Detremental effects of high blood sugar on heart muscle!

Everybody knows that when blood sugar goes too high it is a bad thing, but just how bad can it be? Great question! Let’s look at one of our most important areas, the heart.

Various past research has shown that episodes of very high blood sugar, hyperglycemia, is linked to lower glucose uptake by or cells. In other words, insulin resistance. This is postulated as a safety mechanism that prevents the excessive amounts of glucose (sugar) from causing damage to the cells. Yes, too much of a good thing can be really bad.

Recently, 2014 April 17 to be exact, there was an article published in Life Science journal that shows just how this mechanism works and what happens when we have blood glucose levels that are too high. The authors, Joseph D. et al, hypothesized what they thought happens when we consume excessive amounts of sugar and set out to prove their theory. Some eye opening effects for sure.

They were pretty sure that too much sugar (acute hypoglycemic episodes, AHG) would set off a cascade of events, none of which are very good. They took heart cells, cardiomyoblasts, and exposed them to glucose solution in a controlled setting in the lab. The researchers used two solutions to mimic both normal blood sugar and high blood sugar events. They used the most up to date and advanced scientific methods to gather the results. Again, real eye openers.

The researchers found that the high glucose caused an increase in ROS (reactive oxygen species),  stimulated advanced glycation end products (AGE) {and these things do make us age faster, just thought I would through that in for those interested} and blunted glucose uptake by the cells (increasing insulin resistance).

What can we take from this and apply to our lives to be able to live healthier? First thing we know is that AHG increased ROS, or a need for more antioxidants. These ROS guys cause inflammation and we know that chronic inflammation is a very bad thing. It alone has been implicated in all sorts of disease processes, including heart disease and cancer. That is enough for me to forgo the sugar or high carb diet.

They also discovered something called non-oxidative glucose pathway (NOGP) is activated by the episode of high sugar (AHG) and that takes glucose metabolism away form our normal ability to use the glucose or causes insulin resistance.

One very interesting finding of this research was that the researchers employed a compound, one that we often suggest for those with glucose handling problems, benfotiamine, a specialized formulation of vitamin B1, and found that it shunted the bad NOGP and decreased ROS generation as well as help restore normal glucose uptake by the cells!

All this exciting new evidence points to the fact that we desperately need to change our current dietary factors. All Americans, and others around the world for that matter, consume too much sugar and foods that easily turn into sugar in our bodies. This includes all grains and grain products (cereals, pasta, etc.), fruits, and of course sugar sweetened beverages of all kinds. I know how hard that can be when we are bombarded with dis-information via advertising, but, if we want to live healthy and be healthy, we must do it. In our patients that will adopt the low carb, no sugar diet, we always see drastic improvement in their overall health including weight loss.

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