Tools to drop the daily glucose readings below 6

I’m looking for some ways to get the blood glucose readings below 6.

Newly diagnosed with Type 2 - never been noted as an issue before. I’ve been in a panic to try to get the blood glucose numbers down - testing almost every hour or 2 hours to understand how it goes up and down.

I had an a1c of 12 about a month ago. Detoxing from sugar by cutting out all juice/soft drinks, reducing carbs etc. Daily testing numbers have come down a lot - from 11, 12, 13 down to the 6’s, 7’s and 8’s (fluctuating a bit with eating and exercise). It took about 2.5 weeks to get a number in the 6’s. Now I’m trying to get a fasting number below 6, in the 4-6 range.

I am wondering if anyone else has experienced this/conquered this issue and if so whether you can share how you did it?

I’d like to do it without medication if possible. I’ve been at this process for almost a month now.

I’m a little confused by your units. Are you trying to get a1c under 6% or getting your finger sticks under 6 mmoles?

Getting your a1c down takes consistency. Getting a daily finger stick result down takes some trial and error.

If you test before you eat and test after you can see what foods cause a bigger rise.

I exercise after every meal. Even walking makes a big difference.
There is a Starbucks 1 mile from my house, after dinner I walk there get a coffee and go home. It really helps keep my sugars in line and I feel better too.

It’s also good to do some exercise that’s more intense where your heart gets going.

Thanks for responding. I’m trying to get the finger sticks under 6 mmoles. Over the past 2 weeks, I managed to get it down sometimes into 7 and then into 6, but I’d like to get fasting sugar finger pricks into the 4-6 range. Finding it hard to break the ‘below 6 barrier’ - or maybe I need a bit more time of what I’m doing?

I’ve been doing 30 min to 1 hr bike rides at an intensive, drive-myself-crazy rate after every meal (even at 11 at night). I’ve been swimming 1 hour, 2x per week. On the weekends, I do 3 hour intensive, bike rides. An abs-pushups circuit every morning. The exercise does bring it down at least 1 point (eg 7.5-6.5 on finger sticks). Trying to keep my carbs below 50 per 24 h period and fluid intake at 2.5 l water per day or more. It’s come down over the past 3 weeks. I can’t seem to get it to drop below 6. But I’m at 3 weeks since diagnosis…maybe I need to give it more time while doing this?

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I like your idea re walking to the starbucks for coffee - it’s a great idea to have a destination, seems easier to maintain longterm (rather than my current, exercise until you are ready to collapse plan)

I have been operating under the assumption that I have a lot of long-time sugar floating around in my bloodstream, given the a1c of 12 a month ago. I assumed that it will take some time to detox from that and that it may not be possible to get an under 6 number until I’ve been doing this consistently for a few months. But I’m wondering if maybe I’m incorrect, if I should be able to get a number of less than 6 from a finger prick, just based on what I’ve been doing that day.

That is an admirable goal and possible yet requires some work. I do believe that you can achieve this. Without meds, the primary things that affect blood sugar are food and exercise.

You’ve already cut out much of the carbohydrate content of your diet and that helps, especially doing away with carby drinks. With diabetes, it’s never a good idea to drink carbs unless you’re treating a low.

One thing you could do that I’ve found exerts a strong influence on blood sugar levels is fasting. You don’t have to do any radical long-term fast and just missing one meal will lead to lower glucose levels. Doing this even once per week will help. If you like how this works, you can expand your fasting to longer times.

I’m definitely not an exercise guru but I know that high intensity exercise can actually elevate blood glucose. If you want to lower blood sugar, a steady cardio exercise, like a brisk walk, is your best tool. Anaerobic exercises like a running a sprint or lifting heavy weights are desirable for other benefits but lowering glucose in the short run is not one of them.

Getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis will also lower your glucose. This is one tactic often overlooked. Sleeping during the same hours every day is also desirable. Set an alarm to alert you to when it’s time to start preparing for bed. People’s absolute sleep requirements do vary but 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep is typical.

Keep up your overall effort with your newly adopted exercise and food habits. Experiment with modifying some of them as suggested above. Your blood sugar will respond and waking up under 6.0 mmol/L (108 mg/dL) is definitely within your reach. Good luck and please give us an update from time to time.

A1C measurement uses the RBC in your blood, which live about 3 months. So you’re correct that you need time to see that change in A1C.

You could consider getting a cgm, such as Abbott Libre. This will give readings every 5 minutes and help you see how food and exercise impact your BG. Libre is lower cost then Dexcom for short term use, and depending on insurance coverage.

Hi MM1,
Thanks - and thanks also to everyone else who is responding - this is enormously helpful. I understand the a1c is a 3 month measure, which will take time to change. Are the fingerpricks also slow to drop or should they immediately be in range/respond right away during the day? I see there is a fluctuation in the day, time of day, eating, exercise, etc… but that fluctuation has gone down in the past 2 weeks (so say the range on day 1 was 9 before eating, 12 after eating, it’s now more like 6.5 before eating, 8 after eating) - will it take time to go down to 4 before eating and 7 after eating or should the fingerpricks be down right away (reflective immediately of what I’m eating in the day)

Fingerpricks or cgm will give real-time measurement, and show your progress immediately.

Generally food (mostly carbs) cause bg to go up quickly, protein and fat may cause smaller rise over longer time.

With type 2, your body makes insulin, but often requires more insulin to get bg down, so eating lower carb and mixed with fats and proteins will help match bg rise to your insulin response. There are meds that help lower insulin resistance, but not sure if you are using them. Metformin is common.

You didn’t mention whether or not you are overweight. If you are overweight then losing weight, even just a few pounds can improve your insulin resistance which will drop your BG.

If you need medication to get to your goals it is not a sign of failure but your body just needs the extra help. You sound like you are doing everything you can and your efforts will lead to better health long term. Have you had any testing done besides A1C, like C-Peptide, antibody testing or do you have high cholesterol? If you are type 2, age, family history and lifestyle are all factors but if you are type 1/LADA then you are dealing with your immune system attacking your insulin producing beta cells which will eventually require insulin even with intensive diet and exercise.

These tests can help determine what type you are and give you a better idea of what your treatment plan should be.

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@Eri Welcome and kudus for wanting to improve your blood glucose levels. I have 28 years of experience of living well with type 2 diabetes. First, you didn’t develop T2DM over night and you need more than 3 weeks to gain good control. A carb restricted diet and exercise are key elements to good health.

According to Sheri Colberg and my personal experience Aerobic exercises such as long steady bike rides can do wonders to decrease BG as you ride. Strength type exercise will often cause a temporary increase in BG, but should be done as muscle is a great modulator of BG. Your long muscles can store a lot of glycogen. Activities that are mixed such as basketball, soccer (football in the rest of the world) will often have little or no immediate change in BG levels. But in the end all exercise helps.

The best advice I can give is to not stress on reaching a particular goal. Stress is our enemy. Just as physical stress (weight lifting) can cause a rise in BG, emotional stress is worse. The stress response causes a whole host of various hormonal signals to get one ready to fight or flee. That’s what makes chronic unresolved stress worse. There is no physical activity to make use of that preparation.

Keep on moving, Eri, but do more LSD not Speed. (These are cyclists’ terms, Long Steady Distance and Speed -sprints, intervals and hill repeats.) One great thing about LSD is it is a great way to leave your concerns behind. I don’t know if you are riding on the road or stationary. Road riding is less stressful as you sort of become one with the road, the bike, the wind.

Keep up the good work and don’t let it get to you.

One last thing about fasting BG. Remember that fight or flee thing. It also comes into effect when our bodies ready us to wake. Our livers are full of glycogen. I won’t go into all the hormonal changes, but the Alpha cells secrete glucagon which stimulates the liver to convert some glycogen into glucose. BG will rise. Diabetics either don’t have natural insulin or are insulin resistant. This means BG can rise above the normal range in us. This is called Dawn Phenomenon.

There is another thing that I don’t understand the mechanism called Feet on the Floor Syndrome, FOTF. This is different but quite real. We stand up from the bed and BG starts to rise.

My worry is that you will burn yourself out. Ease up on the expectations and keep doing that right things the right way and over time you will see results. It’s like the people dieting to lose weight who stand on the scale all the time. They get frustrated by not getting results they want- when if they took the long look they certainly are.

I guess this is enough from this old man.


Thank you. All excellent advice, which I am taking. I’ve gotten the CGM Freestyle Libre (my sore fingers are thanking me for that) although it always seems to be 1 full number either above or below the finger prick tests. Working on the distance activity (2 hours of continuous swimming the other day). Broke the 6.0 barrier - getting numbers in the 5.6 regularly and broke the 5.5 barrier the other day with two numbers at 5.2.

The feet-on-the-floor phenomena was helpful to know about. 1 night on the Libre and it seems like my sugar starts rising rapidly in the first two hours after I wake up --without eating. We’ll see if that’s a pattern or if it is also rising during the night.

We’ll see if different times of the month affect it as well - I’m a girl so I don’t know if periods affect it.

In response to the question asked about testing, I have only had one A1C, about 5 weeks ago, and was diagnosed by a family doctor based on that. I didn’t know there were other tests; good to know and I will look into it.

  1. I find that sometimes, about 45 minutes - 1hr after eating, I get ravenously hungry, way more than before I ate. Also, I’ve had a few occasions where, about the same time, I crash out completely, fall dead asleep for 30 minutes or an hour. Has anyone else experienced this?

2.Is there a product that you use to protect the CGM when swimming/doing heavy sports and keep it glued on securely? My bank account can’t manage replacing these things more than necessary!


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It sounds like you are more newly diagnosed? It could be you just haven’t had enough time to work things out. But…

40% of type 1’s are diagnosed as a type 2 at first. Medications and lifestyle changes work at first because as a type 1/LADA you still make insulin for years. 50% of type 1’s are diagnosed after the age of 30. Unfortunately misdiagnosis is still common.

Our liver makes glucose whether we are eating or not, our bodies are supposed to make insulin to deal with the rises and the rises from eating. In a type 1 you originally start to lack insulin production and eventually stop altogether, in a type 2 you make insulin but you don’t use it right and your body will produce more trying to make up for it.

The two tests that tell whether you are a type 1 or a type 2 are antibody tests, if positive, it’s a sign of type 1. Some type 1’s don’t have the antibodies but don’t produce insulin and they don’t know why. And a C-Peptide test. If low or low normal it’s a sign of type 1, as you lack insulin. If high or high normal it’s a sign of type 2, as you produce insulin, usually more than normal but you don’t use insulin well because you are insulin resistant.

So keep it in mind if things don’t make sense, you could be a type 1 instead.

Yep, periods are notorious for affecting BG’s. However, the effect varies from person to person, some go high others go low, some do BOTH.

There are many products that can help a CGM stick on better. I use Skin-tac liquid. It’s a glue for skin you put on and let get tacky. Then apply sensor. There are also bandage like stickers you can put on top of the sensor. Just search for Freestyle Libre over patches.

Welcome to the group. Everyone has provided you with a lot of information. Are you on medication? Once you get into a routine you will relax about all of this. Again welcome.

Thanks Nancy and Firenza and Marie

Yes, I am newly diagnosed (5 weeks ago from an a1c). I am not taking any medication because they were concerned about my abnormal liver results and the effect of metformin. Also, I refused to take anything until I have had an opportunity to address it myself with lifestyle. I was not even aware this was an issue. My last blood chemistry 2 yrs ago was completely normal.

Thank you Nancy re type 2 vs LADA. I will inquire into the other tests you mentioned (if I ever get to see the endocrinologist – it’s like a 4 month waitlist)

Thanks - I will look into that skin tac liquid for when I change the sensor!

For those who use Freestyle or any CGM, how do you rely on it? I find it’s either 1-2 full points above or below my fingerpricks. It’s not even consistently above or consistently below so I feel like I have no way to trust it.

Thanks for the credit but it was Marie who gave the type1 ,LADA info. I am. 30 year type 2. I would also say have a little patience,changes can take time. Nancy50

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I don’t currently use the Libre but did for about a year before switching to Dexcom. If the Libre is not consistent for you there are a few things you can try. First remain hydrated! CGM’s rely on interstitial fluid, if you don’t have enough water in your body to constantly replenish the interstitial fluid where the sensor is then it can’t keep up with BG changes.

Second, are you placing the sensor in the fattiest area of your arm? The sensor shouldn’t be placed in a muscular or bony area to avoid interference.

If you can’t get good results on your arm then consider trying a different place, stomach, thigh, etc. The Libre isn’t approved for anywhere but the arm but some people find they have better luck in alternate sites. If none of these things work for you then you wouldn’t be able to rely on it for BG’s but you should still be able to use it for trends and patterns.

Or you could get a dexcom, are you in Canada or Europe? Dexcom has programs for European customers that are almost as good as Libre’s prices.