Blood Sugar 101

Low Blood Sugar commonly referred to as hypoglycemia is a very commonly misunderstood and misdiagnosed health issue.

did-you-know

The problem is threefold.

  1. Your doctor may not be familiar with the symptoms of low blood sugar.
  2. Even if she or he is, and you are sent for a blood test, it is not an accurate indicator of low blood sugar problems. However, the tests for HIGH blood sugar (onset or type 2 diabetes) are accurate.
  3. If you are lucky enough to be diagnosed by your medical doctor, he/she has not had the proper nutritional training to advise you on what you should do.

diabetes

Sadly, if your low blood sugar issue goes undetected and incorrectly treated you could be at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In our observation, ALL type 2 diabetes was preceded by hypoglycemia (but not all hypoglycemia develops into type 2 diabetes, just like not all smokers get lung cancer).

YOU CAN DO A SELF-EVALUATION

Blood sugar, known as blood glucose, is essential for all bodily activity.  It is especially necessary for the function of the nervous system and brain.  Therefore, when your blood glucose levels drop too low you can be affected in many ways.

The most common symptoms associated with low blood sugar are listed below. Obviously, many could be associated with other underlying health issues.  However, the first step in a self-evaluation is just seeing whether you have the common symptoms and if so how many you have.

blood-sugar-fairy

STEP ONE: Determine how many symptoms you have.

Put an X beside symptoms that you typically have.

  • Nervousness
  • Fatigue/energy dips
  • Feelings of fear or anxiety
  • Faintness, dizziness, tremors and cold sweats
  • Drowsiness
  • Forgetfulness, confusion
  • Constant worrying, unprovoked anxiety
  • Cravings for sweets or alcohol
  • Heart palpitations or rapid pulse
  • Indecisiveness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Muscle twitching and jerking
  • Sighing and yawning
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Internal trembling
  • Numbness
  • Crying spells
  • Blurred vision
  • Itching and crawling skin sensations
  • Outbursts of temper
  • Sleepiness
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Lack of concentration
  • Nightmares

How many symptoms do you have? If you have 3 or more, go to step 2.

STEP TWO: Assess your energy levels.

The energy levels of a person with Low Blood Sugar most commonly fluctuate up and down during the day.

Low blood sugar dips are most likely to occur at around 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and from 3:00-4:00 PM.  Not always, but usually.

Does this sound like you? Are you ready for a nap or are you craving sweets and/or caffeine at these times? If so, go to step 3.

STEP 3: Answer These Questions.

If you answer ‘yes’ to several of the following questions or say ‘yes’ to just one of the questions marked with a double asterisk (**) then you can safely assume that you have Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia).

  • Do you feel shaky or irritable when you are hungry?**
  • Do you get hungry soon after eating?**
  • Do you get irritable before breakfast, morning coffee or cigarette?**
  • Do you get weak spells, tiredness in mid-afternoon? Do you get bouts of faintness, dizziness or lack of concentration?
  • Do you crave sweets, carbohydrates or coffee?
  • Do you wake up at night feeling hungry?**
  • Do you feel best when you eat small amounts of food throughout the day (or you call yourself a grazer)?**
  • Do you have to eat on time?**

CORRECTING HYPOGLYCEMIA

To correct it, you must understand the basics of the condition.

Blood sugar imbalance (low blood sugar or high blood sugar) is a condition in which your body does not handle glucose effectively.

This is a HUGE topic, and well beyond the scope of an article, but we will hit the highlights in a nutshell.

Our bodies operate on glucose just like a car operates on gasoline.  Because certain cells require only glucose, you must have a small and steady supply to keep running.  If all glucose were extracted from your body, you would go into a coma and be dead within minutes (the opposite is true too, if your blood sugar were to remain too high for too long, this also could lead to serious complications or death).

If your blood sugar levels go higher than the high end of the range and remain there, the condition is called diabetes.  If your blood sugar levels dip below the low end, the condition is known as low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.  (Remember, this is the nutshell version).

Since you need some glucose (sugar) for your very survival, your body has been designed to go to great lengths to keep a normal range within your blood, to which you can only tolerate minor fluctuations above or below that ideal amount. Swinging from being high after a big meal, stimulant or stress, to being low, say if you skipped a meal, is normal if your insulin response is working effectively.

Luckily, in the event your stored liver and muscle glucose runs out, your body is constructed with a mechanism to make glucose from other sources such as protein to ensure a steady supply for those critical processes.

Running Low

When you run low on blood sugar, what should happen is that the pancreas sends glucagon while the adrenal glands send a combination of their hormones which stimulate your liver to convert some of its glycogen (stored glucose) back into blood glucose.

If, however the adrenal glands are weak, glycogen stores have been depleted or the liver is overworked, then this conversion does not take place effectively to release the glucose/sugar you need and you begin to experience a myriad of symptoms (as listed above) due to LOW BLOOD SUGAR.

A Blood Sugar Crash

You can also experience the same symptoms from what we call a ‘low blood sugar crash’.

When you consume concentrated sugars or refined grains there’s a rapid rise in blood sugar levels.   Insulin is then released from the pancreas and begins to open channels on cell membranes allowing glucose to travel from the blood into body cells to be burned for energy, or stored.  In some individuals, too much insulin is released in response to a carbohydrate or sugar rich meal.  Especially if a high carbohydrate diet is the norm.

When insulin is high, lots of cell glucose channels become opened, which results in the blood glucose level dropping too low. A stressful or traumatic event can also cause a spike in blood sugar (your stress response hormones release stored glycogen, converted to sugar for an emergency, thus depleting your glucose stores) and consequently, a dip.  This is what causes a low blood sugar “crash”.

This can also contribute to the cycle of subsequent sugar cravings throughout the day as the body cries out for an immediate source of sugar to bring blood sugar levels up again quickly. But if too much sugar or refined carbohydrates are consumed, the blood sugar goes too high again, causing high insulin and resulting in yet another crash.

Many people ride this roller coaster of sugar highs and sugar lows throughout the day, every day.

blood-sugar-spikes

Insulin Resistance (and Type 2 Diabetes)

There can come a time when your cells have let in too much insulin and start to resist letting any more enter.  This is called insulin resistance.  Even though there is enough insulin to escort the glucose into your cells, the insulin is not ‘allowed’ to enter so your blood glucose and insulin levels remain high.

insulin-resistance

If insulin resistance (precursor to type 2 diabetes) is not corrected, eventually the pancreas will become exhausted and no longer able to produce adequate amounts of insulin. It then becomes impossible to achieve perfect blood sugar balance and insulin dependent diabetes ensues.

This is how low blood sugar issues, that are not nutritionally remedied, will lead to type 2 diabetes (**note: Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, where the pancreas does not produce insulin, thereby requiring the person to take insulin to survive).

The good news is you can reverse low blood sugar and type 2 diabetes.  Here are the first steps in that process.

3 CRITICAL PHASES TO BALANCING YOUR BLOOD SUGAR

PHASE ONE

You can control your blood sugar with diet and correct nutritional supplements which is what phase one is about. However, you can restore the body’s ability to maintain your blood sugar balance (within reason) as it once could do for you.  To get to this state of balance you will need to complete phase 2 (adrenal rejuvenation) and phase 3 (liver rejuvenation).

  1. Make dietary lifestyle changes (details below).
  2. Purchase the basic Low Blood Sugar (appropriate for Insulin Resistance) Package HERE.

Suggested starting program for low blood sugar is as follows.

**NOTE: For all 3 suggested programs below always carry l-glutamine with you to take over and above the recommendations below.

Take l-glutamine immediately if you feel a craving for carbs, sugar or alcohol, or if you have allowed yourself to go too long without food (not recommended), dosage is ¼ tsp powder mixed with water, or 1 capsule as often as needed during the day.

  1. Mild to Moderate Blood Sugar Symptoms

After Breakfast

1 Total Health Pack

1 chromium picolinate

1 alpha lipoic acid

Mid-morning: 1 l-glutamine capsule

Mid-afternoon: 1 l-glutamine capsule

  1. Moderate to Severe Blood Sugar Symptoms

After Breakfast

1 Total Health Pack

1 chromium picolinate

1 alpha lipoic acid

Mid-morning: 1 l-glutamine capsule

After Lunch OR Dinner

1 chromium picolinate

1 alpha lipoic acid

Mid-afternoon: 1 l-glutamine capsules

  1. Insulin Resistance and Onset Diabetes

After Breakfast

1 Total Health Pack

1 chromium picolinate

1 alpha lipoic acid

Mid-morning: 1 l-glutamine capsules

After Lunch

1 Total Health Pack

1 chromium picolinate

1 alpha lipoic acid

Mid-afternoon: 1 l-glutamine capsules

THE NUTRIENTS IN THE PROGRAM

To find out more details on what is in the nutrient program and how they specifically help with Low Blood Sugar GO HERE– under benefits at www.TotalHealthPack.com

Although chromium is already in the Total Health Pack, those with hypoglycemia will need a dosage over and above what is found there.

Chromium Picolinate is a naturally occurring trace mineral that enhances insulin’s effect in the body, improving the uptake of glucose, causing better blood circulation and maintenance of blood sugar level.

Chromium also helps reduce cravings for sweets.

Most food today is very low in chromium, especially refined flour and refined sugars and sweets of all kinds, including fruits.

Chromium picolinate is also available for purchase separately from our online store.

L-Glutamine is not contained within the Total Health Pack. 

L-glutamine is an amino acid that your body can use as emergency fuel.  For example, if you have a blood sugar crash, from either eating sugar and then crashing or from going too long without food, reach for l-glutamine instead of sugar.

It has been proven effective for reducing any type of cravings for carbohydrates or sweets including alcohol.

Dosage: Can be taken 1 to 4 times per day.  For best results take in between meals or on an empty stomach.  For fast action open a capsule and place the contents under your tongue or mix powder with water to consume.

L-glutamine is available for purchase separately from our online store, in both powder and capsule form.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) speeds the removal of glucose from the bloodstream, at least partly by enhancing insulin function, and it reduces insulin resistance, which is a cause of weight gain around your belly.

As an antioxidant supplement, alpha-lipoic acid can also boost liver function, helping to process toxins and protect from free-radical damage.  Optimal liver function helps maintain proper blood sugar balance.

Alpha Lipoic Acid is not contained within the Total Health Pack.  You will get a significant boost in results if you combine ALA with B-complex vitamins, Vitamins C, E and other antioxidants (such as green tea extract).  These nutrients are included in the Total Health Pack www.TotalHealthPack.com

Dosage: 1 capsule twice daily

Alpha Lipoic Acid is available for purchase separately from our online store.

PHASE TWO AND THREE

Carbohydrates (sugars), absorbed through the lining of the intestine, are transported through blood vessels to the liver and then converted into glycogen and stored.

The hormone glucagon (stimulated by protein) or norepinephrine (released from the adrenal glands) send a message to the liver to break down this stored glycogen between meals, releasing sugar into the blood when needed for quick energy to prevent low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).

This enables you to keep an even level of energy throughout the day. Without this balance, you will find yourself needing to eat constantly to keep up your energy.

Therefore, in order for you to maintain normal blood sugar levels, you need to have optimal adrenal and liver function.

For details on how to rejuvenate your adrenal function GO HERE

Supporting and cleansing your liver, can be accomplished before, after or simultaneously with your adrenal rejuvenation.  For all the details, purchase your Optimal Liver Health Guide HERE .

EAT TO BALANCE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR

Remove as many refined food products as possible (white flour and white sugar products, packaged & processed foods and refined vegetable oils such as soybean and canola) and focus on healthy fats, organically or locally/humanely raised meats, limited whole grains (avoid wheat) and lots and lots of veggies (organic is best but not entirely necessary).

vegetables

Begin with small meals 5 or 6 times a day like this: Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Dinner and snack before bed. Meals can be small but DO NOT MISS A MEAL. You will eventually be able to transition to 3 meals a day.

Don’t Forget the Fat and Protein

Each meal or snack should contain healthy fats (butter, organic coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, hempseed oil and/or omega 3 fatty acids from fish or fish oils daily) quality protein and some high quality carbohydrates.

Your best protein sources are from humanely raised (grass fed or pasture raised without hormones or antibiotics) animal products ie eggs, full fat dairy (not milk), wild (not farmed) fish, beef, bison, lamb, poultry, etc.

fat-and-proteins

Some foods have a high amino acid content (which are the components of protein) and can be eaten instead of/or along with animal protein. These foods are all nuts, seeds, and legumes (kidney beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, etc).

The most important protein meal of the day is breakfast.  If eggs suit you, please do not be concerned about eating farm fresh, organic or free range eggs daily (your body needs dietary cholesterol to make hormones!).

meats-proteins

For further assistance with meal planning and recipes we suggest purchasing either or both e-manuals.

If you would like individual coaching and a personalized program designed specifically for you, please book a Full Health Evaluation and Personal Consultation by phone with us HERE.

Whether you are ready to commit to a low blood sugar program or not……

REMEMBER THESE 5 CRITICAL LIFESTYLE STRATEGIES

(For More Details Go HERE)

  1. Drink ½ ounce of purified water per pound of body weight daily.
  2. Eat 2 cups of vegetables daily, not including lettuce, potato, peas, corn and mushrooms. You can eat them; they just don’t count.
  3. Reduce caffeine intake to no more than 16 ounces of organic coffee per day.  Zero to 8 ounces is preferable.
  4. Have four to five sugar free days per week.
  5. Find exercise you enjoy, that energizes you and get movement at least 4 times per week.

Information made available through this website is provided for educational or reference purposes only. Nutritional Therapy and/or Coaching is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, prescription, or cure for any disease, mental or physical, and is not intended as a substitute for regular medical care.

Copyright Brenda Eastwood, RNCP and Megan Boff, RNCP  2016 – Blood Sugar Balancing
MaximumResults@shaw.ca  www.BrendaEastwood.com   www.TotalHealthPack.com

Would you like to use this article in your E-zine or website?  You may, if you include this complete write-up with it: Brenda Eastwood is a holistic health expert who specializes in Women’s Health Issues.  Her expertise stems from over 30 years’ experience as a Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner.  This includes ongoing research, 17 years running a successful private practice, presenting hundreds of seminars and workshops, as well as coaching clients through her unique online Inner Circle program. Today she is reaching out to even more women through her regular article contributions to HANS (Health Action Magazine) and her book “Get off the PMS and Perimenopausal Roller Coaster, Learn 9 Natural Fast Track Solutions to Balanced Hormones”. For more information on Brenda Eastwood please visit www.BrendaEastwood.com or for information on her Total Health Packs visit www.TotalHealthPack.com