An estimated one in five people have Metabolic Syndrome in the UK. Are you one of them? If so, your risk for diabetes goes up big time. This year alone, one in every six people over 40 in Britain will be diagnosed with diabetes. And for many more, the disease is going undiagnosed and unrecognised until it’s had a serious impact on health. Are you at risk? Are you gaining weight, without necessarily eating any more than you used to? Do you often feel tired or irritable? Or do you get strong and frequent sugar cravings?
These can be signs that you are starting to suffer with what I call internal global warming – that is your body’s biology is beginning to heat up. If you go to your doctor and have a routine medical, your blood glucose level will be tested. If your level is too high, it shows that you’re no longer able to remove the glucose – or sugar, which is a breakdown product of any carbohydrate you eat – from your blood. And if left unchecked, this can damage your internal organs, cause your arteries to clog up and generally cause havoc throughout your body. The problem is your blood glucose just gives a snapshot of where you are at the moment your test was done. If it’s found to be too high, you are already a long way down the track of preventable 21st century diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But some new research sheds some light on a more effective measurement – and can sound the alarm bells for the precursor to these and other degenerative diseases, Metabolic Syndrome. A more sensitive measure of inner health Glycosylated (meaning ‘sugar coated’) haemoglobin (ie red blood cells), also called HbA1C, can be measured easily in the blood with a simple pin-prick home test. Your level denotes how often your blood cells have been subjected to higher than ideal blood sugar levels over a period of around three months. So you get a much clearer, longer term picture rather than a momentary snapshot.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in March found glycosylated haemoglobin to be a more effective marker for risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease than fasting glucose, which meant the conditions could be diagnosed earlier and prevented. A study just published last week in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal has also found that there is “stronger association” between glycosylated haemoglobin and cardiovascular disease risk than standard blood glucose tests. So by measuring your glycosylated haemoglobin, you can get a very effective indication of how balanced your blood sugar is – and your potential risk of developing serious conditions such as Metabolic Syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Test yourself at home The good news is that this test, routinely used by doctors for monitoring diabetics, is now available from award-winning laboratory YorkTest. Called the GL Check, this test requires a pin-prick of blood and tells you very quickly your level of risk. A level of 7 or above is a clear indication of poor blood sugar control and a strong risk of developing diabetes. A score of 5.5 or below shows your blood sugar is well balanced and your risk of Metabolic Syndrome, and its associated diseases, is very low. Two steps to help balance your blood sugar And if you do find you have a higher than ideal level, you can bring it down before serious problems develop. So don’t wait until it is too late. The two key steps to achieving this are:
1. Follow my low GL diet – which will help you balance your blood sugar, lose any excess weight and banish sugar cravings for good. 100% Health Club members can also access a FREE low-GL Special Report. If you're not currently a member why not join up now from only £10 - click here to find out more about the many benefits of becoming a 100% Health Club member. 2. Supplement the mineral chromium, which helps blood sugar balance, ideally formulated with supporting nutrients such as vitamin B3 and a cinnamon extract called Cinnulin®. If your glycosylated haemoglobin score is 7 or above, I recommend 600mcg a day of chromium. If it’s between 6 and 7, take 400mcg a day. Chromium supplements usually contain 200mcg, so this means taking two or three a day, ideally with breakfast and lunch. If your score is between 5.5 and 6, 200mcg a day is enough. See Totally Nourish for supplements which may be helpful. Incidentally, raised glycosylated haemoglobin is often implicated in polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS) too. So it’s worth testing yourself and following the same advice if you are a sufferer.