A1C is a blood test you can get done to see the progression of atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels. The higher the number, the more plaque you have.
If someone has a high A1C, doctors almost always attribute it to high cholesterol, when it’s actually blood sugar. A1C is glycated hemoglobin, and it shows the average glucose (sugar) that’s attached to the hemoglobin.
Dr. Martin says the testing of A1C is a very significant blood test as it shows if you’re on the road to diabetes or not. Join us in today’s episode, to learn why Dr. Martin loves A1C.
TRANSCRIPT OF TODAY'S EPISODE
Announcer: You're listening to The Doctor Is In Podcast, brought to you by MartinClinic.com. During the episode, the doctors share a lot of information. As awesome as the info may be, it is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. It's strictly for informational purposes.
Dr. Martin: Well, good morning, everyone. Hope you're having a great start to your day. This is a new study that came out. I flagged it yesterday, okay, so it's brand new, hot off the press. It has to do with A1C, okay? So for those who have been following me for a bit, you know that I really like A1C. That's a test. If you can get it done, it's one of the blood tests that I find to be very, very revealing. And what this study is saying, so let me read the study, okay? I'm going to read the headlines of this study.
The higher your A1C, and we'll explain this in a minute, the greater progression of atherosclerosis, okay? So the higher the A1C, the greater the progression of atherosclerosis independent of other risk factors. So what is atherosclerosis? Hardening of your arteries. Plaque built up is atherosclerosis, of your blood vessels. And, of course, they're talking about atherosclerosis in terms of heart disease, obviously. So higher A1C, a greater progression of atherosclerosis independent of other risk factors.
Now, in the study, they put cholesterol and, of course, they always talk about that because that's part of their mantra. But they're saying that the A1C, this is significant, guys. This is more than significant. Now, you folks, shouldn't be surprised by this. You understand this, but the world doesn't understand it really yet because they've been duped. They've been deceived. When a doctor sees plaque in the arteries, most cardiologists or whatever, when they hear plaque, there's plaque in the arteries, so they want to do testing and they, "Oh, you got plaque." If they want to do imaging or whatever, you got plaque in your carotid arteries, you got plaque around your coronary arteries or in your coronary arteries. You got plaque built up.
To them, that started with cholesterol and we talked about that yesterday that that's the farthest thing from the truth. But, anyways, let's leave them to believe that even though it's not true. It's hard to change their mind, but this study is significant, and it's a major reason that I love A1C because A1C ... it's really HbA1c, but we shorten it up to A1C ... is a very, very significant blood test.
Now, what is A1C? It's glycated hemoglobin. Have I confused you yet? Glycated hemoglobin. What is that? What A1C is, it's an average of glucose, sugar, attached to hemoglobin. In your blood, you have red blood cells. You guys know that, right? Red blood cells. What do red blood cells do? Well, doc, you can't live without red blood cells. That's oxygen. Yeah. They transport oxygen, O2, but how do they do that? How does a red blood cell transport oxygen?
Well, in the middle of your red blood cell, you have hemoglobin. What's hemoglobin? Well, it's a molecule that every time you breathe, your red blood cells go through your lungs and pick up what? Oxygen. And what is hemoglobin? Well, that's the substance that sticks to oxygen, okay? Hemoglobin is the substance that sticks to oxygen. It's like Velcro, every time you breathe.
So is it important to have lots of red blood cells? Of course. Is it important to have good levels of hemoglobin? For sure. But what does glycated hemoglobin mean? What's an A1C test? Well, what we also know is that not only oxygen attaches to hemoglobin, sugar. Sugar, sugar, honey, honey attaches to hemoglobin like Velcro. Not only oxygen, but sugar does. And when you get an A1C test, much better than fasting glucose, it's a much more descriptive test. When you eat sugar, crappy carbohydrates, some of that sugar's left in the bloodstream. Not much. Well, it shouldn't be very much unless you're diabetic, but the measurement of the A1C, I've always loved that test, and the world is finally catching up to us. Because they're saying that if your A1C is elevated, sugar attached to hemoglobin over a two- to three-month period, because the red blood cell lasts about four months. So they take an average attached sugar to hemoglobin and they give us a number.
Now, that will tell you a lot. Now, what this study is showing is that number, when it is elevated, is very dangerous. Not for diabetes. Remember what I've always said, guys. Diabetes is the last thing that will happen to your body, not the first thing. "Oh, I'm a diabetic." No, no, no. You really have been on that road, on the Titanic, for a long time. One of the ways to measure that is through your A1C. A1C that is elevated, here's what the study says. A higher A1C, the greater the progression of atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries. And, guys, it's not cholesterol. A1C is not cholesterol. It's blood sugar. It's sugar attaching itself, riding your hemoglobin. The lower your A1C is the better it is for your blood vessels.
You see, guys, we've been looking for love in all the wrong places for such a long time. This should be taught in medical school. It should be taught to every cardiologist that there is in the world, start looking at A1C. If A1C is elevated, your patients are in deep do-do. It may be very silent. They may have no symptoms yet. They might not have high blood pressure although it's coming to a theater near you if you have elevated A1C, because you're going to start to get resistance in those blood vessels. You see, your blood vessels, guys, should be very supple. They should be very elastic. That you never want your blood vessels to lose that elasticity and, especially, at what I call the Teflon layer of your blood vessels.
You know what Teflon is, right? Well, you have a layer of Teflon in your blood vessels and it's supposed to be very slippery. Why do you think I love butter? You should be bathing in butter because when a doctor ... Okay, think about this for a minute. When a doctor, even nutritionists, when they've been poorly taught, butter, I see butter as clogging, right? Coconut oil, that's saturated fat. That's going to clog up your arteries. Nah, it makes your arteries slippery. Butter, slippery. That's why I love high DHA oil. It makes you slippery. It makes your blood vessel slippery. Butter makes your blood vessel slippery. Bacon makes your blood vessels slippery because they have oleic acid, just like olive oil. It's good for your blood vessels.
Looking for love in all in the wrong places. When you blame butter for what sugar is doing. You blame eggs for what the sugar is doing. Glycated hemoglobin, sugar attaching their wagon to your hemoglobin. Glycated, we've talked to you about that. Glycation, what is glycation? It's really a loss of elasticity. I always tell people, even with your skin, guys, okay? I don't want to get off on a tangent, but even with skin, what will glycate your skin? What will lose elasticity? Well, number one, if you don't get enough oil. You need oil, good oil, but you don't want to be eating sugar because that's what glycates.
It's how you age your skin, glycation; advanced glycation end products. One of them is A1C floating around in your bloodstream, sugar attached to your hemoglobin molecules. This is a significant study, guys. When I read it, I go, "Hello, the rest of the world. Hello? We've been talking about this for 40 or 50 years. You've got the wrong idea of what causes heart disease," and every day, every day, every day, every day, I have to answer the question, "Dr. Martin, why are you not interested in cholesterol?" Well, I am interested. The higher your cholesterol, the better you're going to do. So the problem isn't cholesterol unless it's not high enough, the problem is sugar. It always comes back to the culprit, and as long as we focus in on the wrong factor, as long as we keep focusing there, we're going to lose the war on heart disease.
Folks, listen to moi. When you go see your doc, insist, insist. I can't see them giving you a hard time for an A1C test, but you never know, but you need to be armed. When you go to your doctor, you insist on, "I want an A1C test. I want a lipid profile test done." What's that mean, doc? Well, I want my triglycerides and I want my HDL for sure. Now, they will do that with a lipid profile, but you should ask for A1C, like, "Oh, I can get my glucose fasting done." Eh. If you send it to me, I'll look at it, but I want to know what your A1C is. It gives me a better idea, and this study is proving it. You would think that this is the headline of above all headlines in terms of health news. It comes out and I look for it everywhere I found it. And then I look for it, where is it? Why isn't this on the major newscast? It's not cholesterol, it's A1C we're looking for. Oh. What's A1C? It's sugar. It's sugar bee.
But when it's not part of the narrative, it's hard to get people to change. When they have a narrative, it's in their head, when I try and get them to undo it. You see, because your A1C is 100% determined by your food. It's a food problem. Very specific to what kind of food? Sugars and bread, pasta, rice, cereals, sweets, pastries, juices, milk, grocery store bought. Those are rapid carbs and they'll attach their wagon to your hemoglobin, your oxygen within your red blood cell, and it will give you a number that is really, really, really, really, really important because the higher that number is, the more we know that you have hardening of your arteries.
People get a heart attack and it's sudden, okay? "Doc, his cholesterol was normal." Yes, 75% people have a heart attack. Well, that sort of crept up on us. Yeah, but if we were looking at the right clues, had we been looking at the right clues, if we could change the narrative, this would be a much more what we call a preventative test, the A1C. Much more preventative. So when you send me your blood work, you got to understand I'm a focuser. I focus. People send me 20 pages of blood work. Eh, I go through that pretty quick, okay, because I'm not looking at your 20 pages of blood work. I really am not. You can send it, but you know what? I look at too many people's every day and you ... Guys, listen, you know me enough. I think you know me well enough. I appreciate you guys, okay? I am doing this for you. It helps me too, though, because I can blow off some steam. It's therapy for me, okay? No, but you guys know that. I'm passionate. I'm passionate.
It's one of the reasons I left practice. I mean that. Did I love my patients? You ask my patients if I love them or not. I love them. Sometimes I was a little overbearing, but I think they knew me enough to go, "Oh, you know, that guy cares about me," and we followed up and I pump up their tires if their tires needed pumping, okay? I was a motivational type of person, and Tony Jr. used to tell me this because he said, "Dad, you are going to get to thousands. We're up to over 50,000 people a week, and by email, over 100,000 emails. Teach, dad. Teach." I love teaching. I got to keep it simple though. I got to keep it simple. I always tell people, I'm not complicated. Okay, I'm not a woman. They're complicated. Now, it's good they got hormones, okay? Man, we're pretty simple, okay? We're very simple. Our bodies are complex, but if you get down to the bottom lines, you can figure out stuff pretty quickly.
Now, we all have our different fingerprints. We're all different from each other, I know that. But, in generalities, you can look at a certain few blood tests and you get a pretty good idea, okay? So the world tells us ... let's get some numbers here; 5.7 and below is normal A1C. I'm not big on that number. 5.7 A1C is not good. It's way too high. Well, new studies, and I brought to you this months ago, I talked to you about studies that are showing anything over above 4.7 to 4.8 is you're starting to get what we call resistance to insulin, okay? At the end of the day, high circulating insulin, insulin resistance, where your cells are sick and tired of insulin, A1C gives you some indication, but you got to go a lot lower than what they call normal, 5.7. And then if it's over, I think it's 6.4, they say, "Well, you're a diabetic."
See, A1C to medicine is sort of a diabetic test, but A1C really should be used for insulin resistance, because you see, when your insulin resistance goes up, every time you eat and you eat the wrong food and now you need even more insulin to do the same job, it will actually elevate your A1C, and that is a tremendous indicator. And, of course, the study is showing that as your A1C goes up, insulin resistance goes up. It's going to start destroying your blood vessels.
Now, guys, you know me, I talk about triglycerides, HDL. That'll tell you a lot about what's going on in the liver. What happens in the liver doesn't stay in the liver. It's not Vegas, okay? If you're a bad eater, if your friends are a bad eater, if your kids are bad eaters, your grandchildren are bad eaters, there's a process that starts in the liver, but we also know that right within your blood vessels, in your A1C. Now, they never do A1C with kids, they should, because kids can start getting hardening of the arteries. Imagine that. They can start building a plaque. It should never happen.
Now, this is phenomenal, and you know me, I always give you the history of food because it's very important to understand. It's what I tell people all the time. Listen, the world is changed. We live in a different world. It's not like when I was a kid. It's not the same. We had cookies and ice cream, but it wasn't like it is today. When the mayor of New York City, I just about ... my head just about blew off. I wish mayors in the cities would just keep their nose out of it, but he doesn't want ... He wants to have vegetarian Fridays or whatever, and you know what? You know what they're going to load up on? I'm going to tell you what they're going to load up on because he doesn't like animal food. You know what they're going to load up on? Carbs. We already got too many carbs. They don't ask what I think.
Anyway, this is really important, okay? If you can get your fasting insulin, I'll look at it. I don't care so much about it. I mean it. It doesn't give me what I'm literally looking for. I want your triglycerides. I want your HDL. I want your A1C I. I want your vitamin D. I want your vitamin B12. I want your CRP, C-reactive protein because that's an important one. I like looking at C-reactive protein because it's a test to determine your inflammation and it should be the below zero, like the temperature in Northern Ontario. It should be below zero. Anything over zero is inflammation. It might be mild, but it's inflammation and inflammation is very destructive.
Okay, now, you know with blood test again, if you don't ask, you don't get. Insist. Don't tell them I told you to do it. They might not like me. Okay, guys, isn't that amazing? You see, studies like this are just incredible, and I'm not even saying, "I told you so." I don't have to say it. You guys understand it. But these are significant things, guys. These are significant and I just hope it doesn't all get hidden and that nobody talks about it. We need a major shift in our society today, a major shift in our healthcare system. We're spending way too much money on nonsense. We're not getting the bang for the buck.
Find out what your A1C is. It gives you a big, big, big indicator of your status of your blood vessels, okay? And, by the way, let me finish with this. You can lower your A1C and your body can repair plaque. It's so significant that you will understand that. A1C is directly proportional to the amount of carbohydrate, sugars, that you are eating, and so when you stop eating crappy sugars, carbs, you'll lower your A1C. You are going to lower your damage to your blood vessels and your body is amazing. Fearfully and wonderfully made, how it can repair plaque, and the key is to do it with food.
Food is your medicine, guys. I emphasize it and emphasize it to you, okay? Okay, so tomorrow we are going to do an afternoon session. That's what I'm planning, okay? So I just want to give you a little bit of heads up. Otherwise, everything is hunky-dory. Friday, question and answer Friday. We love having you guys send in your questions. We love answering your questions. And, again, questions, questions, questions. I ask questions all day long because that's how you get information out of people. So don't be shy to ask your questions. We're happy to answer, okay? We love you, guys. We'll talk to you soon.
Announcer: You've reached the end of another Doctor Is In Podcast, with your hosts, Doctor Martin Junior and Senior. Be sure to catch our next episode and thanks for listening!