July 23, 2018 @ 8:00 pm
Srinika Narayan: Hi, I’m Srinika Narayan, I’m an acupuncturist and nutritional analyst, and I’ve been doing this work for 15 years. I’m joined tonight for a talk on prediabetes with Nori Hudson, who’s on the faculty of Bauman College of Nutrition. I want to talk about high blood sugar tonight because it is the precursor to so many of our modern illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, dementia and chronic pain and much, much more. So, I’d like to start by asking Nori and thank you for being here Nori.
Nori Hudson: Thanks for asking me.
Srinika Narayan: So good to have you.
Nori Hudson: Sweet topic.
Srinika Narayan: I’d like to start by asking what is prediabetes? Is it the same as metabolic syndrome? Because I hear those terms being used interchangeably and I’m sure many of the viewers have too. And it would be good to get some distinction of what each of those are, and if they’re the same thing.
Nori Hudson: Good question. Actually prediabetes would be defined as high blood sugar. Somewhere between 100 and 125 on a fasting test. And once you hit 126 you will now be diabetic. So, prediabetes would be all those numbers below and above a hundred. And metabolic syndrome is going to fold in that blood sugar dysregulation together with a lot of other symptoms, which may be actually promoted by the high blood glucose, higher triglycerides, high low density lipoprotein or LDL, lower HDL which is high density lipoprotein, and also higher blood pressure, and possibly central adiposity; for men greater than 40 inches on the waist, for women greater than 35 inches on the waist.
Nori Hudson: So, you would have to have a high blood sugar and you would also have one of those other symptoms in order to qualify for metabolic syndrome, a term that Dr. Gerald Reaven defined first as a researcher at Stanford university. Call it Syndrome X in the sitting.
Srinika Narayan: Syndrome X, okay. So metabolic syndrome is the umbrella and prediabetes is under that, basically?
Nori Hudson: Exactly.
Srinika Narayan: Okay great. And I’ve heard you say that hemoglobin A1C or fasting blood sugar both which are markers for blood sugar and diabetes aren’t really that accurate. Can you tell me more about that?
Nori Hudson: Yeah, I’d like to give an example. Say you have to give a sample tomorrow and you have to fast, and there are so many variables between now and then. For example, maybe you don’t like going to bed not having had your snack. Maybe you would have poor sleep. Maybe you would get up in the morning and have a fight with somebody, or maybe you were so worried about making your lab appointment on time that you forgot where you put your car keys, but finally you get to the lab and they don’t take you on time.
Nori Hudson: All of those stressors are going to raise your blood glucose because stress hormones’ job is to help you fuel your stressor which may look like a predator. The same hormones that our ancestors used to get out of the way of a saber-toothed tiger will be used to help you deal with your stress. Whatever it looks like.
Nori Hudson: And in this case it’s that having to fast. Maybe you have white coat syndrome as well. So, fasting glucose has too many confounding variables to be a really good representation and yet they’re using it because it’s easy.
Nori Hudson: And the second one that you mentioned was hemoglobin A1C. Now this is represented by a percentage of how much glucose is attached to red blood cells, whose life expectancy on average is 90 days. But if you are a diabetic, your red blood cells are more fragile and they maybe only last 81 days. And in that case, they’re not going to be having close encounters with glucose, or their lifespan of shorter lifespan and it’ll give a falsely low level of glycation or hemoglobin A1C.
Nori Hudson: On the other hand, if you don’t have diabetes, your red blood cells may last 146 days in which case they will have closer encounters and longer time with glucose and have a falsely elevated level of hemoglobin A1C. So, they’re using this to diagnose prediabetes, and I’ve clients come to me and they’re just scared because they say, “My doctor has told me that I have prediabetes,” and yet it’s not necessarily true.
Nori Hudson: The other things that confirm hemoglobin A1C is anemia. The red blood cells are fragile with any anemia. So, it will show a falsely lower hemoglobin A1C with anemia, and with dehydration where most of the blood is 70% water. The amount of cells that are collected in that sample will be higher with dehydration, and so the hemoglobin A1C percentage will look higher. So, in both cases we see that these are not good markers. I’d like to propose another couple of markers if that’s okay?
Srinika Narayan: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
Nori Hudson: Yeah. One of them is called fructosamine and it will measure the same thing, only over a shorter period of time, between two and three weeks. How long the red blood cells have been in the blood, and the amount of sugar that’s attached. You don’t have to fast. And it’s not confounded by anemia, the life of red blood cells, or dehydration. So, that’s one that the doctor can order, and it’s not like, it’s only typical that you would have to pay for it. And I would love to see it come to the fore instead of being hemoglobin A1C.
Nori Hudson: The other is to do it yourself. Now, not everybody wants to do this, but my father had diabetes and he also had Alzheimer’s. So, we’ve just mentioned how blood glucose can play a role in Alzheimer’s. It’s called diabetes type 3. So, I have a Glucometer just to share with your audience here. It’s a really simple tool. There is a lancet that’s loaded in this device, and the lancet you don’t even see the pin point because you don’t have to see it. And you find a non dominant finger and you just press this little plunger and it’ll make a little cut but it’s tiny, so you don’t see anything. And then you’ll have one of these strips that you load into the Accu-Check.
Nori Hudson: I’m using a different one that I’m going to suggest you guys try. And you load it into the device like so, and it says, “It’s ready.” It’s ready to receive that little drop of blood that you’ve just created, and you just put it next to the drop of blood, and it sucks it in and within 20 seconds you get the result. It tells you what your blood glucose is.
Nori Hudson: Now, there’s a 10% plus or minus variation on that. But you have instant information about how the meal you just ate is affecting your glucose, which is well, the main reason our blood glucose is of the charts in some cases.
Nori Hudson: So, what you would look for is when you do this, first you want to do a fasting. So overnight, first thing in the morning, do this. Then you eat your lunch, usually as you eat your lunch you’re not as rushed. You do a blood glucose test at one hour, one hour after you’ve finished, you should have it below 140. The number represents milligrams per decaliter. And then you could do it two hours afterwards, your blood sugar should be going down, and it should be below 120 milligrams per decaliter.
Nori Hudson: By the time you’re at the third hour and you test, not using the same strip, you use a different one for each time, you should be back to baseline or close to it. And you have information that’s so critical for guiding you on well, I guess that meal was too much of carbohydrates.
Nori Hudson: I didn’t use it up and now I have this high glucose in my blood which can cause harm.
Srinika Narayan: Wow. That’s great information you can do just on your own and figure things out basically.
Nori Hudson: Totally. I think it’s an important tool for anybody who has worries about blood glucose.
Srinika Narayan: Yeah great. And then tell me why is high glucose in the blood a problem? How does it create problems in the body?
Nori Hudson: Well, you mentioned a bunch of those issues early at the beginning and I just review them. Many diabetics will go on, if they’re not careful to manage and monitor their glucose and keep it low, to have heart disease. Sugar is like sandpaper to the arteries, and the other thing that happens is that you can have kidney disease. You hear of people who have diabetes having to go on dialysis because their kidneys no longer function. And then there’s also blindness, or cataracts which by the way they can remove and replace, but you can lose your vision through high blood glucose.
Nori Hudson: And then you can even lose parts of your body because of poor circulation. The sugar is so corrosive to the nerves that when you don’t have nerves you don’t have circulation and then parts of your body that need microcirculation are the first to go, and you may have to have amputation. It’s a bad picture.
Srinika Narayan: Uh-huh. So, what are the causes of high blood sugar? So we know sugar, eating a lot of sugar is a cause of high blood sugar but what are some other causes?
Nori Hudson: Eating refined grains. Often people think cause they’re not sweet that they’re not going to cause harm, that if you chew a gran in your mouth it will become sweet because it’s broken down to glucose very quickly.
Nori Hudson: Other things are artificial sweeteners, which unfortunately the advertising tells you something quite different. But the artificial sweeteners do two things very detrimental to someone with high blood sugar. Your microbial, which is the colony of bacteria that is on inside us but also on us, the inside our gut, when they’re disturbed by artificial sweeteners they over-harvest the nutrition that we’re putting in our bodies. And they also do another thing that makes it store this fat more easily. So, that’s one thing.
Nori Hudson: The other thing that artificial sweeteners does are that they take a hormone that’s called leptin and prevent it from being the perfect messenger to say, “You’re full, stop eating.” It’s called leptin. So, in two ways artificial sweeteners are very bad. So, that’s in the standard American diet often showing up as one of the problems. And then the other thing is no fermented foods.
Nori Hudson: I mean, how many people you know coming in to see you have a standard American diet and are also eating sauerkraut which I’ll give an example here because this is one of the ways to give your gut bacteria super charge, to, in a good way. So that it will have the beneficial bacteria and neutralize the bad bacteria. So, that’s one thing that is missing from the standard American diet. And then the other thing is just overeating. People tend to over eat even if it’s good food, just overeating anything can make it detrimental for the blood glucose.
Srinika Narayan: Even overeating protein, let’s say someone is on a paleo diet, and they have a very high protein diet, if they overeat protein that too can lead to high blood sugar?
Nori Hudson: It sure can, because the body do it says, “I’m going to convert you to fuel, hopes you’re not using it. I’m going to store it.” And so, you store it in the blood. You also store it in your adipose and other adipose in the body. Protein can very easily have the nitrogen striped from it. It’s the only mineral that’s unique to protein compared to carbohydrates and fat which also have carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Nitrogen’s pulled off and it can be converted and use the sugar very easily and be stored as fat. So, overeating protein can do it as well.
Srinika Narayan: Okay. Okay. Interesting, yeah, very good to know because people assume if you go paleo then you’re home free basically in terms of high blood sugar but that’s not necessarily the case.
Nori Hudson: No. And then there’s digestion. People often don’t have good stomach acid, and so after chewing they’re hoping that the food will get delivered to their cells, and the feedback lops will say, “Stop eating,” and you’ll feel satisfied, but if your stomach acid isn’t adequate you won’t get everything broken down properly.
Nori Hudson: And that can set you up to overeat. And have dysregulation of your glucose as a result. The dysbiosis or imbalance of bacteria I mentioned with the artificial sweeteners will also occur. So, that’s digestion, and then the next is environmental issues. I just want to remark that this month is about being plastic-free. I’ve done my best. It’s hard, but plastics and everything it doesn’t break down it’s forever. It’s going to outlive us. And the problem is that it’s got a very additive effect to changing our endocrine system in many bad ways along with blood sugar regulation which is an endocrine issue merely. We’re finding plastic in the fish, in us, in our water and so on.
Nori Hudson: So, please as much as you can take that home. It’s not a dietary change essentially, it’s basically changing the way you get your food perhaps, and also how you drink your water. And then there’s a couple of other things just to menton medications, some of them do cause higher blood glucose. They’re known to do that like SSRI is a kind of antidepressant, corticosteroids which are basically like cortisol. They raise your glucose like a stress hormone, and there’s also beta blockers, a blood pressure regulator which causes higher glucose.
Nori Hudson: Then finally, there’s sleep. Poor sleep. A lot of hormones are disturbed by the fact you don’t get enough sleep, and Mathew Walker wrote a book “Why We Sleep” and he does go into some detail about how most people don’t think they get enough sleep.
Srinika Narayan: And it’s a stressor on the body.
Nori Hudson: It’s totally stressful, and yet they don’t see it because they do it every day and they’re getting used to it but it’s still very stressful.
Srinika Narayan: Well, speaking of stress, how does stress itself contribute to high blood sugar?
Nori Hudson: Well. It’s interesting how our ancestors when they were confronting a predator because we were prey, would mobilize all of the things that they needed to run from the tiger and survive. I’d like to characterize our priorities in life with the four Fs: Fight or flight, which is the first thing. Nothing else happens unless you survive, so that’s what the stress hormones’ job. Feed and reproduce, frolic, okay?
Nori Hudson: And so your body has the same ancient hormones working for you when you, say for example, forget where your keys are, or had that lab drawing appointment that’s late, or even have a bad hair day, you’re all using the same hormones. And they will try to get you to raise your blood glucose so you can run from your tiger. But do we run from the tiger? We don’t.
Nori Hudson: We sit on the couch and stool, or do something that’s not very active. And then our glucose which is has been risen will now get stored by that wonderful hormone called insulin and pack it away. And we do that a lot. And it’s not just the stress, it’s how we perceive our stress.
Srinika Narayan: Uh-huh. Interesting. Okay. Great. All right. Well, great.
Nori Hudson: So, I wanted to ask you something because what are you seeing in your practice that might be causing people to have high glucose and also this metabolic syndrome?
Srinika Narayan: Right. Well, when I test people, so I use muscle testing to find out what are the organs involved with their issue? Whether it’s high blood sugar or anything else. And one organ that comes up which is surprising how often it comes up, is the thyroid.
Nori Hudson: Really?
Srinika Narayan: Yeah, and I mean you’d think it would always be the pancreas, but it’s quite often the thyroid. And the thyroid if it’s malfunctioning, if it’s not functioning as well as it could, it creates a havoc with blood sugar and there’s different things that affect the thyroid. But the ones I find the most are wheat actually seems to affect the thyroid quite a bit. EMF, electromagnetic frequencies strongly affect the thyroid. So, simple things like turning off your cellphone at night, or putting it on airplane mode can really just help with thyroid function.
Srinika Narayan: Being aware of where your smart meter is and making sure it’s not right outside your bedroom is also key. Not putting a computer on your lap is also key. Just having it, this computer or laptop touching you it just gets this electromagnetic frequency going in your body and strongly affects the thyroid.
Srinika Narayan: So, simple things like these can help thyroid function quite a bit but people don’t realize yet how much EMFs can play a part in thyroid function and blood sugar function.
Nori Hudson: How do we protect ourselves?
Srinika Narayan: Well, just those things. Those things are very simple about …
Nori Hudson: Covering-
Srinika Narayan: Covering a smart meter or calling the PG&E and having them remove it.
Nori Hudson: Adjust it.
Srinika Narayan: Perfect. Oh, great. It makes a big, big difference. And cellphone on at night is very common. Most people sleep with it on at night, and they don’t need to. And even if no one’s actively calling or emailing you, this phone is still actively connecting to your router, to the cell tower, and it’s creating a field. And at night is when your body and organs are trying to rest and repair. And so if it’s not getting that time to repair, it’s a problem. So, just simply just putting it on airplane is-
Nori Hudson: That’ll do it.
Srinika Narayan: Yeah. That’s fine.
Nori Hudson: You can still use it as an alarm clock.
Srinika Narayan: Exactly, right.
Nori Hudson: Sounds great.
Srinika Narayan: One small thing that can have a big, big difference. Other things that affect the thyroid, mercury is a big one that affects the thyroid. So, that can be from leaky dental amalgams, or too much fish, vaccines often times carry mercury, and thyroid is like a magnet for mercury. So, once it gets in then thyroid can’t use iodine as well because the mercury is there taking that receptor site and then it starts to slow down, and slow metabolism, and start affecting blood sugar. So, that’s a big one is taking care of the thyroid itself can just help quite a bit with blood sugar.
Nori Hudson: I’m wondering because there’s an axis, the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis, do you see any pituitary or hypothalamus effect from the things you’ve just mentioned?
Srinika Narayan: Oh yeah. Pituitary is strongly affected by EMFs actually. So, they both are. Yeah, pituitary and thyroid are these key organs that almost have this antennae for electromagnetic frequency. So, yeah. Both that and the pituitary of course affect the thyroid. So, yeah that’s big for pituitary as well.
Srinika Narayan: And then the second organ that comes up is indeed the pancreas. And of course, we know the pancreas is where the insulin is produced. Several things affect the pancreas. Interestingly, dairy affect the pancreas quite a bit. So, we don’t think of dairy in terms of bothering the body for blood sugar, but most dairy products do bug the pancreas and weaken it and start, in that way, start to affect blood sugar.
Srinika Narayan: So that’s one of the things. Metal toxicity, again. Certainly, mercury is the big one but also things like aluminum, cadmium as well. And parasites show up a lot in the pancreas. Yeah, they like to live there and generally when there’s some toxicity in the pancreas in come in the parasites and start to wear at it. So the pancreas can’t do its function as well.
Nori Hudson: I’d like to ask you a question about pancreas, because type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the beta cells fail. And one of the earlier causes, say for childhood type 1 diabetes, is that they would have an early introduction to milk. And I’m just wondering if this is circling back, it’s not raw milk, it’s simply the milk itself; the casein or whatever is causing something.
Srinika Narayan: Something is bothering yeah, with the dairy is bothering these cells. So, yeah, dairy don’t think of it as, “Oh it’s just protein don’t worry about it won’t create blood sugar problems,” it very well can. So beware. And yeah those are the two big organs that show up for high blood sugar.
Nori Hudson: And the liver?
Srinika Narayan: And the liver as well. Liver is third. Liver shows up for every problem, including high blood sugar. And it just goes to show that the liver is working extra hard just dealing with filtering out all the toxicities that we’re exposed to, and it can be bothered by heavy metals, it can be bothered by any chemical, and that impairs its function and liver and pancreas do work together to regulate blood sugar in the body. So yeah, that’s the other one.
Nori Hudson: Yeah the liver can store some glycogen or glucose that is left over from whatever we ate, but it only has about 5% of its volume available to do so. So, when it’s impaired even that 5% may not be there and they even say diabetes may start with the liver because of that very problem.
Srinika Narayan: Just yeah, even less than 5%, right. Exactly. So, tell me Lori, what would you consider to be a good dietary program to be helpful for reducing the demand for insulin and helping with high blood sugar?
Nori Hudson: Yeah. I think we started out talking about macro nutrients. So protein, but not too much. So, 60 to 80 grams per day for an average person would be a goal. And you want to have a good quality, of course. And then fats a good quality of fats as well would be probably the highest macronutrients in terms of percentage, because you don’t need insulin to use it as fuel.
Nori Hudson: Some people have switched over whole heartedly to being fat burners rather than glucose burners and enjoy a better brain function, better energy, better everything. Not everyone can do it, I think flexible burning between fat and glucose is a good goal. And nuts and seeds have been known to help people feel blood sugar being stable throughout the day when they perhaps are going to possibly miss getting a meal on time, that you’re used to.
Nori Hudson: Carbohydrates. Now this is the area where all the standard American foods falls. If you eat, no refined grains, no refined fruits, like juices and fruit leathers and dried fruits, but can eat fruit. Eat colorful fresh food on a regular basis high in fiber. They say fiber, interestingly, 30 to 50 grams a day of fiber has been shown to help people modulate not only blood glucose, but also weight management. Those who ate the highest amount of fiber have the greatest positive result and in managing and achieving their weight loss goal is usually is about with the glucose as well.
Srinika Narayan: Yeah, interesting and I’ve heard you talk about apple cider vinegar having a good effect for blood sugar?
Nori Hudson: I mean, you should mention.
Srinika Narayan: Yeah there it is, okay.
Nori Hudson: There it is, yeah. There’s a study that was done, it didn’t have to be apple cider vinegar, could be just the acidic acid but this is so tasty. So, several things that this does: They would take two table spoons before every meal, and two hour after meal, glucose measure will be significantly less when nothing else worked. Amazingly, it also reduced insulin, and it also seems to give you a sense of satiety. That’s three things, and it also helps you improve your stomach acid which might be not adequate.
Nori Hudson: It doesn’t taste too bad when it’s in this form, the only vinegar you can’t use is balsamic vinegar. It’s too sweet. You can sue wine vinegar, but this one’s nice cause it’s got some vitamin C in it. And it’s also a more naturally fermented product. So, even going with this in your meal if you can’t fit in the sauerkraut could be a great way to go.
Nori Hudson: And there are pills made of apple cider vinegar.
Srinika Narayan: Oh I didn’t know they come in pill form too, great. Okay, wow, yeah. That is a cost effective solution and an easy solution.
Nori Hudson: I think so. So, I mean I talked about the broader things like fats, proteins and carbohydrates, but how many nutrients do you find people are missing when they’re having this dysregulation in their glucose?
Srinika Narayan: Generally, I find people to be pretty zinc-deficient, especially vegetarians but even non-vegetarians, or even meat eaters do tend to be zinc deficient in their diet. Iodine deficiency is just epidemic. It’s just not a trace mineral that’s common in our food anymore, and so that affects the thyroid certainly.
Srinika Narayan: And then B vitamins are a big one that’s missing, or we burn up very quickly just because B vitamins get burned up with stress, with sugar intakes. So, we’re not quite getting enough to meet with our demand. So, those are the big three I would say.
Nori Hudson: And chromium, you don’t see that very much, do you?
Srinika Narayan: No. People talk a lot about chromium, but I haven’t seen that to be as deficient as these other big three.
Nori Hudson: Yeah. Well, you know vegetarians often come out zinc deficient partly because their protein sources are from nuts and seeds, legumes, grains, these plant seeds defend themselves against releasing those minerals using Phytic acid.
Nori Hudson: So, without soaking these grains, nuts and seeds are basically you’re not getting as much as you could from these plant sources.
Srinika Narayan: How long should you soak seeds then? Depends on the seed?
Nori Hudson: It depends on the seed. Let’s say you’ve got garbanzo beans or chickpeas you would soak for three days. There are recipes on how to do that. There’s even a plates mat on how to do that. The one that you wouldn’t need to soak very much would be quinoa. So, it really starts sprouting within maybe four hours.
Srinika Narayan: Great. So, even just a minimum amount of time like for quinoa can make a big difference?
Nori Hudson: With some it’s the acid.
Srinika Narayan: Oh, okay. Sprouted put this in the water that you’re-
Nori Hudson: Sprouting or soaking.
Srinika Narayan: … sprouting. Yeah, soaking it. Okay.
Nori Hudson: And then the nuts and seeds usually with some salt. Some powdered salt does something to eliminate the interfering factors so you can get the magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc that are in those nuts and seeds.
Srinika Narayan: Okay. Oh well, wonderful. Great.
Nori Hudson: Srinika I wondered if you’ve been able to find some specific herbs helpful in your practice to help clients who are having difficulty managing their blood glucose?
Srinika Narayan: Yes. For sure Gymnema is a big one, it’s a big herb that does work quite well for managing blood sugar. And it’s a bitter herb. So, all these bitter herbs counteract the sweetness in our diet, or the sweetness in our blood. The other one is bitter melon. So, sometimes you can cook with that but not everyone want to. So, it’s also made in supplement form, and bitter melon also reduces blood sugar and just helps the cells take in sugar more so that it’s not sitting around in the blood so much.
Srinika Narayan: Other ones include; green tea and black cumin seeds, and milk thistle. And milk thistle is one that really helps the liver basically clean itself out, and can help quite a bit with blood sugar.
Nori Hudson: I’m very fond of the Gymnema because its name Gymnema sylvestre means is destroyer of sugar. And in my classes when I teach, I have the students bring in sweet snack and they set aside one bite to eat later. And they take the Gymnema after eating the sweet, and then 10 minutes later they would just try to eat that one bite, and it doesn’t taste sweet anymore because the receptors on your tongue are gone. They don’t want to taste the sweet.
Nori Hudson: So, it keeps you from eating the whole pie, or the whole cake, or whatever it is that you’re aiming for, because you have a tendency maybe to overeat.
Srinika Narayan: Uh-huh. The sweet receptors are satiated sooner?
Nori Hudson: Or something. I don’t know exactly the mechanism, but it does keep you from wanting to overeat.
Srinika Narayan: Yeah. It’s a good one to have on hand at parties especially.
Nori Hudson: Yeah, maybe.
Srinika Narayan: That’s the end of our presentation tonight. If you want to summarize a bit.
Nori Hudson: Yeah. Chronic health issues are usually slow to come to the fore. Half of the people who have diabetes, for example, don’t even know they have it either because they don’t have the healthcare available to them, or they’re not getting the right metrics or measures as we discussed at the beginning. And so they’re not really taking care of their health in a way that’s proactive.
Nori Hudson: Today, I think what we’ve given you is some interesting ideas to maybe stimulate you towards better self care. Asking the questions and seeing whether there’s something here that might resonate with a process of changing your food, changing your exposures, changing the way you think about your stress and then generally improving your lifestyle and lengthening your lifespan, and improving the quality overall.
Srinika Narayan: Yeah, thank you so much Nori for being with us. This was great information.
Nori Hudson: Same. I learn always from you.
Srinika Narayan: Yeah, thank you so much, and if you want to contact us I can be reached at srinikahealing.com and my website is srinikahealing.com and Nori?
Nori Hudson: You can find me at radiant-vitality.com, and I’m also very much interested in seeing if you’d decide to come to Bauman College and become a nutrition consultant because I teach in that program.
Srinika Narayan: Great. Thank you very much.