If your new to my blog, it about how I have taken steps to turn my health around through trial & error, along with a lot of research. I am 45 years old and had always felt that I was in good shape…… UNTIL, I hit my early 40’s. Years of neglect, over indulgence, and lack of nutritional knowledge led me down a track to declining health. Today, I want to talk to you about how I discovered that I was Pre-Diabetic and how the Dawn Phenomenon was one of the biggest hurdles that I have had to surpass in my goal to reverse my insulin resistance and improve my overall health.
You can fix early morning blood sugar too if you follow the steps that I have suggested in the article below 🙂
I am not a doctor, and this post is meant for informational purposes only. My opinions are based on my own personal experiences and not intended to treat any disease.
Please see your doctor for any health issues that you may have.
What Is The Dawn Phenomenon & How I Fixed My High Morning Blood Sugar
For years I have struggled with anxiety (read here), over consumption of alcohol, and relatively poor eating habits. I considered myself a healthy eater because I ate my vegetables, but never really looked further than that. To me, corn and potatoes were considered to be vegetables on par with broccoli or spinach. I did exercise, but the routine was sporadic at best. I would get into a healthy eating and exercise regime, but eventually I would fall off track.. I would drink too much while at the bar, and would then be back at a buffet eating comfort foods the next day while nursing a hangover.
How I Discovered That I Was Pre-Diabetic
Up until I was 42 I never had any bloodwork done in my entire life. The first couple of years the bloodwork results came out quite good. High good cholesterol (HDL), low bad cholesterol (LDL). My liver enzymes, kidney function, and everything else all fell within normal range. This year I went in for my bloodwork at 8:00 AM.. I was the first one in the door at the blood lab.. In the past, I had my bloodwork done later in the day I believe. Considering that I’m not a morning person, I’m fairly certain that I made my prior appointments later in the day.
So, I had my bloodwork done, and went about my life as usual. When I finally returned to the doctor do get my anxiety medication / prescription refilled my doctor went over my test results. All were good as usual, except he said that my fasting blood sugar was high.. It was 128, which is really close to the point where a doctor will diagnose you as diabetic. I was rather shocked. Sweets have never really been my thing, so how could I be diabetic?
Doc asked me if I was thirsty even though I have been drinking plenty of fluids.. I said, as a matter of fact I have noticed that lately. Furthermore, he asked me if I had to get up to urinate during the night more than normal.. Coincidentally, I said yes to this too. I blamed it on my anxiety and insomnia that I struggled with for years.
So, in the days / weeks that would follow I would track my blood sugar a few times per day. During the day it was usually outside the normal range to the high side, but I could control it by eating low carbs and manage to get my blood sugars within the normal range. When I went to bed, my blood sugar would usually be somewhere around 100… That’s still a little high, when you haven’t eaten in several hours.
The Dawn Phenomenon
My last meal would usually be around 8PM… My blood sugars at bedtime were around 100, so it would only make sense that my morning 8AM blood sugars should be lower and hopefully within the 70-90 range that you want your blood sugar to be. I discovered that my morning blood sugar was always much higher than when I went to sleep! My 8AM blood sugar was usually between 120-130 without fail.
So, after doing a lot of research, I discovered the “Dawn Phenomenon”… I researched diabetic message boards and forums for many hours.. After reading through hundreds of threads, I became even more confused. The advice was all over the board!
How I Tried to Fix the Dawn Phenomenon
Oh, I tried it all. I tried eating small low carb snacks before I went to bed.. I started exercising more to burn off extra glucose… I started drinking cinnamon tea before bed… I’m not saying those tips don’t help, but my morning blood sugar would always remain in the “130-ish Zone”…
Dr. Jason Fung’s Saved the Day
One day I was doing research on the Dawn Phenomenon and I came across “The Diet Doctor”…. It was a post, talking about the Dawn Phenomenon, what it is and how to fix it. The good news is that he explained what was going on, the bad news is that the “Fix” wouldn’t be easy and would take some commitment.
My 72 Hour Fasting Experience and how my blood sugars stabilized to the normal range, 24 hours a day.
Also check out the Resistant Starch Potato Hack test that I tried… You will be amazed.. Who would think, that a type 2 diabetic could ever consume potato starch with positive results!
What Causes “The Dawn Phenomenon”
The Dawn Phenomenon happens to everyone. However, it is only noticeable with Type 2 diabetics.
The reason why blood sugar rises in the morning is because our hormonal levels in the morning tell your body to wake up and get ready for the new day. The increase in blood sugar is to provide you with energy. However, for “normal” people, the rise in blood sugar will be very minor.. (From 80 to 84 for example)..
For a “Pre-Diabetic” or someone with Type 2 Diabetes, the blood sugar will rise drastically. This is because our cells are resistant to insulin.. After blood sugar rises, the Pancreas releases insulin.. If your insulin resistant, then your cells don’t respond the way that they should. This is why it’s important to get to the root of the problem if you truly want to reverse Type 2 Diabetes.
Furthermore, if your fasting blood sugar readings are in the Pre-Diabetic range then it’s very important to take care of the problem before the disease progresses to Type 2 diabetes, which is harder to manage.
The Liver Is Stuffed With Sugar – Dr. Fung explains how Type 2 diabetics often have a fatty liver. Their liver’s are literally saturated with glucose.
When your insulin levels begin to drop, this triggers a surge of the hormones noradrenalin and growth hormone. This is a normal process. It is meant to release sugar into the blood. Us, poor diabetics are just insulin resistant and blood sugar rises much higher than it should.
So, How Do You Fix the Dawn Phenomenon
Dr. Fung states that you need to empty your liver of sugar. This takes time. The best way to do this is through intermittent fasting. Additionally, you should begin a LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) diet to help speed this process along! You can literally reverse Pre-Diabetes before you have a more serious problem. Diabetes increases your risk for heart disease, kidney disease, as well as many other life threatening diseases.
Upon, taking Dr. Fung’s advice I have my morning blood sugar readings (on the high side) of the normal range. My daytime blood sugar readings remain within normal range.. I’m feeling much better and my fatty liver is improving every day as my liver heals itself through fasting and a LCHF diet.
How long does it take?
Well, this depends if your talking about a permanent cure where you are no longer insulin resistant, or whenever you can have your morning blood sugars back to normal.
To get your pancreas to rejuvenate it’s beta cells, repair a fatty liver, and your cells to accept glucose takes a long time.. I’m still in the process of getting this accomplished.
However, to give my readers some hope… I have been able to get my morning blood sugars below 90 (whereas my average was 130) within 10 days. I did this through 18 hour intermittent fasting, and only eating during a 6 hour window. During my 6 our “eating window” I kept my carbs below 20… I ate a lot of chicken and greens… Many people have success implementing the Keto Diet, which constitutes a high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs..
Doing just one without the other, took much too long for my experimentation. I was doing intermittent fasting for weeks and weeks, but still had the high morning blood sugars. Only when I fasted and also went low carb during my eating window was I finally able to wake up in the morning with my blood sugars in the normal range. You truly can fix the Dawn Phenomenon high morning blood sugar problem if you stick with the program! Fasting + Low Carb = Stabilized blood sugars, even in the morning after your liver has had time to deplete excess sugars and heal your fatty liver.
On an additional plus note, I woke up feeling great and was never hungry. 18 Hour Fasts became such a breeze that I often extended my fasts to 24 Hours.. Once your blood sugar is stabilized and your carb cravings no longer attack you, you don’t feel the need like you MUST eat. In fact, I became much more focused, energetic, with an improved overall mood!
When I can eat a sandwich (with bread) and have my blood sugar back within normal range I will let you know. Until then, I will be fasting, and low carb dieting.. It works, and you will feel so much better and you can avoid ever getting Type 2 Diabetes!
Up next, I will talk about intermittent fasting, how easy it is, and what you can expect! Be sure to sign up to our newsletter to learn about Healthy Body Hacks that you can easily implement into your life and rejuvenate your health. Read here about my 72 Hour Fasting experience and how this incredible journey went!
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