Monitoring Your Blood Glucose: An Interview with Ultrahuman

There’s been a recent explosion in the tracking trend, and it’s not just about steps anymore, it’s about pretty much every metric we can gather. From heart rate, to sleeping habits, fitness tests, to nutrition and glucose levels – we are a society very much in the know as we delve deeper into our biohacking behaviour. Personally, I think it’s pretty great that we have become so inquisitive about our wellbeing, about understanding our bodies and how we function on a deeper level, and more importantly, we want to know why. It’s easy enough to see what is going on, but we need to go a little deeper to understand the reason behind the numbers.

After putting myself through various tests and scenarios, I have come to the simple conclusion that two of the main factors in my lifestyle habits that require consistent monitoring are: 1. sleep and 2. glucose regulation. As oversimplified as that may be (as there are many other habits to keep a close eye on), I find that these two factors affect me in the biggest way when they are out of whack, and they will inevitably have a knock-on effect when it comes to my physical fitness, my mental health, my productivity, my mood, and so on and so forth.

I caught up with the team at Ultrahuman Middle East, developers of the Ultrahuman M1 continuous glucose tracker, or metabolism tracker – a product I tested over a 3-month period to provide insights into my body’s metabolic patterns through blood glucose monitoring with information on how to optimise my nutrition and physical activity in line with my body’s glucose response patterns.

WD: What is a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)?

UH: A continuous glucose monitor tracks your glucose levels in real time, it tells you how your body is reacting to the food you eat, the exercises you undertake, how well you manage your stress and your sleep efficiency.

WD: Why is it important to track our glucose levels?

UH: Real-time monitoring of glucose levels is crucial for promoting overall well-being and preventing lifestyle diseases. By tracking glucose responses to various stimuli, individuals can tailor their lifestyle choices to optimise physical and cognitive performance. This personalised approach empowers individuals to make informed decisions regarding nutrition, exercise, and stress management, leading to improved health outcomes and reduced risk of chronic conditions.

WD: Why do we crave sugar?

UH: Our body craves sugar due to the dopamine reward system. When we consume sugar, it triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. It is almost a black hole where excessive sugar consumption can lead to a desensitisation of the dopamine system, requiring higher sugar intake to achieve the same level of satisfaction, which can contribute to addictive behaviours and negative health effects.

WD: How much glucose do we really need, and how do we utilise the glucose we consume? UH: The amount of glucose we need varies based on factors such as age, activity level, and overall health. Our body utilises glucose as its primary source of energy for various physiological functions, including brain activity and muscle contractions. The utilisation of glucose is influenced by our lifestyle, with regular exercise promoting glucose uptake and metabolism, while sedentary habits may lead to insulin resistance and impaired glucose utilisation.

WD: What is the link between glucose and inflammation in the body?

UH: Elevated glucose levels can contribute to inflammation in the body through various mechanisms, including the generation of oxidative stress. Excess glucose can lead to the production of reactive oxygen species, triggering inflammatory responses and potentially damaging cells and tissues.

WD: What is the link between high insulin and the prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes and PCOS?

UH: Elevated insulin promotes fat storage, impairs glucose regulation, and disrupts hormone balance, contributing to insulin resistance, weight gain, and the development of these metabolic disorders.

WD: How can elevated blood glucose levels affect our hormones?

UH: Elevated glucose levels can impact hormone regulation by influencing insulin secretion and sensitivity, leading to insulin resistance. This insulin dysregulation can disrupt hormone balance, increase androgen production, and contribute to the development and progression of conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

One of my major takeaways was the hormone link, because hormonal imbalance and dysregulation is a contributor to so many issues that women face, and it’s something many of my female clients voice. Understanding how to regulate glucose levels throughout the day, and how this affects our circadian rhythm and sleep pattern in turn is super important. Also noting and managing the positive effects of physical exercise and the difference between good glucose spikes from fitness versus those that result from the foods we consume. For me it’s about accountability, having a check-in throughout the day and being more mindful about not only what I eat, but when I eat, and also in what order – I didn’t even realise that was so important until using the Ultrahuman continuous glucose monitor.

I want to stress that it’s not about being super strict or restrictive with your diet, because I love food and enjoy the social aspect of eating with friends and family. Also working in fitness means that I require a substantial diet. So this is more about education and understanding the effects of glucose on the body, and how to make healthy lifestyle tweaks here and there to optimise your metabolic patterns and create habits with longevity in mind.

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