Can a Continuous Glucose Monitor Improve Moods?

Glucose Monitor

Have you ever wondered how the foods you eat impact your blood sugar levels and consequently, your moods and mental clarity? Some foods make you feel anxious and fuzzy. Some foods zap your zest for life. And other foods calm your nerves and make you feel good. What if you could track more closely how your diet affects you? You can. A growing number of people are turning to continuous glucose monitors (CGM) to gain real-time awareness of blood sugar levels and how they affect your mental state.

 

A growing number of people are turning to continuous glucose monitors (CGM) to gain real-time awareness of blood sugar levels and how they affect your mental state. Click To Tweet

BLOOD SUGAR’S EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN, MOODS, AND COGNITION

The brain is the most energy-hungry organ in the human body, and it relies on glucose for energy. The body’s blood sugar levels directly impact brain function, moods, and cognitive function. When blood glucose levels are too high or too low, it causes problems in these areas.

High blood sugar levels:

Our brains might crave sugar, but too much of it shifts our mood, impacts our cognitive ability, accelerates aging, and can even cause our brains to shrink. A study in the journal Neurology shows that elevated glucose levels are linked to smaller volume in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in mood, memory, and learning. If sugar is consumed regularly, which is often the case considering research confirms its addictive nature, the spike in blood sugar provides a false sense of energy and an increase in dopamine, which quickly drops. The end result is a crash landing that can negatively impact moods and well-being.

A wealth of scientific evidence indicates that high-glycemic diets and blood sugar problems are associated with:

Low blood sugar levels:

Having low blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia also presents problems for your brain, mental clarity, and emotional state. When blood glucose levels drop too low, the brain can’t function optimally, and it can lead to a variety of issues. Hypoglycemia symptoms can include:

  • Anxiousness
  • Feelings of depression
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Brain fog
  • Low energy
  • Sleep disturbances

Anyone who is feeling the emotional or cognitive effects of high or low blood glucose levels can benefit greatly from keeping tabs on their physiology in real time. Blood work done in a laboratory gives us information about our blood glucose levels but does not provide information about fluctuations in blood glucose levels throughout the day. Alternatively, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is a great option for those who are working on getting their blood sugar level under control.

WHAT IS A CONTINUOUS GLUCOSE MONITOR (CGM)?

A continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, allows you to track your blood glucose levels all day, every day. A small sensor is inserted under the skin and takes a reading every few minutes. That reading is transmitted to an easy-to-read monitor. The major advantage of using a CGM is that you can see glucose trends in your daily habits, from eating to sleeping and resting to exercising. This accurate picture translates to more educated choices about what to eat and how glucose levels affect mood and energy states.

Continuous glucose monitors offer great convenience on their own, and a number of smartphone apps make this information even easier to access and utilize. If you’re feeling anxious, irritable, or low on energy, some of the answers as to why may be as close by as your phone.

CGM FOR DIABETICS AND NONDIABETICS

Continuous glucose monitors are often associated with people who have diabetes. While those with diabetes use CGMs to track insulin levels, nondiabetics are using them to regulate insulin, balance blood sugar, maintain healthy moods, and help boost fat breakdown. CGMs tell an important story of why your brain and mental health might be compromised because of blood glucose levels. With this information, you can make better choices about your diet and overall lifestyle.

For example, one Amen Clinics patient consistently woke up feeling tired despite sleeping all night. When she began using a CGM, she discovered that her blood glucose levels were dropping too low while she slept. By making some simple changes to her evening meals—increasing her intake of protein and healthy fats before bedtime—her blood glucose levels stabilized, and she started waking up feeling refreshed and energized.

For those with diabetes, research shows psychological benefits to using CGMs, such as helpfulness in managing diabetes, being able to pinpoint hypoglycemia and overall control over blood glucose levels.

CGM AND OPTIMAL MENTAL HEALTH

Continuous glucose monitors can be part of a comprehensive brain and mental health program. Eliminating sugar and processed foods is not the only way to course correct and feel great. Adding foods that work for our individual metabolic system is vitally important as well as getting enough sleep, adequate exercise, staying hydrated, and a multimodal approach to brain health, which all contribute to thriving and feeling our best. By using a CGM regularly, a customized plan that works for your unique needs can be implemented, and having a sense of agency over your health can be maximized. The empowerment that a CGM provides combined with an overall healthy lifestyle can really help you feel your best.

Anxiety, mood swings, depression, and other mental health disorders can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

7 Comments »

  1. Hi I have been suffering from anxiety and depression for quite a few years now and have tried 9 different medications but unfortunately none really work. I have tried endless programs but still wake everyday with the same sick feeling in my stomach and no motivation. I would love to come to your clinic but I live in Australia and would be too costly for me. My question is do they do spect scans here in Sydney and would you be able to recommend a psychiatrist who believes in your wonderful work. The majority of psychiatrist just want to prescribe drugs and chop and change hoping to get it right if you are one of the lucky ones. I want to start living again instead of existing and help others. Please if you can recommend someone or even a consultation on the phone anything that could help. Kind regards and God bless you. Nola

    Comment by Nola maglis — November 9, 2022 @ 4:49 AM

  2. Love this article but would be more helpful if the ideal blood sugar levels were mentioned.

    Thank you!

    Comment by Fany Lindloge — November 9, 2022 @ 6:02 AM

  3. Can CGM devices be bought without a prescription? What the price range? Is there one you prefer?

    Comment by Terri Gibson — November 9, 2022 @ 4:29 PM

  4. Very timely post and great introductory information. I expect CGM will become commonplace in the next few years.

    Comment by Diane Browne, PsyD — November 9, 2022 @ 4:48 PM

  5. my son can become very crazy in the morning and the level could be low at that time ,it scares me..

    Comment by Marlene Brockmann — November 9, 2022 @ 5:28 PM

  6. Do you have to go to a medical professional to get this device. Will they give it to u even if u aren’t diabetic?

    Comment by Carol Dornbush — November 9, 2022 @ 7:51 PM

  7. My husband has a real sugar problem. He wants something sweet to eat after every meal.He craves sugar if l don’t have any have anything he doesn’t know what to eat.He has extreme fatigue and no energy to do anything.His memory is gone,the short term is not there.The doctor has said he has mild cognitive problems. So all think he has dementia,my thinking is the same.

    Comment by Barbie Mahlberg — November 15, 2022 @ 9:28 PM

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