Glucose Problems In Canada
Blood sugar problems are pandemic in North America. More than two million Canadians have diabetes and, according to very conservative estimations, more than 10 million Canadians, (100 million Americans) about one third of the population, is affected by some type of hypoglycemia.
Blood sugar problems are associated with a variety of symptoms. Here are a few:
Muscle pain or cramps
Greater sensitivity to stress
Why Do We Have These Symptoms?
The dramatic increase in the incidence of diabetes and hypoglycemia is due to at least four major factors.
- An increase in our consumption of simple sugars (per person, per year):
1900 12 lbs. - 2000 125lbs.
A reduction of our nutrient intake, nutrients which play a role in the metabolism of sugars.
Chromium (glucose tolerance factor)
Manganese (required to release insulin)
Vitamin B3 (glucose tolerance factor)
Zinc (central ion in insulin)
Increased levels of stress for which we do not respond to physically. Indeed, any stress, physical, chemical or emotional causes an adrenal response. In response to this stress, the adrenal glands secrete adrenaline to increase our blood sugar levels required to “fight or flight”. During repeated periods of stress, the adrenal glands can “get tired”, which leads to hypoglycemia. At other times, the continuous response of the pancreas to the radical increase of blood sugar levels might also exhaust the adrenal glands, predisposing to a type II diabetes.
The increase in food allergies and sensitivities. Indeed, some authors suggest that hypoglycemia may, in many cases, be a sign of a pancreatic imbalance triggered by allergies. (Hypoglycemia is a manifestation of pancreatic malfunction, frequently caused by allergy? Rippere V. A little something between meals: masked addiction not low blood bloodsugar. Lancet 1979 (June 23)
Type I, formerly known as insulin dependent diabetes. In this type of diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. It mostly occurs in children and adolescents, but an increasing number of cases are diagnosed during adulthood.
Type II, non insulin dependent. Much more common, it represents approximately 90 to 95% of worldwide cases. This type of diabetes mostly affects adults and is the result of the body's inability to react appropriately to the insulin produced by the pancreas. Type II diabetes develops slowly, with age, which implies that there are aggravating factors and gradual triggers. One of the ways for the body to responds to insulin is by producing a molecule named glucose tolerance factor. This molecule, probably deficient in individuals affected by type II diabetes and hypoglycemia, requires chromium and vitamin B3. Magnesium is also an important mineral for the metabolism of sugars (glucose).
However, magnesium deficiency has increased in North America due to our commercial farming methods and our refined diet.
Excessive urine secretion (polyuria)
Sensation of thirst (polydipsia)
Sensation of fatigue
*The symptoms can be less intense in type II diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment among adults in economically developed societies. The same observations, repeated from one study to another, lead to think that after a diabetes period of 15 years, approximately 2% of patients lose their sight and about 10% of them are affected by a severe visual impairment.
Some nutrients may help reducing the risk of diabetic retinopathy as well as the blindness associated with diabetes. Alpha lipoic acid and blueberry extracts are used in Europe, together with various other antioxidants to support diabetics.
It is imperative that a diabetic on medication monitors his blood sugar level daily when undertaking this type of program. In addition, it is best to set up a proper supplements program with the help of a health professional.
Supplements Commonly Used
Alpha lipoic acid
B vitamins complex
Fenugreek (trigonella foenumgraecum)
Bitter melon (momordica charantia)
Bilberry (vaccinium myrtillus)
For many years, the natural foods industry has been highlighting the fact that lower than normal blood sugar levels may be the cause of a variety of diffuse and nonspecific symptoms. We refer to this problem as hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can be defined as: hypo = low, glycemia for glucose = blood sugar levels? an imbalance in the metabolism of carbohydrates resulting in an abnormally low level of glucose (sugar) in blood or cell.
Because blood or cellular sugar levels mainly affect the nervous system, hypoglycemia symptoms will primarily affect the nervous system and have a major impact on energy levels.
Nervousness, irritability, fatigue, depression, allergies, trembling, dizziness, difficulty focusing attention, sugar cravings, morning fatigue, hyperactivity, palpitations, cold sweats, etc. This list is not exhaustive, and an individual with hypoglycemia doesn't necessarily have all of these symptoms. Some are episodic, often an hour or two before or after meals. Moreover, some symptoms may also be signs of food allergies, of hypothyroidism, of Candida albicans yeast infections or simply nutritional deficiencies.
Children, Success at School and Hypoglycemia
A significant number of clinical studies are increasingly associating symptoms of hyperactivity and attention deficit with either hypoglycemia or food sensitivities. Generally, if the consumption of sugar is reduced in children, their behaviour will improve (in relative terms). In the back to school period controlling sugar intake can eliminate the need to use drugs such as Ritalin.
Issues with blood sugar imbalance have multiple causes. In general, etiological factors affect different organs or biochemical systems that play a role in the metabolism of sugars. The pancreas (which produces digestive enzymes as well as the sugar metabolizing hormones, insulin and glucagon), the liver (the body’s detoxification center as well as its major sugar reserve, in the form of glycogen), and adrenal glands (stress glands that produce hormones such as adrenalines) are the major glands that play a role in blood sugar metabolism. In addition, anything that affects the metabolism of sugar at the biochemical level may also predispose individuals to hypoglycemia: these include a deficiency of niacin (vitamin B3), chromium, magnesium, manganese, and of zinc due to refined food. Here is a short list:
Consumption of refined carbohydrates (sugar, sweets, juices, refined grain products: cereals, pasta, rice and refined breads).
Adrenal fatigue due to deficiencies or stressors.
Loss of magnesium, calcium, zinc due to a too acidifying diet (think coffee and soft drinks!).
General stress: cause of enormous losses of complex B vitamins, vitamin C as well as adrenal glands fatigue.
Sensitivity to sucrose (table sugar) or fructose.
Alcoholism, excessive caffeine intake (drinking tea, chocolate, coffee, cola drinks) and / or smoking.
Liver damage, poisoning and hepatitis overload.
Supplements Commonly Used
Complex B vitamins
The diet should be free from simple sugars and other stimulants. It should be well balanced and above all, made of healthy, whole, unrefined foods. Whole grains, vegetable proteins and fresh vegetables must be a priority. Some natural supplements can provide support to the body. Some cures that help detoxify the body may also be beneficial.
What To Do Immediately?
Although it is best to consult a health professional to develop a proper diet and supplementation based on your specific needs, there are some things that can be done immediately in order to ensure excellent results.
Avoid the following foods and substances:
Simple sugars: honey, molasses, maple syrup, white or brown sugar, fruit juice (except in recipes).
Coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks.
Bleached flour (bread, pasta and desserts), white rice.
Preservatives, coloring, and artificial sweeteners.
Tobacco and alcohol.
Cow's and goat’s milk (if you're not vegetarian, eat lean cheese and unsweetened yogurt with moderation).
Be careful of dairy allergies.
Cold cuts, prepared and smoked meats, pork (sausages, hot dogs, ham, roast, etc.), shellfish (fish is not a problem).
What you can (should) consume:
Fresh fruits, but not more than 2 medium fruits per day. Obviously, diabetics must take into account the level of sugar in them.
Whole grains: wheat, rice, millet, barley, rye, oats and spelt (in breakfast cereals, pasta, cookies, etc.).
Plant based “milks”: soy milk, rice milk and almond milk (while being careful about their sugar content)
Animal proteins: beef, sheep, eggs, veal, lamb, fish, etc. Prefer lean meats.
Dairy products (except milk): cheese and yogurt.
Nuts and seeds.
Since blood sugar levels affect the central nervous system as well as the immune system, blood sugar problems can cause a variety of health issues. Learning to manage our blood sugar level is to give ourselves (or to give our loved ones) a new start and a vibrant health. Good health.