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  • Hypoglycemia/insulin resistance

    I have had episodes of reactive hypoglycemia in the past. If it happened, I drank OJ and it went away within a couple minutes. Mind you, I have never been insulin resistant and my lab draws have always shown very low fasting insulin. Even a tiny piece of hard candy will pull me out of it quickly. Since being primal (plus rice occasionally), I haven't even had an episode of it.

    My husband, however, is insulin resistant. I can't remember his insulin level, but it was clearly high. He has lost 50 pounds, yet he has these episodes of hypoglycemia where he starts getting very weak, develops a severe headache, gets dizzy, and lightheaded. He just feels awful. He drinks some OJ and eats a meal, but it takes at least an hour or so for him to start feeling better. Does this mean that he is so insulin resistant that when he consumes food to raise his blood sugar that takes that long to get the glucose into the cells? Could it be an adrenal issue at all? I thought the weight loss would help, but it hasn't so far. He still needs to lose about 40-50 more pounds. He eats no gluten or dairy due to food allergies diagnosed by IgE blood tests. He feels a lot better without them. But he does drink soda (gross, I know). I have tried to get him to start the day with protein/fat and when he does, he's okay. As for the soda, I've had some mild success with stevia-sweetened sodas. He's switched those for about half of the regular ones. He says he's "addicted" and can't give them up.

    I guess the bottomline question is: Does the length of time the hypoglycemia takes to resolve correlate with the level of insulin resistance at all?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    That is an excellent question. I wish I had an answer for you. Sounds so similar to what my brother is going through. He gets hypoglycemia and extra panic attack symptoms on top of it, so add to the symptoms you listed: heart palpitations, hyperventilation, severe dizziness, weakness, muscle twitching. So far, we've discovered that OJ helps to pull him out of it usually, sometimes within 10 minutes and other times it takes 45 minutes. Sometimes it doesn't work at all. His last attack was on and off for 3 days. He would keep drinking OJ, feel better, then relapse.

    We do know from his visit to the naturopath that he definitely has adrenal fatigue. The doc just gently passed a light across the field of vision of my brothers eyes and it took his pupils a long time to respond. That's one test. The doc also checked his sitting-to-standing blood pressure and found that it dropped too many points when he stood up. That's the second test. If you suspect adrenal fatigue, a naturopath can confirm this. I do not know if a regular doctor has the knowledge to perform these simple tests, it's not really their specialty. Please let us know if you find any more information in the coming months, perhaps it will help my brother figure out what to do next as well.

    BTW, even sugarless but sugary tasting foods can trigger insulin response, maybe that helps.
    Last edited by Goldstar; 09-10-2011, 08:34 PM.

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    • #3
      Back off all sugary drinks and crank way down on the carbs?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by js290 View Post
        Back off all sugary drinks and crank way down on the carbs?
        I wish it were that easy. He's cut back on soda, and without the gluten in his diet, his carbs are down. I'm just wondering what underlying pathology is causing the delay in resolution of hypoglycemia. I am hoping to approach this from the opposite end by getting him to increase his protein and fat in the morning so that he has more sustained energy and won't feel the need to drink soda to keep him going. Plus getting adequate sleep. I think he will be more receptive of giving up the soda if I can get him the nutrients he needs first. If that makes any sense. I just want to know why it doesn't resolve quickly after having OJ and a meal. I'm assuming it's insulin resistance, but I'm not sure that's correct.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ShannonPA-S View Post
          I'm assuming it's insulin resistance, but I'm not sure that's correct.
          The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D. ABC’s big meal propaganda
          No mention, naturally, of the enormous amount of carbohydrate and the large increase in insulin release it might cause. From what I can see from the video, Jon looks to be sporting a little abdominal obesity, which would imply a degree of insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. People with this disorder tend to over secrete insulin in response to carb intake causing an overshoot and reactive hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which will indeed result in sluggishness.
          A first place to look for causes of insulin resistance may be fructose. Also, glycogen depleting activity helps restore insulin sensitivity.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Goldstar View Post
            That is an excellent question. I wish I had an answer for you. Sounds so similar to what my brother is going through. He gets hypoglycemia and extra panic attack symptoms on top of it, so add to the symptoms you listed: heart palpitations, hyperventilation, severe dizziness, weakness, muscle twitching. So far, we've discovered that OJ helps to pull him out of it usually, sometimes within 10 minutes and other times it takes 45 minutes. Sometimes it doesn't work at all. His last attack was on and off for 3 days. He would keep drinking OJ, feel better, then relapse.

            We do know from his visit to the naturopath that he definitely has adrenal fatigue. The doc just gently passed a light across the field of vision of my brothers eyes and it took his pupils a long time to respond. That's one test. The doc also checked his sitting-to-standing blood pressure and found that it dropped too many points when he stood up. That's the second test. If you suspect adrenal fatigue, a naturopath can confirm this. I do not know if a regular doctor has the knowledge to perform these simple tests, it's not really their specialty. Please let us know if you find any more information in the coming months, perhaps it will help my brother figure out what to do next as well.

            BTW, even sugarless but sugary tasting foods can trigger insulin response, maybe that helps.
            Wow, your brother sounds like he's going through a lot. I will check my husband's pupil reaction and also his orthostatic BP (supine, sitting, standing) and see if it drops. I had forgotten those are tests for adrenal fatigue. Our doctor (a holistic MD) suspects adrenal fatigue with him, but didn't do a cortisol test or anything to confirm it. He's one of those clinicians who seem to know exactly what's going on by history and physical. He met my husband and me, both overweight, and ordered all sorts of tests for him that he didn't order for me. I asked him why and he said that he "knew" my husband had those problems. He suspected allergies to gluten and dairy for my husband...and sure enough, his IgE antibodies were positive. Mine have always been negative and he said he figured that would be the case. It's amazing that doctors really do exist who listen to the patient. He, of course, recommended that my husband stop the soda and switch to green tea. And he slowly is. But these hypoglycemic attacks are awful.

            Also, I know the sugarless foods that taste sweet can trigger insulin response. But I am not sure how that works with stevia or xylitol compared to artificial sweeteners. I have tried to look up info on it, but see conflicting studies/opinions.

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            • #7
              Sounds like you and your hubby are in great hands. I'm glad to hear that, makes things easier. That's how we feel about our naturopath as well. He could tell stuff just by looking at us and I got faster diagnoses from him in one visit than I've had in 8 months with a conventional doctor. So did my brother. How did yours recognize the physical signs of dairy intolerance before testing?

              I am awaiting an email response from ours regarding my brothers last attack. I asked if he thought a hyperthyroid test or other tests would help. I'd be interested to hear if he suggests cortisol testing next as well. Please let me know if your hubby does a cortisol test and what the results are. Somehow I feel his symptoms are similar to my brothers. Right now, we are also suspecting a connection between adrenaline and blood sugar drops but there seems to be a piece of the puzzle still missing.

              My mom is diabetic and she told my brother that whenever he drinks the OJ, he should always eat a protein like a boiled egg about 10 minutes after. I don't know if this added tidbit would help or why it's important, probably because it is a fat/protein and keeps the OJ from overspiking? So eggs/bacon for breakfast would probably help. Can he tolerate any dairy like cheese? Perhaps if he can, he would at least be willing to start his day making a glass of "milk" by adding water to full fat cream or eating a good piece of cheese. Baby steps...

              I have the same questions as you regarding artificial sweeteners.
              Last edited by Goldstar; 09-10-2011, 11:11 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Goldstar View Post
                Sounds like you and your hubby are in great hands. I'm glad to hear that, makes things easier. That's how we feel about our naturopath as well. He could tell stuff just by looking at us and I got faster diagnoses from him in one visit than I've had in 8 months with a conventional doctor. So did my brother. How did yours recognize the dairy intolerance? I am awaiting an email response from ours regarding my brothers last attack. I asked if he thought a hyperthyroid test or other tests would help. I'd be interested to hear if he suggests cortisol testing next as well. Please let me know if your hubby does a cortisol test and what the results are. Somehow I feel his symptoms are similar to my brothers. Right now, we are also suspecting a connection between adrenaline and blood sugar drops but there seems to be a piece of the puzzle still missing.

                My mom is diabetic and she told my brother that whenever he drinks the OJ, he should always eat a protein like a boiled egg about 10 minutes after. I don't know if this added tidbit would help or why it's important, probably because it is a fat/protein and keeps the OJ from overspiking? So eggs/bacon for breakfast would probably help. If he's not interested, perhaps he would at least be willing to start his day making a glass of "milk" by adding water to full fat cream or eating a good piece of cheese. Baby steps...
                He thought my husband had leaky gut because he had really bad fungal toenail infection. So his IgE allergy tests were positive for not just dairy and gluten, but also several environmental allergies. He was also positive for candida in IgE, IgG, and IgA tests. He's had some antifungals now, but the sugar is just exacerbating the condition. The doctor said sometimes yeast can cause hypoglycemia also. I don't think the doctor is going to do the cortisol test. He tells my husband that he has to cut out the sugar, but my husband says he's "addicted." If he has candida overgrowth, it is likely why he feels addicted to sugar I'm assuming. I couldn't believe his blood showed three types of antibodies to candida. That still blows my mind. So that could be causing issues too.

                I don't think he realizes how intense his diet needs to be to cure this. And with a sugar free diet with candida, he's going to feel really, really awful for some time. And he's not ready to undertake that. So I'm working to increase the good fats and protein, hoping that will help him not consume so much sugar. It's really hard because he doesn't realize how in-depth his issues are.

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                • #9
                  Thanks, js290, for the link and video. Very interesting stuff. I am very interested in the Body By Science stuff for several reasons, my husband being one, and my insane brother who just ran 50 miles today being another. I have heard that book takes a look at proper exercise and nutrition. I really want to read it. I am going to watch the rest of the videos on youtube also. Thanks!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ShannonPA-S View Post
                    I guess the bottomline question is: Does the length of time the hypoglycemia takes to resolve correlate with the level of insulin resistance at all?
                    I suspect your husband has Metabolic Syndrome. I don't know if there is any data to support it, but it certainly makes sense that recovering from an episode of apparent hypoglycemia would correlate with the severity (perhaps duration?) of a person's condition. Until he gets off refined grains/sugars, your husband is going to have these blood sugar swings.

                    I understand it isn't necessarily the absolute level of blood sugar that will precipitate the symptoms of hypoglycemia, but rather the change in blood sugar, and how quickly it happens. I think orange juice is too sweet to treat hypoglycemia symptoms in this situation: it just feeds the cycle. Have him eat a banana with some almond butter. In a person with metabolic syndrome, not taking medications for diabetes, a life-threatening reaction to "low blood sugar" is impossible.

                    JP

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                    • #11
                      I think maybe doing Dr Kruse's Leptin Reset protocol might be helpful as well.

                      The basics:
                      - Eat at least 50 grams of protein breakfast within 30 minutes of waking
                      - Allow 4-5 hours between meals
                      - Eat 3 meals a day, paleo or primal diet
                      - Keep carbs at 50 or below (25 if obese)
                      - No snacking - black coffee or tea OK but no cream, no calories
                      - Allow at least 3-4 hours between dinner and bedtime
                      - No aerobic exercise or weight lifting until LS (leptin sensitivity) is re-established, walking is OK

                      Still have questions? Go to Dr Kruse's Leptin Reset FAQs. http://jackkruse.com/the-leptin-rx-faqs/

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by reflex View Post
                        I understand it isn't necessarily the absolute level of blood sugar that will precipitate the symptoms of hypoglycemia, but rather the change in blood sugar, and how quickly it happens. I think orange juice is too sweet to treat hypoglycemia symptoms in this situation: it just feeds the cycle. In a person with metabolic syndrome, not taking medications for diabetes, a life-threatening reaction to "low blood sugar" is impossible.

                        JP
                        I'd like to understand this better, is there any more info explaining this? Also, I can add that when my brother quit drinking wine every night his symptoms did improve tremendously so I imagine the sodas will have to go.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Goldstar View Post
                          I'd like to understand this better, is there any more info explaining this? Also, I can add that when my brother quit drinking wine every night his symptoms did improve tremendously so I imagine the sodas will have to go.
                          Alcoholism and Hypoglycemia - a knol by Stephen Carroll

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                          • #14
                            Great article js290, thanks. Yes, my bro did drink alot and he does have hypoglycemic episodes still after quitting. Unfortunately, either they trigger panic attacks or the panic attacks trigger the hypoglycemia. What we can't figure out is why sometimes he can pull out of a hypo episode fairly quickly and other times cannot. This rate of control at normalizing the blood sugars is directly related to the passage of the panic attacks so I am very interested in an answer to this question about length of time.

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                            • #15
                              I have had hypoglycemia since I was years old. I had to stop playing sports due to the low blood sugar problems in the middle of games. I have gained a considerable amount of weight since then and it has gotten worse, but, I have always had it. Since I started changing to primal lifestyle it started wonderful. No blood sugar problems in the first month, but, within the last days my blood sugar levels have gotten lower. I am not sure what I am doing wrong or differently. I do understand your husbands issues and I do not think they are going anywhere anytime. The problem I can tell so far is not very many people understand this condition enough to treat it.
                              Starting Date: August 11, 2011
                              Starting Weight: 330 pounds
                              Current Weight: 310 pounds
                              Goal Weight: 210 pounds

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