Hypoglycemia is a condition in which there is an abnormally low level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. As glucose is particularly important metabolic fuel for the brain (not mentioning the rest of the body), lowered glucose can result in a host of central nervous system disorders.
Hypoglycemia causes sustained stress which can result in a variety of symptoms.
A person suffering from hypoglycemia may display any of the following symptoms: fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, headache, irritability, fainting spells, depression, anxiety, cravings for sweets, confusion, night sweats, weakness in the legs, swollen feet, a feeling of tightness in the chest, constant hunger, pain in various parts of the body (especially the eyes), nervous habits, mental disturbances, and insomnia.
People with hypoglycemia can become very aggressive and lose their tempers easily. Any or all of these symptoms may occur a few hours after eating sweets. The onset and severity of symptoms can be related to the length of time since the last meal was eaten and the type of food that was eaten in that meal.
The main cause of low blood sugar is a diet high in refined carbohydrates. This is a diet rich in processed foods, sugar, soda, and coffee. Sound familiar?
Complex carbohydrates are really long chains of sugar molecules when they get broken down during digestion.
These foods require little digestion and get absorbed all at once and all too rapidly into the bloodstream. This sugary food consumption shocks the body and alarms your whole system. “Get rid of it!! Out rushes the insulin, made by your pancreas for this reason and knocks out every bit of glucose and quickly stores it as fat. (The body does store sugar as gylcogen in the liver and muscles, but there is just so much it can store before it has to store it as fat cells.)
As a result of this the blood sugar level becomes unstable. The blood sugar level drops.
At this point, people tend to reach for more refined carbohydrates, and the cycle continues. The more you eat, the more you sugar in the blood, the more insulin takes it out of the blood and over time, the insulin gets less effective. This is what is known as insulin resistance.
But before you get to being insulin resistant, the insulin takes the sugar out of your blood. and the two adrenal glands, your emergency stress team, are mobilized to handle the situation. They boost the blood sugar with an emergency store of a special sugar glycogen. If this repeats itself too often you adrenals will become overwhelmed. So sooner or later, your adrenals will be unable to save the system and won’t be as effective. You start feeling worse after sweet or starchy highs, so you go to the sugars more often.
More and more Americans today may have this condition, due to poor dietary habits. High stress levels are believed to be a contributing factor in the increasing incidence of hypoglycemia, but then hypoglycemia contributes to the stress.
Often people do not realize which is causing the problems. It is sometimes hard to detect. This is most often created by diet. This is referred to as functional hypoglycemia (FH).
Many other bodily disorders can cause hypoglycemic problems as well, among them adrenal insufficiency, thyroid disorders, pituitary disorders, kidney disease, and pancreatitus. Immune deficiency and candidiasis are strongly linked to hypoglycemia.
Glucose tolerance and hyperinsulinemia (high blood insulin levels), produce hypoglycemia which frequently occur sin people with chronic liver failure. Other common causes are smoking. Though it may seem paradoxical, low blood sugar can also be an early sign of diabetes (high blood sugar). This is due to the fact that the cells become resistant to all that insulin in the blood and thus the sugar remains in the blood.
Diagnosis of hypoglycemia can be difficult because the symptoms often mimic those of other disorders, including allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, digestive or intestinal disorders, eating disorders, neurological problems, nutritional deficiencies, and weight problems.
To diagnose hypoglycemia, a health care provider may perform a glucose tolerance test (GTT). However, many people have symptoms of hypoglycemia even though the results of a five-hour GTT are within normal limits.
A useful diagnostic test may be to follow the dietary and nutritional supplemental regime and see it the symptoms improve.
Naturopaths and other alternative medicine health providers view hypoglycemia as a disease of civilization due to the overburdening of the system from the modern diet. .
Analyze your current diet – Find out what foods cause you distress and eliminate them from your diet.
Avoid simple sugars – These cause the pancreas to overproduce insulin. They also lack B vitamins and other essential nutrients which are needed to metabolize sugar into energy. Simple sugars come in a variety of forms called: sugar, fructose, glucose, corn sweeteners, corn syrup, fruit sugar, table sugar, and brown sugar. They are found in alcoholic beverages and are hiding in many canned, packaged and frozen foods.
Eat vegetable protein – nuts, grains, seeds.
Add fiber-rich foods – sluggish digestion or constipation can benefit. It can help slow down the absorption of glucose into the intestinal capillaries. Slower absorption allows a more gradual release of insulin and faster normalizaton of blood sugar levels after meals.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine – these over stimulate the adrenal glands. When these and other stressors and a generally poor diet are combined, the adrenals can enter into a state of emergency. They become depleted of important vitamins such as B complex and C.
You can use herbs known to rebalance blood sugar – black cohosh, panax, siberian gingseng, dandelion, gentian, ginger, cinnamon, uva ursi, licorice root, and huckleberry leaves are some of the different ones that are used. Goldenseal is helpful but not for long periods of time so not to deplete B vitamins. Astragalus, is a tonic herb that is said you can use daily and boost energy by providing adrenal and immune support.
Adrenal support is important. Before you take any herbs, make sure you know what it is you are doing. Herbs are more like natural drugs and will help relieve symptoms more than anything else.
Pay attention to what you eat – when you eat is as important as what you eat. Hypoglycemic people should eat frequent, small meals to provide the body with a steady supply of fuel that is easily and slowly converted to glucose.
Supplement the diet – providing the body with overall support. Consider supplements that regulate the blood sugar, adrenal extracts, glucose tolerance factor, zinc, and chromium, nutrients that allow insulin to do its job more effectively. B vitamins supply crucial enzyme cofactors essential for carbohydrate metabolism. L-carnitine, L-glutamine and vitamin B6 help lessen cravings for sugar. Vitamin E increases energy naturally. Also consider supplements that nourish specific digestive organs associated with hypoglycemia – liver, adrenal, and pancreas
You want to find the real reason that you have hypoglycemia and help that.
Liver – The liver stores glycogen and breaks it down. Biotanicals such as dandelion root, Siberian ginseng. and beet leaf aid in the process. Celandine, methionine and choline work to maximize liver efficiency. Lipotropic factors also help control blood sugar by boosting liver function..
Adrenal – Pantothenic acid, freeze-dried adrenal gland extract, Royal jelly, Siberian ginseng, vitamin C and zinc. For more information about supporting the Adrenals.
Pancreas – Digestive aids that support the pancreas might be indicated when there is impaired digestion.
As with any non-optimum health symptom, finding the cause results in a solution. Once the cause is found it can be addressed and improved with proper nutritional support. This is called functional medicine.
There is a formula to build healthy blood sugar levels.
Here is some educational information and suggestions from a nutritionist Chiropractor on Hypoglycemia and Intermittent Fasting
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