Metabolism is the process by which the body converts all that food and drinks you consume into energy. Metabolic health, on the other hand, is described as having ideal levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference, without using medication. Gaining a perspective on your well-being through the lens of metabolic health makes for a sustainable approach. One of the easiest methods of measuring your metabolic health is by calculating your metabolic score through the CGM device.
- Metabolic score refers to the overall rating given to your daily blood sugar pattern and ranges from 0-100,
- The Metabolic score reflects your metabolic health and is calculated based on three metrics – your glucose variability, average glucose score and Time in Target score,
- Making lifestyle changes can help improve your metabolic score.
What is a metabolic score?
Metabolic score is the overall rating given to your daily blood sugar pattern. It is an indicator of your overall metabolic health and depends on three factors – glucose variability, average glucose and time in target score. The metabolic score ranges from 0 to 100 and it resets itself every midnight to 100. Based on your lifestyle – food and beverages consumed, daily activities, stress levels, quality of sleep and your body’s unique response, the score increases or decreases daily. The goal is to maximise this score every day.
How is metabolic score calculated?
This Metabolic score is calculated with the help of three metrics:
Glucose levels oscillate throughout the day. At any given point in time, if you measure your glucose levels, you’ll notice the variations transpiring through the course of the day. These spikes and drops in the glucose graph represent your glucose variability. Glucose variability reflected on the Ultrahuman app is the coefficient of variability, calculated by dividing the standard glucose deviation value over the mean glucose value multiplied by 100 to obtain a percentage. The glucose variability is a sign of the spread in glucose readings around the average. For example, if there are many highs and lows on any given day in your glucose readings, the standard glucose deviation will be higher too – indicating higher glucose variability. On the other hand, if you have a relatively stable glucose level, you will have a lower standard glucose deviation – indicating lower glucose variability.
Therefore, a low glucose variability demonstrates that you have a stable glucose trend which indicates good metabolic health. A high glucose variability, on the other hand, implies that your body is subjected to constant spikes and crashes of glucose which could render you feeling lethargic, especially after a high carbohydrate meal.
Eating a balanced diet, getting quality sleep and reducing overall stress can lead to a relatively stable glucose curve without many spikes and crashes. Less than 12% is the ideal range and will result in a better metabolic score.
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To understand average glucose we first need to understand the role glucose plays in the blood. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the red blood cells. Glucose attaches itself to the haemoglobin and forms a unit called glycated haemoglobin or glycosylated haemoglobin. Since red blood cells live for an average of 3 months, glycated haemoglobin reflects sugar exposure to the cells over a similar time range. When your blood glucose is high, the percentage of hemoglobin molecules latching onto glucose is high as well. This means that this measure changes gradually as the red blood cells die and are replaced by new cells. Traditionally, doctors used HbA1c tests to determine average glucose over a period of 2-3 months.
According to the American Diabetes Association, the HbA1c ranges are
- 4% to 5.6% – This is a good or normal range of HbA1c,
- 5.7% to 6.4% – This may be indicative of pre-diabetes and you may have a higher chance of getting diabetes. Consult a doctor if your HbA1c is in this range,
- 6.5% or higher – This is indicative of diabetes. Consult a doctor if your HbA1c is in this range.
At Ultrahuman, we use average glucose data points to calculate your estimated HbA1c.
The Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) device used by Ultrahuman measures the glucose value of the interstitial fluid. The average glucose is calculated from all the glucose points in that given day. So, if you check your glucose levels at 5 PM, your glucose levels will be the average of all glucose points from 12 AM of that day to 5 PM of the same day. This is a much faster method of measuring the average glucose levels in real-time. An average glucose range of 70-100 mg/dL is considered ideal.
Lack of sufficient sleep, increased stress, infections in the body, lack of exercise and insufficient rest post working out can lead to a high average glucose level. Regularly exercising and eating food eliciting a lower glycemic response can help you stabilise your average glucose levels and improve your metabolic score.
Time in Target score
Time in Target score is a metric that measures the time in which the blood glucose is in the target range. The ideal target range for glucose is 70-110 mg/dL. Having your glucose levels within this range throughout the day will help you maximise your metabolic score. This metric is measured as a percentage. A higher percentage is indicative of better metabolic health.
If your glucose exceeds the target range, taking a walk will help lower your glucose levels. If your glucose falls below the normal range, having a light snack will help bring it back up.
Time in target score is an important metric to include because it accounts for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). The HbA1c test does not account for hypoglycaemia and therefore time in target remains an important metric in measuring your metabolic score.
Why it matters
Metabolic score is a direct reflection of your metabolic health. Good metabolic health can
- Improve cardiovascular health,
- Improve mood, decrease anxiety and depression,
- Improve fertility,
- Improve sexual health,
- Keep blood sugar in check,
- Keep optimum levels of cholesterol,
- Decrease inflammation in the body,
- Keep blood pressure in check,
- Improve blood circulation,
- Improve muscle mass,
- Increase energy output,
- Increase bone density,
- Lower risk of degenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, obesity, stroke and so on,
- Prevent chronic pains,
- Improve immunity.
How you can improve your metabolic score
Everything that improves your metabolic health can enhance your metabolic score. Making lifestyle changes can help improve your metabolic score. Changes such as exercising regularly, walking post meals, eating a diet that is conducive to flatter glucose curves, managing stress and maintaining sleep hygiene amongst other measures can help improve your metabolic score.
Metabolic score is the overall rating given to your daily blood sugar pattern. It is a reflection of your metabolic health. Metabolic score depends on three metrics – glucose variability, average glucose and time in target score. Glucose variability represents the ups and downs in your blood glucose levels while the average glucose translates into the amount of glucose present in the red blood cells. Time in target score is measured by the frequency of the presence of blood glucose in the target range of 70-110 mg/dL. Metabolic score matters because tending to your metabolic health can help to prevent chronic diseases, improve immunity, decrease inflammation in the body and increase energy amongst other things. This score can be improved by making small changes such as walking after you eat, improving the quality of sleep, managing stress and eating right.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for general information and educational purposes only. It neither provides any medical advice nor intends to substitute professional medical opinion on the treatment, diagnosis, prevention or alleviation of any disease, disorder or disability. Always consult with your doctor or qualified healthcare professional about your health condition and/or concerns and before undertaking a new health care regimen including making any dietary or lifestyle changes.