What was your last A1c? Seriously take a moment and think about your last A1c.
How do YOU feel about that number? How does your doctor feel about it? Are you both on the same page?
I ask because I’ve had doctors who were fine with a 7.0 A1c. And for years I was fine with it too because they were fine with it. But if you look at the conversion of what a 7.0 is in mg/dL, and knowing that any blood sugar above 140 mg/dL causes permanent organ damage [read the newest research here] you may start to think, ‘oh snap! how do i lower my a1c with type 1 diabetes?’.
7 Easy Steps to Naturally Lowering A1c
If you’re looking to lower your A1c with Type 1 diabetes there are a few schools of thought on how to get there. I lean (heavily) towards the natural side of things, so you won’t see recommendations for a bunch of supplements, metformin, or any other pharmaceuticals here (except for insulin, of course).
So if that sounds like your cup of tea then let’s dive on in!
BUT FIRST, I want to make it very clear that this is not medical advice. I am sharing how I was able to lower my A1c with type 1 diabetes. If you are also looking to lower your A1c with type one diabetes then by all means, please use this article as a starting point to spark up a conversation between you and your diabetes team.
1. Get Ratios DIALED
If you were building a house, your ratios are your FOUNDATION. You cannot build a solid house without a strong foundation, and the same is true in the land of T1D. In order to have smooth blood sugars your ratios need to be dialed! I’m talking about:
- Insulin to Carb Ratio (I:C)
- Correction Factor (aka Insulin Sensitivity Factor)
- Basal Rates
A special note on BASAL RATES. If you are a menstruating woman, …meaning if you are a woman in your fertile years (ages 12-50), you might find that having multiple basal rates are the missing key to good blood sugars. The level of hormone shifts that happen during your monthly cycle can require up to 40-60% more insulin – so having basal rates that match that is VITAL!
2. Have a Thorough Understanding of the Diabetes Basics
This is a part that I think most of us feel like we should know, but don’t. And we are too embarrassed to admit that we don’t.
At least that was true for me.
Upon diagnosis we are given very basic and vague instructions on how to manage diabetes, which I think is 100% appropriate upon diagnosis.
We just got a bomb dropped on our lap, so our doctors are trying to not overwhelm us. I get it.
The problem is, the education on the finder details of T1D never come.
- Looking BEYOND just the carbs when dosing. Understanding how fat & protein can change your bolus dose
- The timing of insulin, when you need it, when you don’t, how to make it match the meal you’re eating.
- How to lower your insulin resistance
- How to test your ratios/foundations to make sure they’re dialed
- Planning for the “oops” moments
- And more
That is exactly why I am creating a diabetes course that goes over all the diabetes basics! If you want to be the first to know when it launches then jump on my e-mail list.
3. Learn Your Body’s Rhythms
My diabetes is not the same as your diabetes. Our blood sugars do not react the same way to oatmeal, a steak, a workout, a stressful situation, ovulation, pregnancy, or a cold. That’s because our body compositions are different. Our mineral status is different. The food we eat on a daily basis is different. So much about us is different.
Of course we also have many similarities, but the point I’m really trying to drive home here is that YOU need to learn YOUR body’s rhythms.
Some of the big ones are:
- Pay attention to what your BG does the first, second, third, and fourth week of your cycle.
- What does it do when you strength train vs go on a run?
- What about when you get sick?
It will take time to figure out your body’s rhythms, this is not something that you can check off in a weekend. But once you do you will be able to anticipate a high or a low before it even happens and adjust accordingly.
4. Lift Heavy Things
There are few things that strength training does not improve. And blood sugar is not one of them.
Without getting too much into the details, because that’s all covered in my course, Beyond the Blood Sugars (coming soon!), building muscle makes your body more sensitive to insulin. Cardio, HIIT, and the like will lower your blood sugar in the moment, but do little to increase your insulin sensitivity.
If you’re looking to improve your insulin sensitivity and build a healthier body that responds better to not just insulin, but stress, illness, and the like, then lifting weights is a great place to start.
If you don’t know where to start I HIGHLY recommend checking out MadFit on YouTube. Hands down my favorite fitness channel.
5. Eat REAL Food. There is no such thing as “Junk Food”
I don’t know where I heard this from, but it stuck with me:
There is no such thing as “junk food”. There is just junk and then there is Food.
I know this isn’t anything new, but it’s worth saying….When you nourish your body with food instead of filling it with junk, every system in your body will work better.
Some of my favorite recipes to do this with are:
Minerals play a crucial role in how your metabolic processes work. And with a metabolic condition, such as type 1 diabetes, minerals are imperative to T1D health & well being.
I got the following graphic from Health.Harvard.edu
Diving into the world of minerals is a fun and eye opening one. Some of my favorite resources on this topic are the Freely Rooted Podcast & Are You Menstrual Podcast.
And if you’re looking to have an HTMA done with an in-depth summary and personalized protocol I recommend going through Grace at Simple Roots Collective. She’s who I use for HTMA and I cannot recommend her enough!
@SimplHolistic on IG is also a great resource.
7. Support Your Metabolic Health
It is beneficial for EVERYONE to support their metabolic health, but especially for people with a metabolic condition (like diabetes).
Our metabolic health just needs a liiiiiiiiittle more love than your average bear.
Your metabolism powers every single system in your body because it’s the process that our body uses to convert the food we eat into energy for our cells. It powers the digestive system, immune system, reproductive system, etc.
Without the right flow of energy (too fast or too slow) these processes become dysregulated and dysfunctional.
The four resources mentioned above (in #6) are an excellent place to start.
How to naturally lower A1c with type 1 diabetes:
- Get Ratios DIALED
- Have a Thorough Understanding of Diabetes Basics
- Learn Your Bodys’ Rhythms
- Lift Heavy Things
- Eat Real Food
- Support Your Metabolic Health