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Posts Tagged ‘low blood sugar’

low blood sugar ages you copy

Do you crash when you go too long without eating, losing energy and becoming “hangry?” Hanger—hunger plus anger—is that explosive combination of low blood sugar and irrepressible irritability that turns a normally nice person into a multi-headed hydra.

People joke about being hangry, but when it happens regularly, it means your body and brain are in a perpetual state of alarm. This constant stress raises inflammation and accelerates degeneration of the brain.

In other words, being chronically hangry ages you too fast.

How being hangry ages your body too fast

The low blood sugar that triggers “hanger” sends your body into an emergency “fight-or-flight” mode, causing you to snap at loved ones or fly into a rage because you can’t untangle your earphone cords. This constant stress ages the body and brain.

Low blood sugar also raises an immune messenger called IL-6, which triggers inflammation that destroys tissue.

If you have a chronic or autoimmune condition such as Hashimoto’s or rheumatoid arthritis, the inflammation from low blood sugar can trigger flare ups that destroy tissue, worsen symptoms, and advance your condition.

Autoimmunity means an over zealous and imbalanced immune system is attacking and destroying tissue in the body. Many people have autoimmunity but have not been diagnosed. Low blood sugar can worsen autoimmunity and speed destruction of tissues or glands in the body.

In a nutshell, the stress and inflammation from chronically low blood sugar ages your body too quickly.

How being hangry ages your brain too fast

The low blood sugar from being hangry deprives the brain of fuel and impairs brain function. This speeds degeneration because energy-deprived brain cells die.

Brain-related symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Irritable and easily upset
  • Lightheaded
  • Fatigued
  • Feeling shaky, jittery, or tremulous
  • Agitated and nervous
  • Eating gives you energy
  • Poor memory, forgetfulness
  • Blurred vision
  • Lack of appetite or nausea
  • Energy crash around 3 or 4 p.m.
  • Wake up anxious around 3 or 4 a.m.

Being hangry can worsen brain autoimmunity

Chronically low blood sugar also ages the brain by triggering autoimmune flares in the brain.

A number of people have autoimmunity to brain and nerve tissue but don’t know it—it’s more common than realized.

When blood sugar drops too low, it can trigger the autoimmune process in the brain just as it does in the body, speeding the brain degeneration process.

A few common symptoms of brain autoimmunity include fatigue, “crashing” after too much stimulation or exertion, brain fog, memory loss, anxiety or depression disorders, autism or ADHD symptoms, and poor balance.

If you suffer from any brain-related symptoms, preventing low blood sugar is crucial.

Tips on avoiding low blood sugar to slow aging

If you want to function optimally and slow the aging process, make sure to avoid getting “hangry.”

Tips include never skipping breakfast or other meals, avoiding sugars and processed starches, eating plenty of vegetable fiber and healthy fats, minimizing caffeine, eating small meals every two to three hours until blood sugar stabilizes, and avoiding foods to which you are sensitive (such as gluten and dairy for many people).

A number of herbal and nutritional compounds can also help bring blood sugar to normal levels and balance immune and brain health. Ask my office for more advice.

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wake up at 3 a m

Do you consistently wake up around 3 a.m. and can’t fall back asleep? Although the reasons for sleep problems can be complex, waking up too early is often a symptom of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and can be remedied through dietary changes and nutritional therapy.

Why you wake up at 3 a.m.

The brain is highly active at night, transforming short-term memory into long-term memory and carrying out repair and regeneration, and it depends on a steady supply of energy to do these tasks. When you sleep at night your body goes into a fasting state. In order not to deprive the brain of the food it needs for energy, the body compensates by gradually raising cortisol, an adrenal hormone. Cortisol stimulates the body to release or create glucose to supply the brain with energy during the night-long fast.

Chronic low blood sugar, however, throws a kink in this process. People with hypoglycemia tend to have difficulty making the right amount of cortisol at the right times of the day or night. They also have blood sugar levels that spike and then crash throughout the day. If they go too long without eating they experience lightheadedness, irritability, shakiness, a spacey feeling, and other symptoms that signify the brain is not getting enough glucose.

In these cases, not only does blood sugar drop too low during the night, but the adrenal glands don’t produce enough cortisol to keep the brain fueled. In response, the body sounds the emergency alarm by releasing “fight-or-flight” hormones. These stress hormones raise blood sugar back to a safer level. Unfortunately, they also raise stress, which can cause anxiety or panic in the middle of the night. Hence the waking up at 3 a.m. and not being able to fall back asleep.

How to fall asleep if you wake up at 3 a.m.

A quick fix for waking up at 3 a.m. can be as simple as eating a small amount of protein, with perhaps some fat thrown in—a spoonful of nut butter, a little bit of meat, or a hard-boiled egg. For some people this raises blood sugar to a healthier level and sustains it so they can fall back asleep. It’s best not to eat something sweet or starchy (however tempting to your hungry brain) because this will just cause blood sugar to spike and crash again.

Daytime tips to avoid waking up at 3 a.m.

Although a 3 a.m. snack may help you fall back asleep, it’s better to prevent that anxious awakening in the first place. If you wake up regularly at 3 a.m. you may suffer from chronic low blood sugar and need dietary therapy. Symptoms include:

  • Sugar cravings
  • Irritability, light-headedness, dizziness, or brain fog if meals are missed
  • Lack of appetite or nausea in the morning
  • The need for caffeine for energy
  • Eating to relieve fatigue
  • Energy crashes in the afternoon

A diet that stabilizes daytime blood sugar levels will have you sleeping better. This requires that you:

  • Never skip breakfast and eat a breakfast lower in carbohydrates. If you have chronic low blood sugar you may have lost the ability to feel hunger and you need to eat in the morning and throughout the day (even if you don’t feel like it).
  • Eat frequently enough so blood sugar does not crash.
  • Ditch the sweets and starchy foods and adopt a lower-carbohydrate diet. People with low blood sugar symptoms typically eat too many sweets and starchy foods (breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.) and also frequently skip meals. Go for foods lower on the glycemic index and eat enough protein and healthy fats to sustain your energy.

A variety of nutritional compounds can further support your blood sugar handling and stress hormone functions so you sleep better. Ask my office how we can help.

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