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Diabetes Testing

The GlycoMark Test

The technical name of the new test for blood glucose control will never be a big hit. But the test itself is the next big thing in diabetes.

It tests circulating levels of 1,5-anhydroglucitol or just 1,5-AG for short. Not sexy. But this test has a tremendous advantage over the A1C. It zeros in on your blood glucose spikes after you eat.

In Japan they have used a test of 1,5-AG – a sugar similar to glucose – for the past decade. But it’s only been available in the U.S. for a year.

The BioMarker Group in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, introduced the test here as the GlycoMark. That’s a much better name for a test that I promise you will hear a lot more about.

A year ago I wrote about it for my “Meter News” column in Diabetes Health magazine. But Eric Button, BioMarker’s president and managing director, just contacted me with the latest news.

He sent me a study that Diabetes Care published in its June issue. The study concluded that “1,5-AG reflects glycemic excursions, often in the postprandial state, more robustly than A1C or FA [fructosamine].” The abstract is online.

More and more we are seeing that it is glycemic excursions – highs and hypos – that we need to avoid. Even good A1C results can hide glycemic excursions that can do a lot of damage.

We have known for some time that the GlycoMark test is especially valuable for people who have their diabetes under pretty good control. Postprandial levels – blood glucose levels in the two hours or so after a meal – account for about 70 percent of the A1C of people with levels below about 7.3 percent, according to recent research.

The new study, however, shows that the GlycoMark test is also valuable for people who have only “moderately controlled” diabetes. Moderately controlled in the study means up to an A1C of 8 percent.

The other GlycoMark news is that it is more widely available now than when I first wrote about it. “It is now available at three major labs, including LabCorp,” Mr. Button told me.

I asked my doctor to prescribe this test. Whether you call it 1,5-anhydroglucitol or GlycoMark, you might want to ask yours.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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