A practical quantification of blood glucose production due to high-level chronic stress

28 January 2013

Blood glucose (BG) is the primary metabolic fuel for, among others, cancer cell progression, cardiovascular disease and inflammation. Stress is an important contributor to the amount of BG produced especially by the liver. In this paper, we attempt to quantify the BG production due to chronic (in the order of weeks) high-level psychological stress in a manner that a lay person will understand. Three independent approaches were used. The first approach was based on a literature survey of stress hormone data from healthy individuals and its subsequent mathematical manipulation. The next approach was a deductive process where BG levels could be deduced from published stress data of large cardiovascular clinical trials. The third approach used empirical BG data and a BG simulation model. The three different methods produced an average BG increase of 2.2-fold above basal for high levels of stress over a period of more than a day. The standard deviation normalized to the average value was 4.5%.