Naturally lower blood sugar

5 Natural Ways People With Prediabetes Can Lower Their Blood Sugar

Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar levels are above normal but not elevated enough to be considered diabetes.

People diagnosed with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing diabetes in the future, which is all the more reason to be as healthy as you can. Here are five natural ways to improve your blood sugar levels, and possibly lower your risk of developing full-blown diabetes:

1. Try Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been shown to decrease fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels. It can be too bitter or potent alone, however, and some people report esophageal irritation when swallowing it. To make it more palatable, mix 2 teaspoons in 8 ounces of water and drink or use as a salad dressing.

2. Eat More High-Fiber Foods

Foods that are high in fiber help keep blood sugar levels steady and eliminate big spikes and drops. Fiber also helps reduce insulin resistance and can decrease your risk of developing diabetes. Aim to get at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day from fresh, unprocessed, and seasonal foods.

3. Get More Sleep

Inadequate or poor sleep makes the body less effective at using insulin. Aim to get at least seven to nine hours per night. If a good night’s sleep is not possible during the week, make sure you are catching up over the weekend. A chronic lack of sleep can lead you to maek poor food choices and cause you to have imbalanced energy levels.

4. Take a Cinnamon Extract Supplement

Cinnamon extract has also been shown to improve fasting blood sugars in those with both prediabetes and diabetes. But watch how you take the extract. Cinnamon-sugar cupcakes don’t count! A supplement is the best way to get pure cinnamon extract.

5. Eat Chromium-Rich Foods

Chromium is essential to healthy cellular function and helps insulin function as it should. The exact mechanism is not entirely known, but inadequate levels of chromium can interfere with healthy glucose metabolism. You can get your daily does of chromium from broccoli, oats, barley, and tomatoes.

Have you improved your blood sugar naturally? Tweet me @shilpiMD with your health questions.

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High blood sugar levels will increase your risk of insulin sensitivity; this is the precursor to type 2 diabetes. Of course, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Once you develop type 2 diabetes, you’ll be at higher risk of a wide array of diseases, such as heart disease, some types of cancer, and even Parkinson’s.

If you’re thinking this is not something that affects you then think again. In the US alone diabetes is estimated to affect more than 100 million adults. As of 2015, nearly 10% of the population has diabetes.

Table of Contents

The Onset Of Diabetes: Blood Sugar

Type 2 diabetes happens when your blood sugar levels are elevated for a long period of time. This results in your body not being able to use the insulin your pancreas produces properly, you may also not produce enough insulin.

Insulin is essential for transforming blood sugar into energy the cells can use. If your body is not able to do this you’re likely to see the following symptoms:

  • Increased levels of thirst
  • Desire to urinate more often
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Tiredness

This is the time to contact your doctor. Once you both have a game plan, it’s time to move forward with arming yourself with the proper medical supplies. Suppliers like US MED offer diabetes supplies like test strips and CGM Devices all in place. If you think you have prediabetes or the onset of type 2 diabetes, it’s important to see a health professional and take steps to lower your blood sugar levels.

Here are 10 ways you can do this naturally:

1. Exercise

Exercise is important for your body as it can improve your general health, help to ward off many age-related diseases and even improve your emotional health.

Of course, exercise also burns energy, helping to reduce your blood sugar levels. You should aim for 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week, or even consider adding high-intensity exercise into your routine.

2. Lose Weight

If you’re overweight then you have excess fat on your body. Unfortunately, fat cells attract more fat, encouraging your body to simply store glucose, instead of converting it to energy. This will decrease your body’s ability to use insulin, increasing the chances of pre-diabetes becoming type 2 diabetes.

Research shows that losing as little as 5-10% of your body weight can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58%.

3. Consider Your Diet

You are what you eat. If you eat a lot of processed and junk food you’re likely to encounter health problems later in life. You need to focus on consuming natural, whole foods, which is anything that isn’t processed. You can also aim for a low carb/high protein diet.

Carbs are necessary to provide energy to your muscles and organs. But, you don’t need too many of them, reducing your carb intake and increasing protein will help to lower blood sugar and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Read More: 4 Easy Tips to Eat Healthy on Vacation

4. Drink

Water is essential for every cell of your body, it allows them to function correctly and even carries toxins away. When your insulin is working properly your blood sugar levels go up, this tells the kidneys to push more waste out of the body, in an effort to lower them.

The result is dehydration, which actually increases your blood sugar levels! Drink approximately 8 glasses of water a day to help prevent this issue from occurring.

5. Sleep Well

When you sleep your body balances your hormones and repairs itself. Unfortunately, if you don’t get enough sleep, or you get too much, your body’s ability to regulate hormone levels and blood sugar is reduced.

In short insulin production is reduced, cortisol is increased and the glucose will build up in your blood! To avoid this, aim for between 6-8 hours every night.

6. Stop Smoking

Cigarettes contain nicotine which actually increases your body’s resistance to insulin. This will result in an inability to deal with glucose arriving in your body, ensuring your blood glucose levels rise.

Of course, smoking has also been linked with an array of other health issues.

7. Reduce Your Stress Levels

We live in a fast-paced digital world where instant gratification is becoming the norm. Unfortunately, this means that many people are stressed most of the time trying to deliver the required goods. When you’re stressed your body releases the hormone cortisol.

This prepares your body for fight or flight, but it also stops the production of many other compounds in your body, such as insulin. Reducing your stress levels will help you to produce more insulin and maintain blood sugar levels.

8. Supplement

Supplements should never be taken as a replacement for a healthy diet. But, supplements like ginseng, fenugreek, and vitamin D have been shown to lower blood glucose levels.

Read More: Benefits Of 32 Best Vitamins and Supplements Explained

9. Portion Size

One of the simplest changes you can make is to shrink your portion size at meal times. This is a great way to reduce calorie intake and help you lose weight.

The fact that you’re not eating as much will also help to prevent the blood sugar spikes that cause your body so many issues, especially when dealing with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

10. Regular Testing

It is essential that you regularly test your blood sugar levels. Not only will this tell you if your glucose levels are too high, but it will also help you to see if the steps you’re taking are having any effect or not.

There is no cure for diabetes, that’s why you need to act now to lower your blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Check out this article on How to Improve Gut Health.

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We know that diabetes is a major problem in the U.S., and prediabetes is not less of an issue — but it’s also a wakeup call that can jolt someone into action. Prediabetes symptoms may go unnoticed, but the first sign is that you no longer have normal blood sugar levels. A prediabetes diagnosis is a warning sign to people who will develop diabetes if they don’t make serious lifestyle changes.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention National Diabetes Statistics Report says that 37 percent of United States adults older than 20 years and 51 percent of those older than 65 exhibit prediabetes symptoms. When applied to the entire population in 2012, these estimates suggest that there are nearly 86 million adults with prediabetes in the United States alone. Furthermore, the International Diabetes Federation projects an increase in prevalence of prediabetes to 471 million globally by 2035. (1)

Luckily, research shows that lifestyle intervention may decrease the percentage of prediabetic patients who develop diabetes from 37 percent to 20 percent. (2)

What Is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition defined as having blood glucose levels above normal but below the defined threshold of diabetes. It’s considered to be an at-risk state, with high chances of developing diabetes. Without intervention, people with prediabetes are likely to become type 2 diabetics within 10 years. For people with prediabetes, the long-term damage to the heart and circulatory system that is associated with diabetes may have started already. (3)

There are several ways to diagnose prediabetes. The A1C test measures your average blood glucose for the past two to three months. Diabetes is diagnosed at an A1C of greater than or equal to 6.5 percent; for prediabetes, the A1C is between 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent.

Fasting plasma glucose is a test that checks your fasting (not eating or drinking for at least 8 hours) blood glucose levels. Diabetes is diagnosed at fasting blood glucose of greater than or equal to 126 milligrams per deciliter; for prediabetes, fasting glucose is between 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter.

The oral glucose tolerance test is a two-hour test that checks your blood glucose levels before and two hours after you drink a specific sweet drink. It explains how your body processes glucose. Diabetes is diagnosed at a two-hour blood glucose of greater than or equal to 200 milligrams per deciliter; for prediabetes, the two-hour blood glucose is between 140 and 199 milligrams per deciliter. (4)

Prediabetes is not a new condition; it’s a new name for a disorder that doctors have known about for a long time. A prediabetes diagnosis is a clear way of explaining that a person has higher than normal blood glucose levels and is in danger of developing diabetes, plus at a higher risk of chronic kidney disease and heart disease. When people understand that they ‘e prediabetic, they’re more likely to make lifestyle changes that can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is why noticing prediabetes symptoms is vital. (5)

The rationale behind the treatment of prediabetes is the prevention of diabetes development, prevention of consequences of diabetes and prevention of the consequences of prediabetes itself. Several research studies have displayed the success of interventions designed for treatment of prediabetes with sustained reduction in the incidence of diabetes. (6)

Prediabetes Symptoms

There are often no prediabetes symptoms and signs, and the condition can go unnoticed. People with prediabetes may experience some diabetes symptoms, such as feeling very thirsty, urinating often, feeling fatigued, having blurred vision and urinating often.

Sometimes people with prediabetes develop acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition that causes one or more areas of the skin to darken and thicken. Evidence shows that acanthosis nigricans is often associated with hyperinsulinemia and may indicate an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. (7)

Some people with prediabetes experience reactive hypoglycemia two to three hours after a meal. Hypoglycemia is also called low blood glucose or low blood sugar. It occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below normal. For many people with diabetes, that means a level of 70 milligrams per deciliter or less. Hypoglycemia is one of the more common prediabetes symptoms and a sign of impaired insulin metabolism indicative of impending development of diabetes. (8)

Hypoglycemia symptoms tend to come on quickly, and they can vary from person to person — but common symptoms include feeling shaky or jittery; sweating; feeling sleepy or tired; becoming pale, confused and hungry; and feeling dizzy or lightheaded.

Several studies have shown an association of increased risk of chronic kidney disease with prediabetes. Research shows that many people with prediabetes or diabetes were found to have state 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease. A 2016 study published in Diabetes Medicine found that prediabetes is modestly associated with an increase in chronic kidney disease risk. Chronic kidney disease screening among people with prediabetes and aggressive management of prediabetes in those with chronic kidney disease are recommended by researchers. (9)

7 Natural Treatments for Prediabetes Symptoms

1. Lose Excess Pounds

Several studies have shown the efficacy of lifestyle interventions in the prevention of diabetes with a relative risk reduction of 40 percent to 70 percent in adults with prediabetes. Research shows that lifestyle interventions that focus on weight loss, such as increasing physical activity and making dietary changes, can significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes. One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that after implementing these lifestyle changes, patients had a 58 percent diabetes risk reduction. (10)

Another study conducted at George Washington University showed that for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) decrease in weight, the risk of developing diabetes in the future was reduced by 16 percent. (11) By reducing saturated fat intake, increasing fiber intake and exercising at least four hours per week, patients experienced positive results.

2. Follow a Diabetic Diet Plan

In your quest to lose weight and avoid prediabetes symptoms, you need to follow a diabetic diet plan and choose foods that help balance blood sugar levels. Choose meals that are high in protein, fiber and healthy fats. High-protein foods include wild salmon, grass-fed beef and free-range eggs. Foods that are high in fiber include berries, figs, peas, Brussels sprouts, acorn squash, beans, flaxseeds and quinoa. These foods support detoxification and help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Healthy fats, like coconut oil and avocados, benefit your blood glucose levels and help you reverse prediabetes symptoms. (12)

A very important component of a diabetic diet is staying away from sugar and reducing your carbohydrate intake. Refined sugar spikes blood glucose levels. Sugar from soda, fruit juice and other sugary beverages enters the bloodstream rapidly and can cause extreme elevations in blood glucose. Instead of using sugar, use stevia or raw honey in moderation.

3. Chromium

Chromium is needed by the body in small amounts for healthy functioning. Trivalent chromium supplements can be used to maintain proper carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, reduce carbohydrate cravings and appetite, prevent insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, and regulate body composition. Dietary deficiency of chromium leads to disturbances in carbohydrate metabolism, increases risk of glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, and may lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes. (13)

4. Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in adults, with an estimated 80 percent being deficient in this vital mineral. A magnesium deficiency can lead to other nutrient deficiencies, trouble sleeping and hypertension, all risk factors for developing prediabetes symptoms.

A 2014 study published in Diabetes Care found that magnesium supplements were beneficial in offsetting the risk of developing diabetes among those at high risk. Compared with those with the lowest magnesium intake, those with the highest intake had a 37 percent lower risk of incident metabolic impairment, and higher magnesium intake was associated with a 32 percent lower risk of incident diabetes. (14) You can also get magnesium from green leafy vegetables, avocados, legumes, nuts and seeds.

5. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a rich botanical source of polyphenolics that has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine and has been shown to affect blood glucose and insulin signaling. Research has shown that cinnamon has the power to help reverse diabetes naturally. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that cinnamon intake, either as whole cinnamon or as cinnamon extract, resulted in a statistically significant lowering in fasting blood glucose. (15)

6. Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 is an antioxidant that protects cels from the effects of aging and helps treat inflammatory health conditions like diabetes. Low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress are the key factors in the development of diabetes and its complications, and CoQ10 has a vital role in reducing these dangerous health risks.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders found that fasting plasma glucose and hemoglobin A1C levels were significantly lower in the group that took CoQ10 supplements. (16)

7. Ginseng

Ginseng is an herb that works as a natural appetite suppressant. Other ginseng benefits include its ability to boost your metabolism and help you burn fat at a faster rate. A study done at the Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research in Chicago measured the anti-diabetic and anti-obesity effects of Panax ginseng berry in adult mice. After five days of ingesting 150 milligrams of ginseng berry extract, the mice had significantly lower fasting blood glucose levels. After day 12, the glucose tolerance in the mice increased, and overall blood glucose levels decreased by 53 percent. The body weight of the mice also decreased as the same dose. (17)

A human study conducted at Northumbria University in the U.K. found that Panax ginseng caused a reduction in blood glucose levels one hour after consumption when ingested with glucose. (18)

Prediabetes Causes and Risk Factors

People with prediabetes don’t process glucose properly, which causes sugar to build up in the bloodstream instead of fueling the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. Most of the glucose in your body comes from the foods you eat, especially sugary foods and simple carbohydrates. During digestion, the sugar from these foods enters your bloodstream. Then with the help of insulin, sugar enters the body’s cells, where it’s utilized as a source of energy.

The hormone insulin is responsible for lowering the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As your blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas. For people with prediabetes, this process does not work properly. Sugar is not used to fuel your cells. Instead, it builds up in your bloodstream because the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or your cells become resistant to the action of insulin. (19)

Researchers have found that there are accessible variables in determining who’s at risk for prediabetes. Risk factors for prediabetes include:


The risk of developing prediabetes increases as you get older. If you’re over the age of 45, you’re at a greater risk. This may be due to a lack of exercise or gaining weight in older age.


Women develop diabetes 50 percent more often than men.


Certain races are more likely to develop prediabetes. African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islands are at a higher risk of developing prediabetes.

Fasting Glucose

Fasting glucose between 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter is characterized as prediabetes. (20)

Systolic Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a risk factor for prediabetes.

HDL Cholesterol

If your HDL cholesterol is below 35 milligrams per deciliter or your triglyceride level is above 250 milligrams per deciliter, you may be at risk for developing prediabetes. (21)


If you’re overweight and have a body mass index above 25, you’re at risk of developing prediabetes. The more fatty tissue you have, especially around your abdomen, the more resistant your cells will become to insulin.


If you’re inactive, you’re increasing your chances of developing prediabetes. Exercise helps you to stay in control of your weight and ensures that your body uses up glucose as energy, thereby making your cells more sensitive to insulin. (22)

History of Diabetes in Parents or Siblings

If a first-degree relative, such as your parents or siblings, has diabetes, you’re at a greater risk of developing diabetes.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity. Research showed that polycystic ovarian syndrome was associated with a twofold higher odds of developing diabetes. (23)

Gestational Diabetes

A risk factor for prediabetes is a history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighting more than nine pounds. Researchers suggest that a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes carriers a lifetime risk of progression to type 2 diabetes of up to 60 percent. (24)


Research has linked sleep issues like obstructive sleep apnea to an increased risk of insulin resistance. In fact, one study found that up to 83 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes suffer from unrecognized sleep apnea, and increasing severity of sleep apnea is associated with worsening glucose control. (25) People who are interrupted numerous time throughout the night or work changing shifts or night shifts are at an increased risk of prediabetes.

Conventional Treatment for Prediabetes Symptoms

Metformin has been used for several decades for the treatment of prediabetes and diabetes. It’s typically used to help control blood sugar levels. Common metformin side effects include nausea, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea.

A-glucosidase inhibitors, such as acarbose and voglibose, prolong the overall carbohydrate digestion time and reduce the rate of glucose absorption. These types of medications are used to help people with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar is highest after eating complex carbohydrates.

Thiazolidinediones have been shown to reduce the incidence of diabetes in patients at risk of diabetes. However, risks of this medication, which include weight gain, edema and heart failure, outweigh the benefit in preventing prediabetes from progressing to diabetes.

Anti-obesity drugs, such as orlistat, have been used in the treatment of prediabetes. Orlistat is a gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor that’s used for the treatment of obesity and acts by inhibiting the adsorption of dietary fats.

Bariatric surgery is used to limit caloric intake. In a 2004 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, bariatric surgery was found to result in sustained weight loss and a 75 percent relative risk reduction of diabetes compared to the controls. (26)

Final Thoughts on Prediabetes Symptoms

  • The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention National Diabetes Statistics Report states that 37 percent of United States adults older than 20 years and 51 percent of those older than 65 have prediabetes.
  • Prediabetes is a condition defined as having blood glucose levels above normal but below the defined threshold of diabetes. It’s considered to be an at-risk state, with high chances of developing diabetes.
  • Prediabetes symptoms may go unnoticed. Some signs of prediabetes include abnormal fasting glucose levels and acanthosis nigricans.
  • There are several risk factors for developing prediabetes, including being older than 45, being a woman, having family with diabetes and being overweight.
  • Lifestyle interventions can significantly reduce your chances of developing diabetes. These include losing weight by exercising at least four hours per week and eating a diet rich in protein, fiber and healthy fats.

Read Next: Hypoglycemia Symptoms to Look Out For & Ways to Naturally Treat Them

What you need to know about prediabetes

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggest that people should consider blood screening tests for diabetes when they are 45 years old.

However, glucose testing should begin earlier for people who have risk factors for diabetes, such as being overweight or having a family history of diabetes.

Several blood sugar tests can confirm a diagnosis of prediabetes. Doctors repeat tests two or three times before confirming a diagnosis.

Glycated hemoglobin test

Healthcare professionals call the glycated hemoglobin test the A1C test. They use it to check an individual’s average levels of blood sugar over the previous 3 months.

An A1C blood test score of between 5.7 and 6.4 percent means an individual is likely to have prediabetes.

Some conditions, such as pregnancy, can impact on a person’s blood sugar levels and may interfere with A1C results.

In addition, results for some people may show inaccuracies in A1C testing. These include results from individuals of certain ethnicities with a genetic sickle cell trait, including people of African, Mediterranean, or Southeast Asian descent.

These inaccuracies can lead to a misdiagnosis of the disease or poor management of blood sugar.

Fasting blood glucose test

The fasting blood glucose test (FBGT) measures sugar levels at the time of the measurement. Doctors consider a result of 100—125 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) to be a sign of prediabetes.

Those people taking the FBGT cannot eat or drink for at least 8 hours before giving a blood sample. Many arrange the test for early morning, as most people will already have fasted overnight.

Oral glucose tolerance test

Share on PinterestAn OGTT can help diagnose prediabetes.

The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) also requires 8 hours of fasting. Typically, blood sugar levels will then be checked before and 2 hours after drinking a glucose drink.

Other protocols include testing blood sugar levels every 30–60 minutes after consuming the glucose drink.

Doctors consider a 2-hour value of 140–199 mg/dl to be a sign of impaired glucose tolerance. Prediabetes produces this effect on the blood.

Doctors often use the OGTT to help diagnose people who should not undergo the A1C test, such as women who may have gestational diabetes or those with blood conditions.

Prediabetes testing in children

According to the ADA, in 2012, the number of adolescents aged 12–19 years with prediabetes had increased from 9 percent of this age group to 23 percent.

The ADA recommend annual diabetes screenings for children who are overweight or have a combination of risk factors for prediabetes. Typically, medical professionals will interpret the test results for children in the same way as those for adults.

The risk factors for prediabetes and diabetes in children include:

  • Being overweight: Children who are obese or have high levels of fat around the midriff have a higher risk of prediabetes than children who are not.
  • Age: Most diagnoses of type 2 diabetes in children occur during their early teens.
  • Family: Children who have family members with type 2 diabetes or a mother who had gestational diabetes are more likely to struggle with blood sugar control.
  • Race or ethnicity: Children of African American, Native American, and Hispanic descent are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in comparison to other races and ethnicities.

Once a doctor diagnoses prediabetes, people must undergo regular testing. This provides a better understanding of blood sugar changes and the progression of the condition.

Keeping an eye on blood sugar levels over time also helps a person monitor the impact of any changes they make to their lifestyle or diet. It is possible to reverse prediabetes with the correct lifestyle measures.

People with prediabetes should have blood glucose tests at least once a year or more often, depending on their risk factors.

Natural ways to reduce blood sugar for prediabetes/diabetes patients?

But not all doctors see supplements as a solution. Still, the debate continues as to whether natural substances like fenugreek, cinnamon extract supplements or apple cider vinegar can really lower your blood sugar.

Tonya Rooks has diabetes and says besides taking prescription medication for her condition she drinks apple cider vinegar in water every day. “It actually tastes pretty good,” Rooks said. “Once you dilute it, it’s pretty cool.”

According to Mercy endocrinologist Dr. Supneet Saluja, those dealing with pre-diabetes and diabetes should be wary of studies that say blood sugar can be lowered with natural remedies alone.

“Studies have shown that they may or may not be effective,” Dr. Saluja said. “We don’t have a lot of clinical data to prescribe it, that’s why they’re over the counter. But it always works in conjunction with your dietary and lifestyle changes.”

Those lifestyle changes include two basic things: eat a healthy, low complex-carbohydrate diet and exercise.

“Fiber-rich food. Physical activity on a regular basis. These two have been shown to be most effective in preventing progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes,” Dr. Saluja said.

Dr. Saluja, who sees patients in Mercy’s Endocrinology Center, advised that patients should never substitute supplements for prescription medications without talking with your doctor.

Rooks said she would love to be off insulin someday, but for now is grateful to be alive and feeling well.

“One thing is for sure, it’s taught me that if I want to make it passed 35 I’m going to have to take more care of myself,” Rooks said.

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