Higher Blood Sugars May Hurt Language Learning

Do higher glucose levels affect your ability to remember and learn new words? German researchers in Berlin say, yes, they do. The 141 Berliners in the study were asked to remember words (presumably German words) for different lengths of time. Those who had higher blood sugar levels remembered fewer words than those with lower blood sugar.

The volunteers were all within what is commonly called the “normal” range of blood sugar. Even within that “normal” range, people with higher average blood sugar remembered less well than people with lower average blood sugar.

I’m not diabetic, but two years ago I bought my first blood sugar meter, and the improvement in my health has been dramatic. For example, I found out that my workouts never helped me gain muscle because my blood sugar always crashed after a workout. My solution was to test my blood sugar before, during, and after a workout, then to add a carefully measured dose of glucose during my workout when I needed it. Soon I began to gain muscle and strength.

I experienced my first ever “runner’s high” after a workout when everything went well and my blood sugar did not crash. Then I found out that the typical blood sugar meter was not very accurate.

I went on a quest for more accurate blood sugar testing. Eventually I bought a Hemocue 201 meter, which was as accurate as a laboratory blood test, and later I bought a Freedom Freestyle Lite meter by Abbott which had strips that were easier to get (in the USA) and seemed to be accurate enough.

With the publication of this article on memory and glucose levels in the journal Neurology, I feel vindicated in my attempts to achieve low and stable blood sugar.

Now I am going beyond research into the realm of guessing. Why is it that children seem to learn languages so easily while adults don’t? Could it be that adults have had too much glucose on their brains for too long, resulting in neurons that can’t easily re-wire themselves for new learning?

For now, that’s just my guess. What does seem likely is that keeping your blood sugar close to the lower edge of normal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, should help you improve your memory and recall ability for foreign languages.

If you would like to know how to keep your blood sugar low, read Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution by Richard Bernstein. I highly recommend this book for diabetics and for everyone who isn’t a diabetic but who is very interested in improving their health.

by Brent Van Arsdell


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