Blood Sugar 101
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 in order to keep running. If all glucose were extracted from your body you would go into a coma and be dead within minutes. Your body is even constructed with a mechanism to make glucose from other sources such as protein in order to always have some available for those critical processes.
Since we need glucose (sugar) for our very survival, our body has been designed to go to great lengths to keep a normal range within your blood. There is an ideal range, but your body can tolerate some minor fluctuations around that ideal amount. 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).
Throughout the day blood glucose levels may fluctuate outside of the bodies desired blood glucose range. Swinging from being very high after a meal, stimulant or stress, to being very low, say if you skipped a meal.
When you run low on blood sugar, what should happen is that the pancreas sends glucagon and the adrenal glands send a combination of their hormones which stimulate your liver to convert some of its glycogen (stored glucose) back into 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.
There are many symptoms associated with low blood sugar but the following ones are most common.
- feelings of fear or anxiety
- mood swings
- lack of concentration
- fatigue/energy dips
- heart palpitations
A Blood Sugar Crash
You can also experience what we call a ‘low blood sugar crash’ which may result in a combination of all the low blood sugar symptoms.
When you consume concentrated sugars or refined grains there is a rapid rise in your blood sugar levels. Insulin is then released from your pancreas and begins to open channels on cell membranes allowing glucose to travel from the blood into body cells.
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. 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 to high, causing high insulin and resulting in yet another crash.
Many people ride this roller coaster of sugar highs and sugar lows throughout the day.
Do You Have A Low Blood Sugar Problem?
Many people intuitively know that they have a blood sugar problem but wonder if they should get a medical diagnosis. They ask us if they should get a blood test.
Blood tests are great for letting you know if you have HIGH blood sugar but we haven’t found them to be an accurate indicator of low blood sugar problems, your symptoms will give you a much more accurate picture.
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 a low blood sugar problem known as 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?**
Very Important Note: Did you know that ALL type 2 diabetes (onset diabetes) is preceded by untreated low blood sugar problems? In other words, if you have a Low Blood Sugar issue and you don’t fix it, you are a prime candidate for type 2 diabetes. Take action now.
Insulin Resistance (and Type 2 Diabetes)
There can come a time when your cells have let in too much insulin and start now 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.
If insulin resistance (precursor to type 2 diabetes) is not corrected, eventually the pancreas will become exhausted and no longer be 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 diabetes.
The good news is you can reverse low blood sugar and type 2 diabetes. Here are the first steps in that process.
5 Critical Steps to Balancing Your Blood Sugar
- Make dietary lifestyle changes (details below)
- Take blood sugar balancing nutrients (one to two Total Health Packs For details on the benefits of the Total Health Pack for Balancing Blood Sugar HERE – under benefits at www.TotalHealthPack.com )
- Rejuvenate your adrenal function. For help with adrenal rejuvenation, refer to
(c) Start with my Adrenal Package HERE (found in our online store at www.HormoneRolerCoaster.com ). As a bonus it includes the adrenal e-manual “Recharge Your Batteries” along with the necessary supplements to get you started.
- Ensure optimal liver function (refer to my article “Simple Steps To Rejuvenate Your Liver” in Hans Magazine accessible HERE or under articles at my website HormoneRollerCoaster.com)
Eat to Balance Your Blood Sugar
Remove as much 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).
If you want to lose weight, you should aim to eat 3 meals per day approximately 5 hours apart, with your last meal of the day no later than around 6pm. But in order to keep your blood sugar balanced, you may need to 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 heathly fats (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.
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 organic or free range eggs on a daily basis (your body needs dietary cholesterol to make hormones!). (If you haven’t read it already, you might enjoy my article “How Do You Start Your Day” Read HERE)
A Mapped Out Plan
If you are looking for a step-by-step eating plan along with recipes, either of our e-manuals (ready for instant download from our www.HormoneRollerCoaster.com website) will provide the support you need.
Additional Nutritional Support for Balancing Blood Sugar
Chromium: 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 even fruits.
Add one chromium picolinate (from our online store) twice a day for additional blood sugar balancing.
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 is has also been proven effective for reducing any type of cravings for carbs or sweets including alcohol.
Dosage: Try 1 cap 3-4 times per day. For best results take in between meals or on an empty stomach. For fast action open up a capsule and place the contents under your tongue.
It is available from our online store or GO HERE.
Coaching on these and other health issues are provided through my Inner Circle coaching program or Consultation Packages. For details visit www.BrendaEastwood.com under Support.
The information made available in this article 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 and Megan Bocsik 2015 – “Blood Sugar –What You Need To Know”
Would you like to use this article in your E-zine or website? You may, as long as 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 able to reach 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