Like many other heart disease sufferers, especially those taking niacin as this supplement can raise blood sugar, I routinely (perhaps once per year) have my fasting blood sugar tested to remain on guard for diabetes and pre-diabetes. As most of us are already aware, diabetes as well as any form of elevated blood sugar, is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Given the ubiquity of the fasting blood sugar test as a measure of both endocrine and heart health one would think that a "normal result" (about 70-100 mg/dl) would signal an end to any worries and doubts. You also couldn't be more wrong. Let my story serve as a warning.
Because I take a great deal of niacin (2-3 grams daily) for my lipoprotein(a) problem, I have always taken the precaution of having my fasting blood sugar testing periodically. It has always been normal or modestly elevated as one might expect and I have never given it another moment of thought. However, I also am a member of a fascinating community of everyday people (some are doctors and medical professionals) that continually contribute personal research and test data as part of a community-based heart disease prevention and reversal program. Several of the members provided information on how to get a free blood glucose meter and urged me to test my post-prandial blood sugar, not just my fasting blood sugar. I did and the findings were astounding.
Post-prandial is simply a fancy medical term for "after eating." What I did was to fast each night, test my fasting blood sugar in the morning, eat a measured amount of carbohydrates from a single food, and then test it again at hourly intervals. Here are some results.
JUN27-7:30AM, 106mg/dL (all night fast)
My fasting blood sugar is a little high but consistent with levels for those on high doses of niacin. Next, I fasted the rest of the day except for water and other meds to get my blood sugar down.
As you might guess it is getting lower from not eating.
Eat one 330g (with peel) navel orange (no, I didn't eat the peel)
This value is way too high. It should be at least below 140mg/dL.
Over two hours later and still not normal (below 126).
Test results after all-night fast. Not a bad number.
Eat 15g of Oat Bran
Wow! One hour later and look at the number. And I thought oat bran was healthy!
Two hours later and still too high. Now, let's fast for another two hours.
Now that's more like it but it took way to long to get my blood sugar back down to normal - another indication of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Next, let's test what alcohol will do to me. Drank one Bloody Mary (8 oz tomato juice, 1 oz vodka - cheap stuff - never waste good stuff in tomato juice!)