How to Counter Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) without Drugs

Red rice (top photo) and pink rice, both are native varieties in the Philippines. They have low glycemic index.

Hypoglycemia is not a disease but it makes you "sick"

By Conrado D. Fontanilla

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is the opposite of diabetes. Some symptoms (more than 40) are depression, vertigo, insomnia, palpitation of the heart, sweating, weakness, mental fussiness, trembling, hallucination, and blurred vision. Low blood sugar causes damage to the brain which is irreversible. That is why a patient may be misdiagnosed as neurotic.

One of its causes is chronic stress that induces the release of extra adrenaline. This hormone triggers the secretion of extra insulin that induces the immediate storage of sugar (glucose, fructose) then conversion into fats. Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar falls below 50 mg/dl (Faelten, S., editor. Food and You. 1998). It is detected by a 6-hour glucose-tolerance test. The brain becomes desperate for glucose in 3 to 4 hours after a high carbohydrate meal to be satisfied with yet another meal or table sugar or candy bar. That is why a hypoglycemic becomes fat and addicted to carbohydrates.

New entry as of Dec. 6

Once glucose is stored as fat it is difficult or it takes a long time to convert it back to glucose. That is why a hypoglycemic gets fat. The extra insulin provoked by adrenaline or carbohydrates prevents the replenishment of glycogen that should be supplied to the brain. When your brain lacks energy, you conk out, or pass out (Sears, B., Ph.D. Enter the Zone.1995:25). End of new entry.

Hypoglycemia is a syndrome that develops from sudden elevation and sudden fall of sugar level in the blood which the body system cannot handle. The body can adjust to a sugar level with insignificant fluctuations. Hypoglycemia may develop slowly from supply of extra sugar (glucose) and exposure to refined table sugar. Refined sugar induces the loss in chromium that binds the insulin to insulin receptor of the cell. This results in less storage of sugar. The sugar fructose from fruits, honey, and sap of coconut flowers (which would develop into fruit) does not provoke hypoglycemia or diabetes for that matter.

“...The rapidity of the drop of sugar is the most dangerous aspect of the hypoglycemic glucose-tolerance curve. It is not how low, but how fast, sugar drops that is significant” (Airola, P. M.D. Hypoglycemia: A Better Approach. 1977:69). The sudden drop leaves the brain and muscles almost without fuel.

What happens during the glucose tolerance test? The glucose you ingest after your fast causes your pancreas to respond by increasing insulin to control the glucose. However, the amount of insulin released is too much that it practically drives all the glucose into storage.

"When hypoglycemia strikes, what prevents the liver from simply replenishing the blood glucose from its storage depot? The answer is high levels of insulin. The same exaggerated insulin response generated by that pasta lunch...now prevents the replenishment of blood glucose that supplies the brain with fuel it needs. Now you start tuning out" (Sears, B., Ph.D. The Zone. 1995:25).

Adrenaline overrides or bypasses glucagon, the hormone that nudges the liver to normally convert glycogen (stored sugar in the liver) into glucose as energy for fight or flight. When the amount of insulin is high, the amount of glucagon is low that fails to convert glycogen into glucose. Adrenaline at the same time bypasses insulin so that diet glucose goes directly to the blood stream, failing to replenish the depleted glycogen in the liver (Champe, P., Ph.D. and Harvey, R. Ph. D. Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews: Biochemistry. 1987:266).

Chronic stress makes the adrenal gland oversensitive to anxiety and presence of extra sugar so that even when the stress is gone, low blood sugar symptoms remain. A vicious cycle begins: stress— hypoglycemia—alternatively, extra sugar — hypoglycemia—stress. There is also a case when a lot of insulin is going around but the extra blood sugar is resistant to it so that it does not convert into glycogen – that leads to diabetes type II. This case is called insulin resistance that is brought about by: (1) lack of chromium that binds insulin to insulin receptors of cells, (2) destruction of insulin cell receptors by free radicals, and (3) reduced number of insulin receptors. Sometimes this case is called syndrome X.

Over consumption of meat protein contributes to hypoglycemia (Airola, page 70).


New entries as of March 29,2014

Seale Harris diet is the standard hypoglycemic diet by orthodox nutritionists. It was formulated by Dr. Harris who first described hypoglycemia over fifty years ago. At that time protein was the nutritional panacea. This diet consists of high protein and low carbohydrates. He found in his clinical practice that this diet was able to control the symptoms of this disease.

In other ways, high protein is harmful in the long run. This diet overburdens the adrenal glands and would break them down.

"...While it is true that a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet will control symptoms in severe hypoglycemics, it actually will aggravate the condition in the long-run and make it incurable" (Ariola, pages 71-72). It takes care of the symptoms but fails to take care of "the patient's total health and welfare."

Ariola has a diet for hypoglycemics in his book. End of new entries.

Hypoglycemia is countered by proteins and carbohydrates (that gives glucose) that go through the citric acid cycle. A product of this cycle is glutamic acid or glutamate which can pass through the membrane of the brain cells easily. Once inside the brain glutamic acid is converted into glutamine which is food for the brain.

Diet therapy and vitamins are effective in controlling hypoglycemia. The Dietitian will give you the right kind and amount of food. It is advisable to eat complex carbohydrates like whole cereals, colored rice, with low glycemic index (whose carbohydrates slowly convert to glucose).

Coffee, alcohol and tobacco contribute to hypoglycemia. “...Smoking causes a rapid blood sugar rise with just as rapid a drop in blood sugar level shortly after the cigarette or cigar is put out” (Airola, page 62)

Deficiency in vitamins E and B-6, potassium, trivalent chromium, and magnesium has been linked to hypoglycemia.

Brewer’s yeast (not the baker’s yeast) supplies chromium (Airola, page 69). I have a Hub "Why Insulin Needs Chromium To Bind With Cell Receptors And Treat Your Diabetes Type 2."

I have just posted a new Hub (Dec. 12,2012), "Hypoglycemia: what happens to the brain and arteries during an episode?"

My own case

I have had bouts of hypoglycemia which I thought episodes of heart attack. I think I developed hypoglycemia for having chronic stress due to heart disease and taking “taho” consisting of extra sweetened soya curd. I thought taho would counter my hunger pangs just about 3 hours after a meal. A test (not the 6-hour glucose tolerance test) showed that my blood sugar was normal. After reading Betty Kamen’s book “The Chromium Connection” I concluded that I have hypoglycemia.

I stopped taking taho; supply of glucose is only a stop-gap measure. Hypoglycemia has to be dealt with on a long-term basis like prevention or elimination of chronic stress and consumption of low glycemic food.

As my infusion chelation therapy progresses (consequently decreased chronic stress), with meals of colored rice, and taking brewer’s yeast, my episodes of hypoglycemia is diminishing. Before, I felt symptoms 3-4 hours after eating. Now I don’t get the symptoms (dizziness) even when 6 to 7 hours had passed.

As an afterthought, the bean curd could have supplied too much protein that is burdensome on my adrenals.

Specially for women

There are other disorders (kidney trouble, diabetes, heart disease, menopause, thyroid disease, those due to antibiotics, insulin, lithium, caffeine, and birth control pills) that mimic hypoglycemia. Counter: eat 4 to 6 small meals a day to stabilize glucose levels. Plan meals around complex carbohydrates, and lean protein (Faelten).

For hypoglycemia you can take supplements that:

(1) Reduce stress and secretion of extra adrenaline;

(2) Supply magnesium, chromium, potassium, glucose and fructose;

(3) Provide tryptophan and serotonin, precursors of melatonin that rejuvenate the liver and pancreas;

(4) Give amino acids for use in the production of hormones; insulin is composed of 51 amino acids; glucagon, 29 amino acids;

(5) Supply the building blocks of lecithin (inositol, methionine, choline, magnesium, pyridoxine or vitamin B-6) that make up 30% of the pancreas;

(6) Contain glycine that is known as anti-hypoglycemic agent (Walker, M. M.P.D. The Miracle Healing Power of Chelation Therapy. 1984:160);

(7) Have CoQ10 that contributes a lot in the conversion of glucose into energy

(8) Contain zinc that is a component of insulin;

(9) Contain vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid) adequate supply of which prevents sudden drop of blood sugar;

(10) With vitamins B and C that help the body tolerate sugar.

You can live with hypoglycemia; you only have to adjust your diet, lifestyle, and attitude toward it. Don't let depression take the better of you because depression is one of its symptoms. Get to its causes.

Added entries as of October 11,2011

Extra refined sugar and stress can excite the adrenaline gland. Extra adrenaline triggers the pancreas to excrete extra insulin that "radically burns off the available blood sugar" (Lust, J., N.D. and M. Tierra, C.A., O.M.D. The Natural Remedy Bible.1990:224).

Specific grains for use to counter hypoglycemia are millet and American quinoa seed, according to Lust and Tierra. These can be accompanied with yellow squash and the Japanese azuki beans. Soak the azuki beans with a 4- to 6--inch dried kombu seaweed for about 2 hours prior to cooking. Seaweeds give trace minerals.

Avoid or eliminate refined foods like white sugar, refined flour, barley, rye, oats and wheat. Avoid nonherbal tea, coffee, canned foods, alcohol, drugs, and marijuana.

"Cut out animal fats, butter, cream cheese, bacon, pork, duck, and goose."

Fructose (like honey and coconut sugar, from the sap of coconut flower) is preferred as sweetener. Lust and Tierra recommend a tea of dandelion, American ginseng, burdock, and licorice in equal parts taken three times per day.

Sesame seeds (toasted and ground) give additional protein and calcium.

New entries as of October 16,2011

Aciduriasis

Aciduriasis is an imbalance in amino acid that can lead to hypoglycemia (Berger, S., MD. How to be Your Own Nutritionist. 1987:252). Such amino acid imbalance is due to an inherited inability to digest protein or to absorb some kinds of amino acid. That's why it is advisable to consult a doctor when you try to take an amino acid supplement. You should be able to identify yourself any protein that you had some difficulty to digest by means of a food journal as Benjimester, a Huber, has suggested.

Aciduriasis also suppresses the immune system. Fortunately, aciduriasis can be treated by proper doses of amino acid, according to Berger.

New entries as of January 9,2012

Deficiency of growth hormone (GH) during childhood causes hypoglycemia.

"When present at birth, GH deficiency may cause severe, intractable hypoglycemia and prolonged, unexplained jaundice...." (Pritchett, J. W. MD. Practical Bone Growth. 1993:24).

New entries as of Feb. 21,2012

Make your blood sugar steady

Eat low glycemic foods, like colored rice. I eat red rice or brown rice, whichever is available. These are digested slowly, makes you feel full and their sugar gets to the blood stream slowly.

“Have a large serving of oatmeal with whole wheat toast and low-fat milk for breakfast.” Without a hunger pang toward lunch you will make a better choice of food (Arnot, B. MD. Dr. Bob Arnot’s Guide to Turning Back the Clock. 1995:35-42).

Don’t drink cola with bagel because they give you sugar spike. Then within an hour your sugar level will crash just when you needed energy for mental or physical work.

Dr. Arnot makes a list of low glycemic carbos:

Cereals: grits, oatmeal, oat bran cereal, wheat germ, and whole grain cooked cereals.

Legumes: dried beans, baked beans, black-eyed peas; kidney, pinto, and navy beans; lentils, and split peas.

Whole grains: barley, wheat bulgur, quinoa, amaranth, and millet.

Vegetables: lima beans, peas, artichokes, asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, and tomatoes.“

Avoid fast sugars like: “white-flour products such as white bread, pancakes, bagels, and cereal, soft drinks, desserts, muffins, and doughnuts; and candy bars made with fast sugars.” (Arnot, B., MD).

“Fifteen calories of cane sugar (1 teaspoon) on a 300-calorie bowl of oatmeal won’t really affect your blood sugar and is a perfectly reasonable practice.” (Arnot, B., MD, parenthetical mine).

Balance your meal; include fiber in every meal.

Counter abrupt fall of sugar level after taking something that gave you a sugar spike.

Dr. Arnot says: “I ‘flatten the tail’ after drinking a high-sugar sport drink like Opti Fuel 2 or Hydra Fuel. So I don’t crash. I’ll have foods that are slow-burning carbos such as lentil soup or back-eyed peas within sixty minutes after the sports drink.”

When you rise from bed, Dr. Arnot says, your blood sugar is 70. “That’s too low on which to do much serious thinking or exercise.” Eat breakfast. Coffee and toast give you a spike with a sudden fall of sugar afterwards.

Counter “addiction to sugar highs….The best immediate fix is a big breakfast with high-quality protein and slow-burning carbos to get you through the morning.”

Entries as of June 1,2012

".. An adaptogenic herb like ginseng will help lower the blood sugar in a hyperglycemic person. The same herb given to a person with hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar) will help bring the blood sugar level up" (Henkel, G. Making the Estrogen Decision. 1992:139).

Facts about hypoglycemia

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Comments 21 comments

Benjimester profile image

Benjimester 5 years ago from San Diego, California

"It is not how low, but how fast, sugar drops that is significant." That's a really interesting fact. I didn't know that. Some awesome information in here. I'll put a link from my article on hypoglycemia to this one. Hopefully people who have more technical questions than I can answer will come to your hub and find the info they're looking for.


conradofontanilla 5 years ago

Thanks, Benjimester. I hope they will find some remedy to their woes.


Gail 5 years ago

Thanks for posting so much information. I have had problems with sugar all my life and a family history of hypoglycemia. Without going into detail of how I got here, I now have Type 2 diabetes, but I'm having a lot of trouble with low blood sugar symptoms at night. I suspect that meds that reduce the function of the liver are not good for me. Your information will help me sort through what is happening and understand the data I am gathering by testing my blood sugar.


conradofontanilla 5 years ago

Gail,

Hypoglycemia and diabetes are related in that both involve how the body handles sugar. For both, trivalent chromium found in Brewer's yeast or chromium picolinate is useful; it binds insulin to the insulin receptor of the cells and facilitate entry of sugar. The test of blood sugar for diabetes is not quite useful for hypoglycemia because it is the sudden surge and abrupt fall of sugar level that is important in hypoglycemia. A fall in 0.5 or 1 hour of sugar level is hazardous that can trigger dizziness. Sometimes abrupt fluctuation in sugar shows only toward the end of a 6-hour glucose tolerance test for hypoglycemia.You may read my Hub "If you lacked chromium, insulin cannot treat your diabetes type 2." Anti-diabetes medication can induce hypoglycemia because it can reduce sugar level to the extent that not enough is left for the needs of the body for energy. Some balancing act is needed between hypoglycemia and diabetes type 2.


rajiv 4 years ago

A lot of the information was useful. However, the points about cutting out animal fats...goose" is not correct. When you have reactive hypoglycemia, you need to up your consumption of fats and proteins. Possibly cut down carb consumption. This benefits the body. I follow the same and see an vast improvement.


conradofontanilla profile image

conradofontanilla 4 years ago from Philippines Author

rajiv, Your points on fats and proteins is similar to that of the zone diet advocated by Barry Spears, Ph.D. in his book "The Zone." These get converted to glucose much more slowly when needed by the process called glucogeneagenesis.


conradofontanilla profile image

conradofontanilla 4 years ago from Philippines Author

Someone asked by email the brand and dosage of brewer's yeast I am taking. It is manufactured by Nature's Bounty of Bohemia NY, USA; I take three tablets a day: two in the morning, and one in the afternoon. If mentioning the name of the manufacturer is illegal in Hubpages, please expunged this comment.


gus1203 profile image

gus1203 4 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

That was me that asked you about the brewers yeast. The reason I'm asking is because I took the Brewers Yeast 500 from GNC and it made me dizzy and sleepy. Do you get like that or do you know why I get like that?. I hope that is not an allergy symptom. You take the Nature's Bounty Brewers Yeast 7 1/2 gr Dietary Supplement 250 Tablets, right? Thank you very much for answering.


conradofontanilla profile image

conradofontanilla 4 years ago from Philippines Author

Gus 1203,

I don't get dizzy or sleepy after taking brewer's yeast. I don't know if your case with the other brand is allergy. I was advised to take the dose that way. I forgot the exact explanation but something like, to avoid sudden rush of glucose being converted to glycogen and not to withdraw glucose from the blood too abruptly. I am satisfied that I get the result I want.

I edited my Hub to: "Why Insulin Needs Chromium to Treat Diabetes Type 2."


gus1203 profile image

gus1203 4 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

Oh wow. Thank you. Sorry to keep asking but how many milligrams do you take? Thank you.


conradofontanilla profile image

conradofontanilla 4 years ago from Philippines Author

gus1203,

The labels says 7 1/2 grain. In the Supplement Facts, Brewer's yeast is listed as 1 gram. I do not follow the manufacturer's recommended dose. I take 2 tablets in the morning and 1 tablet in the afternoon. That suits me.


Gus1203 4 years ago

Thank you very much. I will try that and I will post results


gus1203 profile image

gus1203 4 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

Hello all. I've been trying to look for Nature's Bounty Brewers Yeast all over. Today I found out that is no longer made by that company. I have been on a healthier diet and it has helped much. I'm taking a multi vitamin and a vitamin C and D together. It helps but lately I've been really tired. Don't know why but I feel so tire. I need to find out why. Probably will stop the vitamins and see the results. Thank you all again.


conradofontanilla profile image

conradofontanilla 4 years ago from Philippines Author

gus1203,

There is mention of glucose tolerance factor chromium polynicotinate complex that "appears to resemble that which is natural more than other forms of available supplementation." You may read the book of Betty Kamen, Ph.D. The Chromium Connection (copyright Nutrition Encounter, Inc. 1990. PO Box 5847, Novato, CA 94948-5847). It helped me diagnose my hypoglycemia myself, not by a doctor.


Rhondaha 4 years ago

This is the best article on hypo I've found and I've been researching ALOT. I have what seems to be adrenal fatigue/low cortisol at night which when drops is causing my hypoglycemia. I can manage it during the day pretty easily but its the insomnia I get from it that's driving me bonkers. I wake in a sweat within 3 hours after going to bed and if I don't get up to eat the heart palps start and adrenaline surges..etc. If I eat it stops but this seems to cause me to stay awake until 5:30am or in general regardless of whether I eat or not I don't fall back to sleep. I just started taking a complete amino acid. Is there anything specific I should take for my type of hypoglycemia. I think the type I have is different than the general pop. although I could be wrong. I eat mostly just meat and veges and fruit and nuts. Take good supplements etc. I tried Chromium and it makes me worse. It makes it so I get hypo within an hour or two after eating a good meal. This seems strange to me and would love some light shed on this if you know of any reason why this would occur. I read that book you mentioned and it did work for me with depression but the insomnia was worse and then later the hypoglycemia during the day started.. then stopped after I stopped taking it. I tested this a few times and it happens every time. Could me my low adrenals since I find that many supplements that are suppose to help me actually do the opposite. I'm in Peri meno.. and progesterone cream use to help..now it causes my adrenals to completely crash.. Well any help would be wonderful..


conradofontanilla profile image

conradofontanilla 4 years ago from Philippines Author

Rhondaha,

Thanks for the kind words. Chromium works for me. You mentioned depression. Are you taking some kind of pain reliever? They might cause allergy to any drug. For example, aspirin. The cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors (COX-1, COX-2) inhibit action on arachidonic acid that accumulate. Accumulated arachidonic acid gets converted to leukotrienes that are mediators of allergy to any drug.

Try to deal with your insomnia with a natural juice of noni (Morinda citrifolia, L.) which is as strong as 75% morphine. It puts you to sleep without hangover, it is not addictive either. I am taking it; it has tryptophan and serotonin that the body converts to melatonin. Melatonin is a natural sleeping pill (Sahelian).


conradofontanilla profile image

conradofontanilla 4 years ago from Philippines Author

I forgot to add that noni juice also helps in diabetes or hypoglycemia. It is also a tranquilizer that relieves pain. Coming from a fruit, it contains glucose and fructose. Dr. Solomon in the US lists more than 130 disorders remedied by noni juice. Rita Elkins has a book "The Noni Revolution" (2000). Surf the internet and you find plenty of noni juice makers and brands in the market in the U.S. In the Philippines we have brands that are also marketed in Hong Kong, Korea and United States. I have a Hub "How some Pain Relievers (COX-1, COX-2) Induce Heart Attack. I have a book "Benefits Derived from PhilNONI" but it is not distributed in the US. It has a Chinese version sold in Hong Kong.


Bettye 3 years ago

Natures bounty brewers yeast is sold at wal-mart under the spring valley brand..I called them to verify the manufacturer. 250 tablets for 2.96 last time I bought..


conradofontanilla 3 years ago

Bettye,

I am sure those who need Brewer's yeast will benefit from the info you gave. Thank you.


Katrina Dinius profile image

Katrina Dinius 2 years ago from Carmel, Indiana

I've been hypoglycemic for years - I eat small frequent meals with high protein and low simple carbs. Also have IBS and some mild OCD symptoms. I found it very interesting that you include one sentence saying overconsumption of meat protein increases hypoglycemia with no further discussion, since frequent meals including protein is the main diet recommended to treat it! Other than that the article was interesting but I don't see a ton of things I'm not doing (I take lots of vitamin supplements, eat no sugar - and by the way have been extremely underweight my whole life). But certainly nice to have the condition fully recognized.


conradofontanilla profile image

conradofontanilla 2 years ago from Philippines Author

Katrina Dinius,

Thanks for the reminder that that one line needs some explanations. I added explanations given by Ariola. I have incorporated new entries in the text.

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