Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sports Nutrition Meets Diabetic Thought

I was reading through some of the triathlon websites I visit and came across a great article on xtri.com. Essentially the article discusses the evolution of sports nutrition over the years and how much glucose the body needs for a given activity level. Some of the stuff in the article is pretty technical but alot of the general principles can be used for treating lows or really just going about each day of a Type 1 life.

One passage in particular really struck my interest however:

"For instance, could protein make carbohydrates drive into their metabolic garages even faster? The answer was yes, says Portman, who has since gone on to carve out a growing niche of sports-nutrition research and commerce dedicated to the question. "They realized that protein strongly stimulates insulin release." Insulin speeds muscle cells' absorption of blood glucose by as much as 50 percent, so when you're burning stored carbohydrates at a break-neck pace, speeding up the entry of blood glucose is vital. Insulin also moves amino acids into muscle, blunts the release of the stress hormone cortisol, and stimulates blood flow to the muscle."

We have been taught by our CDEs to turn our pumps down and reduce the level of insulin in our bodies prior to exercise. For people who no longer produce any insulin they need to maintain some basal rate during exercise; however for someone like me who is still "honey mooning" my body produces insulin from time to time. Since I use sports nutrition products that incorporate protein and carbohydrates I wonder if alot of my exercise induced lows are due to insulin stimulation. Further if by turning my pump down too much am I limiting the absorption of blood sugar into my muscles and forcing it to stay in my stomach? This is a mystery that will require further research.

4 comments:

Scott K. Johnson said...

Very interesting!

There are so many unanswered questions when it comes to exercise & diabetes.

I think there are just so few people like you and Anne that dig into it. We need more of you!

rebeccascritchfield said...

Diet and exercise are extremely important in diabetes. I think you will see more and more research on the specifics of sports nutrition and diabetes as some 54 million Americans are already pre-diabetic and the cases are just expected to skyrocket in the next few years.

Great blog... I am running the Marine Corps marathon for the Diabetes Action Team this year.

-- Rebecca

Scott said...

This issue is a complex one; you're right in that some basal is required, the challenge is finding what level works for us as individuals -- there is no formula that works the same for everyone.

sports nutrition said...

Yes. It should. Though many of us already know of the existence of dietary supplements, a few of us still do not know their uses completely.