Is your blood sugar optimal?
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.. BY DR.O
Is your blood sugar optimal? Take the quiz at the end!
Just recently I was volunteering for the fitness center across the street and we did some screening of several of their members in regards to their health. They filled out a 3-page questionnaire that asks questions about their general health such as their digestion, how well they sleep and their energy levels etc. Interestingly, all of them were found to have some form of blood sugar problems. The most known blood sugar condition that we see in the office is type 2 diabetes, which is a condition where your own insulin hormone is no longer working properly. This happens when insulin cannot bind efficiently to its receptor (insulin resistance) or when the pancreas cannot make more insulin due to decreased production (insulin insufficiency). Most of the time this is condition that is completely preventable if your diet is low in simple carbohydrates (sugars), high in vegetables (complex carbohydrates), fiber and lean proteins. However, most of my patients do not even realize that they are eating as much sugar as they are. For instance, many of them think instant oat meal is just as good as old-fashioned steel-cut oat. It is not! If you can cook your oats in 5 minutes that means the fiber in the oat has been removed and all you are left with is the simple carbohydrates which are just a form of simple sugars. The same goes for most cereals out there, so just make sure to read labels so that you know what you are eating.
However, there is another blood sugar conditions that most people including doctors forget about. This is called hypoglycemia which is where the blood sugar drops below the minimum healthy baseline. This condition should also be addressed because early intervention could prevent unwanted conditions such as chronic fatigue, allergies, thyroid problems, menopausal symptoms, type 2 diabetes and more. When your blood sugar drops, your adrenal gland has to secrete out a hormone called cortisol to maintain your baseline blood sugar that is necessary for your body to function. Your brain is very sensitive to low blood sugar levels, so often patients reports that they cannot think, they get blurry vision and their hands shake when their blood sugar drops. These are all neurological signs of low blood sugar, so I would like to remind all our vision impaired patients that blurry vision during the day can be related to your blood sugar being low. When this happens on a regular basis it stresses the adrenal gland and eventually this gland gets worn out. Symptoms of low adrenal function is low energy, increased inflammation and allergies, tendencies to eat more sweets which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and a decreased metabolism due to a slower thyroid. This often leads to putting on weight due to eating more carbohydrates, sweets, chocolate, candy, cookies etc, to get the energy needed to get you through the day. The adrenal gland also regulates several hormones such as pregnenolone and DHEA which are precursor hormone for the sex hormones testosterone and estrogens. This often leads to menopausal issues in women and erectile dysfunction in men. Hormone conditions in my opinion are often wrongly treated by giving sex hormones. I find patient do much better if instead their adrenal gland is supported so that it can produce these hormones on its own. One thing you can do to help your adrenal gland is to maintain a steady and healthy blood sugar by eating 3 healthy meals that are high in fiber and lean proteins with 2 small snacks between meals. The snacks should also be high in fiber and protein. For instance, the snack could be a ½ an apple with 1 tsp of almond butter, 5-6 raw almonds or a teaspoon of protein shake mixed in hemp milk or water. If you don’t maintain your blood sugar steady throughout the day, your body will go into a stress response until you eat again, so that you can survive the low blood sugar. Chronic stress like this will prevent your body from healing and may actually cause premature aging instead. To find out if you are having blood sugar issues – answer the following questions. If you answer ‘yes’ to more than 5 of them you should consider discussing this with your doctor.
- Do you crave sweets during the day?
- Do you get irritable if you skip meals?
- Do you get jittery, shaky, or have tremors if you skip meals?
- Do you depend on coffee to keep you going through the day?
- Does eating relieve tiredness?
- Do you get easily agitated, nervous or upset?
- Do you feel you are more forgetful or that your memory is getting worse?
- Do you have blurry vision that comes and goes?
- Do you get tired after eating a meal?
- Do you crave sweets especially after meals?
- Do you still have cravings for sweets even after eating it?
- Do you have frequent urination?
- Do you have increased thirst and appetite?
- Have you put on weight that doesn’t respond to diet?
- If your waist measurement larger than your hip measurement?