March 29, 2013

Bungee Jumping on Glucose Metabolism


bungeeA scary event can have explosive effects on the blood glucose levels of a person with diabetes. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics took a peek at the insurmountable stress bungee jumping has on a non-diabetic person and revealed the effects it can have on healthy pancreatic beta cells.

Disturbances in glucose metabolism can be measured in stress and immune response. To assess the markers of glucose metabolism after a stressful event, glucose and cortisol levels were measured before and after a bungee jump. One more important detail: the subjects did not have diabetes.

Two hours before the bungee jump, the glucose levels and pancreatic beta cell function, insulin resistance, and parameters of stress and immune response were measured. The same measurements were taken  immediately before, and after the jump.

The results were to be expected. The glucose levels and stress hormones were increased, right before and after the jump. If you were being chased by a bear, you’d need more glucose circulating in your body to fuel the “fight or flight” response. Insulin resistance sets the stage to ensure that the glucose is there in case you need it.

The immune response was decreased. Fighting-off an infection takes energy. If the imminent danger demands the energy to fend-off the threat, the immune response can wait. All hands on-deck for the here and now. Sickness can wait.

What does this mean? Beta cell function was decreased right before the jump, and insulin resistance was increased right after the jump. Higher levels of cortisol correlated with increased insulin resistance after the jump.

Bungee jumping, the “acute stress”, in healthy people induces acute disturbances of glucose metabolism that are independent from a systemic inflammatory response. So if you’re scheduled for a glucose tolerance test, don’t plan on bungee jumping that day, FYI.

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