Food absorption issue when exercising?

Wondering if anyone else has this issue. I hope this makes sense. When I exercise I try to take things that will help keep my blood sugar stable before and during. I rarely succeed. Unfortunately they are not working well because apparently my body is not absorbing them. My doctor said it is because my body is working hard to work my muscles and cannot help do the job of absorbing the food in my stomach. After I’m done I spike very high as only then all is absorbed! For example, I did a 16mi outdoor ride today with 900ft elevation Strenuous for me. Started ride at 245 (if I don’t start high I will be low fast!) and 0.5 units on board and basal at 20%. I had eaten a Luna bar on the way over, after having had a bunch of fruit and a slice of pizza at home. (total carbs had pre-ride = ~ 45. Took Insulin for only 10g and most of it square wave). Sooo 30 min in at mile 5 of 16 I saw my sugar dropping slowly (it was 220 with angle down) so I popped a honeybee stinger Gel I had about 7 more of them over the rest of the ride (about 40 minutes) as I wanted to prevent it going down fast which happens too often and then the absorption issue prevents anything from working I succeeded but Clearly I took too many in this instance! I finished at 155 and was sooo happy! Until it started spiking higher and higher after Too many honeybee stingers I know! But still this has been an issue for me forever. I can’t seem to get very good reaction when I try to treat lows or be proactive as I then spike later
Any ideas on how to fix this?!? One hour after the ride finished at 155 I was at 381 and 2 hours later it was just saying HIGH. I took insulin right after ride assuming this would happen, and had to do several more corrections Glucose wasn’t more normal until 4 hrs later I know not to take that much treatment going forward! Really looking for if anyone else has this absorption issue and knows how to deal with it! it’s all Sooo frustrating

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@SChristou hi Sue!

Can’t go by CGM it’ll be telling you what’s going on half hour ago (or more) when your bs is changing fast.

What’s your normal basal rate during this time?

Basal may need to be reduced al least 45 minutes in advance, or you’re done.

Mixed carbs during exercise is the equivalent of time-release pills. Not sure what was in the power bar but if it has fat, protein, or both you are killing yourself. What you need is glucose, and probably salt. I use Gatorade (Sucrose plus salt) for faster carbs and pure glucose for fastest possible.

I think it’s just the timing of your regimen. I must have zero carbs on board for riding. Zero. 1 unit will require at least 100g of carbs on a long ride.

Your pump doesn’t count basal so 1 or 2 or 3 hours before you have to get that out by reducing basal appropriately way before the ride.

Your CGM reads interstitial fluid, not glucose, and it can be WAY off during exercise.

Pure glucose with no fat in your system will absorb in 10 minutes right in your mouth if necessary. I disagree with the blanket absorption doctor assessment.

Don’t get discouraged. Exercise is #1 super important. Insulin is slow and bs meters and CGM are sloppy. keep at this math problem till you beat it and you will learn a lot

Good luck!:four_leaf_clover:

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This part. With square wave. This would cause me to have 0 mg/dl blood sugar during a ride

Sorry just re read this again.

Good info. Joe and THANKS for the encouragement! I will continue trying!

So, I actually turned my basal down 90 min. prior …and then ate too… that’s why I bolused for some of my food. I knew my sugar would climb and it got up to 255 before starting…without that bolus would have been over 300 probably. I always try to turn the basal way down or even turn the pump off.

I thought that the protein bar (prior) would help keep me stable later in ride… are you saying that it’s limiting absorption of the glucose (and what product do you use? I have the Honeybee stingers which might be more low glycemic…maybe I should get Bloks? or ? )…

by the way, what do you mean by this?
“I must have zero carbs on board for riding. Zero. 1 unit will require at least 100g of carbs on a long ride.”

Regarding the absorption thing… i mean my body’s sugar isn’t recovering… I did a sprint tri this summer and I mean NONE of the carbs (fast acting) worked! I started out at 161ish into the ocean… came out and was still close to that…started 11 mi ride and decided to take in a sugary drink to be safe… then didn’t see any movement so took in some bloks (6 of them!)… got back to start run and my sugar was an 84!! after all that sugar! I drank another drink and then went out on 5K - walked most of it. When i crossed finish line I was only a 94. wouldn’t you know that then my sugar went over 400 over the next 2 hours… just like today! MAYBE all of this is a CGM issue?? which would stink as I was hoping to rely on it!

Sue

I don’t think it can all be a CGM issue but I think it’s making it more complicated due to CGM lag.

I mean I can’t have any iob. No bolus for 4 hours prior if it is an endurance bike ride I think I read you ate and square wave bolused…I could not do that. if I am wrong sorry

I would definitely go (try) no protein no fat on recovery glucose.

I hear you it does sound like the glucose has a problem getting in but straight glucose shouldn’t. Here’s where everyone is a little different.

90 minutes is a good starter for reduced basal but if you need 2-1/2 hours then so be it.

This could be a liver issue as well. Your liver can store and replenish sugar. For some people, when a liver is absorbing sugar you simply can’t put sugar in you fast enough. When your liver decides to dump sugar it can hit very fast. Some have this more with certain sweeteners. Whatever the cause if your liver begins absorbing sugar during exercise then dumps it later it can make you crazy.

You got a head thumper here. I still say try the stuff you can try and good luck!

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last clarification… when my title says FOOD Absorbtion issue when exercising I MEANT glucose (drinks, gels, etc).

I will be sure to not bolus at all next time and like your idea to maybe even lower the basal much earlier… thanks Joe!

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good luck and keep riding - maybe I’ll see you if you like trail riding!

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I also bike almost daily, commute work 5 days a week. I am on a Medtronic 670G and the G CGM. When I leave work around 3 pm, I had lunch around 11:30. I turn my temp basal on around 2 pm. My bs usually drops during the ride. When my doctor and I have learned, is that after a ride, my liver kicks in and is putting out a lot of glucose to make up for the burned sugars. When I finish my ride, I give 10-20 carbs worth of insulin. This helps prevent my spikes after biking. He suggested Honey Stinger Protein bars for me to have while biking. He isn’t diabetic, but bikes. At my last visit, he suggested the candy Smarties to use while biking. If my CGM says 130, 1 down arrow, one Smartie. They are 6 carbs per roll. 2 down arrows, 2 Smarties, 3 down arrows, 3 Smarties. Really try to not get to 100 or below. That makes the liver produce more sugars. It is helping. After the spike, which I don’t really cover for the high, my blood sugar drops all night, and in the morning I wake around 100. I have an Android phone, and a Garmin vivoactive smart watch, and my CGM data does not read to either of them. IT would be so much easier if I could easily see what my blood sugar is doing, without having to pull out my pump. In cooler weather, that is a lot of layers to get thru. Good luck!

Hey! I have severe issues with absorption, period. Use to be a personal trainer. I’ve found some success in dealing with adrenal issues. Your Dr is half way right, but you need to address your intake differently. Message me if you like :blush:

Thanks Paul! That high was Me yesterday! 25 mi ride Did great With sugars on the ride! Post ride went up to 400! Overnight I dropped I just woke up very low but This has been going on all week - no clue what is different but I’ve been making micro basal adjustments all week. It’s Something Hormonal I’m sure!
Anyway, On the ride I did have more than a few smarties so probably that’s why I spiked so much I will continue to fine tune with all the advice.

Ps - dexcom Sensor is great! It’s Right on my watch / phone! I’m getting tandem in January to connect to it!

Best of luck to you too

I used to do a lot of road bike riding. I found that most grocery store bars had too many simply sugars to provide long term energy and came with the added problem of boosting BG. I found a triathlete store and an owner who knows his stuff. I tried a few things and found that a combination of Bonk Breaker bars and Cytomax drink mix did the trick during the ride. After the ride, more Cytomax. I don’t recall BG numbers but nothing that alarmed me.

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I use a powdered beverage that has zero carbs in it. They were sampling it at Sam’s Club a few years back. It didn’t taste bad. It has everything that Gatorade has, except the carb/sugar.

Sue, that is awesome that your Dexcom sensor shows on your wrist. That would certainly help me better manage them.

I used to have to get my blood sugar up over 200 to do a 3 mile walk. Then it would plummet and I had to sit down (20-30 minutes) and wait for the glucose to kick in before I could finish the walk. My blood sugar would not come up if I continued to exercise while eating the glucose. Then it would spike an hour after I was done. I am now on the keto diet and it burns fat instead of sugar so I can actually exercise without my blood sugar plummeting! That’s the main reason I continue to eat this diet.

Thanks Jaime. I actually have Addisons Disease too - an adrenal disorder. Hmmmm???
I will message you.

A lot of vice things has been said above. I just want to let you know that I have had (and have) the same experiences as you.
For many years i checked my BS before bicycling. If “normal” I took one banana before riding off, and one every 40 minutes. Every two hours I checked BS, and then adjusted the amount of sugar intake.
After getting a Dexcom, things turned out to be more complicated. Now I see that my BS sometimes gets low, and stays low no matter what I do. After the ride it then rises.
My best solution is to get a good dose of sucker half an hour before the start, and the keep up eating, so that the BS level stays a bit high.
The worst thing that can happen, is that the BS level falls rapidly, as it then becomes almost impossible to change the direction.

My conclusion: Look at he BS curve (not the arrows, as they can be different/wrong on the Dexcom). Aim for a normal, but rising BS by eating CH. If I succeed by this, I will normally have no problems keeping a good BS level, even for longer rides, just by eating f.ex. 20 g CH every times I see a tendency to a falling BS curve.
It is my idea that hormones tend to make things worse, if you start wrong, and that they stabilize things if you start right.

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Thank You!


skaalum
Olav

    November 5

A lot of vice things has been said above. I just want to let you know that I have had (and have) the same experiences as you.
For many years i checked my BS before bicycling. If “normal” I took one banana before riding off, and one every 40 minutes. Every two hours I checked BS, and then adjusted the amount of sugar intake.
After getting a Dexcom, things turned out to be more complicated. Now I see that my BS sometimes gets low, and stays low no matter what I do. After the ride it then rises.
My best solution is to get a good dose of sucker half an hour before the start, and the keep up eating, so that the BS level stays a bit high.
The worst thing that can happen, is that the BS level falls rapidly, as it then becomes almost impossible to change the direction.

My conclusion: Look at he BS curve (not the arrows, as they can be different/wrong on the Dexcom). Aim for a normal, but rising BS by eating CH. If I succeed by this, I will normally have no problems keeping a good BS level, even for longer rides, just by eating f.ex. 20 g CH every times I see a tendency to a falling BS curve.
It is my idea that hormones tend to make things worse, if you start wrong, and that they stabilize things if you start right.

Interesting! Thanks Becca!

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Try reading “The Ketogenic Diet For Type 1 Diabetes” by Ellen Davis MS and Keith Runyan MD. “Dr Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution” is another one that’s good and has a large following. Both of these are available on Amazon. The keto diet has changed my life. I was on the pump for the last 23 years (T1 for 43 total) and was over it. I now control my sugar with shots, which I coudn’t do without the diet change. It’s just a lifestyle now and is very easy to follow for me.