You’ve heard cholesterol causes plaques in arteries, leading to heart attacks and strokes (aka Cardiovascular Disease / CVD). See my detailed paper on this process here.
Guess what helps this process to proceed?
Elevated blood sugar drives vascular degradations, let’s dive a little deeper.
I came across a 2006 study that showed how this happens. If this doesn’t change the way you evaluate blood sugar provoking foods, I will have failed.
The study looked at a hair-like surface structure atop the endothelial cells lining your arteries called glycocalyx.
The glycocalyx aids in overall vascular function, possesses anti-adhesive effects, protects the endothelial cell lining, protects against sheer stress from blood pressure, and helps signal nitric oxide (NO) release from endothelial cells. When these functions go awry, we progress down the atherosclerosis path, which starts with endothelial injury (glycocalyx sits on top of the endothelial lining).
The study took individuals and infused two substances they can trace; one that crosses the glycocalyx and one that does not. Monitoring these two tracers, researchers estimated glycocalyx volume in normal blood sugar compared to high blood sugar. They also validated glycocalyx reduction by monitoring its subcomponents found circulating in the bloodstream – more here shows breakdown3. Let’s see what they found.
Glycocalyx Volume Devastated
After a 6 hour exposure to high blood sugar, they observed a ~50% reduction in glycocalyx volume. Wow.
Oxidative stress comes from Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) – analogous exhaust from reactions involving oxygen. ROS are not all bad, they signal many other beneficial functions. For example, exercise benefits come in part from ROS signaling (do NOT take antioxidant supplements with exercise). However, too many ROS overwhelm our internal antioxidant capacity. Oxidative stress and inflammation go hand in hand. Rust, is an example of oxidation – we don’t want that in our cells!
High blood sugar causes increased ROS as the mitochondria (energy-producing cellular organelles) attempt to burn thru all the glucose to make energy – more fuel, more exhaust.
In the study, researches showed much glycocalyx damage occurs because of oxidative stress. When they infused glucose with a potent antioxidant, glycocalyx volume remained normal.
I wrote previously about high blood sugar and clotting when daily aspirin advice came apart. This study showed an increase in clotting activation under hyperglycemia. The glycocalyx binds some clotting factors, so its degradation allows this process to proceed.
The researchers showed a reduction in blood flow during glucose infusion. The endothelial cells take part in a process to relax our vasculature. NO helps mediate this effect. The glycocalyx, in the presence of shear stress from elevated blood pressure, signals to the endothelium to release NO. Decreasing the glycocalyx volume decreases this effect.
More Glycocalyx Roles in CVD
I first learned about the glycocalyx via research Stefanie Seneff4. She wrote about how sulfur is critical for cardiovascular support. Healthy glycocalyx, which relies on sufficient sulfur supply, is something she dove deep in.
Sulfur can carry a negative charge. Glycocalyx, with its high sulfur content, also contributes to a negative charge. Structured water, aka Exclusion Zone (EZ) water or the 4th phase, has a gel like consistency (see my notes from the EZ water discoverer’s book, and/or my Sun or Cholesterol paper where I go a little deeper. It develops when the positive and negative charges or water separate.
This state facilitates excellent properties to propel flow. The arteries are just one example where this matters.
Beyond blood flow, structured water is essential for life. It is the desired presentation inside our cells and is necessary for proper protein formation. The best ways to support structured water besides not wiping out your glycocalyx volume from high blood sugar are; sun, exercise, sufficient dietary sulfur, and grounding (bare feet to the earth).
Wheat And Other Lectins
Buckle up, here is another abundant glycocalyx disruptor. I have written about lectins previously, have a look here.
Lectins are sugar binding proteins found in many foods. Plants use them as a defense mechanism. Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc) and grains (wheat, corn, rice) contain lectins in their seeds and peels. Beans/legumes (including peanuts) also contain lectins. Our GI tract lining has sugar as a structural component, as do our blood vessels and other tissues lined with mucous. Lectins bind to these components – not desirable7.
The glycocalyx contains a sugar as part of its structure;N-Acetylglucosamine (NAG). Lectins, wheat germ agglutin (WGA, see previous article) in particular, reliably attach to the NAG in glycocalyx.
Grains, potatoes, and tomatoes can degrade your glycocalyx, and induce system-wide inflammation. How many servings have you had recently? Notice any effects like headaches after?
Avoid Blood Sugar Provoking Foods
All carbohydrates are not bad, but certain presentations are disastrous to your blood sugar – and glycocalyx. Added sugar, fruit juices, soda, and anything with flour or cornstarch will skyrocket your blood sugar.
Promote Structured Water
Exercise, sunlight (minus sunscreen), grounding/earthing, and dietary sulfur are excellent ways to foster an environment favorable to structured water. For more details, please see my Sun or Cholesterol papers.
Minimize Lectin Exposure
We can’t get away from all lectin containing foods, this is not the recommendation. Rather, develop a heightened awareness and arm yourself. You cannot always feel the effects of them, like my daughter.
Lectins are in the seeds/peels. Italians regularly peel and de-seed tomatoes, something the rest of us should consider. Whole grains include the outer husks of the seeds, where the lectins are. Further, they contain phytates which bind minerals we would otherwise have access to. Whole grains are not something to include as a significant contribution to a healthy diet. Remember though, the inside of the seeds contain starch that increases blood sugar more than sugar. So, while you can avoid the lectins with white flour, your glycocalyx is still at risk from blood sugar.
Pressure cooking inactivates most lectins. I have done spaghetti sauce in our Instant Pot, with good results.
We cannot avoid all these triggers, all the time. When we run into situations where exposure will happen, here are a few considerations.
- Glucosamine: provides the lectins something in which to attach, sparing your mucosal linings8. It can also help blood sugar metabolism. I would make a glucosamine complex, like this one, part of a daily regimen, espescially with lectin-containing meals. It also provides a good level of sulfate, which is helpful for structured water development. I have also tested this Lectin blocker extensively, it prevents lectin headaches in my daughter.
- Grape Seed Extract (GSE): GSE can block some carbohydrate digestion which markedly reduces blood sugar increases after consumption9.
- Vanadyl Sulfate (VS): VS promotes a glucose lowering effect10, and another sulfate source.
- N-A-C (N-acetyl-L-cysteine): NAC is the antioxidant used in the study to blunt oxidative damage to the glycocalyx from high blood sugar. This can help as can other antioxidants such as Vitamin C, glutathione (liposomal form), and astaxanthin.
These supplements can be helpful, but don’t rely on them to cover consistently bad eating habits. They can’t overcome a consistently high-lectin, high-carb diet.
Glycocalyx is critical for health. Degradation leads to all manifestations of heart disease; inflammation, clotting, decreased blood flow, and increased oxidative stress. Omitting cholesterol in this statement is not by accident, read more why in this detailed paper – Deprescribing Statins. High blood sugar debilitates glycocalyx. Carbs are not evil, too many (especially highly processed), too often are consequential. Lectins also attack the glycocalyx and other mucosal linings. Watch these carefully.
- 06:42pm 11/04/2019 PMP_WA_490516520191104184159.dat