A simple sugar called glucose is the primary fuel for every cell in your body. Carbohydrates that you eat break down into glucose that is then delivered to all of your cells via the blood stream. Without adequate levels of glucose in your blood your cells can not perform their functions normally. Your brain, although only about 1-2% of your body mass, uses about 25% of available glucose. Not surprisingly, many symptoms of hypoglycemia (lower than normal blood sugar) are your brain telling your body that it is in desperate need of glucose such as: craving sweets, mood swings, migraine headaches, dizziness, irritability, shaking, being jittery, blurred vision, agitation, light-headedness, and forgetfulness. It is my clinical experience that hypoglycemia is an underlying mechanism in over 50% of cases of migraine headaches.
Functional hypoglycemia has reached epidemic proportions in this county in the past two decades due primarily to, what I like to call, the SAD SAL—the Standard American Diet, consisting of ever increasing amounts of refined carbohydrates (soda, sugary snacks, breakfast cereals, many coffee drinks) and the Standard American Lifestyle of skipping breakfast, grabbing unhealthy food on the run, high amounts of caffeine, too much alcohol, high stress and not enough sleep.
Hypoglycemia also has devastating effects on the gastrointestinal system, typically by causing low stomach acid and therefore poor digestion, and on the entire endocrine system—all of the glands in your body such as the pituitary, thyroid, gonads, and adrenal glands, that regulate many bodily functions. Many hypoglycemics have significantly suppressed adrenal function leading to symptoms of: sleep disturbance/insomnia, morning sluggishness afternoon fatigue, dizziness when standing up quickly, salt cravings and weak nails.
Supporting Hypoglycemia--What You Can Do
Diet & Lifestyle
There are many books and websites with information about hypoglycemia. These supportive recommendations are by no means exhaustive, but are a concise summary of necessary diet and lifestyle changes to support hypoglycemia.
- You must have breakfast every morning within 30-45 minutes of waking. Breakfast must not be heavy on carbohydrates and have both a good fat and protein source. Breakfast could look something like one or two hard boiled eggs and some low-fat yogurt or a protein shake blended with almond milk and some fruit.
- You must have a small snack 2 to 2 ½ hours after breakfast and after lunch. Your snack should be fat amd protein based such as a small handful of raw almonds, cashews or sunflower seeds or a stalk of celery with some almond butter.
- Lunch and dinner should include fiber, veggies, and a lean protein. A mixed green salad with steamed veggies and a piece of grilled chicken, fish or lean red meat would be a good option.
- You need to establish routines around meals and snacks so that none are ever missed or pushed back an hour or two. Appropriate snacks like trail mix, nuts, seeds or well balanced protein bars must be kept handy in your vehicle and at work.
- You must establish good bedtime and wake-up routines. Go to bed and, most importantly, get up at the same time every day. Get at least 6 ½ hours of sleep nightly.
To support all of physiological mechanisms associated with hypoglycemia we suggest supplementing with a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and glandulars to improve nutritive and biological conditions and support healthy blood sugar levels. Antioxidants are also important to support cells during high oxidative stress especially when caused by oxidized blood glucose. Key factors include: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, Folate, B12, and pantothenate, manganese, chromium, inositol, and l-carnitine, omega-3 fatty acids, and adaptogenic herbs. I often recommend two products from Apex Energetics called Proglyco-SP and Adaptocrine to support functional hypoglycemia both of which have produced outstanding results. A high quality omega-3 supplement containing EPA and DHA is also of great benefit.
To find out if hypoglycemia is an underlying cause of your dis-ease, fill-out the free survey at www.helpmebewell.com. Help Me Be Well will give you a thorough, free report about your potential health pitfalls.
Fuel your system well.
Yours in Health,
Dr. James Turnbull D.C., C.C.S.T., F.I.A.M.A.