We know that type II diabetes markedly accelerates the rate at which humans contract age-related diseases. Type II diabetes is initially characterized by high levels of glucose and insulin in the blood. Today’s reference range for diabetes (fasting glucose of 126 mg/dL or greater on two consecutive occasions) does not adequately reflect the “prediabetic” quandary (fasting glucose over 85 mg/dL) faced by most aging people.
The diseases associated with diabetes include heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, circulatory deficits, and more. Non-diabetic aged people, however, also suffer from these same disorders, albeit at an older average age. Our hypothesis asserts that diabetic-related diseases manifest as humans grow older, and these age-related diseases may be related to fasting glucose levels chronically above 85 mg/dL. In other words, while diabetics contract these diseases at an earlier age, if non-diabetics live long enough with fasting glucose levels above 85 mg/dL, they could develop similar illnesses.
The fact that most aging humans have higher than optimal fasting glucose levels (above 85 mg/dL) should not lull us into accepting this as an inevitable consequence of growing older. To the contrary, specific nutrient, drug, and dietary alterations can reduce glucose levels in virtually everyone. The impact of people maintaining fasting glucose blood levels of 85 mg/dL or lower could be a significant reduction in the crippling, lethal diseases that have overwhelmed our health care system.
While most adults have blood glucose levels that are higher than that required to sustain metabolic processes, over 20 million Americans suffer from some form of hypoglycemia—i.e., blood glucose levels that are lower than desirable. Of the several different types of hypoglycemia, one of the most common is reactive hypoglycemia, which is caused by the excess release of insulin in response to ingestion of too many refined carbohydrates or sugars.
Conventional medical textbooks define hypoglycemia as blood sugar below 60 mg/dL. These textbooks acknowledge that hypoglycemic symptoms vary widely in individuals, meaning that some people experience hypoglycemic symptoms with fasting glucose levels above 60 mg/dL while others do not develop symptoms until fasting glucose levels are lower than 60mg/dL. A conservative principle of hypoglycemia diagnosis is a blood glucose level of less than 70 mg/dL at the time of symptom onset and relief after eating.
The body tries to maintain a nearly constant blood sugar level. This is especially important for the brain and nervous system. If blood sugar is depressed below normal, the brain is unable to function appropriately. This can lead to a wide variety of physical and psychological symptoms associated with abnormal nervous-system function, such as fatigue, mood swings, premenstrual syndrome, sugar craving, headaches, difficulty focusing the eyes, tremors, temperamental outbursts, depression, excessive sweating, palpitations, and feeling “spaced-out.” Hypoglycemia must be treated when blood glucose falls below 60 mg/dL, with or without symptoms.
It is unlikely that any of the natural approaches to reducing blood glucose levels would induce a hypoglycemic state. These nutrients typically stabilize glycemic control in the body. Some caution should be employed, however, when using antidiabetic drugs such as metformin. Nondiabetics using metformin may start off at 500 mg a day and gradually build up to 1000-1500 mg a day. The objective is not to take so much metformin as to induce a hypoglycemic state. Healthy people have used metformin as an antiaging drug over a decade.
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Commercial testing laboratories develop “standard reference ranges” based on typical blood level averages for particular indicators. If you and your doctor rely on these “average” reference ranges, you can expect your health and longevity also to be “average.”
If your intention, however, is to live in an excellent state of health beyond an average life span, then you may have to rebel against the average reference ranges. This mandates taking action to bring your blood indicators into “optimal” ranges. Achieving these optimal ranges may involve changes in diet or the use of certain drugs, hormones, or nutrients.
The current reference range for fasting glucose is between 65 and 109 mg/dL of blood. Our new hypothesis indicates that optimal glucose levels are between 70 and 85 mg/dL.
The Life Extension Foundation has a track record of being many years ahead of conventional medicine in determining optimal reference ranges. For instance, when we first alerted members to the dangers of high homocysteine levels, standard reference ranges indicated that blood levels of up to 15 µmol/L were acceptable. Blood lab reports now show that higher levels of homocysteine statistically increase the risk of vascular disease. For many years, we advised that both LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels be kept below 100 mg/dL. Only recently has conventional medicine recommended as “optimal” these very same lower levels for LDL and triglycerides.
While we do not know when conventional medicine will recognize fasting glucose above 85 mg/dL as too high, Life Extension members can request a low-cost blood chemistry test and ascertain their own fasting glucose levels. If fasting glucose is elevated, members can speak with our licensed medical doctors or take the blood-test results to their own physicians to discuss safe ways of bringing blood glucose levels into the optimal range.
Life Extension members can order a Chemistry Panel/CBC (complete blood count) test for just $35. This test measures glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, iron, liver enzymes, and many other important health indicators. To order, call 1-800-208-3444.