2 Being Well
Digestion, Health and Nutrition

Hypoglycemia

For many people the first step on the road to glucose/insulin imbalances is hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Blood sugar levels normally fluctuate throughout the day in response to food intake, physical demand and emotional/mental stresses. Episodes of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia are normally balanced spontaneously by the endocrine systems use of chemical messengers. When lifestyle stresses and poor food choices converge to chronically stress this delicate system of checks and balances the ability of the endocrine system to catch falling blood sugar levels is compromised. Now, the fleeting symptoms of low blood sugar, the ones you are used to controlling with caffeine, sugar or nicotine, become harder and harder to ignore. Suddenly you notice the occasional symptoms of low blood sugar are more frequent (your adrenal system is being taxed) and disrupting the quality of your work and your life. At this point you would be diagnosed as having hypoglycemia.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia:

  • tired all the time
  • tired for no reason
  • restless, can’t keep still
  • confused
  • have trouble remembering or concentrating
  • easily frustrated
  • irritable
  • easily angered

Problems with unstable blood sugar that go unaddressed will eventually manifest themselves as symptoms of low serotonin or low beta-endorphin levels, important chemical messengers in the brain.

Symptoms of low serotonin:

  • feeling depressed
  • acting impulsively
  • feeling blocked or scattered
  • having a short attention span
  • feeling suicidal
  • craving sweets and/or starches

Symptoms of low beta-endorphins:

  • feeling tearful, isolated, hopeless
  • having low self-esteem
  • feeling done to by others
  • having low pain tolerance
  • feeling emotionally overwhelmed
  • craving sweets or alcohol

Our misunderstanding of what constitutes healthy food, especially carbohydrates, is at the heart of the increasing rate of people being placed on anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications. I have yet to interview a patient who, when complaining of depression or anxiety to their medical physician, was asked about their diet before being prescribed medication for their complaints. Balancing the gylcemic load of the foods you eat throughout the day will keep your blood sugar stable and give you every opportunity to enjoy balanced brain chemistry and vibrant health.