How High Blood Glucose Levels Destroy 4 Organs

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/20/2024

Even though modern diets have an increasingly higher sugar intake, not many people understand the effect sugar has on the body's major organs.

Learn about how sugar affects four major organs in your body and what you can do to improve your health.

Understanding Glucotoxicity and Its Effects

Hyperglycemia, or elevated blood sugar levels, can lead to a detrimental condition termed glucotoxicity - an internal corroding phenomenon due to excessive glucose in the bloodstream.

This is essentially an internal rusting process caused by high glucose levels in the bloodstream.

What is glucotoxicity?

Glucotoxicity refers to damage inflicted on body tissues due to prolonged exposure to elevated blood sugar levels. The most vulnerable organs include arteries, the brain, and nerves.

How does the body respond to high blood sugar levels?

Your body reacts defensively when your blood sugars rise consistently above average.

It attempts self-repair by forming plaques using proteins, calcium, and cholesterol.

This response, while protective, initially becomes problematic over time, leading to complications such as type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.

Glycation Damage from High Blood Sugar

Let's dive into the concept of glycation, a damaging process triggered by high blood sugar levels.

What causes glycation?

This harmful reaction occurs when glucose combines with the protein under heat. Imagine barbequing ribs; it's similar but happening inside your body.

The elevated temperature caused by cooking accelerates this chemical combination, leading to advanced glycated end products (AGEs). Glycated foods are not just tasty treats but have significant health implications.

When we consume these AGE-rich meals, specific proteins in our bodies become unusable. This can lead to widespread harm and contribute to conditions like diabetes mellitus or heart disease. High blood sugar also exacerbates this issue as it increases the rate at which these reactions occur within us.

Understanding how controlling blood sugar helps prevent such damage is essential in managing diabetes effectively and reducing risks associated with cardiovascular problems.

Remember that while delicious, consistently eating highly cooked or processed foods may cause an increase in your overall AGE intake. Making dietary adjustments could be one way to manage insulin production and high glucose levels better, thus minimizing potential harm from glycation.

Blood cells and sugar cubes

Kidney Damage Due to High Blood Sugar

High blood sugar can cause severe damage to the kidneys. The excessive amounts of glucose in the bloodstream are a significant stressor for these vital organs, leading to kidney diseases like diabetic nephropathy and chronic kidney disease.

How does high blood sugar affect kidney function?

Your kidneys work tirelessly to filter waste from your body. Diabetic nephropathy, also known as diabetic kidney disease, is an unfortunate complication where this process gets disrupted by consistently elevated glucose levels.

Long-term effects on kidney health

If left unchecked, persistent high blood sugars could lead to more severe consequences, including complete loss of renal function - also known as end-stage renal disease or ESRD.

This condition requires dialysis - an invasive treatment that replicates some functions of healthy kidneys but with significant lifestyle changes and potential complications.

In addition to managing diabetes through medication, diet modifications can be crucial in controlling blood sugar levels, thus preserving overall organ health.

Eyes: The Next Target Of Elevated Glucose Levels?

Let's now shift our focus onto another important organ system severely affected by uncontrolled diabetes - our eyesight.

Eye Health Complications from Elevated Blood Sugar Levels

Elevated blood sugar levels can have a severe impact on eye health. The damage is primarily caused by high glucose affecting the small vessels that feed the retina, disrupting normal blood flow and leading to potential vision loss over time.

Studies show this process is one of the significant causes behind diabetic retinopathy, an alarming complication of diabetes mellitus.

Damage Caused By Elevated Glucose Level On Eye's Vascular System

In individuals with consistently high blood sugar levels, these vascular complications are unfortunately common.

The excess glucose in your bloodstream damages red blood cells and affects their ability to deliver oxygen efficiently throughout your body, including delicate structures within our eyes.

Glaucoma And Cataract Risks Associated With Diabetes

Beyond damaging retinal vessels, elevated sugars also increase pressure inside the eye - a condition known as glaucoma. This increased pressure can cause irreversible harm if left unchecked. The National Eye Institute reports this risk is nearly twice for people living with diabetes than those without it.

Apart from glaucoma, cataract formation, a clouding effect on the lens, is another serious concern associated with uncontrolled sugars. This explains how hyperglycemia accelerates cataract development, making them appear earlier among diabetics than the general population.

Controlling diabetes is essential for mitigating risks and promoting a better quality of life for those with the condition.

Glucose Level's Effect On Vascular System And Brain

High blood sugar stiffens your vascular system, leading to oxidation and plaque formation. This could potentially result in a stroke or other cardiovascular problems. Additionally, high glucose levels also disrupt the functioning of nerve cells.

This can lead to a condition known as peripheral neuropathy - is characterized by numbness and pain, typically in the hands and feet.

Peripheral Neuropathy: Causes, Symptoms, Remedies

If you're experiencing symptoms like tingling sensations or weakness in extremities, Vitamin B1 (benfotiamine) can help manage this situation effectively.

Diabetes illustration

Understanding Diabetes Type 3

Damaged vascular systems don't just stop at physical ailments; they also harm our cognitive abilities. In the next section, we'll delve into how to diagnose these conditions before they progress any further.

Insulin Test Importance In Diagnosing Prediabetes Stage

The stage before type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes is known as prediabetes. This condition is characterized by higher insulin levels, a state called hyperinsulinemia.

Yet, many people overlook the importance of undergoing a fasting insulin test to diagnose this early sign of developing type 2 diabetes effectively.

The Crucial Role Of Fasting Insulin Tests in Detecting Early Signs of Diabetes

A diet rich in carbohydrates can trigger increased insulin production in our bodies. It has been observed that such an eating pattern may lead to similar health problems observed during heightened blood sugars and high blood pressure.

Fighting Hyperinsulinemia: The Need for Proactive Measures

To manage your risk factors for heart disease and other complications from elevated glucose levels like diabetic neuropathy, it's essential to be proactive about controlling blood sugar and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits.

Adjustments To Manage Blood Sugars And Insulin Levels

Dietary adjustments are the key to managing high blood sugar and insulin levels. Keto diets and intermittent fasting, for instance, can help lower your raised sugars and manage fluctuating insulin levels effectively.

Busting Myths Around Sweet Consumption among Diabetics

This approach contradicts conventional wisdom that allows sweets as part of a balanced meal by replacing them with other carbohydrate sources. It's essential to focus on controlling blood sugar through diet modifications rather than relying solely on diabetes medications.

The Role of Carbohydrates in High Blood Sugar Levels

A carbohydrate-rich diet triggers increased insulin production, thus creating issues similar to those observed during heightened sugars.

Making Informed Dietary Choices For Diabetes Care

Think about cutting down on processed carbohydrates and boosting your fiber intake to help prevent health issues, like heart disease or kidney failure, caused by high glucose levels.

Plantains and High Blood Sugar

When managing high blood sugar levels, it's essential to consider the impact of different foods, including plantains, and whether plantains are suitable for a ketogenic diet.

While plantains are tasty and versatile, they are not typically recommended for individuals seeking to control blood sugar levels or follow a strict ketogenic diet. Plantains have a higher carbohydrate content than other low-carb fruits commonly consumed on a keto diet.

This can potentially lead to spikes in blood sugar levels. Therefore, it's essential to be mindful of portion sizes and overall carbohydrate intake when incorporating plantains into your diet.

If you are explicitly following a ketogenic diet, it's best to choose lower-carbohydrate alternatives to support ketosis and manage blood sugar levels effectively. 


Understanding how sugar affects major organs is vital for overall health. Elevated blood sugar levels can lead to glucotoxicity, damaging organs like the kidneys, eyes, vascular system, and brain.

Managing blood sugar through diet modifications and healthy lifestyle habits is crucial for preventing complications associated with high glucose levels.

Incorporating low-carb, high-fat foods and avoiding processed carbohydrates can help control blood sugar levels and promote better organ health. Remember, proactive measures and informed dietary choices are key to managing blood sugar effectively and reducing the risk of long-term complications.

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