Hypoglycemia: The Truth about Low Blood Sugar
Because Type II Diabetes has become so prevalent, proactive health consumers have become very well educated about excess blood sugar (Hyperglycemia). Unfortunately, I will often hear patients say, “I’m lucky I don’t have high blood sugar like a diabetic – but I have low blood sugar” They don’t realize that although they may not face the health challenges experienced by those with Type II diabetes, they have a disease in a different form. They might think that they don’t need an advanced nutrition plan, and that they don’t need to take the same precautions as someone with diabetes. In reality they do.
What are the Roots of Hypoglycemia?
When sugar is consumed, the pancreas produces insulin to help bring the sugar into the cells of the body. Sugar, or anything that turns into sugar such as complex carbohydrates, elevates the amount of insulin in the body. Insulin, via the insulin receptors surrounding the cells, helps sugar to get into the cells, where the cells use the sugar to produce energy.
With Type II diabetes, the body produces increased insulin to cope with the amount of sugar coming into the body. The government of New York City aired television commercials asserting that the average person consumes the equivalent of 93 packets of sugar every day.
And because there’s so much sugar going into the body, over and over, day after day, the insulin receptors burn out. As a result, the body can’t escort sugar into the cells. That sugar accumulates in the bloodstream, causing elevated insulin and Hyperglycemia. A blood sugar level of 7 mmol/l (125 mg/dl) is indicative of a problem, and over time will cause damage in the body, and anything over the threshold of 11 mmo/l (195 mg/dl) would earn the patient a diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus – Type II Diabetic, by most doctors. The patient has literally destroyed the cell membranes and the ability to cross sugar into the cells through excessive sugar transfer activity.
The difference with Hypoglycemia is not much of a difference at all. The body is still producing an excess amount of insulin, but the insulin receptors are not burned out. If the receptors are still intact, the excess insulin continues to transport sugar from the bloodstream into the cells and the result is a less than comfortable level of blood sugar in the bloodstream. When that level drops below 2.5 mmol/l (45 mg/dl), the body’s blood sugar level drops and the patient experiences some or all of the following symptoms: paleness, trembling, perspiration, hunger, agitation, fatigue, blurred vision, and convulsions. The person could even lose consciousness. Experiencing these symptoms sends the patient to the doctor, who has a blood test done and makes a diagnosis of low blood sugar
What is frightening is that the patient is then taught to follow a hypoglycemic diet – one that’s full of complex carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, pasta) – to ensure that the blood sugar levels in the bloodstream remain high. Yet these are the same foods that cause the excessive production of insulin, facilitating excessive transfer of sugar into the cells. Hypoglycemics are taught to have plenty of smaller meals to avoid larger fluctuations in the amount of insulin in the bloodstream. Both of these strategies perpetuate the cycle. Blood sugar is increased in the blood stream, and the body then compensates with increased insulin and transport of sugar to the cells, dropping blood sugar levels, causing the patient to eat again. Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.
Taking in a lot of complex carbs causes the body to produce more insulin. This is how someone with Hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, can soon become a Type II diabetic with high blood sugar. The excess insulin production leads to burnout of the insulin receptors.
Eating a lot of small meals sets up a true dependency. The human body is designed to function well with a long time between meals. Eating multiple meals throughout the day forces your body’s other hormones, such as the body’s primary weight loss hormone, leptin, off kilter. The body never has to save up food, and the endocrine system (which takes care of hormones) is confused. When leptin levels go awry, the body’s ability to burn fat is confused, and it turns to burning sugar (since there is so much sugar available in the cells). The only people who can get away with the several-small-meals-throughout-the-day eating plan are regular athletes, who will burn the energy as soon as it goes into the bloodstream. What the patient should be doing, along with increasing general health through improving the nerve supply to the body, reducing toxins, reducing stress and increasing fitness level, is to eat a diet that consists of moderate amounts of proteins and one that promotes the use of fat (instead of sugar) as the body’s primary source for energy. Of course, that means that until the blood sugar is stable, all grains, sugars and most fruits should be eliminated. This by definition is the Advanced Plan taught in Maximized Living Nutrition Plans. The Advanced Plan further supports healing by limiting snacks and extra meals throughout the day. When your body learns to utilize food for longer-term energy, you don’t need those extra meals, and you won’t crave them. (However, there may be a few weeks of adaptation before someone’s hormonal swings become balanced on this plan.)
*It should be noted that athletes with Hypoglycemia must be extra careful about their sugar consumption. Consuming excess pasta and simple carbs like sports drinks will likely worsen the overall problem. The solution to low blood sugar is NOT more sugar.
What are the Solutions?
A law is a law, and is indiscriminately applicable. If excess blood sugar is damaging for people with a normal level of blood sugar, it certainly is damaging for those with both high and low blood sugar. High insulin levels are a prime way to increase aging in the body. High insulin causes degeneration and breakdown of the cells in the body. We need to reach a point where the body is no longer using sugar as its primary source of energy. Then there will no longer be a constant spiking of insulin and no more insulin crashes leading to fierce hunger. The body must to get to a condition where fat becomes the primary source of energy. The healthy, insulin-adjusted person will use plenty of healthy fats that the body can then use as its main source of energy. Healthy fats include undenatured (therefore not processed or heated), undamaged naturally sourced fats such as olive and coconut oils, raw nuts and raw butter. Damaged fats such as trans fats (hydrogenated oils), vegetable oils, and canola oil have been denatured through heat and chemical changes, causing them to oxidize and form free radicals which are hazardous to your health. Healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds provide your body with nutrients to build cell membranes, absorb vitamins and lower inflammation.
Can Supplementation Help?
One of the supplements that assists in managing low blood sugar is chromium. Chromium enhances the action of insulin, allowing the body to lower its insulin production. The result is fewer swings from high to low and back. Alpha lipoic acid is helpful for heading off insulin resistance but should be taken with caution as it may be more tolerable by some people than others – It is an antioxidant which can accelerate often unpredictable symptoms of detoxification.
A variety of herbs help maintain blood sugar, and even ease sugar craving. Stevia, a sweet non-caloric herb which can also be used as a natural sweetener, and cinnamon and fenugreek are useful.
It’s also of primary importance to supplement the diet with essential fatty acids (EFA’s) that exist in a perfect, optimal ratio. Perfectly balanced omega 3 and omega 6 EFA’s should be our primary source of energy. And to get to the optimal level of health, we have to begin by eliminating sugar and anything that turns into sugar, including grains, fruits and healthy whole grains as well. Only then can we reduce and even eliminate our dependency on sugar.
What is the Best Diet if you are Hypoglycemia?
An individual experiencing massive metabolic swings may need to be supervised by their doctor. If, while changing your diet and health habits, you are monitoring your blood sugar and see it drop to an unhealthy level, it only makes sense that the best way to restore a normal level would be to consume a healthy, naturally cultivated form of sugar. Pure coconut water fits this description. The liquid of coconut will supply sugar needed to boost blood sugar levels, without wreaking havoc on other bodily organs systems such as the liver. Coconut water is isotonic with human blood plasma, so it won’t create the other problems that can be experienced with the use of high fructose corn syrup or highly concentrated sugar drinks like orange juice. Low glycemic fruit like berries, granny smith apples and even grapefruits are ways to maintain some level of healthy glucose in the body without creating severe acidity while at the same time not allowing the body to become dependent on them.
What is the Role of the Nervous System?
It’s critical for patients to pay significant attention to the elevated production of insulin – they should be concerned that there may be an altered nerve flow to the pancreas coming from the nervous system. Subluxation of the upper cervical spine affecting the tenth cranial (vagus) nerve, or of T6 and T7, resulting in overactive nerve supply to the pancreas should certainly be evaluated by a Doctor of Chiropractic in determining possible causes. When working to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, it is vital to take care of the brain, the spinal cord and the nervous system through corrective chiropractic care to achieve optimal spinal alignment, and also through reduced stress levels, proper healthy nutrition, sufficient levels of oxygen and reduced toxicity.
People who understand these principles can move away from thinking that they have to self-medicate with injections or sugary drinks to overcome the many conditions associated with irregular blood sugar. The truth is that while these measures treat the symptoms of this disease, the patient using them cannot change their illness. In the world of medicine, there is a massive amount of misinformation and misunderstanding. Learning the facts about low blood sugar can help change the way this illness is managed and can transform the way we take care of our families in the long term, so that we don’t create disease in future generations. The best we can do as consumers in this very misunderstood world is to eliminate interference and allow the body to express itself the way it was designed. This is the foundational philosophy and practice in Maximized Living clinics around the world, where we not only see patients regularly conquer their blood sugar disorders, but lead their family members to never getting them in the first place.