The insidious rise of blood sugar levels has become an epidemic that plagues more than 100 million or one in three Americans. (12)
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), 90 percent of the population with rising blood sugars are not aware that they even have an issue. (12)
The result of rising (even high-normal) blood sugar levels are the ravages of glycation. (4)
Glycation is when excess sugar molecules in the blood bind to proteins in the blood, causing the production of toxic compounds called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs).
AGEs can accumulate in the body, but are more problematic when they accumulate in the arteries and the brain.
Think of when skin collagen breaks down with age and causes thin, wrinkled skin—this is result of glycation. (6) This same process can happen in your gut, arteries, inner and outer skin surfaces, and now we know, even in the brain. (5,13,14)
A handful of unhealthy foods can be blamed for this dangerous rise in blood sugar and AGE formation.
Obviously, a diet high in sugar is a major risk factor. However, America grew up on toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner, and this was the normal almost every day of the year.
This highly-refined, highly processed, out-of-season, carbohydrate-rich, starchy diet that Americans have been eating for the past 60 years plays a big role in the foul play.
As a result, our gut microbes have become experts at digesting refined carbohydrates and delivering the sugar from those carbs into our bloodstream. (7) When the sugar is abundantly flowing, eating just a few carbs can overwhelm the bloodstream with sugar, increasing the risk of glycation.
Eating the same foods day-in and day-out can proliferate a stable of bugs that will become great at digesting those foods.
In short order, an overwhelming amount of the same food group will stress the body’s ability to utilize the nutrients in the food.
This is what happened with refined, starchy carbohydrates. The gut bugs deliver the sugary by-product of these foods into the bloodstream, which has now caused an epidemic of high-normal blood sugar levels, glycation, and toxic amounts of AGEs.
The other dietary culprits, in addition to processed and packaged foods, are the indigestible polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) like canola, sunflower, and safflower oils. PUFAs are used in processed foods to extend shelf life.
PUFAs are highly processed, boiled, bleached, deodorized, and rendered indigestible to the beneficial gut bacteria. Microbes won’t eat these processed fats, which is why bread can stay soft on the shelf for a month or more.
Many studies have linked processed foods laden with indigestible fats to the accumulation of AGEs. (1) These indigestible fats end up accumulating in the liver and gallbladder, affecting their digestive acumen.
Today, as a result of this bad fat consumption, the #1 abdominal surgery in America is the removal of the gallbladder. (8)
Type 2 diabetes is mostly due to the breakdown of the liver’s ability to regulate morning blood sugar levels, called gluconeogenesis. Read more on this here.
Finally, the use of pesticides are killing the microbes on the plants—the good and the bad ones.
This is a problem because we need those microbes to manufacture the enzymes to help us digest our food, detoxify, and make our neurotransmitters to keep our brain functioning optimally. (2)
Fighting Glycation and Supporting Brain Health with Benfotiamine
While it is important to change one’s diet by avoiding sugar, processed and non-organic foods, rising blood sugar levels and the increase of AGES are an insidious, long-term process, so sometimes just changing the diet does not always deliver the results as quickly as we would like.
Certain B vitamins have been found to protect the body against the ravages of AGEs while supporting healthy blood sugar levels, brain and cognitive function.
In particular, benfotiamine—a derivative of vitamin B1 (thiamine)—has been shown in many studies to activate enzymes that positively affect the conversion of glucose or sugar metabolites in the blood, and positively affect glycation and the formation of AGEs. (14)
Benfotiamine supports peripheral nerve health and may support vascular health, including the microvasculature of the retina and kidney—all areas that are put at risk by high-normal blood sugar levels, glycation, and AGEs. (14)
AGEs have been linked to a disturbance in many of the body’s 3000+ signaling pathways that govern the communication between the cells and nervous system of the body. (9,10)
Benfotiamine has been found to support many of these signaling pathways that are negatively affected by AGEs. (9,10)
AGEs have been linked to a decrease in cognitive function, affecting brain health in the elderly.
In one study, benfotiamine was found to boost cognitive function in elderly patients experiencing mild to moderate cognitive decline. (13)
Just 300mg daily of benfotiamine taken for 18 months showed improved cognitive performance by an average of 19 percent per individual based on follow-up mini-mental status examination and the positron emission tomography (PET) scans. (13)
Benfotiamine has been shown to enhance the activity of transketolase—the enzyme that catalyzes the breakdown of harmful glucose metabolites while also diverting the glucose sugar metabolites away from the glycation or AGE formation pathways. (11)
Studies showed that those supplementing with benfotiamine had a 454 percent increase in transketolase activity compared to those who did not receive supplementation.
For blood sugar support, changing your diet is the critical first step.
If your blood sugar levels in the morning hover in the high-normal range (80 – 99 mg/dl), consider supplemental benfotiamine to mitigate the risk of glycation and AGE formation.
Learn more about benfotiamine in my online store.
Disclaimer: While high normal fasting blood sugar levels can sometimes occur in otherwise healthy individuals who indulge in high-sugar meals, if these become a regular occurrence, please contact your primary health care provider to discuss a holistic approach to addressing your concerns and to have your blood sugar levels tested.