If your blood sugar bottoms out, so do you.
Blood sugar regulation is a roller coaster for many, and it greatly impacts the quality of your life. With energy dips and spikes during the day, you are “wired but tired,” and hypoglycemic episodes can leave you feeling weak, jittery, and exhausted.
You may have lingering fatigue during the day and then are wide awake at night and cannot fall asleep, despite being completely exhausted. With lack of sleep, blood sugar problems become worse and all other symptoms, too. There is also the familiar midafternoon slump that can really affect your ability to concentrate on tasks. You can feel overwhelmed when doing the smallest of tasks or feel pressured. The resilience and stamina reserves needed to go to battle daily are not available when you are experiencing blood sugar swings.
If you wake up between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m., this can be related to hypoglycemia, and it can be difficult to fall asleep again—especially if the mind is active with stressful thoughts or worries that keep you up. Fevers and night sweats from Babesia can keep you up, or the heart palpiptations from Bartonella might kick in when you are trying to sleep. It is during these times, in the darkness of the night, that you can lose hope and wonder if you will ever get better. You might not be able to get to sleep until the early morning. No wonder you feel tired from the moment you get up in the morning.
You are not alone.
Cardiovascular, vagus nerve and nervous system dysfunction can result in a faster resting heart rate and excessive low blood pressure upon standing. This is known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and it is common with chronic Lyme.This must be treated by a health professional. With this condition you may also feel dizzy, cold, and exhausted. Hypoglycemia, dehydration, heavy metal toxicity, nutrient deficiencies such as a magnesium or vitamin B-complex deficiency, can exacerbate heart-related symptoms. Do get yourself checked out by a cardiologist if you are experiencing any heart-related symptoms,—a functionally minded and Lyme-literate cardiologist would be best.
Sugar cravings are not uncommon when stress is too high and an energy crisis is present. When the body is in stress mode, glucose (sugar) is the preferred source of energy because it can be converted quickly into energy. With ongoing stress the body creates a new software program that runs on sugar, as it needs quick energy, instead of using the more complex primal mechanism of burning fat as a fuel source. Glucose will provide a lot less total energy than fat and the body will soon run out of energy, craving more sugar. In comparison, the body does well when fat can be used for energy, because it provides much longer-lasting energy without slumps or hypoglycemia.
Blood sugar balance is very much affected by what, how much and when we eat. Besides too much sugar in the diet, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can also be related to dehydration, low mineral status, thyroid dysfunction, cortisol deficiencies and medications.
To get a better understanding of how to manage blood sugar imbalances, it is also important to consider that blood sugar control is very much affected by how we respond, and adapt, to any perceived stress in our lives. Social stress, work difficulties, family arguments, and other nervous system stimulants including Wi-Fi will also adversely affect blood sugar balance.
It is important to see the big picture when living with persistent Lyme. Sleep matters greatly as a restless night can induce carb cravings, and a larger insulin response to starchy or sugary carbohydrates eaten in the morning.
Any perceived threat will induce a rise in blood sugar as the body gears up in survival mode, and that is a primal protecive mode. High blood sugar is followed by a spike in insulin that results in a dramatic blood sugar drop, and then you do not feel very well. Over time, chronic spikes and dips contribute to metabolic and hormonal problems. This is part of the complex picture of insulin resistance, weight gain, blood pressure problems, diabetes type 2, estrogen dominance and leptin resistance. A common drug prescription for insulin resistance and PCOS is Metformin™, which depletes vitamin B12 and thus can contribute to neuropathy and memory problems.
Besides dietary, lifestyle, EMF and mental stress reducing therapies, effective blood sugar support can include herbal supplements such as berberine (avoid with severe hypoglycemia), bitter melon, gymnema, and Korean red ginseng, all of which support kidney and liver function in addition to blood sugar balance and insulin sensitivity. (Korean white and black ginsengs are the same plant as the red, Panax ginseng; they are processed differently for different uses.) Minerals that are needed to regulate blood sugar and insulin include chromium, magnesium, copper, vanadium, manganese and zinc, and these are deficient in our soils and foods today. Adrenal support is essential with all blood sugar concerns.
Here are top five tips fir better blood sugar balance:
1. Eat within the first hour of waking up. Include a source or protein and fat with a whole grain carb or a single fruit serving.
2. Nourish every 3-4 hours. Skipping meals is a big stress for the body. This results in an energy crisis and the body will use its internal resources such as muscles and hormones to compensate for a lack or fuel from food. Be mindful of the foods you eat, sit down in a calm environment and place your technological devices away from your side. Focus on what and how you eating. Chew your food and enjoy this act of self-nourishment.
3. Avoid all simple sugars, fruit juices, sodas that spike your blood sugar. In this I include artificially sweetened drinks and iced teas. Limit coffee consumption to one cup per day with a meal – if you like coffee and tolerate it. All contribute to feeling wired but tired, raise blood sugar and insulin, which will support unwanted weight gain.
4. Lower your stress. This is easier said than done. Take stock of your daily life: Are you over scheduled, where you can delegate or outsource tasks that give you more free time to do fun things?Exercising on a regular basis is imperative getting enough sleep is too. At night, put up your feet, listen to some calming music while you wind down after a busy day.
5. With stress, we need more fuel so we can meet the demands appropriately. Consider supplementation with a B-complex, magnesium and adrenal support support, e.g. ashswaganda. All matter with stress handling and blood sugar balance. When we are stressed, we need more of these and often our nutritional needs are not met alone by foods. Carb cravings are prevalent and it is easy to overeat.
For more tips and information on how you can better manage your blood sugar and weight, sign up for Rika’s upcoming book
A comprehensive and holistic guide when living with Lyme disease.
Talk to you soon,