by Dr. Sarah Myhill
Low blood sugar is an extremely common problem and difficult to correct, so I make no apology for going into the causes, any one of which may be the key to unlock a particular person's problem.
Diet is the first port of call - aim for a low glycaemic index diet. Start off with getting breakfast right, allow time for the body to adjust, then work on lunch, then supper. It may take months to feel comfortable with a low GI diet. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day - this needs to be a low glycaemic index meal, such as fish, bacon, eggs, mushroom, tomato, onion etc with just a small amount of carbohydrate, eg a piece of fruit to get the best balance between good brain function, good energy levels, feeling calm but having good reaction times. Please refer to the article - Hypoglycaemia - low blood sugar - a major problem for many people!
Blood sugar control is a complex bit of biochemistry and there are calls on a great many nutrients with deficiency of any one contributing towards problems. Everyone therefore should take a good multivitamin, minerals, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and D. This is part of my General Approach to treating everything and staying healthy! Please refer to - Nutritional Supplements - what everybody should be taking all the time even if nothing is wrong.
Eating a high carbohydrate diet encourages growth of yeast in the gut. Yeast ferments sugars to alcohol which tends to drop the blood sugar. This makes one crave sweet things and go for more sugar - a very successful survival ploy by yeasts! Swapping yeasts for friendly bacteria is a good move. The friendly bacteria ferment carbohydrates to short chain fatty acids which are the desirable fuel for mitochondria and do not upset blood sugar levels. Take high dose grow it yourself probiotics such as Kefir. See - Probiotics - we should all be taking these all the time and double the dose following antibiotics and gastroenteritis.
High Dose Niacinamide and Chromium for Two Months
Both these supplements have a profound effect on blood sugar levels to stabilise them but sometimes have to be given in high doses initially to kick start the necessary mechanisms. By this I mean niacinamide 500mgs, 3 daily at mealtimes and possibly double this dose. Rarely, niacinamide in these doses can upset liver enzymes but this is accompanied by nausea - so if you feel this symptom, reduce the dose to 500mgs daily. Niacinamide is a really interesting vitamin - it shares the same receptors as diazepam (Valium) to produce a calming effect which is not addictive. I suspect it works because so much anxiety is caused by low blood sugar and niacinamide helps prevent this.
I also suggest 2mgs of chromium daily. The usual daily requirement would be a tenth of this but with severe hypoglycaemia there is often severe chromium deficiency. Niacinamide and chromium work together synergistically. A symptom of chromium deficiency can be high cholesterol.
One of the major stress hormones is insulin. Insulin works by shunting sugar inside cells where it may be needed in the short term for physical energy. This makes great sense for the hunter/gatherer who, when stressed by a sabre toothed tiger needed to run for his life. However with our sedentary lifestyles, we end up with low levels of sugar in the blood, and sugar inside cells being shunted into fat. When one is stressed one needs to be especially careful to eat a low Glycaemic Index diet - the trouble is that when stressed we go for comfort eating, which tends to be high carbohydrate foods and alcohol - the highest carb food of all!
Allergies to Foods
This can certainly cause hypoglycaemia - the top three allergens are grains, dairy products and yeast. But one can be allergic to any food! See Stoneage Diet - the elimination diet I use most often and Diet for CFS - this is a diet which all CFS sufferers should try at some stage.
The commonest symptom of alcohol causing hypoglycaemia is sleeplessness. Initially alcohol helps one to go to sleep, but then it wakes one up in the small hours with rebound hypoglycaemia.
Can certainly cause hypoglycaemia. See Hypothyroidism - Diagnosis of
Adrenal Problems and Cortisol
The job of the adrenal gland is to produce the stress hormones to allow us to move up a gear when the stress comes on. Cortisol raises blood sugar levels. It is largely excreted during mornings and declines as the day progresses - this is why we should feel at our best early in the day, and blood sugar problems get worse as the day progresses. Often people compensate for this by eating more as the day goes on and explains why many hypoglycaemics do not need or eat breakfast with supper being the largest meal of the day. Changing all of the above will help. But it may be appropriate to do an adrenal stress profile and actually measure output of the stress hormones cortisol and DHEA since a small supplement may be very helpful. See Adrenal Stress Profile Test Result - what does it mean?
Toxins and Pollutants
There was a fascinating paper in the Lancet that showed that the biggest risk factor for diabetes (and this is the end product of years of hypoglycaemia as insulin resistance results) is the level of pollutants in the body (pesticides, volatile organic compounds and heavy metals). The paper showed that chemical pollutants were a greater risk factor than being overweight! It was suggested that the overweight problem reflected a larger chemical burden as the body tried to "dump" chemicals where they would be out of the way.
The chemicals literally get in the way of many biochemical processes and prevent the body functioning normally. So for some people doing detox regimes is very helpful - ie far infra red sweating/saunaing and improving liver detox with vitamins and minerals. We can easily test for pollutants in fat by doing a fat biopsy - this is a simple test, easier than a blood test! See Detoxing - Far Infra Red sauna (FIRS).