What is dysglycemia?
Why is dysglycemia the blood sugar rollercoaster? Dysglycemia refers to an imbalance of glucose in the bloodstream, which can include low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), and can include repeated and ongoing highs and lows, like a rollercoaster.
Glucose is important because it is the main source of energy needed for cellular metabolism. Blood sugar stability is critical to heart, brain and digestive function. The problem is when the body struggles to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood.
Dysglycemia can lead to leaky gut, hormone imbalances (insulin, glucagon, cortisol, adrenaline), and cognitive impairment. It can negatively impact metabolism, is associated with adrenal and thyroid dysfunction, and interferes with detoxification pathways.
Causes of dysglycemia
- Genetic predisposition
- overeating refined carbohydrates and concentrated sugars
- vitamin deficiency
- chromium deficiency
- overconsumption of calories at one time
- autoimmune disease
- insulin resistance
- low thyroid function
- metabolic syndrome
- type II diabetes
- drugs (including antihistamines, acetaminophen and statins)
- alcohol consumption
- sleep deprivation
What is postprandial or reactive hypoglycemia?
Postprandial or reactive hypoglycemia is low blood sugar that typically occurs within four hours of eating, after a large carbohydrate-based meal.
Consumption of a high glycemic meal results in rapid absorption and rapid rise in blood glucose. The pancreas responds to the rising blood sugar with a corresponding spike in insulin. The insulin transports the glucose to the liver, muscles and fat cells and removes it from the blood. As blood glucose levels drop so should insulin; however, when insulin starts out too high to transport the excessive glucose out of the blood, it then falls too slowly, preventing glucagon from returning blood glucose back to normal levels.
The body then sends out a distress call to the adrenals to signal epinephrine to release glycogen needed to return glucose levels to normal. Excess sugar depletes the adrenals, so over time the adrenals become less effective in their task.
This is commonly called the sugar crash, which may cause fatigue, anxiety or that “hangry” feeling. Those feelings are curbed by consuming more quick fuel in the form of refined carbohydrates and sugars, which perpetuates the cycle of highs and lows of dysglycemia.
Symptoms of dysglycemia
- Cravings for sweets
- Mood swings
- Shaky, jittery feelings
- Poor memory
- Blurred vision
- Brain fog
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dizzy spells
How to stabilize blood sugar
It’s time to get off the blood sugar rollercoaster. Eating a balanced, low to moderate carbohydrate diet will enable proper functioning of blood sugar balancing hormones and will set you on a path of regulated blood sugar and improved health.
- Meals should not be skipped, avoid fasting.
- Eat primarily non-starchy vegetables, protein and healthy fats.
- Include dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables to help protect the body from oxidative stress and prevent blood sugar surges.
- Focus on high fiber, plant based whole foods.
- Avoid all refined, high glycemic carbohydrates.
- Begin the day with protein and fats, not carbohydrates.
- Never eat a source of sugar without fiber, fat or protein.
- Avoid caffeine (interferes with adrenal function).
- Avoid alcohol.
- Eliminate toxins.
- Get good quality sleep.
- Get the body moving.
- Practice stress management.
Practice blood sugar management to get off the blood sugar rollercoaster, and feel better, have more energy, healthier skin and no more sugar cravings.