CGM and Stress Experiment

With a growing interest in the blood glucose field, our team has tested how stress can be visualized through Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) systems.

Experiment participant with CGM system

This experiment involved 4 individuals monitored with CGM devices for their blood glucose levels over 10 days. On the final day, the individuals were invited to play a game of “Crash.” “Crash” is an online gambling game where a multiplier graph increases; at any time in the game, the multiplier could “crash,” meaning those who did not “cash-out” in the game lose their bet.

Each individual had a budget of 100 euros and took part in this alternative and fun way to induce stress artificially.

The test results were fascinating. All participants had an average increase in blood glucose of 15% during gambling and a 36% heart rate increase overall.

Before I talk more in-depth what this means, check how cool it looked like:

Stress in relevance to blood glucose

First things first. We have been working on various experiments to understand blood glucose issues better and confirm or refute different hypotheses for a while now. So, to put a cherry on top, we conducted an experiment to determine the direct relationship between stress and blood glucose with CGM systems.

What’s fascinating, is that rather than just getting a snapshot of blood glucose levels from a single meter reading, a CGM device allows individuals to see the fuller picture. With a CGM system, you can monitor your current glucose level at any chosen time, know which direction and how fast it’s going. The sensor measures glucose levels every 5 minutes and sends those readings to the monitor.

In such experiments, the chemistry is clear and is almost always the same.

However, there is still a big difference in response to stress exhibited by men and women. For men, it is characterized by the “fight-or-flight” reaction, whereas for women, the “tend-and-befriend” response occurs.

Later on in the investigation, we can dive deeper into the dysfunctional HPA axis, which is associated with manifestations of psychosomatic and psychiatric disorders. But the great thing is that this analysis of stress and blood glucose levels can help shift the management of social phobias, panic disorders, anxiety, etc. — where you can monitor the effectiveness of the medical and/or psychological intervention and not rely on subjective self-observation.

The question is not whether glucose can cause stress (which is obvious — it does). The question is whether we can recognize what type of stress the user is experiencing. That’s why we conduct various studies to try to reach a complete picture and compare exact data points.

Just imagine if it could have the scope to exactly differentiate what kind of stress a person experiences and accelerate each individual treatment process by massive leaps.

Adapting the findings to wider angles

The experiment ties in closely with the Kilo Health philosophy of individual treatment — personalized treatment is the best way to reach the most optimal results. A standard one-size-fits-all treatment plan does not reflect the reality of individual cases and might even cause more harm than good.

So, we look into each individual’s background in detail to understand their triggers and adapt meal plans, fitness plans, and supplements or medications based on what works and what doesn’t. What may be considered healthy, in reality, can be precisely what crashes your energy levels and increases weight gain rather than weight loss.

Knowing the metrics of individual body reactions in relation to stress and later on having the ability to adapt these metrics in diet enhancement is a big leap for healthcare and a big leap for us. With objective data, individuals will find their missing piece to their puzzle by identifying what needs to be changed or added based on real-time metrics.

CGM is a powerful and vital tool in optimizing health data through the scope of stress, diabetes, or already established health issues. But this new technology is a powerful analytical tool to foresee and prevent health issues before they form.

Testing stress reactions with CGM systems is just the first step of a more comprehensive series of research experiments. Our team is looking to expand the study into social stress, phobias, and panic attacks — leaving a sea of possibilities to link the outcomes to fatigue, over-exercising, and restricted eating habits.

Kilo Health is one of the leading digital health and wellness companies, co-founding and accelerating start-ups in a rapidly growing digital health industry.