Low Blood Sugar After A Meal – Do you get a buzz from your morning coffee or smoothie, but lose steam with each passing hour? You may feel irritable, tired, shaky, and light-headed; it’s harder to stay focused.
And then you feel lifted after lunch, but you crash in the afternoon? You eagerly await your 4 o’clock coffee or chocolate chip muffin – and that’s it
In a recent article I explained that blood sugar is the amount of sugar, technically glucose, in your blood at any given time. It is your body’s preferred fuel source (and not to be confused with table sugar). You normally store glucose efficiently and take it up when you need fuel.
So in this blog let’s go deeper into troubleshooting and managing hypoglycemia. What does this mean, and how can we correct it?
If youare tired of the blood sugar roller coaster and want to rely on strong mood, energy and focus, read on.
Do you find a sweet spot in your day when your mind is clear, you are motivated, focused and ready to go? This is due to an organic compound called ATP,
ATP drives and fuels every biochemical pathway in your body, and there are thousands of them. Check out this impressive map to see your unique biochemical pathways.
Fortunately, you don’t need to understand these complicated processes to recalibrate your blood sugar. But do you want one of them to not work? Of course not. But, unfortunately, bad behavior can and does happen.
You may just experience a disturbance like feeling “off” while part of you is hungry for fuel. This happens when you can’t maintain a steady supply of glucose and can’t make enough ATP.
You need ATP to repair tissue, promote growth, make hormones, clean out toxins, and break down fat—just about everything in your body. And you have to do it without stopping.
Anyone who wants to maintain good health or recover from a chronic condition needs to stabilize their blood sugar. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked in healthcare unless the lab scores are out of range.
If you’re someone who tends to get shaky or crabby between meals, you might think of yourself as having low blood sugar.
You carry small packets of almond butter, protein bars, trail mix or cheese sticks in your backpack or purse. You keep track of the clock and can plan your day yourself with snacks and meals to manage your blood sugar.
You may no longer feel “real” hunger in your stomach; you only know it’s time to eat when you feel shaky, tired, anxious, irritable, or have trouble thinking. Unfortunately, by the time you have these symptoms, your nervous system is in trouble. Shut down cellular functions.
Then you feel better after you eat: you can focus, feel more creative and have more energy.
And if you have diabetes and have low blood sugar, the symptoms can be worse: sweating, pale skin, palpitations, or even loss of consciousness. So low blood sugar is a serious matter.
If you have diabetes and low blood sugar, please work with your doctor to manage your diet and insulin dose immediately. Maybe you want to
You may not have the classic symptoms of low blood sugar, as mentioned above. Dysregulation of blood sugar can manifest in less obvious ways, such as:
You can have a healthy diet and normal body weight, but still have many of these symptoms.
If so, what happened? Let’s look at one of the blood sugar regulators, your adrenal glands.
Your adrenals are a pair of small, triangular glands located above your kidneys. They have many important roles, including:
After acute or prolonged periods of long days, little sleep, tons of work, and high stress, the adrenals can become stressed and no longer function properly. (Oh and let’s not forget our days of junk food and partying until tomorrow!)
When youconsume glucose from a meal, your central nervous system signals your adrenals to produce
, the hormone that releases glucose reserves and maintains a reliable, steady supply of glucose to all the cells in your body. This gives you constant ATP, or energy.
Along with the classic signs of hypoglycemia, you may notice a cluster of symptoms related to low adrenal function. This includes:
My clients are often surprised when I suggest that this common complaint could be a blood sugar problem. Here’s why:
Remember, every cell in your body needs a constant supply of glucose to make ATP. After a few hours of sleep, you are completely dependent on the gentle release of cortisol
But if your adrenals don’t produce enough cortisol or if you don’t have enough glycogen stored in your liver, then your body switches to “plan B”: flight or flight mode.
, to break down glycogen that is in deep storage. And this arousal will wake you up, possibly with anxiety or even heart palpitations.
Lack of sleep or returning to sleep is often a classic sign of low blood sugar. And it’s not one…
First, your brain. It needs a constant supply of glucose. Without enough fuel, you can feel sad, depressed, anxious and angry. You may feel tired and have trouble focusing. Some people notice that their vision becomes blurry.
Let’s talk about circulation. Are your hands and feet cold? Are your nails cracked, dry and brittle? Is your scalp dry, flaky, itchy or is your hair falling out? Without enough fuel, you can also have poor circulation, so fuel doesn’t reach your head, hands or feet, which interferes with normal functioning. Frequent periods of low blood sugar can cause any of these symptoms and more.
Blood sugar and hormones? I think we underestimate how stressful hypoglycemia is. Stress hormones are produced (cortisol, epinephrine) which can suppress other hormones, including insulin, as well as sex and thyroid hormones. Also remember that low blood sugar means that part of you is not getting fuel. Any metabolic, hormonal or enzymatic process can be lost if it is starved.
If you have any of the symptoms listed in this article, you’ve probably been told that “some people are like that,” or that it’s getting old, or “it’s just hormones,” or that it runs in the family.
Do you see yourself in the following diagram? It is not uncommon to say, “I have everything!”
While you can switch between high and low blood sugar, feeling like you’re on a roller coaster, one pattern is usually dominant.
As I explained in my first article about blood sugar balance, it is possible to see blood sugar throughout the day. You may experience it as shaky and tired, but after a meal you feel better for a while. Then you get sleepy, foggy or have a huge sugar craving. You have a coffee or a granola bar to top it off, only to crash a few hours later. You are back to feeling irritable, shaky and tired. This is a good example of “unstable blood sugar.”
So how do you navigate this shifting terrain? You can start with some tests, then look at the possible causes.
Your doctor may order a fasting blood glucose test. Labs often say that normal glucose is between 70 and 99 ml/dL. But an ideal range is actually between 85 ml/dL and 99 ml/dL.
Is an enzyme that modulates glucose metabolism in your cells. It drops when blood glucose drops and is a possible sign of hypoglycemia. Side note, according to this article you can have low LDH if you use a lot of vitamin C. Good to know!
Glucose tolerance test: Usually ordered when diabetes is suspected, a longer glucose tolerance test can give you and your doctor an idea of what happens after you eat sugar. If you can’t control sugar, further exploration may be in order.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM): These are patches with small needles that are inserted under your skin. They act as sensors to control blood sugar and are often used by people with high blood sugar. But if you are curious about checking your blood sugar for a few weeks, you can get your doctor to prescribe it. The sensors are paired with a smartphone or smartwatch to alert you with alarms when you are out of range.
There are three types of hypoglycemia. This article is mostly focused on the first type: functional hypoglycemia. But I want to mention something if you need to investigate further.
1. Functional hypoglycemia is when you have normal fasting blood glucose, but you have symptoms of low blood sugar, especially if your LDH is below 140. .
2. A doctor can diagnose you with “real hypoglycemia”, sometimes called pathological hypoglycemia, if your fasting blood sugar is below 50-65 ml / dL, depending on your doctor’s standards. Diabetics can fall into this category due to excessive intake of insulin.
3. Reactive hypoglycemia is the symptoms of low blood
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