
It’s not for everyone – There are people who swear by it, but not everyone feels the benefits of keto!No diet is a miracle cure for everyone, always remember that.
Before making any drastic decisions about your diet, always talk to a nutritionist and/or doctor. They will help you to weigh the pros and cons, and to ultimately make the best decision for your health.
Thank you for reading my Keto Diet 101, keep an eye out for more posts about this topic! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!
Some people living with diabetes struggle with the morning phenomenon (AKA – high blood sugars in the morning). This can be confusing as we don’t expect our sugars to rise when we are sleeping and not eating.
There are a couple of different causes of the morning phenomenon, so here is everything you need to know, as well as how you can help to prevent it!
In the morning the body secretes cortisol and growth hormone. Both hormones cause blood sugar levels to rise to give us enough energy to wake up. Of course people living with diabetes either cannot make insulin, or have insulin resistance. Therefore too much sugar remains in the blood.
Morning spikes can cause fatigue as it interrupts energy delivery, so it is something we really want to prevent.
The best way to combat this is to look at your basal insulin. Take a look at your dose with your doctor and they can help to recommend a different dose, or perhaps a better time to take your basal insulin.
Another cause of the morning phenomenon is not having enough insulin in your blood to last the whole night. Of course this will result with higher sugar levels.
Again, taking a look at your basal insulin is the best place to start. If you take your basal in the morning it may not last until the following morning. You and your team may decide to increase your basal dose, or even consider basal splitting. This is when you take the basal in divided doses so you have enough background insulin 24/7.
The Somogyi effect
The Somogyi effect is when a low blood sugar in the night causes a rebound high blood sugar. The body is overcompensating for the low blood sugar, and releases too much sugar into the blood.
The best way to prevent the Somogyi effect is to prevent the hypo in the first place. So make sure you eat enough carbs with your evening meal and try to limit exercise late at night.Always check your sugars before going to sleep, and I advise having a snack if you are below 5.0mmol/L.
My final tip is to have a portioned hypo snack by your bedside. This will prevent you over-treating a hypo during the night.
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Every person living with diabetes knows what it feels like to wait for your HbA1c result. New research still supports the importance of HbA1c, however it is now advised to also look at time in range to analyse diabetes management.
What is HbA1c?
Haemoglobin A1c is a blood test that measures the amount of glucose attached to red blood cells.
Red blood cells have a lifespan of around 3 months. This means HbA1c readings show the average blood glucose over the past 3 months.
Normal – below 42mmol/mol
Pre-diabetes – 42-47mmol/mol
Diabetes – 48mmol/mol or above
Time in range
This is the percentage of time that your blood sugar is in target. The target range is decided by you and your healthcare team and differs across individuals.
Usually, the target range will be set from around 3.9mmol/mol to around 10mmol/mol.
FGM and CGM devices give people access to 24 hour blood sugar readings from your phone. All types of sensors show your levels on a graph, and record the time spent in range(the picture on the right is what the FreeStyle Libre looks like).
Using both together
The amount of time spend in range directly impacts how you feel on a daily basis.
Spending more time in range also helps to prevent complications seen with hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia.
It is important to realise that time in range is not replacing HbA1c. Using both is helping people living with diabetes to reach better control, decreased complication risk and increased life quality.
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Abbott are officially launching the FreeStyle Libre 3 which is more than exciting, it is life changing.
Keep reading for all of the details on the Libre 3!
The difference between the Libre 2 and 3
There are a few differences between the Libre 2 and 3.
The first difference is the 3 will be the smallest and thinnest glucose monitoring system in the world.
Another update is the continuous real-time glucose reading feature. This means the Libre will automatically send glucose readings every minute to the reading device.
The final update Abbott have stated is the Libre 3 will have a one piece applicator making the application process smoother for users.
The changes makes living with diabetes more discrete and glucose control more efficient. – how exciting!
As well as the incredible updates to the system, the Libre 3 also upholds the 14 dayglucose accuracy, as well as high and low glucose alarms.
Access to the FreeStyle Libre 3
Abbott have been able to create the Libre 3 at the same price as the previous Libre generations.
This is fantastic news because it increases the accessibility to advancing diabetes technology.
This means here in the UK, the NHS should have no problem funding the Libre 3 because it is exactly the same price as the Libre 2.
I hope this post gets you excited, the work achieved by Abbott is incredible and shows how advancing tech is easing the burden of living with diabetes. We are hoping the Libre 3 will be available in Europe in 2022 or during 2023.
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At the end of 2021 some very exciting research got released about a new transplant treatment for type 1 diabetes.
This is looking incredibly promising and is something to look forward to in the future!
Keep reading for all the details!
Pancreatic beta cells were derived from stem cells of an individual without type 1, and placed into an individual living with type 1 diabetes.
The patient has been living with type 1 diabetes for 40 years and has been on insulin injections for this period of time.
The results showed big improvements in HbA1c, glycaemic control and drastically decreased the need to inject insulin.
This shows how promising this treatment could be in restoring the function of insulin producing cells in the pancreas and giving people living with diabetes more normal lives.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, there are of course cons to all treatments, so lets consider this.
Immunosuppressant therapy also has to be administered to prevent the immune system from re-destroying pancreatic beta cells.
Increased risk of infections, loss of appetite, nausea and trembling are all potential side effects of taking immunosuppressants. So of course there is a lot for medical professionals and researchers to consider.
This is potentially a breakthrough treatment for type 1 and it will only advance more in years to come. People living with type 1 should absolutely get excited about the news, this could lead to less insulin injections, elevating hypo’s and preventing the potential long term complications of diabetes.
Being diagnosed with pre-diabetes can be really scary, but having an early diagnosis means you can act quickly. Pre-diabetes is classed as having a HbA1c of between 42-47mmol/mol.48mmol/mol and above is then classed as having Type 2 diabetes.
If you have an elevated HbA1c it is very likely you also aren’t feeling the best, so it is important to act quickly. Reaching remission and getting your HbA1c back in range is absolutely possible, it takes some lifestyle changes, patience and a positive mindset.
Take that first step for yourself and your health! Keep reading for my tips on reaching diabetic remission!
In order to decrease sugar levels getting movement in is vital for using up some glucose.
I recommend starting simple, and finding what you enjoy. If you are unsure where to start, begin with walking and/or swimming. Find where your fitness level is at, and then work by gradually increasing the duration and intensity of your chosen activity.
Exercise of course aids weight loss which can be essential in reaching diabetic remission. If you want to help keep yourself accountable, think about consulting a personal trainer, or ask a family member or friend to be your accountability and workout partner.
Re-evaluate your diet
Altering what you are eating and making some dietary swaps is vital for decreasing HbA1c and getting back to optimum health.
Firstly, think about swapping white and refined carbohydrates to brown and wholegrain carbohydrates. White carbs can contribute massively to glucose spikes, so it is definitely worth swapping to sources of carbs that release more slowly. For example incorporating brown pasta, rice and bread, oats, quinoa and oat cakes into your diet. Also opt for dark chocolate (70% plus) over chocolates packed with refined sugar.
Furthermore, make sure you are getting sources of essential fatty acidseveryday. Eating nuts, seeds and legumes helps to reduce inflammation and can also provide a source of protein.
Eat fresh fruit and vegetables, try and aim for at least 7 a day! Also avoid fruit juices from concentrate, fresh fruit juices are fine on occasion, however cranberry juice is much lower in sugar compared to others, so be sure to give cranberry juice a try!
If you would like some further guidance, seek advice from a professional nutritionist.
Invest in technology
In my opinion, it is definitely worth having a blood glucose testing kit. This way you can test your blood glucose if you feel unwell, or it can help to identify what time/times of the day your levels are spiking.
Being able to collect data yourself gives you more control over your health and can help you to reach diabetic remission faster. But please try not to obsess over numbers and remember that it is there for guidance.
In the UK, sometimes testing kits are given on the NHS, but usually only if you ask, so be sure to ask your GP or consultant! If you are from a country where you have to pay, do some research and see what you can find, it doesn’t have to be the flashiest monitor, a basic finger-prick monitor is great. If you can’t afford any technology, don’t panic! It is possible to achieve remission without technology!
Detox and reduce inflammation
Type 2 diabetes causes widespread inflammation, meaning it is vital to aid detoxification to reduce inflammation.
Here are 4 ways to support the liver to aid detoxification:
1.Decrease the toxins going into your body. Try to completely avoid alcohol, refined sugar, table salt and smoking, also limit caffeine intake and swap to organic foods to reduce pesticide intake.
2. Increase water intake! Water is vital for all functions of the body, including flushing toxins out! I also recommend getting a filter jug and keeping your water at room temperature. Drinking cold water can cause the digestive system to slow down, which we don’t want during detoxing. So drink room temperature water, or warm water.
3. Sweat it out! Another way we get rid of toxins is through sweating. So make sure you are completing at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, you will reap the benefits!
4. Support your liver with nutrients. Increase antioxidant intake by eating plenty of green leafy vegetables, berries, green tea, lemon and so on! Remember to eat the rainbow everyday! Also include garlic, ginger, turmeric and black pepper in your diet everyday.
Decrease your stress load
The hormone cortisol can contribute to chronic hyperglycaemia, therefore being a big factor in developing pre-diabetes.
Chronic stress has a number of detrimental impacts on the body, including high blood pressure, obesity, Type 2 diabetes(and pretty much any illness!).
So confide in family and friends and share how you are feeling. Educate yourself and the people around you about living with diabetes and tell them how they can support you.
We all know how important exercising is for our overall health, from decreasing the risk of having health problems, such as obesity and heart disease, to reducing stress and anxiety. Exercise also plays a fundamental part in lowering HbA1c and helping to keep glucose readings in range.
Many people living with diabetes know that exercise is important, but might need some guidance about what type of exercise to do, and how to avoid slipping into a hypo during and after exercise.
Keep reading for a simple guide to different types of exercise, and how they might impact your glucose readings!
LISS (Low Intensity Steady State Training)
LISS training is activity that takes place over a longer period of time and is less intense. It is recommended that 30 minutes is completed everyday, that can be walking, jogging, cycling or swimming.
This type of training is great for lowering overall sugar levels, and I find walking to be the best treatment for a hyper, alongside an insulin correction dose. But, a lot of people slip into a hypo very quickly during LISS training.
So, to prepare for LISS training I would recommend making sure your sugar levels are steady at around 7.0-8.0mmol/L before exercising, and potentially decreasing your insulin dose very slightly before your session. Always make sure you have water and a source of glucose with you at all times when exercising.
Keep an eye on your sugar levels for a few hours following exercise to make sure you don’t drop into a hypo.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
HIIT are circuit type workouts, where you have periods of very intense training, followed by rest periods, for example 1 minute of sprinting, followed by 30 seconds of rest.
This type of training is perfect for a busy day when you are pressed for time. HIIT can sometimes cause sugar levels to riseinitially due to a surge of adrenaline, but shortly after, sugar levels can drop quite rapidly. So if you notice that your levels are rising during a workout, make sure you don’t over-correct.
HIIT can also continue to burn calories for hours after finishing a session, so bear in mind it could cause a hypo during this time too. I recommend having a balanced snack afterwards containing carbs, a source of protein and fat. This should help to avoid a sudden hypo after your workout.
Weight Lifting / Resistance Training
Weight lifting and resistance training are super important to incorporate into your routine. The benefits of this type of training include building muscle, strengthening bones, and increasing metabolism. Resistance training can be split into two categories, heavy training and light training.
All resistance training will increase your strength, build muscle and improve endurance, but you can tailor your training to fit your specific goals.
If you want to build more muscle mass, focus on training heavier weights and less reps (I’d say 10 reps or less per set). However, if you want to build general strength and tone, opt for lighter weights and more reps (10-20 reps per set).
In terms of sugar levels, resistance training can actually have the opposite effect to your sugar levels. Generally I find that heavy resistance training can cause sugar levels to increase, and I have heard the same from some other people living with Type 1. So if the same happens to your sugars when lifting weights, I would recommend to not train if your glucose levels are 9.0mmol/L or above.
Furthermore, I would leave your insulin dose before exercise the same, or even increase it a tiny bit. I like to increase my dose by either half a unit, or one unit. If you have a CGM or flash glucose monitor take full advantage of this, keep track of what your sugar levels are doing, make comparisons and then make adjustments to your insulin dose, and what you are eating before and after exercise.
If you are opting for lighter resistance training, this can mimic cardio based exercise meaning your levels might drop. Bear this in mind, and prepare as you would for cardio based training.
Yoga / Pilates
Stretching can sometimes be overlooked, and a lot of people are shocked by the benefits of yoga and pilates when they start training it.
Some advantages of stretching can include increased flexibility, protection from injury and help with muscle tone and strengthening. I would recommend performing a form of stretching everyday, as it aids recovery and is great at helping you to relax.
In general yoga and pilates will not impact sugar levels too much, depending on the intensity. Of course more intense yoga sessions may cause sugar levels to drop, but a gentle stretch will not impact sugar levels.
Some final tips
Ideally all forms of exercise should be completed regularly, because each type contributes to the health and overall function of the body.
If you are trying out a new form of exercise, definitely pay close attention to what your sugar levels do, so you can put measures in place to keep sugars as balanced. This will contribute to you getting the best results and the most out of the workout.
Also take full advantage of the psychological benefits of exercise, and enjoy it! I would always recommend choosing exercise that you want to do. If you feel forced to take part in certain types of exercise it can strip the benefits and have a negative impact on your mindset. So if you hate running but love walking, walk instead!
Thank you for reading my simple guide to exercise with diabetes! I really hope you can take some tips away and try something new! Always remember that you can do anything while living with diabetes, you just have to be prepared.