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Hypoglycaemia - Low Blood Sugar

posted on 12 April 2004 | posted in Health Articles


HYPOGLYCAEMIA / DYSGLYCAEMIA – LOW BLOOD SUGAR
Terry Larder AKFRP

As your doctor puts it, "you've been through all the tests, and the results are normal" which means he didn't find heart trouble, cancer, high blood pressure, gastric ulcer, hardening of the arteries, glaucoma, lupus or emphysema. You are pronounced a healthy specimen despite your sinus trouble, postnasal drip, colds, viruses, allergies, constipation, dandruff, poor circulation, fatigue, and blotchy skin. Physically you're fine. The emotional troubles which brought you to the doctor in the first place, are still unexplained and you still feel nervous, irritable, sleepless, tired, edgy and subject to uncontrollable fits of temper, difficulty in concentrating, hypochondria, and a completely unjustified, constant feeling of "something terrible is going to happen". You can't stand crowds, telephone booths, stores or any additional doses of tranquillisers and sleeping pills, and you will go out of your mind if once again you hear that it's "all in your mind"! Any of that sound familiar?

These notes were written for you if you suffer from or would like to avoid:
Anxiety attacks,
Unpredictable and apparently out of the blue panic attacks, which are not justified in your situation in life.
Depression for no apparent reason
Epilepsy
Schizophrenia
Agoraphobia
Tinnitus (noises in your ears)
Feeling suspicious at the least thing
Feeling unreasonable,
Tired all the time
Chronic Fatigue
Insomnia (particularly waking around 4 am)
Mood swings
Depression
Argumentative and irritable for no apparent reason
Obesity, with an uncontrollable addiction to sweets and chocolate
Obsessive-compulsive behaviour
Multiple allergies, Asthma, Eczema, skin rashes
Difficulties with short-term memory and concentration
Repeated vaginal yeast infections
Depersonalised feelings (feeling spacey and not there)

The most common denominator behind these symptoms is your diet, and that the remedy is to change your eating habits. You might ask, "how come my doctor has not informed me of this?" Well, maybe in the future he might, but remember that Fleming was considered a little odd for his belief that moulds produce an antibiotic that can treat infections (penicillin), the electrocardiogram was first dismissed as "electronic quackery". The same medical associations look on this diet and the ideas presented here in a similar light. The former things have been exonerated, so too will the stepchild of the medical world, reactive hypoglycaemia.

Your doctor can test you for low blood sugar but be warned the results can be inconclusive. If your blood sugar happens to be normal at the time, then you will be pronounced as being OK. Some doctors may send you to the hospital for a 6-hour glucose tolerance test. The results need to be read by someone who knows what the implications of the graph of the dips and dives mean and how they identify with your symptoms. Different graph shapes denoting how the body handles blood sugar also tell us what symptoms the patient is likely to be experiencing. Doctors do not go into this, so generally, unless the doctor suspects that you have a serious problem, these tests don't help very much.
Currently, doctors refer a great deal to what they call 'evidence based medicine" - that is, it's the results that they get that tells them whether it works or not. So, your practitioner will suggest this diet, give you herbs and/or vitamins and minerals and if you improve on these, will have come to a conclusion that, with evidence based assessment, you have dysglycaemia (disrupted blood sugar handling). Your positive response tells the practitioner that they are on the right track without the need for elaborate tests.

Hypoglycaemia can masquerade as a hundred physical diseases from epilepsy to gastric ulcers and can embellish the symptoms with a simulation of neurosis or psychosis.

What causes Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycaemia)?
One type of low blood sugar can arise from and cause monotony, boredom, a sense of aimlessness and a lack of feeling achievement.
Stress itself will trigger low blood sugar. It sometimes follows pregnancy and is mistaken for "childbirth psychosis", or what is often referred to as baby blues.
It will sometimes be the aftermath of surgery or develop after a long continued family crisis.
Excessive smoking can start off low blood sugar (though in this instance, the cure is an immediate halt to smoking).
Of all the causes though, the consumption of more than a hundred pounds of sugar a year looms as the most probable. I can hear you saying "well I don't eat much sugar" but you would be amazed how many foods contain it hidden. For instance, a coca-cola contains about 10 tsp. in a can; some low fat fruit yoghurts contain as many as 7 teaspoonfuls! A bought portion of apple pie can contain as many as 18 teaspoonfuls, not forgetting that we get natural sugars in our diet without adding the concentrated variety. For one person in every ten, sugar is a deadly food, paving the way toward a hundred distressing physical symptoms. For some people a little sugar is like eating a little carbolic acid. Many of us eat over 100lbs a year of it.

How can eating sugar make my blood sugar low?
In short, when we eat any form of carbohydrate, (e.g. potatoes, bread, rice sugar) the body converts them into sugars to give energy to the body. The cells need sugar to perform properly, and the brain is bathed in glucose. When sugar enters our bloodstream if we have more than our body actually requires, insulin is secreted by the pancreas which takes the sugar to the liver for storage, into the cells and to other parts of the body that need it. When we over indulge on a regular basis, our pancreas becomes "trigger happy" and pushes out far too much insulin; thus too much sugar is removed from the bloodstream. This creates the situation where the nerve cells and brain cells receive an initial boost of energy and give a feeling of well being followed by being starved of this essential food, and body malfunctions take place. As a result, blood sugar levels drop, and the body craves for something sweet to elevate blood sugar levels. The vicious circle begins - too much sugar is eaten again, and the pancreas then over compensates again, and becomes reactive.
Eventually, later in life, the pancreas is so worn out that it 'gives up the ghost', and can no longer produce the right amount of insulin, or the body's cells no longer recognise the presence of insulin any more and become resistant to it. This means that the cells are starved of essential glucose. Thus we see late onset diabetes.

Hyperinsulinaemia
The results of too much insulin in the blood can be as devastating as too little. Insulin acts like a irritant to the walls of arteries and veins. The walls can become inflamed and then your body will cause a build up of plaque to repair it. That means that it can lead to blockages in the arteries. People who have too much insulin tend to put on weight 'just by looking at chocolate and sweets', and tend to put it all on around their waist and abdomen. Some people go on to develop late onset diabetes as we talked about earlier, and some don't. In any event, it certainly is a risk factor for heart disease.

Whats the cure?
Well one of them is regular exercise. The other is a low carbohydrate diet, particularly refined carbohydrates such as white flour, sugar, pasta etc. There are also supplements you can take to help your body regulate insulin. The main one is chromium. For other suggestions, see at the end of the article.

Has anyone in your family suffered from this problem? If so, you too could become a candidate. However, if you choose to take care of yourself now, you could well avoid this happening.

How does stress affect my blood sugar levels?
As we have just discussed, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin to lower blood sugar levels when they are too high. On the other side of the balance are the adrenal glands, situated on the top of our kidneys. They react to low blood sugar by releasing their hormones to tell the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream, thus raising the levels again. When we are under physical or emotional or mental stress, the adrenal glands answer that call by ordering more glucose into our bloodstream to be used up in energy, preparing us for fight or flight. If we do not "fight or run", which normally we don't, the pancreas then has to order the sugar back to the liver again. So the adrenal glands raise blood sugar levels. The vital and delicate balance of blood sugar is maintained between the pancreas, the liver and the adrenal glands.

Blood sugar and nutrition
Anyone who has a blood sugar problem should avoid sugar, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and recreational drugs, excessive salt and excessive carbohydrates. Learn to enjoy your new diet by exploring new ways of eating good nutritious food.
Start with a protein breakfast – always (eggs, meat, fish, nuts, pulses). If you are one of those people who say 'I haven't got time for breakfast, then consider taking a protein drink. The energy drink that we recommend to many of our clients works brilliantly and, if you have it every day, you will find you will no longer want to eat sweet stuff, even though it itself tastes sweet. Eat frequent snacks throughout the day and eat raw and very lightly cooked vegetables to provide you with essential vitamins and minerals. Hypoglycaemic people lose B vitamins and vitamin C through the kidneys and many more of the other vitamins and minerals essential for repair become out of balance; therefore there is a need for high supplementation during the first weeks of treatment. Using the correct nutrition, herbs and diet you will begin to see the difference in days!
One temptation for people feeling 'out of sorts" is to find a 'quick cure" in the form of a sugary snack or a stimulant. If it is a drug habit, it is likely flogging the adrenal glands. Temporary relief is followed by worse imbalances. However by taking your prescribed supplements, one of which may be chromium (helps with a sweet tooth), you are likely to get over this very quickly and may not need to dive for the chocolates any more!

More Energy!
Most people will not recognise their own imbalances. But for those who control their blood sugar by supplements and diet, the effect is like emerging from a murky cloud. A body in balance has a hundred times more clearly directed energy.
If you recognise the symptoms and still feel attached to that regular coffee or chocolate bar, whatever you do, don't worry. Worry is just another problem for your glands and can make you worse than ever. So, relax, and instead, start getting hooked on healthy foods. Doing this and taking vitamins that have been prescribed for you will make you feel a lot better. Tell yourself that with each breath and each piece of healthy food, you are getting healthier, and see what happens!
When 'blood sugar balance" is understood, it can become a wonderful key to your own, your family and friends" health and energy.
Since low blood sugar problems can make you low in confidence, 'crotchety" and sometimes unreasonable, learning how to handle your difficulty can improve your relationship with your family and friends - even reducing marital problems!

If you want to understand more There are many books on the subject that I would encourage you to obtain and read.

Low Blood Sugar the 20th century epidemic? - Martin Budd
New Low Blood Sugar and You - Carlton Fredericks

Hypoglycaemia a better approach (vegetarian diet)- Dr. Paavo Airola
The Internet is full of information on the subject
Suggested diet for hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
IT IS ESSENTIAL TO MAINTAIN THE DIET FOR AN INITIAL PERIOD OF EIGHT TO TWELVE WEEKS. THEREAFTER, THE DIET CAN BE MODIFIED TO A NORMAL EATING PATTERN WITH THREE MEALS PER DAY AND POSSIBLY A LITTLE SUPPER.

If you suspect or have a high cholesterol level, inform your practitioner of this before commencing the diet. This diet is a first step to better eating - but not too far away from what most people can easily achieve.

On rising - Medium orange, half a grapefruit or 100 ml. Fruit juice or cup of beverage or milk.

Breakfast - Fruit or juice, eggs, with or without bacon,
Or cheese or fish dish or Tofu Smoothie (see last page for recipe) 1 slice of wholemeal toast with butter or Terry's Energy Drink

2 hrs. after breakfast - Fruit juice or milk or a Synerprotein drink

Lunch - Meat, fish, cheese or eggs with a large salad of raw vegetables with olive oil dressing, 1 slice of wholemeal bread with butter or equivalent

3 hours after lunch - 100ml milk or protein drink or Tofu Smoothie or Synerprotein drink

1 hour before dinner - Fruit juice diluted
Dinner - Soup if desired, vegetables, meat, fish or poultry. 1 slice of bread if desired, dessert, (fruit, fresh or stewed fruit. Beverage.

Every 2 hrs - A small handful of unsalted nuts

Supper - Crispbread with cottage cheese, houmous, tahini or pate with butter, beverage or milk, tofu smoothie

Notes
Live fresh yoghurt or goats milk is preferred to cow's milk. Where butter is mentioned, non-hydrogenated vegetable margarine may be substituted. If dairy products are unacceptable owing to catarrh or migraine or asthma, substitute soya milk, rice milk or other non-animal products can be used. IT IS ADVISABLE TO AVOID THE USE OF SYNTHETIC SUGAR SUBSTITUTES. THEY ARE NOT KIND TO THE LIVER, AND CAN STILL TRIGGER THE PANCREAS

Allowable food and drink

Vegetables
Asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussels, lettuce, mushrooms, nuts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, celery, sweet corn, cucumber, beans, onions, peas, radishes, sauerkraut, tomatoes, turnips, swede, parsnips, and any other vegetables not on the 'avoid" list.

Fruit
Any fruit with or without cream, raw or cooked but WITHOUT SUGAR. Do not eat many bananas, and then, only with a protein meal. Never have more than one piece of fruit at a time (e.g. one apple, one orange etc.). Tinned is okay as long as it is in its own juice and not syrup.

Juice
Any unsweetened fruit or vegetable juice except grape juice or prune juice. Avoid tinned fruit juice unless pure.

Beverages
Decaffeinated coffee or herb teas or very weak tea or coffee substitutes.

Salt
Use in moderation. Use pure sea salt.

Avoid Absolutely
SUGAR, chocolate and other sweets such as cakes, pies, pastries, sweet custards, puddings, ice cream, all refined cereal products, DIABETIC FOODS, syrup, molasses, and honey, white rice, white bread, spaghetti, noodles, macaroni, mashed potatoes (limit your potato to jacket only and not too many), dried fruit, figs, dates etc.
Avoid ordinary coffee, tea unless very weak, alcohol, soft drinks, beverages containing caffeine, tobacco.
THESE DIETS SHOULD ONLY BE USED UNDER THE DIRECT AND REGULAR SUPERVISION OF A PRACTITIONER.

Frequency of meals
Eat small and frequent meals in order to spread the protein, which should be taken from various sources, throughout the day. The effects of missing just one meal or eating a meal high in refined carbohydrates can give you symptoms the may manifest over the next 36 hours. It causes a knock-on effect in making your blood sugar unstable. It then takes time to recover.
Frequent snack meals of high fibre carbohydrates and proteins are the best because refined carbohydrates (white flour etc.) are too quickly absorbed into the bloodstream as sugars. Proteins and high fibre foods are absorbed more slowly and do not trigger the sensitive insulin apparatus, and sudden rises and falls in blood sugar levels are avoided.

Night time 'fast'
It is important when following this diet to have an early breakfast and a late supper. Both these meals should include either fat or protein. This recommendation is made to reduce the hours one spends 'fasting" throughout the night. Blood sugar levels normally fall between 3am and 5am giving rise to awaking from sleep, unable to return to sleep, early morning asthma attacks the onset of migraine, panic feelings and anxiety attacks with palpitations. These are all expressions of the low blood sugar phenomenon. By reducing the hours between dinner and breakfast, this early morning crisis can often be averted. The majority of people eat their last meal around 7pm and breakfast about 7am. For someone who has hypoglycaemia, this 12-hour 'fast" is too long and careful, regular eating during the day is pointless if a person develops a hypoglycaemic episode every night.

In extreme cases, it is sometimes necessary for the person to awaken around 2 am to eat something in order to avoid this.

Exercise
Avoid very heavy exercise, but gentle, non-competitive exercise, every day is very helpful. A rebounder (mini trampoline) is excellent exercise and stimulates lymph flow. It is suitable for all ages.

Conclusion
Remember the diagnosis and treatment of hypoglycaemia is not a simple matter. It may be that the treatment of your low blood sugar is only part of our problem and that additional treatment may be necessary once this has been discovered. So your progress needs monitoring, as no two people are exactly alike and the reactions to treatment varies considerably. Many persons miss the energy provided by the previous high sugar diet and reassurance and guidance from a kinesiologist and naturopath is often needed as they can feel worse before they feel better, also, they can offer advice on vitamin and mineral supplementation, which is tailored to the individual. These are essential to help repair the glands and organs of the body.

Suggested supplements to help restore blood sugar balance
Below are a selection of the type of treatment protocols we might advise you in our clinic. These supplements should be taken for a minimum of two months and up to one year. Don't fall into the trap of just taking one pot. If one regime doesn't work, then try the suggested alternatives. You will be disappointed. See general instructions for taking supplements.

Particularly if you find it difficult to keep to a good diet without refined carbohydrates or have the tendency to want to skip meals, or you experience sugar cravings, these remedies really do help. They also help to restore a chemical balance withing the body.

Nature's Sunshine Licorice and Dandelion Combination or Nature's Sunshine Golden Seal and Juniper CombinationTake as directed for at least 3 months

Nutricalm : Take as directed for at least 3 months (urine will be yellow because of B vitamins). Can be taken as an ongoing supplement and contain both B vitamins and vitamin C, both of which are important in blood sugar handling.

GTF Chromium.Take as directed for at least 3 months

Super Supplemental Vitamins and Minerals : Can be taken indefinitely

Synerprotein Drink Take ongoing to help control diet and give essential proteins, minerals and fruit and veg. We find that our clients report that although this is sweetened with fructose, it dampens their appetite for sweets and chocolates!

Follow-up treatment

As I have explained, this is essentially a short-term treatment. After this time I recommend a maintenance programme.

This involves a diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and good quality proteins and fats. Emphasis is placed on fresh, unrefined foods and avoidance of excesses of any kind. There are however a few don'ts to follow:
* Avoid sugar and sugar-rich foods
* Avoid caffeine rich drinks and drugs
* Restrict alcohol intake
* ALWAYS have a protein breakfast and never have starch only meals
* Do not miss meals, particularly if under stress, fatigued, or before a period.

There is no need for food fanaticism. You will find your own levels of tolerance after you have adhered carefully to the diet for a time. You will learn to 'listen" to your own body. You will learn how to recognise when your blood sugar levels have dropped and get to know what your body needs to restore its balance.

Have regular checkups with your practitioner who will be glad to give you preventative treatment. Your body and mind will enjoy this regular 'servicing" - you will get a lot more 'mileage" out of them!

If dysglycaemia is your problem, then like many others, who have experienced massive health improvements, following this advice could change your life!

Recipes
Tofu Smoothie - Protein drink
Tofu (as much as you like - more makes the smoothie thicker) Almond/soya/rice or ordinary milk
1 Banana (other fruit can be used)
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds
Blend in food processor
Snacks
Oatcakes with peanut butter
Rice cakes with nut butter/sugar free jam

Desserts
Bananas baked in skin until black served with crème fraiche or fromage frais
Oatcakes with cream cheese and sugar free jam (mini cheesecake)

Drinks
Hot Carob - alternative to hot chocolate
400ml (14floz) skimmed milk. Heat milk in pan with carob 1 dessertspoon carob powder & 1/4 tsp cinnamon, slowly bring to the boil stirring all the time. Serve immediately. Makes 2 drinks

Natures Sunshine Synerprotein Powder can be dissolved into milk, rice milk or water
Drink at breakfast or suppertime for added protein or for protein between meals. Available In vanilla or chocolate

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