Many people think that drinking water can help lower high blood sugar, but is it accurate?
Drinking water can impact your blood sugar levels to some degree, but we’ll address whether or not it can lower high blood sugar levels significantly in this article.
Does drinking water lower blood sugar?
Your kidneys play a big role in blood sugar management. When your blood sugar levels are high, the extra glucose spills into your urine. Sugar in your urine is called glycosuria and is a symptom of diabetes.
Drinking water can help lower your blood sugar levels to a certain extent. Staying hydrated helps increase urine volume and allows your kidneys to flush out the extra sugar in your bloodstream when blood glucose is high.
However, this method will likely only work if your blood sugar levels are high, such as over 180 mg/dL. There typically isn’t sugar present in your urine if your blood sugar levels are lower than 180 mg/dL.
Drinking water might help lower your blood sugar level in indirect ways as well. Drinking water increases your stomach volume, helping you to feel full. If you’re more satiated, you might eat fewer foods that contain carbohydrates and sugar, therefore lowering your blood glucose.
Drinking water in place of sugary beverages like soda, sweetened coffee, sweetened tea, fruit juices, sports drinks, and other beverages with added sugar can help lower your blood glucose as well.
Will water lower blood sugar quickly?
If your blood glucose levels are very high, you shouldn’t expect drinking water to lower them quickly or significantly. High blood glucose levels result from inadequate insulin production or insulin sensitivity, which drinking water won’t directly address.
How quickly drinking water might lower your blood sugar depends on many factors. How long you’ve had diabetes, the type of diabetes you have, medications you take, and your lifestyle habits (diet, physical activity level) all play a role in how significantly drinking water might impact your blood sugar.
If your blood glucose levels are very high (over 250 mg/dL) and aren’t coming down on their own, you should consult your healthcare provider to determine the best route to bring your blood glucose levels to a safe range.
How much water should I drink to bring my blood sugar down?
Drinking water is important for your overall health. However, drinking too much water can become a problem, too.
While it isn’t very common, drinking too much water is possible. Hyponatremia is a condition when your blood sodium levels become too low as they are diluted by excessive water intake.
Symptoms of hyponatremia include nausea, headache, confusion, dizziness, and fatigue. According to one case report, a patient developed hyponatremia after drinking 10-15 liters (2.6 to nearly four gallons) of water for several days.
How much water you need to stay healthy depends on your body size, the climate you live in, your activity level, and other factors. A good rule of thumb is to drink enough water so that your urine is pale in color without a strong odor, not darkly-colored and strong-smelling.
Dehydration and diabetes
According to a study, low water intake is associated with poor glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes (1).
When you’re dehydrated, levels of cortisol increase. Cortisol is a stress hormone that suppresses the action of insulin and raises blood sugar by releasing stored sugar from your liver.
Dehydration can result from a serious blood sugar problem called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA typically impacts people with type 1 diabetes and can be life-threatening if it’s not treated promptly.
If you have very high blood sugar levels, you can become dehydrated as your body tries to get rid of the extra blood sugar. Hyperglycemia causes increased thirst and urination, which can lead to dehydration if the high blood glucose isn’t corrected.
Some signs of dehydration to watch out for include:
- feeling thirsty
- dark yellow and strong-smelling pee
- feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- feeling tired
- a dry mouth, lips, and eyes
- urinating very little, and fewer than four times a day
Drinks that lower blood sugar
Chamomile tea & other tea drinks
According to a study of people with type 2 diabetes, drinking chamomile tea reduced hemoglobin A1c levels (a measure of long-term blood sugar control), insulin levels, and measures of insulin resistance (2).
Drinking chamomile tea may help protect the pancreas’s cells responsible for making insulin. One of the potential benefits of chamomile tea for diabetes is that it may promote better blood sugar regardless of your body’s insulin secretion (3).
If you’re not a fan of chamomile tea, drinking other unsweetened tea is beneficial for high blood sugar levels. Unsweetened tea doesn’t contain carbohydrates and often contains antioxidants from the tea leaves. Antioxidants fight inflammation, which is one of the key drivers of type 2 diabetes.
Adding cinnamon to your tea (or choosing tea with cinnamon in) might also benefit your blood glucose levels. According to studies, taking cinnamon has been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels (4). However, cinnamon wasn’t associated with significant reductions in A1c levels (indicators of long-term blood sugar control) among test subjects.
Drinking lemon water can be more interesting and easy to drink than plain water. According to a study, lemons are rich in vitamin C, which might help lower blood sugar levels (5).
According to studies, magnesium deficiency is correlated with type 2 diabetes. Magnesium supplementation might be an effective method of preventing diabetes and other chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease (6).
Mineral water that contains magnesium ions might help with blood glucose metabolism. For mineral water to be considered a source of magnesium, it should provide at least 50 milligrams of magnesium per liter.
Golden milk is a drink made with turmeric, a spice that contains curcumin. According to meta-analyses of studies, curcumin might help lower blood glucose levels by reducing inflammation (7).
Curcumin helped lower hemoglobin A1c, cholesterol levels, and body mass index, according to the studies cited in the meta-analysis.
Golden milk made with low-carbohydrate milk (such as unsweetened almond milk) and a sugar alternative like stevia can be a good beverage choice for diabetes. You can find recipes for golden milk online and make substitutions as needed to make it lower in carbs and sugar.
Drinking unsweetened coffee might be beneficial for your blood glucose levels. There seem to be protective effects from drinking coffee in relation to lowering type 2 diabetes risk.
According to a study, drinking coffee in the short term might not be beneficial for your blood sugar, but long-term caffeinated coffee consumption might improve glucose metabolism (8).
Be sure to avoid coffee drinks with large amounts of added sugar, which can counteract the potential benefits of drinking coffee. Also, keep an eye on your overall caffeine intake since too much caffeine can be dehydrating.
Avoid sugary beverages
Drinking sugary drinks is a common culprit behind blood sugar spikes. Besides keeping up with your water consumption, choosing low-sugar and sugar-free drinks can help prevent your blood sugar from rising even more.
Be physically active
Exercise is one of the best ways to lower your blood sugar. During an exercise session, your body uses glucose to fuel your muscles and circulatory system. You’ll likely notice lower blood glucose levels a few hours after exercising.
Strength training is also very beneficial because muscles take up glucose – the more muscle mass you have, the lower your blood glucose levels can be.
If you’re looking to lower your blood sugar level quickly, keep in mind that your blood sugar can rise during the initial phase of exercise before it lowers. If you have type 1 diabetes and have very high blood sugar levels, you should wait until your blood sugar levels aren’t so high before you exercise.
Take any medications as prescribed
If your healthcare provider has prescribed blood sugar-lowering medications, taking them as prescribed can help lower your blood sugar levels quickly.
Missing doses of medications can cause your blood sugar levels to spike, so it’s important to stay on the treatment regimen you and your healthcare provider have come up with.
If you’re taking insulin injections, your healthcare provider can offer guidance regarding what to do when your blood sugar levels are very high. Some patients take a correction dose or insulin bolus to help lower very high blood sugar levels.
For instance, they might instruct you to inject seven units of insulin when your blood sugar levels are over 250 mg/dL. A correction dose can be calculated based on your current insulin dose and sensitivity to insulin.
Cut back on carbohydrates
Carbohydrates have the biggest impact on your blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates are found in grains, fruit, milk products, legumes, starchy vegetables, and foods with added sugar.
If your blood sugar level is high, aim to eat a low-carbohydrate diet including protein, healthy fats, and low-carbohydrate vegetables until your blood sugar level lowers.
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Seek medical attention when needed
If you’ve tried to lower your high blood sugar at home and it’s not working, you should consult your healthcare provider. Very high blood sugar levels that don’t respond to home treatments and medications can indicate illness and infection that might need to be addressed promptly.
If your blood sugar level is ever over 300 mg/dL, seek medical advice immediately.
Drinking water isn’t enough to significantly lower high blood sugar levels on its own. However, drinking water can have a more indirect impact on blood sugar levels.
Drinking water may help lower blood sugar by increasing satiety and reducing carbohydrate intake. It also prevents dehydration and related stress hormones that raise blood sugar. Furthermore, it minimizes added sugar in the diet by drinking water instead of sugary beverages.
If your blood sugar level is very high and isn’t responding to regular at-home treatment (exercise, taking medications, etc.), you should seek medical attention.