Glucose is an important energy source for the body and essential for the proper functioning of the brain. For this reason, it is always well detectable in the blood. Our body needs blood sugar balance. The amount of glucose in the blood is called the glycaemic level. And, when the stomach is empty, the glycaemic level is about 1g of glucose for every litre of blood.
When the glycaemic level falls below 1g, the pancreas secretes a hormone called glucagon, which has the effect of releasing stored glucose from the liver and muscles to bring the level of glucose back to normal. When we eat carbohydrates, the glucose we absorb into the bloodstream causes the glycaemic level to rise and reach its peak. As the glucose level increases, the pancreas is triggered to release another hormone called insulin, which ensures excess glucose is removed from the blood and stored in the liver and muscles for future use, bringing the level of glucose to its normal status. Besides, this whole process takes about three hours to complete.
Typical Glucose Curve. Approximately one hour after eating a balanced meal consisting of complex carbohydrates, protein and some fats, blood glucose levels peak at about 170mg/100ml of blood. Two hours after the meal, blood glucose levels drop back to the starting point and level out.
Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar): Refined carbohydrates and sugars are rapidly digested and raise blood sugar levels very quickly, well above the safe range. Abnormally high blood glucose is toxic to cells and can damage tissues like the eye’s retina. The pancreas secretes extra insulin to restore blood sugar balance to protect cells from damage.
However, when the pattern of high blood glucose continues, the pancreas over-reacts and secretes excessive amounts of insulin. Thus, an excessive amount of glucose moves from the blood into the cells or accumulates as fat in adipose tissue, the fat cells, once glucose is saturated. It results in hypoglycaemia. Rapid drops in blood glucose levels starve the brain of its primary fuel, glucose, and we experience symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, panic attacks, depression, low concentration etc. To restore the blood glucose balance, we start craving sugary and starchy carbohydrates that will raise blood glucose levels quickly, and the cycle of extreme highs and lows of glucose levels begins all over again.
Also, stimulants and stress can raise blood glucose levels via adrenaline, preparing the body for the fight or flight response. The liver and muscles release excess glucose in response to a perceived emergency. As the ‘stressors’ are false alarms, the body does not utilise the extra blood glucose by activity. As a result, levels remain high, causing the cycle of hypoglycaemia to start all over again.
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Research has shown that over the years of eating a low diet, two things may happen or a combination of both:
Both are combined most frequently, resulting in elevated blood glucose levels Type II Diabetes!
A person’s history is the basis for a diagnosis of hypoglycemia usually. Symptoms typically include fluctuating energy (with fatigue usually being worse in the afternoon). Sufferers often feel tired when they wake up as their blood sugar level drops considerably overnight. Another common symptom is a craving for sweet or starchy foods, which reflects the bodys natural desire for foods that will restore blood sugar levels quickly. The brain is a very glucose-dependent organ. Therefore, hypoglycaemia will often precipitate mental symptoms such as irritability and low concentration.
The Diabetes Test is a quick and easy home-to-lab finger-prick blood test that measures glycosylated haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels in your blood. HbA1c measures your average blood glucose (sugar) levels over the past three months. As a result, this test is a helpful indicator and allows for early detection of risk for diabetes.
Frequent signs and symptoms:
Consume a diet high in fibre and complex carbohydrates. Water-soluble fibre slows digestion increases cell sensitivity to insulin. Moreover, it improves glucose uptake by the liver and other tissues, preventing a sustained elevation in blood sugar. High fibre foods include most vegetables (eaten raw or lightly steamed), beans, potatoes, soy products, fruits , especially apples, apricots, bananas, avocados, cantaloupe melon, grapefruits and lemons.
Remove or limit all alcohol, canned and packaged foods, refined and processed foods, dried fruits, salt, sugar, saturated fats, soft drinks, and white flour from the diet. Also, avoid foods containing artificial colours and preservatives. Avoiding alcohol is also beneficial because it interferes with average glucose utilisation and increases insulin secretion. The resulting drop in blood sugar balance produces a craving for foods that quickly elevate blood sugar and desire more alcohol.
Avoid sweet fruits and juices such as prune and grape. If you drink these, mix them with an equal amount of water.
Eat low-fat cottage cheese, fish, grains, nuts, seeds, skinless white turkey or chicken breast, and low-fat yoghurt for protein.
Dont go without food or consume large, heavy meals. Eat six to eight small meals throughout the day.
Use a rotary diet – food allergies and intolerances are often associated with hypoglycemia and can make symptoms more severe.
Stress is a significant factor in hypoglycaemia, as it affects the adrenal glands and blood sugar levels.
Avoid tea and coffee or any drinks containing caffeine because these affect adrenal function leading to a rise in blood sugar levels.
Drink at least 1.5 litres of good quality water a day.
Take a high potency multivitamin and mineral supplement, with at least 400ui of folic acid, 400iu of vitamin B12, and 50-100mg of vitamin B6. An excellent daily multiple providing all of the known vitamins and minerals serve as a foundation for building an individualised health-promoting programme.
Chromium is an essential constituent of the glucose tolerance factor. In addition, chromium functions as a co-factor in all insulin-regulating activities and plays a significant role in the sensitivity of the cells to insulin.
Milk thistle protects the liver from toxins, including drugs and chemicals. It also reduces damage from excessive alcohol intake helps to clear psoriasis. So, 200mg of it a day is enough.