Pursuing optimum health through self-assessment and dispelling misconceptions about nutrition and medicine along the way.
We simply can’t know how unfavorable our postprandial glucose levels are unless we check. And while optimal health is not about fixating on weight—it’s about measuring truly influential parameters like blood glucose, lipid subfractions, and cardiac plaque—nothing will help you lose weight as effectively as understanding how your meals are affecting your blood glucose levels. Alcoholics Anonymous cofounder Bill Wilson was very interested in the link between alcoholism and hypoglycemia. Unfortunately, despite the work of Tintera and many others, few physicians today have a good understanding of hypoglycemia.
The reason I'm so sure many alcoholics are hypoglycemic is that during the past ten years I have found that the overwhelming majority at HRC suffer from this disorder. To understand how these symptoms develop, you have to know something about glucose metabolism. If you are hypoglycemic and alcoholic, your over sensitized pancreas tries to control your excessive intake of both alcohol sugars and refined sugars.
Eventually, the physical stress produced by low blood sugar prompts an outpouring of the adrenal hormone epinephrine, which signals the liver to release emergency sugar (glycogen) to prevent further insulin shock. Over time, the frequent outpouring of epinephrine (adrenaline) to prevent insulin shock takes a toll on your adrenal glands, your buffer against stress. In an attempt to explain these hypoglycemic symptoms as a psychological phenomenon, mental-health professionals have developed an elaborate concept called the dry-drunk syndrome. A Hazelden Foundation publication on the subject characterizes typical dry-drunk alcoholic as grandiose, judgmental, impulsive, childish, easily distracted, and disorganized. These highfalutin psychological explanations ignore the fact that the symptoms are caused by a physical condition -hypoglycemia- which causes severe metabolic changes that alter moods, thought, and behavior. Typically, most of these symptoms occur in newly abstinent alcoholics who try to overcome their emotional and physical discomfort by smoking cigarettes excessively and drinking enormous amounts of coffee laced with sugar. Both caffeine and nicotine cured with corn, beet, and cane sugars can prompt the outpouring of adrenaline that temporarily raise blood sugar, as do candies, baked goods, and other foods containing refined sugars. Maintaining constant and adequate glucose levels is one of our most important biochemical needs.
You cannot recover from hypoglycemia overnight, but in a few short weeks you can feel much better.
Since high doses can affect the liver, do not take niacin if your lab tests reveal any abnormalities of liver function. Chromium levels were extremely low in ninety-one of the one hundred alcoholics participating in our HRC study. Incidentally, you may be interested to know that chromium can protect you against stroke and heart attack.
You may have learned about glutamine, vitamin C, magnesium, and pantothenic acid in the exploration of this website, but you may be interested to know how they help control hypoglycemia and stave off cravings for sugar. In the brain, glutamine is converted to glutamic acid, the only alternate source of glucose available to the brain. Alcohol destroys the pantothenic acid needed for normal production of all the adrenal hormones, including cortisone. As you know, caffeine and nicotine aggravate hypoglycemia by setting in motion that now-familiar scenario in which the adrenals release adrenaline in response to low blood sugar, prompting the liver to release glycogen.
There is no question that caffeine can wire you and bring on restlessness, depression, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, shakiness, and bone-tired fatigue. If you are drinking five or more cups of coffee a day, you may develop severe headaches, listlessness, and nervousness if you stop cold turkey.
You will soon be rewarded for all these sacrifices with more energy, more restful sleep, and, most important, reduced cravings for sugar and alcohol. In the middle of our initial interview, John stood up and announced that he had to smoke a cigarette.
Now, let's take a look at the diet you will be using to bring hypoglycemic symptoms under control.
Substitute soy milk or fresh goat's milk or Rice Dream (Imagine Foods, Palo Alto, California) for cow's milk. If you can't find millet bread or brown rice bread at your super-market, try a food cooperative.
Cut your salt intake by using lite salt, which is half potassium (needed for cellular energy) and half sodium. Steam your vegetables (if you cook them in water, you will lose much of their vitamin and mineral content).
Keep a lot of assorted nuts, sunflower seeds, apples, oranges, carrot sticks, celery, and other raw vegetables on hand for snacking. Many alcoholics prove to be so reactive to simple sugars that the preceding diet is not suited to them. Over the last few years Health Recovery Center has discovered another effective approach that addresses carbohydrate sensitivity thereby reducing the overproduction of insulin.
The normal blood sugar levels chart below shows where an ideal blood sugar level would be throughout the day and before as well as after eating.
This normal blood sugar levels chart shows how blood glucose levels rise and fall through out the day and what a normal range for blood sugar levels should be.
The best plan for maintaining good blood sugar levels is to eat a balanced diet that leans more heavily to fiber filled fruits and vegetables and lean protein and away from processed foods that often have added hidden sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. Copyright © 2016 A Normal Blood Sugar Level This site offers general advice for staying healthy. Understanding what is the normal range for blood glucose levels is very important for all people.
Orange’s starting glucose level was different between the two meals (as is typical when comparing fasting glucose levels that are days apart), I plotted the graph to show the change in blood glucose from its starting point. Orange’s high-carb meal elevated his blood glucose over his starting point, but what are the absolute values? And we don’t have to think of ourselves as diabetic in order to spend a few days conducting this eye-opening research on ourselves. Orange going to take this lesson to heart and start eating in such a way as to minimize his blood glucose levels?
In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. He collected research papers demonstrating the extent of abnormal glucose fluctuations among alcoholics and sent three different reports on the subject to AA physicians. Williams has found that a vast majority of his sober alcoholic patients are hypoglycemic; many have told him that their hypoglycemia had been diagnosed even before they started drinking. After years of research, Tintera concluded that even recovered alcoholics who have been sober for many years continue to suffer the effects of hypoglycemia.


Some may refuse your request for testing as unnecessary or even dismiss hypoglycemia as a fad disease.
In our study of one hundred randomly selected clients, 88 percent proved to be hypoglycemic. Our bodies immediately convert foods high in refined sugar; white flour, or starch to blood sugar, or glucose (the terms are interchangeable). This so-called postprandial fed-state hypoglycemia is very common among alcoholics and produces tremendous cravings for coffee and sweets. When exhausted by continuing demands for adrenaline, they no longer have the strength to respond properly.
Our alcoholic patients furthermore state that these binges lifted them from depression to a temporary period of well-being.
All the personality characteristics common to patients with hypoadrenocorticism (weakened adrenals) can be attributed to this hypoglycemia. Take a look at the list below, compiled by Mark Worden from his 1980 article in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.
Their pockets are stuffed with candy bars and they habitually reach for colas for a quick lift.
Continued blood-sugar fluctuations to below amounts needed by the brain for stable functioning are a more logical explanation of dry-drunk symptoms than any psychological concept can be.
You can banish symptoms and correct the underlying metabolic errors just as our HRC clients do by following a healthy new diet and taking some more nutrition supplements. They will provide you with a steady supply of protein, fats, and slowly available (complex) carbohydrates to prevent the drop in blood sugar that normally occurs about two hours after a meal. But you can combat them with-you guessed it-many of the nutrients you are already taking, plus two new ones. This gastric distress disappears twenty-four to forty-eight hours after discontinuing niacin. If so, substitute niacinamide, another form of Vitamin B3; it will have no effect on insulin requirements. Refined sugars force a 20 percent increase in the excretion of chromium into the blood, depleting the stores needed to control abnormal glucose fluctuations.
In countries where chromium intake and tissue levels are high, the incidence of heart attack and stroke is low.
It provides a ready source of brain fuel for hypoglycemics and helps stave off sugar cravings and hypoglycemic symptoms that develop when blood-sugar levels drop too low. Under these circumstances, the adrenal glands lose their ability to protect you from stress.
Blood sugar then rises, and the pancreas begins to pump out insulin, overshooting the mark and causing another drop in blood sugar. With the help of Nicorette gum and the very same nutrient program I am recommending to you, he went off to the north woods of Minnesota for a weekend and came back a nonsmoker. Some HRC clients are afraid that goat's milk will taste terrible, but most find that it tastes just like cow's milk (but, I admit, it depends on the goat).
The process of high-heat roasting cause undesirable changes in the natural oils the nuts contain. Every package that proclaims low fat or no fat has increased the carbohydrates to replace the missing fats. This information may not be reproduced without permission from Villard Books, a division of Random House Inc. Blood sugar is a simple sugar (glucose) that is broken down through digestion from the foods we eat and travels through our blood stream to our cells to provide energy to our bodies. This blood sugar level is again a general rule of thumb to follow,  but the principle of blood sugar levels rising after eating and then falling back to the starting level after a few hours is the most important part to remember. It also show how those levels react depending on the type of food that was eaten during the day.
Read the labels on the products and if high-fructose corn syrup is among the first few ingredients you may want to look for a substitute for that product.
Based on the short list of symptoms see above alone, it could save your life to be aware of this information. Orange be thinking long and hard about eating more meals that to not elevate his glucose levels? Starting from a very desirable fasting glucose level of 80, his meal took him from an optimal glucose range into ranges that are toxic to internal organs. A person can read articles about foods that lower or raise the risk of diabetes and can memorize glycemic index tables until her head spins, but nothing can come close to spending a few days with a glucose meter. Others will test you but misinterpret the results because of the wide variance in diagnostic approaches practiced during the last two decades. When too much sugar builds up in the bloodstream, the pancreas pumps out extra insulin to counteract the overload.
A study published in 1976 in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences reported that affected alcoholics are prone to "headache, weakness, tachycardia, hunger, excessive sweating, loss of concentration and anxiety. This condition called hypoadrenocorticism, interferes with or destroys the ability of the adrenals to protect you from stress. Very soon, however, they discovered that emotional depression could be alleviated more effectively with alcohol.
They are aggravated in the addictive drinker and persist even in the (recovered) alcoholic. It compares commonly reported dry-drunk symptoms to those known to be caused by hypoglycemia. Their diets often consist of junk foods high in refined sugars and low in quality protein found in vegetables, grains, and fruits.
A surge of insulin quickly pushes glucose levels back below normal causing the unpleasant symptoms and the need for a sugar fix begin all over again.
You'll have to give up both caffeine and cigarettes, but the sacrifice will pay enormous dividends in renewed energy and vibrant good health. Your old friends glutamine, vitamin C, magnesium, and pantothenic acid help keep sugar cravings under control. Russell Smith treated 507 hard-core alcoholics with six grams of niacin a day for six months. It will help stabilize blood sugar by raising levels that are too low or lowering levels that are too high.
Alcohol eroded the metal, causing him to ingest chromium particles, which were then stored in his tissues.) Chromium picolinate will speed improvement in glucose availability and reverse your hypoglycemic symptoms. What's more, tests of patients with severe heart disease have shown that they have virtually no chromium available in the aorta, the heart's major artery. Adrenal supplies of vitamin C can become severely depleted as a result of hypoglycemia and associated sugar cravings.


But both will have to go in the near future to be successful in your battle with hypoglycemia. He was subject to sudden panic attacks, spells of heart-pounding and overpowering fearfulness that his physician had been treating with the drug Inderal, a blood-pressure medication that has a calming effect. I suggested that by detoxing his brain and body systems, his cravings for alcohol would disappear. In the body, this altered oil can promote formation of free radicals, dangerously unstable molecules capable of damaging healthy tissue and promoting the development of cancer. These values will vary depending on the size and weight of each individual, but the above numbers are good numbers to go by. If your blood sugar doesn't act like this, then it is probably time to see a doctor and do some further testing to find out what is going on.
If you have a blood glucose testing device, like those sold online by many retailers, you should be able to easily examine where your personal blood sugar numbers are relative to this range.
For the layman, all you need to know is that it takes a very small amount of sugar for your body to hit a state of equilibrium. The effects of not properly maintaining a normal blood sugar level can be exceptionally bad. When we discuss numbers of this nature, keep in mind that problems really arise when numbers are too high or low for a long period of time. With a little effort and minimal cost, we can measure, not speculate, what we’re doing to ourselves with every single meal. For these reasons, you may need to search out a physician who fully appreciates the impact of hypoglycemia on alcoholism and can diagnose the condition accurately.
Figure 2, gives a breakdown of the types of hypoglycemic curves seen among these one hundred clients. Gyland himself experienced many of these symptoms; at one point, he became so incapacitated that he had to stop practicing medicine. When it does, you may develop headaches and become irritable, anxious, fearful, tired, dizzy, confused, uncoordinated, forgetful, and unable to concentrate. But this respite from depression and craving was of short duration so that continued drinking seemed the only answer. There is good medical evidence that chromium deficiency contributes to the buildup of plaque, the fatty deposits that clog coronary arteries and precipitate heart attacks.
After we convinced Brent to give up the forty cups of coffee he had been drinking daily, his panic attacks, as well as his insomnia and tremors, disappeared.
Keep in mind that while these are this is the most common range, some people may be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle with slightly elevated or depressed numbers as well. If you need to manually check and regulate your blood sugar levels, you will need to learn what foods to avoid, and which ones are great for managing this condition. The first one to consider is hypoglycemia, which is induced when you have an excessively low blood sugar level. Reaching these levels day after day, week after week, year after year, slowly destroys our insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells and causes Type 2 diabetes. Carron, fifty outpatient alcoholics and fifty halfway-house alcoholics were compared with a control group of one hundred nurses and teenagers. It also stimulates the adrenal glands to trigger the release of stored glycogen to temporarily raise blood sugar levels. Add two 500-mg doses of niacin, one at breakfast, one at supper; you are already getting enough chromium in your multi-vitamin formula. They remained sober and their memories improved, as did their learning abilities, problem-solving skills, coping abilities, sleep, appetites, interpersonal relationships, and job performance. Every one of our follow-up studies at HRC shows that the 20 to 25 percent of HRC clients who relapsed were those who could not (or would not) stop smoking cigarettes. After you rid your system of these toxic substances, your body will be much more cooperative when you stop smoking.
You should keep in mind that the regular range may vary depending on the time of day, your sex and gender, medical conditions like diabetes, medications like blood thinners, and other variables. In going off the actual numbers and the potential consequences of too highly elevated or depressed levels, it is important to consider the symptoms and other side effects that can stem from these conditions.
Finally, by eliminating sugar and caffeine and making other dietary changes, he stabilized his blood sugar and achieved a sense of well-being. Of the one hundred alcoholics, ninety-six proved to be hypoglycemic; only fourteen of the nonalcoholic controls were hypoglycemic. You may not want them when you're drinking, but most alcoholics begin to crave sweets as soon as they go on the wagon. For the time being, just be aware of how many cigarettes you smoke every day and try to cut down a little. And natural fats, not the partially dehydrogenated man-made fats, are essential to our emotional stability. It is well known that both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia have the tendency to be correlated with high and low blood pressure, simple symptoms like headaches, migraines, a lack of energy, and depression; as well as more fatal issues like cardiac arrest and stress. Orange monitored his glucose after a typical meal (a foot-long roast beef sub and diet soda) and compared those measurements to those he took after eating a low-carb meal of feta cheese, avocado, and olive oil a couple of days later. Orange has done, seeing how our typical meals affect our blood glucose, and we change our eating habits to avoid harmful glucose levels, we could make Type 2 diabetes as rare as hen’s teeth.
Finally, he pieced together the correct diagnosis of hypoglycemia, which he then verified by a six-hour glucose tolerance test. You will be eating three hearty meals each day, plus healthy and filling midmorning, mid afternoon, and after diner snacks. The gray matter of our brains is composed mainly of essential fatty acids (EFAs) made from fats. If you have any concern at all regarding your blood sugar and these conditions, or know you have a disease like diabetes, then you should be sure to visit with your doctor regularly to get checked up on. We need these EFAs to prevent depression, to create a sense of well-being, to control hormonal distribution, and to regulate cholesterol metabolism. Both are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, and both can cause memory blackouts and intense cravings. But with the nutritional support you'll get while you're on the diet, it won't be as bad as you think.



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