In working to live a great quality of life, healthy blood sugar is a foundational pillar that will keep us running our best. Many of today’s challenges can result from blood sugar dysregulation. I’ll share some of these with you today.
Let’s start with how unregulated blood sugar can cause problems to our endocrine system or hormones. Some of the consequences we face with low blood sugar is also known as hypoglycemia. In today’s busy, busy life, of chronic stress (which then leads to adrenal fatigue) we add to low blood sugar because our adrenal hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol play a role in our blood sugar regulation.
Stress (and even the anticipation of stress) signals the body to raise our blood sugar levels in order to give us the energy to respond and deal with the stress. If our bodies cannot meet this higher demand for blood sugar then hypoglycemia can be the result.
Some symptoms of hypoglycemia, such as irritability and nervousness, can sometimes be the effects of high levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, rather than of the low blood sugar itself.
How we handle our low blood sugar symptoms is very “double-edged sword-like” because we reach for something sweet with sugar and/or caffeine. This is a short-term fix that will very temporarily increases blood sugar very quickly. This relieves the hypoglycemic symptoms but for only about 45-90 minutes.
But then we plunge right back to even lower blood sugar levels. Many of us do this day after day, not realizing that the low blood sugar levels in and of itself is very stressful on the body, and the adrenals. This could increase adrenal and their hypoglycemia…it’s very cyclical.
Hypoglycemia can also encourage overeating when food is available (donuts in the break room) which then can lead to weight gain because the increased levels of insulin in the blood that takes excess energy (glucose) from the extra food into the fat cells where it is stored as fat (Introduction To The Human Body pg. 311).
Regular exercise and eating whole foods that control hypoglycemia is the way to go. We have to limit those sugary foods and caffeine that send us on a roller coaster ride that possibly worsen the situation. Choosing those foods that are quality sourced and contain healthy amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fat is key. And the cool thing is, by eating this way, those cravings will subside and you will be able to have sustained energy without having to reach for those naughty foods.
Keeping our blood sugar regulated also benefits our immune system…especially important in these times.
Sadly, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and type II diabetes is on the rise and high blood sugar creates a chronic inflammatory response which, over time, compromises our bodies ability to fight infection properly. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31657690/)
But the good news is, through a good balance of macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fats and working on stressors like poor sleep that overload our adrenals, we can help build up the immune system effected by blood sugar dysregulation allowing the body to fight infection more efficiently.
Our hearts…so many a poem and song written on its behalf. Sadly, to say a broken heart is hard to recover but a heart effected by poor blood sugar regulation is where the true recovery needs to be focused.
To keep our hearts healthy, we also have to keep blood sugar healthy. Allowing our blood sugars to chronically rise (and stay risen) increases cortisol (our flight or fight response) and can lead to insulin resistance, which is a precursor to cardiovascular disease (NTA Cardiovascular module 2020).
The amount of sugar in our blood has an important physiological effect on the functioning of our cardiovascular system. It’s important that our efforts to eat a whole food based diet includes managing our carbohydrates, proteins and fats so we can keep our blood sugar more balanced. When we eat a higher carbohydrate diet, especially those higher in sugar, we can cause unhealthy changes in our normal blood vessel and heart muscle behavior…leading to heart disease.
Now speaking of our hearts, it’s always the symbol of love. But I might argue that the liver should be the symbol. It’s such an important organ for our wellbeing. It has over 500 functions alone.
And of course, one of livers better known magic tricks is its ability to help detoxify us. However, elevated cortisol and (here I go again) blood sugar imbalances stress our poor livers and it can’t do its job of detoxifying us as well as it should (NTA Detoxification module 2020).
B Vitamins (like B6 and B2) are instrumental in helping keep the liver tuned up but blood sugar imbalances deplete us of our B Vitamins.
To sum up this rather girthy blog, My hope is that we truly shed light on the importance of managing our blood sugar. From its effects on our hormones, immune system, heart health and detoxification, it’s apparent that it needs to be a major priority when working on better ways to eat and manage stress. Together, we can keep it steady and rocking your health goals!