Using a CGM to Optimize Health

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Today feels like a good day to share about my experience using a CGM for the past 3ish weeks. I learned a lot about my body that I can now use to make more informed food, exercise, & lifestyle choices!

Getting the CGM Prescription

I used the company Tastermonial to obtain the prescription for my CGM. The process is very easy & simple, you add the prescription to your cart, check out, & then you are emailed a form to fill out that their physician uses to write your prescription. I opted for the 3-month prescription meaning I would get 6 sensors. I had them send the prescription to my preferred local pharmacy and within a couple days my CGM was ready to pick up.

One thing to note is on the Tastermonial site they encourage you to use a GoodRx card to help bring the out-of-pocket cost of the CGM down. My pharmacy does not accept GoodRx cards, but they did offer me a comparable cash price. For 2 sensors (a one-month supply) I paid close to $140.

Overall, my experience with Tastermonial was good, but not fantastic. I did not receive an email from them when they sent my prescription to the pharmacy as I was supposed to, and ended up having to email them to inquire about when the prescription would be sent. Come to find out they had sent it 2 days prior but I had no idea. I understand that things like this happen and did not find it an inconvenience enough that I would not use Tastermonial again, in fact I do plan to use them again in the future for other CGM needs and I feel comfortable recommending their service to you.

Applying & Wearing the CGM

Tastermonial prescribes the libre CGM, I had used this same CGM last fall and felt very comfortable with the application process. There are simple to read instructions included in the box, but you can also find videos online.

When you apply your sensor you activate it using the freestyle libre app which instructs you to wait 1hr before scanning again. My first sensor had some type of error and never worked. Bummer….but hats off to the freestyle libre customer support because I reached out to them and was immediately shipped a new sensor!

Luckily since my prescription came with 2 sensors I already had another on hand that I could apply. I inserted it and it worked just fine. Unfortunately, a week later it fell off. The sensors are supposed to last 14 days so this was discouraging, but I again reached out to the freestyle libre customer support, answered some questions and was shipped a new sensor.

After that incident I purchased these covers from amazon & highly recommend them if you plan to do a libre CGM! I used a cover with my next CGM and it never budged and lasted the full 14 days.

Why I Wanted to Wear a CGM

I have struggled with my blood sugar control for years. Not in any extreme ways, but enough that I worry about developing type 2 diabetes as I age. I obviously want to avoid this and have been intentional the past 3 years to try and balance my blood sugar. Despite my efforts and biohacks, as I was checking my fasting blood sugars earlier this summer, the results were higher than I would like. The optimal range for fasting glucose is 75-85 and mine was consistently high 90s or right at 100.

I was curious to know if part of the issue was that my blood sugar was dropping in the middle of the night, causing a cortisol spike and blood sugar elevation before I woke up in the mornings. The only way to really evaluate this is with a CGM.

Key Takeaways

It did not appear that my levels were dropping too low during the night, however, my results were consistently still in the high 90s low 100s for my fasting level. This was both discouraging and annoying since there doesn’t seem to be a real “reason” for it, but good information to have about my health nonetheless.

A few key things I observed were that my blood sugars were much more stable on days that I do not work. I think this is largely to do the difference in my movement habits on days off. Monday-Friday I am at my desk for the majority of the day, and even though I take breaks to get up and walk around, it’s not the same as the frequent movement I get when not working. (note: this was still the case on days when at the end of the day my step count was identical)

Another observation I made (and honestly sort of already knew), my blood sugar is much more stable the following day when I take my magnesium glycinate (code VANDA for a discount) at night. About a week into wearing the CGM it was apparent to me that I do indeed have some insulin resistance occuring, so I opted to begin a berberine supplement, so far I did not notice any improvements or changes in my blood sugar as a result, but I know that it may take 3+ months to see changes. (if you’re curious about berberine I found this podcast episode to be super informative)

I’m self-aware enough to realize that one key area of blood sugar control and improving insulin resistance that I’ve been neglecting is strength workouts. I self-sabotage when it comes to workouts and it’s something that I’m working to improve! About a week ago I started a pelvic floor/ab rehab program that felt really aligned with my goals and like a great place to get back into a more consistent routine. I’ll share more about my experience with the program in a future blog post.

I’m taking a break from wearing the CGM right now so that I can focus on my habits & adding in strength, then in a few weeks or month I’ll wear one again for 2 weeks and see what improvements/changes I notice. I think wearing a CGM short term a few times a year can be really beneficial for just about anyone. Blood sugar being out of balance is a big stressor on your body and most people aren’t even aware of it because you can’t always feel it/tell because it slowly happens over time.

What questions do you have about wearing and using a CGM? Drop them in the comments, I would love to help answer what I can & if I don’t know the answer, I’ve got some friends that specialize in blood sugar that probably know the answer!