What is Hypoglycemia
An abnormally low level of sugar in the blood.
Hypoglycemia is the body's inability to properly handle the large amounts of sugar that the average American consumes today. It's an overload of sugar, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and stress.
In medical terms, hypoglycemia is the oversecretion of insulin by the pancreas in response to a rapid rise in blood sugar or "glucose".
All carbohydrates, are broken down into simple sugars by the process of digestion. This sugar enters the blood stream as glucose and our level of blood sugar rises. The pancreas then secretes a hormone known as insulin into the blood in order to bring the glucose down to normal levels.
What can you do about Hypoglycemia
Eliminate sugar from the diet. This also means no cakes, candies, cookies, ice cream, sweetened cereal, canned fruit, and frozen desserts. In addition, you must learn to read food labels to find hidden sources of sugar.
Corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, molasses, maple syrup, sorghum are all sugars.
Avoid simple carbohydrates and refined and processed foods such as instant rice and potatoes, white flour, soft drinks, and alcohol.
Eat a diet high in complex carbohydrates and fiber, both of which help to stabilize blood sugar. Try to stick to the most natural, unprocessed form of food.
Eat regular meals at regular times. Don't skip meals. Don't eat late meals. Have protein at both lunch and dinner.
Eliminate alcohol and smoking.
Limit your caffeine intake to one beverage.
Eliminate the use of artificial sweeteners.
Chromium Picolinate: the trivalent form in dosages of 100 mcg. 3 times a day before meals.
Eggs are a good Hypoglycemia fighter.
Don't switch between low-carbohydrate diets and large sugar doses. People with normal blood-sugar control can have the symptoms of hypoglycemia if they eat a large amount of simple sugar after three days on a low-carbohydrate diet. Other nutrients eaten along with the sugar can prevent a drop in blood sugar after a meal.
Don't mix caffeine with a high-carbo meal. Blood-sugar levels often drop below normal two to three hours after a high-carbohydrate meal. Add two to three cups of coffee to the big pasta dinner, and you could easily end up with a case of the shakes.
When in doubt, treat. Taking sugar raises your blood sugar level quickly. Always keep a dose of sugar nearby, such as three glucose tablets, 1/2 cup of fruit juice, or five pieces of hard candy.
Eat regular meals and snacks. Plan your snacks to keep your blood-sugar level up between meals.
What is Reactive Hypoglycemia
Reactive hypoglycemia can occur when blood glucose falls, resources of glucose from the liver are exhausted and an individual chooses not to eat. Gradually the body adjusts to this situation by using muscle protein to feed glucose to brain cells and fat to fuel the other body cells. But before this adjustment takes place an individual may experience symptoms of glucose deprivation to the brain resulting in symptoms such as: anxiety, hunger, dizziness, weakness, shaking muscles and racing heart. Because these symptoms are common to many conditions a health care provider should be consulted to assess an individuals specific symptoms and concerns.
People with reactive hypoglycemia (RHG) are often (but not always) overweight, and unable to lose the extra weight. A fat pad develops on the belly, and won't go away. The often-overlooked factor is that carbos stimulate insulin production. Insulin enables the blood sugar to move into our biochemical "factories" in the cells, where it is burned as fuel. If there is an excess of insulin as well as an excess of carbos, the excess carbos are stored as fatty acids in fat cells. The excess insulin also prevents the carbos from being used. You not only gain fat, but you are also prevented from losing this fat because of the availability of excess carbos.
RHG is not the same as fasting hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar that occurs when you do not eat. For this reason, RHG is not always picked up on routine medical tests. RHG occurs within 2 to 3 hours after a meal of excess carbos, when there is a rapid release of carbos into the small intestine, followed by rapid glucose absorption, and then the production of a large amount of insulin. Adrenaline production should be measured as well as glucose, as occur at abnormal times. RHG is also called "insulin tolerance", "postprandial hypoglycemia", "carbohydrate intolerance" and in severe form , "idiopathic adult-onset phosphate diabetes". This condition can lead to type 2 diabetes.
RHG is common in people with FMS and FMS/MPS Complex. IN FMS, it is enhanced by dysfunctional neurotransmitter regulation and other systemic mechanisms. With FMS, you crave carbohydrates but cannot make efficient use of them because of an electrolytic imbalance and other biochemical imbalances in the body. We produce adrenaline even when the blood sugar doesn't fall. We crave carbos, because we need energy. Since our insulin level is high, our bodies take the carbos and store them as fat, often in the belly. WE can get the body balanced by eating a balanced diet, and teach it to metabolize our fat for energy. When you consume carbos, your insulin production increases. If you have RHG, your body overcompensates. This results in low blood sugar.
RHG can range from very mild to severe. Symptoms include headaches (usually in the front or top of the head), dizziness, irritability, chronic fatigue, depression, nervousness, difficulty with memory, and concentration, nasal congestion, heavy dreaming, palpitations or heart pounding, tremor of the hands (especially if a long time elapses between meals), day or night sweats, anxiety in the pit of the stomach, anxiety, leg cramps. Numbness and tingling in the hands and/or feet, flushing, and craving for carbos (especially sweets). The hunger pangs experienced in RHG can come in the form of acute stomach pain and nausea. Severe RHG can cause hypoxic symptoms such as visual disturbances, restlessness, impaired speech and thinking, and blackouts. You can expect excess body fat, high triglycerides/cholesterol, fluid retention, dry skin, brittle hair/nails, dry small stools, decreased memory and ability to concentrate, fatigue or dips of chronic MPS, the process of eliminating TrPs is hampered or even thwarted by the presence of hypoglycemia. TrP activity is aggravated and specific therapy response is reduced by hypoglycemia. Recurrent hypoglycemia attacks perpetuate TrPs. Many of these symptoms are caused largely by circulating adrenaline, which is also increased by anxiety.
Hormones in a given system usually work in a set, called an "axis". The most important in RHG is the insulin-glycagon axis. Insulin drives down blood-sugar levels, while glucagon raises it. If insulin is too high or glucagon is too low, the result is hypoglycemia. Insulin resistance means that the insulin levels are elevated but blood sugar levels remain high, because the target cells no longer respond normally to insulin. This can eventually promote diabetes. Insulin is a storage hormone. It takes excess glucose from carbos in your food and stores them as fat. Then it locks the fat in place. Insulin drives down blood sugar. Glucagon, on the other hand, is a mobilizing hormone. It releases stored carbos as glucose. Glucagon restores blood sugar levels. The release of insulin is stimulated by carbos, especially heavy starches like bread and pastas.
Glucagon is stimulated by dietary protein. If you eat a big carbo meal for lunch, by 3 pm you are ready for a nap. Excess carbos have generated overproduction of insulin. As your blood sugar drops, your brain begins to fall asleep. Because the massive amount of carbos you ate drove your insulin level up and your glucagon down, the fats stored in your body can't be released. But you feel fatigues, so you crave energy and more carbos. This happens in 50 % of all people. In 25% the normal fat response is blunted, so they can get away with eating a lot of excess carbos. Yet 25% of us have an extremely elevated insulin response to carbos. Many of these people have FMS or FMS/MPF Complex. Hypoglycemic tendency is inherited, and often comes with a family history of diabetes. Remember, insulin triggers an adrenaline response. Coffee, tea and colas stimulate the release of adrenaline, as does nicotine. All carbos stimulate the secretion of insulin. Fatty acids are actually the preferred fuel for building new muscles and for energy. A high carbo diet means fat is deposited and it stays. Dietary fats decreases the flow of carbos into the bloodstream and dampen the insulin response. Dietary proteins enhance the mobilization of fatty acids from fat cells and fat loss. We need a balance.
Weight loss on a high carbo diet is mostly water and muscle loss. Any subsequent weight gain is fat gain. Also, the more carbos you eat, the earlier adrenaline is produced as the blood sugar goes down. Blood sugar swings are more extreme and faster the more carbos you eat, and your mood and energy swings go right along for company. Studies show that high carbo intake and resultant hyperinsulinism can contribute to every known disease process. The hormonal response from a balanced meal lasts 4 to 6 hours. Serotonin regulates the appetite for carbo-rich foods, and this neurotransmitter is often out of balance in FMS. Serotonin is also influenced by photoperiodism-- the dark/light cycle. (often carbo cravers overeat only at certain times of the day). The rate of conversion of tryptophan to serotonin is also affected by the proportion of carbos in a person's diet. The book "The Zone" explains in detail why a ration of 30/40/30 (protein/fat/carbohydrate) is the healthiest balance for a majority of people. You are eating 30 % of fewer calories as fat, and that fat is being used for energy. Every meal and snack must be balanced because there is a hormonal response every time you eat. At the same time you need to adjust your caloric intake and exercise to meet the needs of your body.
This is one tough diet, because if you need it, you REALLY crave carbohydrates. You only have to try it for a few days and your body informs you, "Yes, this is what you must do, because you are attacked by whopping headaches and extreme fatigue as soon as your body begins its struggle with balance. Your excess fat will start to break down and release large amounts of toxic substances and waste material. It is not fun.
When you start each meal it is wise to eat some protein first. That allows its products to reach your brain first. Exercise regularly to decrease the amount of insulin in your blood. Drink at least 8 ounces of water or a sugar-free decaf beverage with each meal or snack. If you are hungry and craving sugar 2 to 3 hours after a meal, you probably ate too many carbos. Now that you are aware that sugar can ease your "carbo withdrawal" symptoms in the short term, you may be tempted to cheat. If you do, you cheat yourself. If you donít cheat, in one month you will see considerable improvement. Within two months, the RHG symptoms should be gone. When all is in harmony, your body is your best doctor. Once you are in balance, it will tell you a great deal, if you listen. It is thought that up to 85% of people with FMS could have this condition.