High Glucose and Immune System: Connections and Studies

High blood sugar means that your are on your way to diabetes or may already have it. However, the condition can be reversed. The earlier you take action the greater the chance to get back to healthy blood sugar levels.

Read about reversing high blood sugar safely   >>>

I remember my mother, an MD, telling me not to eat any sweets whenever I catch cold because 'the sugar will create favorable environment for the pathogens'. This was years ago so, obviously, some kind of connection has been known for decades. It is also obvsious that disbalance in glucose homeostasis will affect many other systems in the body, including one's resistance to bacteria and viruses.

What are the exact ways glucose interferes with the work of our immume system?

There's been a lot of talk about the ability of sugar to supress the immune system. First of all, of course, you immune system needs a reasonable amount of glucose entering your blood over time in order to function normally because all our systems need energy. But the concentration of blood glucose should not be too high at any given moment of time, which brings us again to the question of diet and low or high glycemitc foods. But lets look closer at present researches.

There is a number of studies focused on the exact mechanism of raised glucose or diabetes affecting the function on the immune system and its components. The bottom line for all of them is that elevated blood blood glucose triggers or sustains infection and inflammation.

The action of glucose breackdown products called dicarbonyls

The study was performed at the Department of Biological Sciences, Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. Specifically, 2 types of dicarbonyls, methylglyoxal (MGO) and glyoxal (GO) affect peptides called beta-defensin-2 (hBD-2). As a result, the ability of hBD-2 to lower the growth of bacteria becomes impaired.

Impaired function of dendritic cells

Dendritic cells are the cells that participate in pathogen recognition and triggering the immune response in the form of procuction of the right antigenes. The study was performed in diabetic animals (mice) by scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine and University of Massachusetts Medical School who focused on inflammatory processes in the context of diabetes.

They found that glycations and glycoxidations, modifications of glucose molecules, alter certain the proteins in immune cells. Specifically, 3D structure may be disrupted so that the protein molecules fold and are no longer able to perform normally. Occurring on a large scale, these modifications may become permanent altering the abilty of the immune system to respond in certain situations and resutls in an overall weakening of the immune system.

Additionally, researchers found that these modifications can trigger immune response on the body's own proteins. Specifically, the immune system attacks Apolipoprotein B (APOB), part of a larger molecule called low density lipoprotein (LDL), which is not a foregin protein. LDL transports fat-related molecules (triglycerides, cholesterol, and other) to cells. However, it may also accumulate abnormally in the walls of arteries which results in atherosclerosis. This way, overreaction of the immune system on APOB results in inflammatory processes in the walls of artheries affected with atherosclerosis, the aorta, in particular, which aggravates the condition.

High blood sugar means that your are on your way to diabetes or may already have it. However, the condition can be reversed. The earlier you take action the greater the chance to get back to healthy blood sugar levels.

Read about reversing high blood sugar safely   >>>