Another one of our clients is pregnant…actually several are but that just seems to happen around here. Tweak people’s diet, get them exercising…folks get randy and babies happen. One of these expecting mom’s went in for some pregnancy related tests, one of which was an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test. People are tending towards the fat and diabetic but a startling number of expectant mom’s are being diagnosed with gestational diabetes. This is bad for both mom and baby from an epigenics perspective as baby is now predisposed to obesity, depression…all the fun that goes with high insulin levels. If you peruse the gestational diabetes link the line will go “we don’t know what causes gestational diabetes…” Well, some people don’t! The placenta directs a huge amount of control over both fetus and mom..it can sieve omega-3’s out of the moms body for the fetal brain development ( this is likely a factor in post partum depression) and it exerts some powerful hormonal control over the mom’s physiology. One of these controls is a transitory state of insulin resistance. Why would biology want to do this? If the mom is a bit LESS insulin sensitive than the baby, the baby will be insured a steady supply of glucose and other nutrients. If the mom becomes MORE insulin sensitive than the baby it may be difficult for the little-whipper-snapper to receive adequate nutrients. Normally this situation is not a problem but add modern refined foods and this weird notion among many women that “I’m pregnant…I can EAT ANYTHING AND GET AS FAT AS I WANT!!”…well, the combo of a really bad modern diet coupled with an ancient biological mechanism results in diabetic moms and HUGE, over weight babies.
So back to our NorCal Mom. She has been PERFECT with her food. She has gained normal amounts of weight, looks and feels great and is kicking ass in classes. The problem? Her standard check-up included an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) because this has become standard practice due to the skyrocketing number of diabetic moms…still with me? Well, our NorCal mom did horribly on the OGTT. The 100g of pure glucose completely crushed her (carb crash, shakes and borderline diabetic shock) and she needs to do a follow up in which they give her 150g of glucose! What the heck is going on here? She has been eating a RELATIVELY low carb diet. Mainly veggies, protein, good fats…not much fruit because….she does not feel good eating it. She does not tolerate it well. This is one of those wacky effects of a low carb diet, you REALLY notice how much effect sugar has on your system. This is the reason why the ADA recommends a 60% carbohydrate diet…people who eat a lot of carbs handle these carbs relatively better than someone who is eating low carb…from the perspective of the old OGTT. What the good folks in our medical establishment are missing (top of the list the clueless vegans) is the need to look at blood glucose OVER TIME and see what is happening. How we do this is by looking at the Hb1AC. What this test shows is how much glucose is sticking to red blood cells…this tells us our average systemic glycation rate (sugar sticking to protein) and is a great indicator of how well our blood sugar is controlled.
So, I recommended to our NorCal mom that she have her doc run a simple Hb1Ac instead of the follow up OGTT. It was kinda cool because at THAT moment I had 2 pharmacists and a Clinical Lab Scientist there (also clients) standing there listening to the conversation. I asked their opinion on the suggestion and the consensus was: Hb1Ac is a much better indicator of diabetic risk than OGTT and will not induce insulin shock!
Take good care of your expecting mom’s.