Low blood sugar

woman having low blood sugar, headache, weak, irritable, shaky
Do you have symptoms of hypoglycemia?


The Definition of Hypoglycemia

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:

What causes low blood sugar?

Your body has a built-in mechanism to increase blood sugar if it should drop.  Maybe you are too busy to eat or you aren’t eating anything all night while you sleep. Regardless, you shouldn’t experience the symptoms of blood sugar dips. The solution for drops in blood sugar isn’t necessarily to just shove more food in your mouth, although if you are feeling faint you may need to do so, at least until the underlying problem is fixed.  But also work on supporting your adrenal glands and the HPA axis.  Your adrenal glands are your stress glands.  There is one on top of each of your kidneys.  They are involved in regulating your blood sugar.  They also help with your 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, he or she 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 will help you with hypoglycemia problems through correcting 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 and HPA axis.

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 and HPA axis include:

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

By Dr. Pamela Frank, Naturopathic Doctor, updated Feb. 22, 2022

Hypoglycemia Research

Orban BO1, Routh VH2, Levin BE3, Berlin JR4. Direct effects of recurrent hypoglycemia 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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