Mastering Your Basal Dose

If you want happier blood sugars, mastering your basal dose is VITAL. 

Reflect on this:

Your last low blood sugar could be a response to an incorrect bolus dose, OR an incorrect (too much) basal dose. 

Your last high blood sugar could be a response to the food you ate, OR an incorrect (too little) basal dose. 

When was the last time you checked to see if your basal dose was set correctly? 

This is a really important question because your basal dose lays the foundation to your entire insulin program! If it's off, your blood sugar numbers will be off as well. 

"The purpose behind your basal dose is to match the amount of glucose the liver secretes into the bloodstream. The right basal rate is one that keeps your blood sugar at a fairly steady level when you have not eaten or bolused for several hours and are not exercising." --Think Like A Pancreas

Have you been frequently correcting highs and lows? If so, fine-tuning and checking up on your basal dose may be in order!

The only true way to determine whether your basal settings are working properly is to perform fasting tests.

"During a basal test, the only thing raising blood glucose should be the liver, and the only thing lowering it should be basal insulin. All other influences (food, bolus insulin, exercise activity, major stress, hormonal changes) need to be eliminated." --Think Like A Pancreas

So what does this mean for YOU and what steps can you take to see if your basal insulin is correct?

FAST (mindfully & carefully)!

Let's say tomorrow you wake up at 7AM and your blood sugar reads: 150mg. 


  1. Fast until 12PM (you can do it I promise). You can have water, or my personal favorite--la croix.
  2. Check your blood sugars consistently, watching your numbers closely--every hour or two (or more if need be). 
  3. **The test should be stopped if the blood glucose rises super too high or drops too low (because corrections will obviously be in order and the basal test will need to be continued a different day). As long as your blood sugars stay in reasonable range, the test should continue.
  4. How much movement have you seen? Take notes.
  5. Your goal is to have a blood sugar variance (movement) less than 30 mg/dl (1.7 mmol/l). IE: If you started at 150mg, the goal is to end your fast between 120mg-180mg. Gary states that this minimal variance in blood sugars reveals your basal setting is likely correct! Otherwise, changes are probably in order.

For more details (and other factors to keep in mind) I would encourage you to read more HERE!

Have you tried fasting to fine tune your basal dose?



The information provided is intended for your general knowledge and support only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.