The amount of glucose in the blood is controlled primarily by the two hormones, insulin and glucagon. Too much or too little of these two hormones can cause the blood sugar levels to drop too low (hypoglycemia) or rise too high (hyperglycemia). Cortisol, growth hormone, and catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine) can also influence the blood sugar levels. The pancreas, a gland in the upper abdomen, produces both insulin and glucagon. The pancreas contains a hormone-producing tissue called the islets of Langerhans. When blood sugar levels rise after a meal, the beta cells in the islets of Langerhans release insulin. The insulin helps glucose enter the body cells, lowering the blood levels of glucose to the normal range. When blood sugar falls too low, the alpha cells, also located in the islets of Langerhans, secrete glucagon. This triggers the liver to release stored glycogen and change it into glucose, thus raising blood sugar levels to the normal range. The body’s muscles also store glycogen and can be called upon to convert that glycogen into glucose. Read on to discover natural remedies for hypoglycemia.
Causes of hypoglycemia
The most common of all hypoglycemias is called functional reactive hypoglycemia. When complex carbohydrates are eaten, the body breaks them down gradually and the basic sugars resulting from this process are slowly released into the bloodstream. In the bloodstream, these sugars circulate as energy for the brain and body organs. The brain alone will utilize up to 80% of the circulating blood sugar. However, when simple carbohydrates, like refined sugar and flour products are consumed habitually, the body quickly digests them and then floods the bloodstream with glucose. The pancreatic beta cells must respond again and again to this excessive level of blood sugar in order to bring the sugar into the body’s cells. Excess sugar in the bloodstream is stored in three locations. In the liver, it is stored as glycogen; in the fat cells. it is converted to adipose; and in the muscles, it is converted to muscle glycogen. When this happens, the blood sugar levels drop severely, and that information is fed back to the hypothalamus, pituitary, and thyroid glands. During this time. the symptoms of hypoglycemia become apparent, as discussed below. These glands then communicate to the liver that the stored glycogen must be changed back into sugar and released into the bloodstream to raise the blood sugar levels.
The signs & symptoms of hypoglycemia
A person with hypoglycemia may feel weak, drowsy, confused, hungry, and dizzy. They may have pale complexions and may suffer from headaches, sweating, rapid heartbeat, and feel cold and clammy. They might suffer from heart palpitations, tremors and shaking, and may be very irritable. There could be vision problems, anxiety and nervousness, palsy, and lack of muscle coordination. In severe cases, there may be personality disturbances, loss of consciousness, convulsions, and coma. Many times, these people feel that their energy is chronically low and that they need to eat sugar throughout the day as the only way to relieve their symptoms Severe hypoglycemia can be close to insulin shock and is considered a medical emergency.
Natural remedies for hypoglycemia
Western medicine treats hypoglycemia by prescribing oral glucose or sucrose to be taken when the symptoms of hypoglycemia appear, or take 2-3 tablespoons of sugar in fruit juice or water. They may also suggest that the patient relieve their emotional stress, get more exercise,and eat a protein rich, high complex carbohydrate diet.
For hypoglycemic patient, exercise and dietary change is necessary for controlling the blood sugar levels, it is the baseline recommendation, not only for diabetes but also for all other disorders as well. What we eat, how we use our bodies, and how we handle our emotions stand at the forefront in regaining and keeping our health and well-being. Most sufferers of hypoglycemia and diabetes are already on a rollercoaster of high and low blood sugar levels, with day-long sugar cravings that actually worsen their symptoms in longterm. Recommending that the patient take more sugar by adding to fruit juice or by glucose tablets only serves to promote the cycle of high and low blood sugar levels and causes the body’s organs to respond even more dramatically in an attempt to balance the blood sugar. Keep in mind that the average adult has one to two teaspoons of blood sugar circulating in the body at any one time, with a smaller amount stored in the liver for emergency use. Eating 4 oz of chocolate cake with icing (10 teaspoons of sugar) and a 6 oz soda (3 teaspoons of sugar) will cause sugar overload chaos in the body. The body then must bring the blood sugar level down by means of the complicated mechanism that has been described above. Eating that much sugar at a time can cause the pancreas to produce too much insulin which, in turn, brings the blood sugar level below normal, causing the symptoms which we have already discussed. Taking more refined sugar at this time is like pouring gasoline on a fire.
Avoid white sugar
Naked calories in white sugar can wreck havoc and destroy our bodies natural mechanism to consume sugar. Try to avoid or limit the intake of white sugar if you experience symptoms of hypoglycemia. In three to four weeks time you can feel the difference in your symptoms.
Avoid white flour
White flour like white sugar is another refined chemical that is heavily used in bakery products and other fast food and processed items. try to avoid this for at least three to four weeks to regain your lost balance of blood sugar and fight the symptoms of hypoglycemia.
So what is diabetes?
Diabetes is actually a condition of hyperglycemia. Remember earlier we discussed how the body must handle simple carbohydrates, like refined sugar and flour products, when they are consumed habitually. The body quickly digests them and then floods the bloodstream with glucose. The pancreatic beta cells must respond again and again to this excessive level of blood sugar in order to bring the sugar into the body’s cells. When this happens, the blood sugar levels drop severely, and that information is fed back to the hypothalamus, pituitary, and thyroid glands. During this time, the symptoms of hypoglycemia become apparent, as we have already discussed. These glands then communicate to the liver that the stored glycogen must be changed back into sugar and released into the bloodstream to raise the blood sugar levels. In this way, the body attempts again and again to replace and balance the blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, if the body must constantly send out insulin to balance the effect of a simple carbohydrate meal or snack, the pancreas and other organs will suffer. And when the burden constantly falls on the adrenals, pituitary. and liver to counterbalance the after effects, these organs will suffer depletion as well. Diabetes actually happens when the body cannot use glucose for fuel because either the pancreas has broken down and is not able to make enough insulin or the insulin that is available is not effective.
Problems with modern day treatment
Modern medicine aims at lowering blood sugar levels by prescribing insulin or oral drugs. However, too much insulin or irregular eating habits can cause hypoglycemia in diabetics and is referred to as “insulin reaction.” In addition, if insulin is discontinued, the blood sugar levels will immediately rise and even the long term use of insulin will not prevent other diabetic complications, such as renal failure, neuropathy. retinopathy, and cardiac distress.
Chinese remedies for hypoglycemia
Chinese medicine has a number of safe and effective, low cost and non- addictive alternatives which have been used in Asia for hundreds and thousands of years.
Yin & Yang
To understand Chinese medicine, one must first understand the concepts of yin and yang since these are the most basic concepts in this system. Yin and yang are the cornerstones for understanding, diagnosing, and treating the body and mind in Chinese medicine. In a sense, all the other theories and concepts of Chinese medicine are nothing other than an elaboration of yin and yang. Most people have probably already heard of yin and yang but may have only a fuzzy idea of what these terms mean.
The concepts of yin and yang can be used to describe everything that exists in the universe, including all the parts and functions of the body. Originally, yin referred to the shady side of a hill and yang to the sunny side of the hill. Since sunshine and shade are two, interdependent sides of a single reality, these two aspects of the hill are seen as part of a single whole. Other examples of yin and yang are that night exists only in relation to day and cold exists only in relation to heat. According to Chinese thought, every single thing that exists in the universe has these two aspects, a yin and a yang. Thus everything has a front and a back, a top and a bottom, a left and a right, and a beginning and an end. However, a thing is yin or yang only in relation to its paired complement. Nothing is in itself yin or yang.
It is the concepts of yin and yang which make Chinese medicine a holistic medicine. This is because, based on this unitary and complementary vision of reality, no body part or body function is viewed as separate or isolated from the whole person. The table below shows a partial list of yin and yang pairs as they apply to the body.