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Omnisports.  Blood sugar sensors: revolution or gadget?  – Omnisports

What is a blood glucose sensor?

A glycemic sensor is initially a medical tool dedicated to diabetics, that is to say to people whose body can no longer regulate the level of sugar in the blood. Thanks to this sensor, the diabetic knows whether he should eat (too low blood sugar) or whether he should inject insulin (too high blood sugar).

A two euro coin stuck to the skin

A blood glucose sensor is a white dot the size of a two euro coin. It sticks to the back of the arm. A small needle goes through the skin and measures the sugar level continuously. The information is transmitted to a cell phone.

From diabetic to athlete

The idea of ​​adapting this sensor to athletes is that of the American Phil Southerland, ex-professional cyclist and founder of the professional team Novo Nordisk, a group composed exclusively of diabetic runners. A little over a year ago, he created Supersapiens. “For the first time, an athlete will have access to glucose data that will help them assess the energy level in their body at all times. This will fundamentally change the way he sees the management of his effort, ”he says on the site of the American laboratory Abbott, which designs the sensors.

“A car without a fuel gauge”

What is the benefit for an athlete to know his blood sugar in real time? To this question, the Normand Quentin Valognes, ex-rider of Novo Nordisk, and in charge of the development of Supersapiens in France, has a colorful answer: “Playing sport without this sensor is like driving a car that would not have. no fuel gauge, the breakdown can occur at any time ”.

Finding the right carburetion

Experienced athletes know it: to be efficient, they must have a stable blood sugar level, neither too low nor too high. Too low is the guaranteed slack and the inability to continue your effort. Too high is not better, as it triggers the secretion of insulin to lower blood sugar, which causes a drop in performance. In short, the athlete must find the right fuel. And according to Quentin Valognes, this carburation is specific to each and what works for one does not necessarily work for the other. “The sensor allows you to get to know yourself, it gives visibility and allows you to anticipate”.

“I ate like an idiot”

Nantais Josselin Riou, fan of ultra-distance cycling events, tested the sensor and he was won over. “Sometimes I ate like a jerk because I thought I was hypo when my blood sugar was high. The sensor makes it possible to erase errors, sources of failures in sport ”, he assures us.

Ineos, Jumbo-Visma, Kipchoge …

These sensors are of interest to athletes looking for performance. At a very high level, the professional cycling teams Ineos and Jumbo-Visma use it, outside of competition periods because the International Cycling Union has banned it from racing. Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, world record holder in the marathon, or Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt, Olympic triathlon champion, tested it.

130 euros per month

Measuring your blood sugar comes at a price. The sensor has a lifespan of 14 days and is billed at 65 euros. This therefore amounts to 130 euros for a month. Despite this cost, it is not uncommon to see this little white dot on the arms of athletes. Especially in ultra races, where food is one of the keys to success or failure.

” Enough is enough ! “

The arrival of these sensors on the market does not leave athletes indifferent. There are those who see it as real progress and those who don’t want to hear about it. Among the comments posted on the forums is that of an ex-cyclist who hung up his bike twenty years ago, at a time when technology and hyper-connectivity had not yet invaded sport: “There are already power sensors on bikes, heart rate monitors and now blood sugar sensors. Tomorrow, there will be what? Enough is enough ! “.

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