Hyperglycemia is what is otherwise known as high blood sugar. Hyperglycemia symptoms can be fully asymptomatic, blood glucose levels can rise well above normal for significant periods without producing any permanent effects or symptoms. Chronic hyperglycemia, however, is what is most commonly referred to as type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Lise Bankir is in search of a possible cause and effect relationship between water intake, and blood sugar levels. Bankir and her team of researchers at the French National Institute, INSERM, have not yet found a direct biological cause-and-effect relationship; they have, however, found a correlation.
According to the researchers, a hormone called vasopressin—an antidiuretic which helps regulate water retention in the body—may be the missing link. When we are dehydrated, vasopressin levels go up, causing the kidneys to conserve water, but research shows that higher vasopressin levels may also cause elevated blood sugar. Vasopressin receptors in the liver are responsible for producing glucose (sugar) in the body; one study found that injecting healthy people with vasopressin caused temporary hyperglycemia.
Bankir’s findings are based on 3,615 French adults who were between the ages of 30 and 65, and had normal blood sugar levels at the onset. About 19 percent said they drank less than half a liter (17 ounces) of water each day, while the rest drank up to a liter or more. Over the next nine years nearly 565 participants developed abnormally high blood sugar, and 202 developed type-2 diabetes. The individuals who drank 17 ounces of water a day or more showed a 28 percent less likely chance of developing high blood sugar than those who drank less than that.
There is the possibility of people simply reaching for sugary or alcoholic drinks over water when thirsty, which could lead to weight gain and impaired blood sugar control. In response to this point, Bankir stressed that the study, while unable to take general eating habits into account, did account for for sugary and alcoholic drinks, as well as body weight, and exercise levels.
“Healthier behaviors correlating with higher water drinking could account for the observed association.” There was no strong statistical link between water intake and risk of developing diabetes, however.
Bankir is not discouraged; she cites further, larger studies as being needed. This study was “too small to get a significant result,” but a larger study may be able to detect a statistically significant link.
For humans, the mean normal blood sugar level in humans is about 80 to 110 mg/dl (milligrams/deciliter). The hormone insulin is normally responsible for keeping blood glucose levels in balance. Patients with type-2 diabetes are often insulin resistant, and because of such a resistance, may suffer from a relative insulin deficiency. Synthetic forms of insulin are administered into the body with an insulin injection pen.
Remedies for High Blood Sugar