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 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).