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artist/writer, springbright.org

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Does blood sugar increase as an immune response to viruses, bacteria, toxins and or parasites, helping us fight them off?

Why do people and animals become insulin resistant or overeat to the point where obesity occurs?
Could it be that high blood sugar is an immune response to something in our environment?
Many illnesses are caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites and poisons. We know that sugar is a natural preservative that stops the growth of bacteria in foods, which is why when we add sugar to fruits we call the resulting jam a "preserve".
Have we overlooked a major immune system, increased blood sugar, because of our prejudices against the resulting obesity that insulin resistance and the craving for sugar and starch, (both of which increase blood sugar levels) cause in fighting off diseases?
We know that many things cause obesity. (Sleeplessness, many types of medications, lack of exercise, etc.)
Is there an important positive effect from high blood sugar that has been entirely overlooked thus far?
How would you structure scientific studies to prove or disprove this new scientific theory of mine?

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  • Jul 22 2013: Hi!

    I have worked with bacteria and viruses before. I work on allergy and inflammation now. I can tell you this- when a cell is infected, the infectious agent interferes with its normal status in a few hundred ways, all of which are not known. One of the major effects of an infection is on cellular metabolism. Glucose is a critical molecule for the same. When we refer to cellular metabolism, we usually mean the biochemical conversion of glucose into ATP for energy. This metabolic pathway exists in EVERY cell type, regardless of it's function. So YES, when a cell of the immune system interacts with a pathogen, it's metabolism is affected, and it interferes with normal glucose uptake. It could potentially interfere with insulin too. But some infections drive the cell to essentially burn glucose faster, and some to shut down metabolism. Also, some viral infections affect gene regulation and could potentially influence insulin production in the human body. Several research groups around the world are studying if and how infections influence metabolism; some focusing exclusively on insulin and diabetes.

    That being said, jams and preserves have a high sugar content. But it's not the sugar that kills bacteria or fungi. It's the relative gradient against water. We create what is called an osmolarity gradient. Think about what happens when you put raisins in water. They absorb water and swell up. What happens in foods with high sugar or salt concentrations is the exact opposite of that. If you leave jam open to the air, the top surface absorbs moisture from air, and makes it easier for bacteria/fungi to grow on them. This is for certain: if you overload your bloodstream with sugar, bacteria would NOT be killed. They would be getting AIR + OVERLOAD OF NUTRIENTS. It would make it harder for your immune system to kill them.

    P.S. Viruses are an entirely different case, that would take a few thousand pages to explain. :)
  • Jul 18 2013: I certainly know that diabetes is a terrible disease, one my husband suffers from and which is a curse upon millions.
    However, it is possible that the doctors and researchers who have studied it so far, and who have determined that at least type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, do not entirely understand it yet.
    Perhaps it is part of the immune system that can go terribly wrong, leading to diabetes. If so, it behooves us to not limit our research to what we have already decided is the only truth: that diabetes is an autoimmune disease.
    Perhaps it is more than what we have already discovered. Today we are reexamining the use of soy products after a huge rush to add them to everything. Next we may discover that many of us are allergic to Flaxseed, as my own physician told me ten years ago. It is being added to everything, although he believed from his own experience and research he had read that as many as 90% of us are allergic to Flax.
    Perhaps we have rushed to produce medications to control the symptoms of diabetes but we are ignoring other possible solutions because we have closed our minds to possible reasons that the body accepts such a terrible disease and even encourages it with overwhelming cravings for starches and sweets.
    Isn't it worth at least examining our ideas about this awful disease?
    My discussion was specifically meant to spark thinking about why our bodies get spikes in blood sugar and why some of us get insulin resistant while others do not.
    It was not meant to endorse diabetes or high blood sugar!
    WHY do so many get diabetes? Why do we crave sweets and starches? If we are open to alternative ways of viewing diseases we may find unexpected cures, rather than only medicating symptoms. If we do not think about possibilities, we won't look for other cures.
    High fever is an immune response to infections that can easily kill the infected person. So is edema.
    Maybe we need to rethink the causes of diabetes.
  • Jul 16 2013: I don't think there is anything positive from high blood sugar. I say this because I need insulin to stay alive. I am type 1 diabetic. It is an autoimmune disease. I couldn't have prevented it and I didn't get it because of what I ate. I will say though if there is something sweet that i really want i eat it because if i dont i will eat everything else trying take place of it and that just leads to many more carbs anyway. Having said that i dont advocate eating sugary foods every time you feel like it. Having a balance with protien or fiber helps every meal. I agree with Bart.
  • Jul 9 2013: The bad effects of either diabetes or obesity are much worse than low immunity, except for some children born with severe immunological deficiencies. In other word, I would not consider taking sugar to simply enhance one's immunity.
    Also, in my opinion, the curing of fruits with sugar probably stops or delays the spoil of the fruits in the "preserves" but not necessarily enhance the immunity of the person who consumes them, at least not substantially.
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    Jul 9 2013: With Type II and a half dozen or so side effects, I find 70% cocoa a definite mood enhancer.
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    Jul 9 2013: Being diabetic I can tell you that diabetes is probably the most inefficient and unpredictable condition around. Not because doctors do not understand it, it is because we know what can happen but do not know if it will happenuntil it does happen. Even then which one ? Which effect will get you if it does ?
    My answer is yes. Sugar can hurt you......maybe.
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    Jul 9 2013: My understanding is that sugar is not natural to humans and it bypasses the natural digestive process.