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Brittle Diabetes?

Have you ever heard of brittle diabetes?

What is it? What are the signs? How can you get out iof it?

Brittle Diabetes – Type 1 Thursday – Hanna Boëthius

Although the term “brittle diabetes” is wildly discussed and can come across as very negative and blaming, it’s a concept many people with diabetes (unfortunately) are familiar with. Perhaps you’ve been labeled “brittle” in your medical file, just lika I have in the past?

What can you do about it, then? Is it just to accept it and trry to live as peacefully as possible with it?

Au contraire!

Brittle diabetes can very well be dealt with, and removed from your life, too. It all depends on what the cause if for you. A few common causes of brittle diabetes are medication troubles, stress (blood glucose killer number 1!) , eating disorder, gastrointestinal issues, gastroparesis or insulin sensitivity, to mention a few.

Once you know this, try to look at what lifestyle changes would apply to you – nutrition, medication, movement, mindset, stress management… are a few points to keep in mind.

Share your experiences with me! What’s your number one trick for brittle diabetes?

Disclaimer
The only purpose of this website is to educate and to inform. It is no substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This website is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. Instead, we encourage you to discuss your options with a health care provider who specializes in treating Type 1 Diabetes.

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All About Vitamin D

Hola, Sunshine! ☀️ Today on Type 1 Thursday, we’re talking about vitamin D!

Where do we get it from, how can we improve our levels (if needed) and what is it good for?

Did you know vitamin D is THIS important? How do you make sure you have enough vitamin D? Let’s chat in the comments!

All About Vitamin D – Type 1 Thursday – Hanna Boëthius

Ps. Why don’t you share this video with someone who needs to learn more about vitamin D?

I made this handy graphic about the sources of vitamin D to go with the video. Got any questions? Let me know in the comments!

Vitamin D Sources – Hanna Boëthius

Transcription

If you prefer to read about vitamin D, here is a text version of the information :

Welcome to this week’s Type 1 Thursday and today’s topic, vitamin D. I asked you on my Instagram Stories again what you wanted me to talk about and vitamin D was the clear answer.  (Well, actually it was a yes or no question, so anyway, it was Yes on that! So that’s what we’re talking about today.)

Vitamin D is claimed to help anything and everything in your body, like your immune system to Alzheimer’s to MS to cancer and blood sugar. There have been studies showing either way on all of these so it’s quite an important thing for our body. 

Did you actually know that vitamin D is something like a pro hormone, so like a precursor of a hormone and not as much of a vitamin as we are made to believe? It’s so important in our body, and its role in many, many functions is astonishing. Our bodies can make it on its own, which I will go through in a little bit, but it basically uses cholesterol and sunlight, and we can also get it from food sources if the sunlight is not enough, which it can be, for example, in the Northern Hemisphere during the winter half of the year. 

Benefits of Vitamin D

What are the benefits of vitamin D? It can help regulate and control the body’s ability to absorb phosphorus and calcium. It may also help the body regulate the insulin production in the pancreas. Vitamin D levels in a person should ideally be around 20 to 56 ng/l and with anything clinically as low as 20 ng/l is considered deficient. It is now of course known that we need a sufficient amount of vitamin D in our system, in our body and something around 60 to 80 mark even 100 ng/l can help, for example, blood glucose levels to keep them under control, which is absolutely vital for people with diabetes. 

What else is it good for then? (If you know, how about you send me a little comment so I know I’m not completely alone out there on the interwebs!) In the meantime, vitamin D does support our immune system, our brain and our nervous system which can be very good and especially at this point of time. It also is very good for lung function and our cardiovascular system, and it can also influence the gene expression of cancer tumours. It’s not quite clear how it really works there, but it seems to be able to have an influence on cancer metabolism. 

Vitamin D also helps you have better skin, it helps you have healthier muscles. Also, more studies are finding a link between Type 1 Diabetes and vitamin D levels because of the auto immunity aspect, as well. Something I learned very recently is that there is a presence of vitamin D receptors on insulin secreting pancreatic beta cells. And to this, multiple studies have shown that vitamin D supplementation as a young child can seem to be able to prevent a Type 1 diagnosis later in life. It’s quite an interesting topic and if you’re interested, I suggest that you Google it because it is a very interesting field of research! (And of course I am invested myself, so please go find all the good stuff and report back.) It also can also help with depression in some cases, as well. 

How to get Vitamin D

So how do we get vitamin D at all? The obvious one is (I tried to depict it in my clothing today); sunshine! It is the one very natural and fantastic way of getting vitamin D and this is because 80 to 90% of the body’s vitamin D is made by the skin with the help of cholesterol and the UVB rays of the sun.  This is when vitamin D3 gets transferred to the kidneys and the liver and it’s converted to Calcitriol, which is an active form of vitamin D. It’s said that 20-30 minutes daily sun exposure is recommended and this is clearly more difficult when we are not in the summer time of the year. If you wear high enough sunscreen, it will block your vitamin D production in the skin, which is not a great thing if you are out in the sunlight trying to get vitamin D!

This is actually why it’s best to do short periods of time in the sun, however be very careful not to burn yourself, which is the key to all sun exposure. Make sure that you go without sunscreen so that you get the full benefits carefully. There are apps like for example, my favourite summer app in the universe, which is the D-minder app. I can’t tag them as they are not on social media and I do not work with them, but I think the app is fantastic! It takes into account your location, your altitude, all of these things to see what the UV index is for that day in that weather, you can put in how much clothes you’re wearing, how overcast it is, and your skin type and it calculates how long you can safely be out in the sun to get vitamin D and sun exposure. (It also helps you get a great tan, if that’s what you’re looking for!)

What if you can’t be in the sun?

If being in the sun is not an option, what are your other options? Well, you have two other ways of getting vitamin D. One is from food sources and this is of course, I always recommend whole foods sources. Personally, I’m not really sure about the “fortified” foods that are out there and in my opinion, the best forms of exogenous vitamin D is D3 and it comes from animal foods. That’s where it’s most widely available and most grains and other non animal foods, they really need to be fortified with this extra vitamin D and I feel like that’s a little too much chemistry for me so I’ll leave that alone. That’s up to each and every one of you to decide but I would recommend things like cod liver oil, salmon is a great vitamin D source and  salmon roe and it’s delicious. And how about some tuna or sardines, eggs are great, cheese and liver. (I’m having liver pate tonight and I cannot wait also because of the vitamin D, but mainly because it’s yummy.)

If you can’t get in the sun, you can’t eat any of these things, you can supplement vitamin D, so you are not left alone! Make sure that you get the vitamin D3 and not the D2, because the D2 is not bioavailable, so it doesn’t get absorbed as well in your body and D3 is already one step closer to being used, so make sure it’s D3. And make sure you take the supplements with a fatty meal for the best absorption, as it’s a fat-soluble vitamin. Otherwise, what’s the point eating them if they don’t get absorbed, right? H

How much does one supplement? That is an everlasting question and I cannot even tell you how many people have asked me this, but and the fastest and easiest and safest way to check is actually with a blood test so that you can see where your level is now, and then you can try supplementing for a while, before taking a new blood test and see if you need to increase or decrease. That’s the safest way. 

Generally, living in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s difficult to get enough during the winter and especially if you also have some sort of autoimmune thing going on, like I do, and many of us do here. Remember that the official recommendations, as in what you see on the supplement package, usually tends to err on the low side. Having an excess of vitamin D is very difficult to achieve. You have to take many, many supplements for very long to get an excess which would manifest in a too low calcium in your body. 

Did you know that vitamin D is this important and if you did, tell me how you make sure that you get enough vitamin D. And if you didn’t, how are you planning to get enough vitamin D into your system?

Disclaimer

The only purpose of this video is to educate and to inform. It is no substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This video is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. Instead, we encourage you to discuss your options with a health care provider who specializes in treating Type 1 Diabetes.

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Great sleep, great health!

Today on Type 1 Thursday we’re talking about the importance of SLEEP!

How can sleep improve your health? And what on earth does it have to do with diabetes and blood sugar management? 🤔

Find out in the sleep video below, check out my graphic for my top sleep tips or read the information below.

Type 1 Thursday – Sleep – Hanna Boëthius

My questions for you: Do you get enough sleep? What are your best sleep tips? Share them with me in a comment!

The graphic I’m talking about in the video, is this one. It’s a quick reminder of the things we can do to prepare, invest and do for great sleep. Share it with someone you think would need it!

Sleep Tips – Hanna Diabetes Expert

Transcription

Do you prefer to read about just how important sleep is for your health and blood sugar management?

Great Sleep, Great Health!

This super exciting topic actually has a lot to do with blood sugar management and diabetes, although we might not think about it. I asked on my Instagram Stories if I should do a Type 1 Thursday on sleep and the importance of sleep and an overwhelming amount of people thought that was a great idea!

We have to really step away from this old notion of that “we can sleep when we’re dead” or “we can sleep later” or “we can catch up on sleep later”. No, we really cannot. Healthy, proper sleep is actually super important for us, for our health, and for our well being. So no more pushing it til later! You should invest in your sleep and you should definitely make it a priority, because it is “no backsies” as Sheldon Cooper in Big Bang Theory would say. You can’t take it back and you can’t make up for it later. So it’s very important that you handle that.

Sleep science is growing exponentially right now and it is showing that sleep is actually essential to your health and to your performance. Even though we might not feel like it, or think we can push through and all these stupid things that we tell ourselves. No, sleep is actually super important for our health and performance.

How much sleep?

So how much sleep do we need then? Actually, we need seven to nine hours a night, not a week, not anything else. We need it a night in order to function properly and to reap all the benefits that sleep does have because it is quite astonishing. This is when sleep becomes restorative, when it becomes rejuvenating. I’ll go through a couple of types of sleeps, or sleeping patterns a little bit later. But first of all, please don’t think that you can survive on less than six hours of sleep a night (unless you are one of these 5% of the population that have a genetic mutation, which makes them able to survive on less than six hours sleep). Otherwise, it will lead to a lot of problems, such as cognitive dysfunction, and your immune system won’t work fully. The brain is trained actually to disregard sleep deprivation so you might not even notice if you are sleep deprived or not, or have had too little sleep.

Benefits of great sleep?

So what does enough sleep do? What are the awesome features that come with enough sleep? Well, one of them is of course, which is super important right now, is immune function. Your immune system cannot function without proper sleep. So if nothing else, it is very important for you to get proper sleep right now so that your immune system is on 100% and on top. Your energy and strength, that goes without saying and of course also blood sugar control. Yes, it does help with your blood sugar management because lack of sleep is a huge stressor for the body. And as I say all the time, stress is the blood sugar killer number one. So try to eliminate as much stress for the body as possible.

Also, it can aid in weight loss because your hormones are regulated when you sleep properly. It also leads to better skin, for example. And of course, things like coordination and flexibility are increased when you do sleep enough. As I mentioned, hormone regulation but not just hormone regulation in terms of weight loss, but also in terms of stress management, in terms of emotional regulation, in terms of everything. So sleep really helps there as well.

And it also leads to better recovery because your hormones are regulated, You can drain yourself and then recover better if you sleep better. And enough sleep helps with focus and creativity and this leads to better performance as well which is quite an important thing.

As I already said, emotional regulation, we react in a different way when we have slept properly than when we haven’t, I’m sure you recognise this! And sleep helps with longevity as some studies actually show that when we sleep better, we live longer and healthier. So that’s a good thing to keep in mind. Also, our resilience grows a lot when we sleep properly. So it’s not a bad idea to actually prioritise your sleep.

Something that is very in the air right now is that proper sleep also helps your metabolic function and there is a lot to do with the immune system right now, but also metabolic function and metabolic syndrome. So maybe there is something to the fact that you are not sleeping properly if you are suffering from something like that? This can, in turn, if your metabolic function is not optimal, lead to insulin resistance, both Type 1 and Type 2. So if you haven’t slept properly as a Type 1, you can get insulin resistant, or if you don’t have Type 1, you can actually start developing functionally insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. By the lack of sleep, and of course, other co-founding factors, but it can be a contributor. Lack of sleep makes you produce a lot of cortisol. As long as cortisol is high, it cultivates a bad gut bacteria in your gut and that can also be a problem because that leads to poor health and that’s poor immune system and it all goes in a circle.

That’s why sleep is so important. All of this goes in a circle and they go hand in hand. Good sleep also helps you become more effective when you think, improves your reaction time. Whether it’s sports or in traffic or just generally in life, your reaction time gets better. Sleep helps your memory function better.

Types of Sleep

So what are the types of sleep? Well, there are three main ones and we fluctuate between them all night every night. And that is light sleep, there is REM sleep, which is 20 to 25% of your total sleep, deteriorates with age and this is where you dream. This is where your memory improves. This is where you become or have creative thoughts because some of our dreams I can tell you, if you’ve ever paid attention to them, they are quite creative, if not crazy, but yes, a bit creative.

And then the third one is deep sleep, which is 0 to 35% of our total sleep, and it’s very individual depending on what you’re used to, and that’s where it’s very restorative and rejuvenating. And that of course is also needed for your body to regenerate.

Tips for better Sleep

So what are some sleeping tips? These are some sleeping tips that I came across myself and from other people. For example, no screens at least one hour before bedtime. This can be very challenging because what does one do without a screen nowadays? Especially when we may be on a lockdown, and we need to somehow entertain ourselves until it’s proper bedtime? What does one do? Read a book, read a magazine and do something just creative outside of the screen world. Make sure that you have a bedtime routine also on weekends. (I mean seriously, most of these tips make you sound like a really boring old person but I gotta say they do have a point to it because most of them actually aren’t that bad – they actually work!)

Make sure that the temperature in your bedroom and what you’re wearing and in your bed linen, like the thickness of your duvet is suitable to how you sleep the best. If we are too warm, we don’t sleep well and if we’re too cold we don’t sleep well. So we have to be like Goldilocks “just right” in terms of temperature in order to sleep well.

Don‘t have any big meals or a really strenuous exercise right before bedtime because that gets your pulse going. That gets your digestive system going if it is food and that it won’t have time to come back down in time for your sleep. So don’t have anything heavy to eat right before bed. And this also, of course, more diabetes specifically, helps with your blood sugar control throughout the night if you don’t do anything crazy, right before bedtime, and you know what the outcome is. Also, unwind, but that’s easier said than done in some cases, and especially now, but do unwind and make time for unwinding in the evening so that you can fall asleep swiftly and carelessly and get rocked away by your sleep.

Limit alcohol right before bed, especially and this of course also has a huge blood sugar benefit. Limit caffeine after 2pm, seriously, I sound like an old lady but this old lady has a point. It is very beneficial to cut the caffeine after 2pm and this also has a blood sugar benefit, like a lot of these tips actually do.

Move your body regularly, not right before bedtime but during the day and in the days regularly. Find out what you think is fun to do, and how you want to move your body and make sure that you get a little exhausted at times because that does help with your sleeping patterns.

Make sure that your bed is for two things: for rest and for romance, nothing else. Do not watch TV in bed, do not technically play with your phone in bed. It’s just for rest and romance. And you will thank yourself and maybe even your partner’s gonna thank you for having that new rule in your life. 😉

Yes, napping is fantastic, but they have to be well timed. So ideally not before 3pm so that it doesn’t impact your night’s sleep, either from the beginning or towards the end of your day. But naps can really help as well.

Use wearables. If you can measure your sleep, it’s actually quite interesting. You can do this with tons of providers out there but there’s for example the Oura ring. You can use Fitbit, you can use the Apple Watch, all of these things that you can track your sleep with so that you see how much you sleep and on which level and how you can improve it.

Now I want to hear from you: do you have problems sleeping or is sleeping a breeze for you? And what are your best sleep tips? Do share them with us in a comment somewhere on the interwebs. I’ll be happy to chat with you there.

Disclaimer

The only purpose of this video is to educate and to inform. It is no substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This video is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. Instead, we encourage you to discuss your options with a health care provider who specializes in treating Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 1 Thursday – Fasting and T1D?

Join me for another Type 1 Thursday, ahead of our Diabetes. by The Low Carb Universe event in June (bit.ly/happydiabetes)

Today, we’re talking about fasting and T1D. Is it possible? Should you do it?

Do you do some kind of intermittent fasting? Have you noticed any benefits as a T1D? Questions and comments are welcome! 🙂