The Dawn Phenomenon is Killing Me – I Need Your Help!

I suppose it is slowly killing me all things considered. I have been getting serious blood elevation overnight for years. If I could crack this, and I’ve tried a lot of things, my HbA1c would be golden. For those who don’t know, the dawn phenomenon is when diabetics wake up with elevated blood glucose. Why does it happen? The liver releases glucose to get you ready for the day. For normals, the pancreas will release a bit of insulin to compensate. For some Type-2 diabetics, the pancreas will not or cannot release the insulin, hence elevated blood glucose.

I haven’t had an A1c test in a while, but I’m guessing it’s around 6.8 to 7.6. Doctors would say this is good control and keep on keeping on, but I know this is not the case. I need a sub 5.7 like a normal person, otherwise bad things will happen in the future.

What have I done to fight the Dawn Phenomenon?

  • Fasting of course, which stops the phenomenon after three days for me. But after a few days of eating it comes back. Eventually, I must eat.
  • Supplements – Dr Bernstein suggests Evening Primrose Oil and Alpha-Lipoic Acid at bedtime in his wonderful book the Diabetes Solution. I also take bitter melon, cinnamon and Coenzyme Q10 before I go to bed.
  • Skipping dinners or eating very small dinners.
  • More lifting of heavy things; more moderate cardio.
  • Making lunch or breakfast my main meal.

The overall result of the above strategies has been positive (the primrose/ALA really does reduce my dawn phenomenon) , but not enough to stop a blood sugar spike. For example, my blood was in the high fives low sixes last night before dinner; however, I woke up this morning with a reading of 8.7 mmol/L. My dinner last night was a smallish rump steak, a few mushrooms and some salsa verde. My total carbs yesterday was something like 20 to 30g.

Now this phenomenon wouldn’t be the end of the world except that my blood comes down very slowly from this morning number during the day. Strangely, it will come down relatively quickly for me after 6:00pm. So on a good day, my blood does something like this:

  • Wake up 8.4 mmol/L
  • Noon 8.0
  • 3:00pm 7.2
  • 6:00pm 6.8
  • 7:00pm 5.8
  • After dinner 6.5

Where do you fit into this Dear Reader? I’m making two appeals. Firstly, do you have any personal experience fighting this effect successfully or do you know someone who has? If you do, post it in the comments section below.

Secondly, I’m not a social media type. I have zero presence. It’s just not me. However, if you share this post with your groups, tweet it, whatever that would be much appreciated.

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