A1C is a blood test that shows how well your diabetes management plan is working. It’s important to realize that your A1C levels reflects an average of your blood sugar numbers. Your A1C levels might be 6.7%, but that may be because you’re having a lot of low blood sugars, for example. For this reason, your A1C levels should be viewed as part of the picture, and not in isolation. Your blood sugar readings, frequency of highs and lows, and quality of life need to be considered as part of your overall diabetes management plan.

What Are the Top Tips for Lowering A1C?

  • Carbohydrates affect your blood sugar more than other nutrients you eat. Chances are that if you overdo starchy carbs on a regular basis, your A1c number will start to creep up. But remember, all carbs aren’t a problem. You want ones that have a lot of fiber and nutrients, more than those that just serve up starch.
  • If you’re overweight, doctors will often recommend you try to lose just 5% to 10% of your current weight. Here’s why: As you shed extra pounds, the insulin in your body lowers your blood sugar levels more efficiently, which will cause your A1c levels to drop over time.
  • Your carb intake strongly influences your blood sugar level. Your body breaks carbs down into sugars, mainly glucose. Then, insulin helps your body use and store it for energy. When you eat too many carbs or have insulin-function problems, this process fails, and blood glucose levels can rise. As such, reducing your carb intake can aid blood sugar regulation.
  • Find something you enjoy doing that gets your body moving— take your dog for a walk, play a sport with a friend, or ride a stationary bike indoors or a regular bike outdoors.
  • Skipping meals, letting too much time pass between meals, or eating too much or too often can cause your blood sugar levels to fall and rise too much. This is especially true if you are taking insulin or certain diabetes drugs. Your doctor can help you determine the best meal schedule for your lifestyle.
  • Many dietary supplements say they’ll lower your A1c. But there’s not always much research to back that up. Still, some may have promise. These include berberine, made up of extracts from a variety of plants, and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), an antioxidant that reduces inflammation in your body. Cinnamon may also lower A1c levels over time.

Understanding your A1C levels is an important part of your overall diabetes management. If you have any questions about your A1C levels or what they mean, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor.