It is mother of them all, and certainly an issue as we approach the apex of the holiday season.
What is it? Blood Sugar.
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Did you know that blood sugar imbalances are one of the biggest stressors on your endocrine system?
If you are suffering from any type of hormonal imbalance, whether it be hypothyroidism, PMS, menopause or even fatigue and weight gain your blood sugar needs to be addressed. Blood sugar issues are almost guaranteed to be a foundational part of the problem of any hormonal problem. Every time your blood sugar ebbs and flow up and down, your adrenals and pancreas have to come to the rescue.
When your blood sugar goes up, your pancreas has to produce insulin to help lower your blood sugar. While at the opposite end you andrenals have to spit out adrenaline and cortisol to bring your blood sugar back up. Oh and did I mention when cortisol goes out of balance it causes belly fat!
The more your blood sugar handling system is stressed, it predisposes your body to hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue!
The typical pattern tends to be: Eat a meal with excess refined carbohydrate, your blood sugar spikes very high. Your body responds by producing a whole bunch insulin to knock that blood sugar down! The pancreas overshot, and produced too much insulin. Now our blood sugar is super-low, we may start to feel anxious, jittery, and craving lots of sugar and sweets. The next thing we do is eat more find carbohydrate and start the cycle all over again. This is the cycle of death that is common with most patients that have hormonal issues. It may not quite be quite so blatant for most people, but at some level it is happening and it’s very addicting!
Is Low blood sugar making you stupid?
When blood sugar drops (hypoglycemia) your body also increases production of an excitotoxin called glutamate. The combination of low blood sugar and high levels of glutamate, decreased activation of the frontal cortex. The frontal cortex is the part of our brain that allows us to have higher levels of thinking and brain function; It differentiates us from almost all other mamals.
When we lose activation to our frontal cortex it’s common for us to make stupid decisions, act irrational and eat more unhealthy food. When we eat poorly, we literally lose our brain, and it’s so easy for this vicious cycle to perpetuate itself again and again and again.
The same type of excitotoxin response can happen when you consume aspartame, food dyes and MSG. Avoiding these food additives can have a tremendous effect on lowering your glutamate levels and thus not allowing you to use your frontal cortex as efficiently. If it’s your goal to perform at the highest level, you want to make sure you are using your head!
When your cells become resistant to insulin, one of three things happens. Insulin can’t keep up with the demand and your blood sugar starts to rise, leading to diabetes Insulin gets really good at clearing the blood sugar triggering fat storage and your midsection grows steadily. Insulin gets too good at clearing the glucose. Not only does your fat storage increase, your blood sugar plummets and you experience the symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia.
SO…what should you do?
First and foremost, get off ALL sugar and processed foods. That means no bread, even gluten free, no cookies, crackers (except raw dehydrated ones, made from vegetables, nuts and seeds) no cakes, pastries, candies and fruit juice. These foods trigger blood sugar spikes which trigger excess insulin release.
You also need to restore your cell’s receptivity to insulin. There are a number of nutrients like chromium, magnesium, glutamine and zinc that are important here.
Insulin Receptor Sensitivity Restoration System
Remove all foods that trigger blood sugar spikes: sugar, all grains, potatoes, fruit juice, dried fruit and high glycemic fruits like bananas and grapes. I recommend my patients purchase a glucose meter and test the fruits to determine which ones they need to eliminate. I also recommend that whenever fruit is consumed it’s taken with green leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach and sprouts. Smoothies are the best way to eat fruit.
Supplement with the nutrients needed to restore regulation. In general these may be chromium, magnesium, glutamine, zinc and the B vitamins. It can vary from person to person.
Supplement with DHA, an omega 3 fat that’s vital for insulin sensitivity. This can be in a plant form, from algae or from fish.Insulin resistance and blood sugar level imbalance are not minor inconveniences that can be ignored. The long term consequences are serious and life threatening.