Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hypoglycemia - What It Is and 7 Ways To Control It

Hypoglycemia - What It Is and 7 Ways To Control It
Maintaining blood glucose at the right level at all times is especially important for the brain. While most tissues can cope with a drop in the availability of glucose, by turning to alternative fuel sources, the brain and the eye retina cannot.
Glucose Levels to Aim For
Normal fasting blood glucose level is around 80-90 mg/100 ml, one hour after a meal blood glucose goes as high as 130 mg/100 ml., and is then brought back to normal fasting level again as glucose enter the cells. In diabetes and hypoglycemia, low blood sugar levels occur when blood glucose levels drop below the normal fasting range of 80-90 mg/100 ml., and symptoms such as sweating, tremors, rapid heart beat, anxiety, irritability and hunger appears.
In a normal case when blood glucose climb after a meal, this signals the pancreas to secrete insulin. The pancreatic hormone insulin functions as a doorman by opening cells so glucose can enter, as this happens, the circulating blood glucose level drops back to normal fasting range.
Cells Bored With Insulin
In cases of hypoglycemia, cells become desensitized or "bored" with a continuous stimulation of insulin, and the glucose can't enter as fast as it should. This keeps a high level of glucose circulating longer, and the pancreas keeps pumping out more insulin than is really needs.
When the insulin finally opens the cells and the glucose enters, too much insulin is around with the consequence that too much glucose leaves the circulation and enters the cells. When this happens the glucose level drops below the normal fasting range and symptoms of low blood sugar occurs.
Carbohydrate metabolism is a complex dynamic relationship between pancreas, its hormones and the organs that respond to them, such as the liver and the adrenal glands.
Reasons for Hypoglycemia
There is more than one possible cause behind this condition, but the most obvious reason for hypoglycemia and type II diabetes is a diet too high in refined sugars, processed foods and high glycemic index foods. High glycemic foods are foods that enter the blood stream quickly, causing a rapid rise in glucose levels. Other substances that cause a rise in blood sugar levels are caffeine, alcohol, chocolate and soft drinks.
If the pancreas is continuously pumping out insulin, due to a diet that keeps the blood sugar soaring, it will eventually become sluggish. The response of a sluggish pancreas becomes delayed, leading the blood sugar to rise too high followed by a too deep drop after a meal.
A properly functioning liver should be able to release stored glucose as the circulation levels fall. For this to take place the liver cannot be too exhausted by its other duties. A liver taxed by a heavy load to detoxify from a diet high in fats, processed foods, preservatives, and other toxins, or just from sheer volume by overeating, will not be able to respond to glucose variations as it should.
The adrenal glands also play a role in carbohydrate metabolism. A sudden drop of glucose below fasting level causes an alarm-response release of adrenaline, preparing the body for an emergency situation. The adrenaline stimulates the cells and liver to return glucose to the circulation, but also causes pallor, sweating, anxiety, tremor and increased heart rate. These are unpleasant symptoms and an indication that the body is compensating and returning blood glucose to a normal level by using a stress hormone.
Stress and the release of stress hormones for whatever reason, will cause blood sugar to rise. One of the stress hormones is cortisol, it also functions as anti-inflammatory in the body. This means that, aside from stress, any source of chronic inflammation will cause its release. Dysbiosis (inflammation of the gut) is a major cause of chronic low-grade inflammation, and will cause a continual cortisol release, destabilizing blood sugar. Candidiasis is an imbalance of a naturally occurring yeast in the gut. Candida thrives on sugar and often goes with a dysbiosis, creating sugar cravings and possibly a poor diet.
Hypoglycemia is quite easy to control by applying some or all of the following: diet therapy, supplementation, support of pancreas, liver and adrenals, treatment of gut inflammation (dysbiosis) and candidiasis, lifestyle changes such as stress reduction, weight loss and regular exercise.
How to Control Hypoglycemia 1. Meals should be small and frequent.
2. Avoid or limit refined foods, sugary foods, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and soft drinks.
3. Learn about glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL), and choose foods that have a GI below 55-60 and a GL below 12-15.
4. Fiber is important in the diet, especially water-soluble forms of fiber as it has the most beneficial effect on blood sugar. This type of fiber is capable of slowing down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. Good sources are beans, nuts, seeds, pears, apples and most vegetables.
5. The ratio of complex carbohydrates to proteins and fat varies for each individual depending on typologies. Many hypoglycemics are carbohydrate addicts and need a diet, at least to start, that is low in carbs and high in protein and fats. By adding protein to a meal it slows the gastric emptying and lowers the glycemic index of the whole meal. In general, people who are sensitive to insulin should not have carbohydrate only meals, always adding protein and fat.
6. These vitamins and minerals play important role in carbohydrate metabolism.Recommended dosage per day:Chromium 200-400 mcg, B5 (Pantothenic acid) 25-100 mg in a B-complex, vitamin C 2000-4000 mg and zinc 15-30 mg. To reach these levels top up a good quality multi vitamin that absorbs well.
7. To further aid digestion, digestive enzymes or herbal stomach bitters can be taken. There are different kinds of digestive enzymes available; some contain hydrochloric acid and even bile in addition to enzymes to break down carbs, proteins and fat. Herbal stomach bitters aid digestion by stimulating the pancreas to produce more of its own digestive enzymes.
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