Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why is Hypoglycemia on the Rise?

Today hypoglycemia affects millions worldwide – rising with the dawn of convenience foods which are frequently laden with hidden sugar, refined carbohydrates, and even MSG cloaked as yeast extract.

More vegetarians on the planet contribute to the rising incidence – due in part to the low protein content of most plant-based foods. The high potassium-to-sodium ratio found in many vegetarian staples, like beans, also weaken the body's ability to maintain steady blood sugar. Sodium helps to slow insulin response, diminishing the quick rise and fall in insulin levels, and subsequently reducing blood sugar swings. Foods rich in natural sodium, like celery, spinach, and beets, help to stabilize sharp drops and should be included in an anti-hypoglycemic diet.

Avoiding processed foods, eating frequent meals, exercising, and cutting back on caffeine and alcohol all help to stabilize hypoglycemic swings. The Mayo Clinic recommends following a low glycemic diet with suggestions for including foods high in protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates, and eliminating refined sugar and starches.

More than ever, it's necessary to check labels carefully for suspicious ingredients. For example, the convenient prepared soy burgers that many vegetarians turn to contain MSG (or autolyzed yeast which is closely related to MSG) that aggravate symptoms like blood sugar swings, brain fog, etc.

According to Dr. Mercola, “In general, if a food is processed you can assume it contains MSG (or one of its pseudo-ingredients). So if you stick to a whole, fresh foods diet, you can pretty much guarantee that you'll avoid this toxin.”

The Doctor flags several ingredients that ALWAYS contain MSG:
Autolyzed Yeast Calcium Caseinate Gelatin
Glutamate Glutamic Acid Hydrolyzed Protein
Monopotassium Glutamate Monosodium Glutamate Sodium Caseinate
Textured Protein Yeast Extract Yeast Food
Yeast Nutrient

Various studies also link excessive alcohol to hypoglycemia because the digestive system has to work so hard on breaking down the alcohol that it stresses and suppresses the liver's ability to produce and maintain adequate blood sugar levels.

Current state-of-the art protocols for hypoglycemia restrict carbohydrate intake to a max of 30 grams per day, advise restricting high calcium foods like cheese and yogurt, and recommend supplementation in the form of magnesium-glycinate supplements...”the only form of magnesium that can increase intracellular magnesium effectively”, according to Dr. Wolfgang Lutz. He says it takes half-a -year on the low-carb diet to heal the insulin resistance responsible for hypoglycemia.

Raw food guru David Wolfe says that raw cacao may be the richest source of magnesium – with spinach, oat bran, artichokes, and pumpkin seeds also topping the list.

My personal favorite way to control hunger pangs and avoid blood sugar swings is to nibble Wolfe's 'Nature's First Law' raw organic cacao nibs.

Raw cacao is a natural appetite suppressant, with many benefits including:

■Boosting magnesium to support feelings of calm, clear and focused.
■ Helping to relax muscles to regulate heartbeat and blood pressure
■Contains the highest levels of magnesium found in a food.

In a recent Reuters study:“It's plausible that magnesium could influence diabetes risk because the mineral is needed for the proper functioning of several enzymes that help the body process glucose.”

The study also revealed that as magnesium intake increased, inflammation levels decreased, as did insulin resistance.


Monday, October 4, 2010

The Coffee - Cortisol Connection

Coffee can be the most difficult addiction to overcome, – but should you?​

Aside from proven health benefits that include boosting cognitive brain function (in regular users), helping to protect against Alzheimers, and reducing the risk of colon cancer – there may be a villain lurking in your morning cup: Coffee, especially if taken to excess, weakens the adrenals by triggering the release of cortisol. According, to Jesse SulZer, MD Ph,D, it takes only one cup to stimulate cortisol. (See:

Known as the 'stress hormone,' cortisol activates the body's fight or flight response, when stress is filtered through the adrenal gland. When we activate the stress response chronically, like through the overuse of coffee, we weaken the adrenals. This happens because whether or not you're really running from a tiger, or just drinking too much coffee – cortisol is released in response to a message that you're in emergency mode, when the switch to store glucose as fat for reserves is triggered. In modern sedentary life, instead of using that glucose for energy, excess fat is created, the adrenals become exhausted, and we feel more fatigued, and even depressed. Worse still, high volumes of this hormone negatively affect your immune system, weakening your body’s power to resist infections.

In short-term studies, caffeine has also shown to increase insulin levels, reduce insulin sensitivity, in addition to increasing cortisol levels. The caffeine in coffee can also stimulate hunger by releasing more glucose into the blood stream, followed by a sharp drop in blood sugar.

To limit excess cortisol, it's best to take coffee in small amounts and ideally before exercise when it works to enhance performance, and helps to break down fat more efficiently. The stress-combating effects of exercise also offset the stressful effects inherent in the cortisol-coffee connection.

* Pub LMed. Gov. -