Low blood sugar

woman having hypoglycemia, headache, weak, irritable, shaky


Hypoglycemia Definition

The medical name for low blood sugar is hypoglycemia, which literally translates to “low” (hypo) “sugar” (glyc) “in the blood” (emia).

What are the symptoms of low blood sugar?

Symptoms that people will experience if their blood sugar drops include:

  • headaches
  • irritability
  • foggy thinking
  • feeling weak or faint
  • shaky
  • dizzy
  • restless sleep
  • light headed

What causes low blood sugar?

Your body has a built-in mechanism to increase blood sugar if it should drop because you were too busy to eat or because you didn’t eat anything all night while you slept. The solution for blood sugar dips isn’t necessarily to just shove more food in your mouth, although if you are feeling faint you will need to do so, at least until the underlying problem is fixed.  But also work on supporting your adrenal glands.  Your adrenal glands are your stress glands, there is one on top of each kidney.  They are involved in regulating blood sugar, also blood pressure, hormone balance, salt balance and inflammation.

Diabetics whose medication isn’t properly adjusted can also suffer from low blood sugar.  In this case, it can be very serious.  If a diabetic’s blood sugar drops too low, they can slip into what is called a diabetic coma.  Careful monitoring of blood sugar levels is essential in these patients to prevent extreme lows in blood sugar that can possibly lead to death.

What is the Treatment for Hypoglycemia?

Our naturopathic doctors can help with hypoglycemia problems through helping you correct your diet, herbs that help to balance your blood sugar, vitamins and minerals that help your body manage your blood sugar and supporting your adrenal glands.

Tests for low blood sugar include:

Blood tests for HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin), fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin, 2-hour pc blood glucose and insulin

Tests for your adrenal glands include:

Blood tests for cortisol – around 8-9 a.m. and 5-6 p.m., DHEAs, testosterone

Hypoglycemia Research

Orban BO1, Routh VH2, Levin BE3, Berlin JR4. Direct effects of recurrent hypoglycaemia on adrenal catecholamine release. Diab Vasc Dis Res. 2015 Jan;12(1):2-12. doi: 10.1177/1479164114549755. Epub 2014 Sep 29.

Ma Y, Wang Q, Joe D, Wang M, Whim MD. Recurrent hypoglycemia inhibits the counterregulatory response by suppressing adrenal activity.
J Clin Invest. 2018 Aug 31;128(9):3866-3871. doi: 10.1172/JCI91921. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Seaquist ER. Beyond the brain: do peripheral mechanisms develop impaired awareness of hypoglycemia? J Clin Invest. 2018 Aug 31;128(9):3739-3741. doi: 10.1172/JCI122449. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

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