Quick overview of what you’ll learn from this blog post:
- What are glucose peaks?
- Why are glucose peaks problematic?
- Overview of how Metformin can help
- Studies on Metformin and glucose peaks
- How can Metformin help with longevity
- How AgelessRx can help with Metformin
Ever eaten so much that you’ve gone into a ‘food coma’? You almost definitely experienced a ‘glucose peak’ – but what does that mean exactly? Read on to find out!
When we eat a carb-heavy meal, our digestive system breaks it down primarily into glucose, which is the main fuel our bodies use to function. The glucose then enters our bloodstream, causing a big rise in our blood sugar levels, and our pancreas is instructed to make insulin to ‘unlock’ our cells so that the glucose can enter.
This sharp rise and subsequent fall in our blood sugar levels is referred to as a ‘glucose peak’, and high glucose peaks are something we should all be trying to avoid.
Why are glucose peaks problematic?
To understand why glucose peaks are problematic, you first need to know three things:
- Making insulin is hard work, even for a healthy pancreas
Insulin is a big molecule, and it takes special cells in our pancreas called beta cells to produce it through many complex biochemical steps.
- We didn’t evolve to eat chocolate cake (unfortunately)
The typical sugar-laden Western diet forces our pancreas to make much more insulin than it evolved to over millions of years.
- Chronic high blood sugar damages tissues
Long term high blood sugar levels actually cause damage to nerves, blood vessels and multiple organs, including the pancreas.
In Type 2 diabetes, an overworked pancreas has become less effective at making insulin, resulting in less glucose being taken up into cells, resulting in high blood sugar, which then causes damage to the pancreas – it’s a nasty positive feedback loop.
While people without diabetes don’t suffer from chronic high blood sugar levels, severe glucose peaks are like temporarily having diabetes due to the pressure they put on the pancreas.
Identifying glucose peaks with a CGM
Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) are small devices that measure your blood glucose levels every 2 minutes. They’re super comfortable and lightweight, which makes them perfect for athletes who want to know exactly when to refuel after intense exercise, as well as longevity enthusiasts looking to learn which foods to avoid in order to keep their blood sugar levels low. It can even help you dial in the ideal Metformin dose to help keep your blood sugar levels stable. If you’d like to learn more about CGMs, click here.
How can Metformin help with glucose levels?
As one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the world, Metformin works by reducing the amount of sugar your liver releases into your blood, and making your cells respond better to insulin, so they take up more sugar from the blood.
These two factors mean that if we do have a carb-heavy meal, our blood sugar levels won’t spike quite as high. In other words, Metformin helps to keep glucose peaks in check.
Here are some key takeaways from three recent(ish) studies on glucose peaks:
A 2009 study out of Korea with over 15,000 participants found that participants who had higher post-meal glucose levels tended to fare worse when it came to cardiovascular and longevity outcomes.
A 2017 study looked at the combination of Metformin and post-meal exercise on glucose peaks over three days. The authors noted, “Metformin had a significant glucose-lowering effect” and ”Exercise by itself did not reduce hyperglycemic peaks”.
This 2020 study found that patients with diabetes and prediabetes who took Metformin and exercised intensely saw a reduced frequency of hyperglycemic peaks, with the authors noting that “Exercise and Metformin could have additive effects”.
How can Metformin help with longevity?
If you read our recent blog post on insulin resistance, you may remember that long-term insulin resistance can predict the development of a host of age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and of course Type 2 diabetes.
While it’s too early to say conclusively that Metformin helps humans to live longer, it makes sense that Metformin could play a positive role in extending healthspan (and maybe lifespan) due to its ability to lower glucose peaks and improve insulin sensitivity, thereby reducing our risk of developing the aforementioned diseases.
How AgelessRx can help with Metformin
At AgelessRx, our medical professionals have many years of experience in helping people improve their insulin resistance, and Metformin is one of the safe and effective tools they could use. If you’re interested in a free online evaluation with a licensed medical professional, click here.