Hormones: What’s Blood Sugar Got to Do With It?
September 14th, 2016 by admin
Hormones, inflammation and blood sugar…
How do they connect?
I work with people who have inflammatory symptoms and autoimmunity, and most of them are women, who also have hormonal imbalances occurring simultaneously. Most practitioners treat hormonal imbalances with hormones. This is can help, but it doesn’t treat the root causes, nor does it necessarily make a person healthier. In Functional Nutrition, we treat hormone imbalances primarily with diet, lifestyle, and secondarily with supplements and herbs. This natural, root cause approach, actually does make people healthier.
What if I told you that you could make a huge dent in reducing inflammation and balancing your hormones (not to mention skyrocketing your energy levels, mood and focus), by eating for optimal blood sugar?
Well, you can. I’m actually telling you that. Blood sugar imbalance is one of the core imbalances we look for and treat in Functional Nutrition. Remember the H.I.D.D.E.N core imbalances from last week? Blood sugar imbalances (dysglycemia) falls under Hormones. This will make sense very soon.
Research shows that swings in blood sugar levels (you’ve experienced these–they start with a carb-rich, often low fiber, low protein meal or snack, and end with you feeling ravenous an hour or two later and giving into intense cravings for something salty, crunchy and/or sweet) contribute to the increased production of inflammatory chemical messengers by your immune system. In other words, being on the blood sugar roller coaster, as I call it, drives inflammation.
And if you have inflammatory symptoms or a diagnosis of any kind, being on the blood sugar roller coaster is making things worse. In turn, getting off of the blood roller coaster can make things a lot better.
Blood sugar imbalances are also a set up for hormone imbalance.
Your hormones all exist together in a delicate dance. If one hormone is being over or under produced, the others will suffer as well. When you spike your blood sugar with a bowl of sugary oatmeal and/or a chai latte (this is yummy, I know, but not a body-balancing combo), your body responds with the hormone insulin, which brings your blood sugar levels back down by telling your cells to open up and let those sugars inside.
With the kind of surge that a sugary meal or drink creates, however, there is an overproduction of insulin. This over-correction will cause a low blood sugar in the near future, which means more cravings for more carbs and sugars, in order to get your blood sugar back up.
And the cycle just continues. All. Day. Long. Day after day, year after year.
When you have high levels of circulating insulin (which we can see by running a fasting insulin or even a Hemoglobin A1C level), this causes estrogen levels to increase as well. Typically, when estrogen levels increase, testosterone levels decrease. This is just a sampling of the disruption that occurs, without following the entire cascade of ensuing hormone imbalances.
High insulin levels also lead to increased appetite and storage of abdominal, or visceral fat. Increased abdominal fat storage leads to more inflammation.
Now, optimizing blood sugar isn’t EVERYTHING, because nothing is, but it is HUGE.
I have a client who, before working with me, had done some fairly decent diet/detox programs and felt better for some time, before eventually going back to her old ways, feelings, moods and utter discomfort in her body. What she did not get from those books and their mostly sound advice on WHAT to eat, combined with handy meal plans and recipes, was how to ensure that the good food she was eating would actually keep her blood sugar levels steady (and personalized Functional Nutrition counseling, testing and coaching, I might add). You see, it’s not just about eating good food. It’s about making sure you have it in the right balance, at the right intervals throughout the day, for you.
What’s more, most of us are stressed to max, and often more so than we realize or let on. I find that the people who are coming to me for help or even just a little arm chair advice, have some level of adrenal dysfunction. Your adrenals produce your stress hormones, which you need for a healthy stress response. The stress hormone cortisol is tightly linked with insulin.
See where I’m going here?
If you have elevated levels of cortisol, because you’re always on alert or worrying about work, health, family and social stressors (or you have physiological stress, such as a gut or stealth systemic infection), your insulin levels will surge as well. And you already we know what happens when insulin levels surge.
Furthermore, when we accrue years of chronic stress, our adrenals eventually decide to produce less cortisol, in order to protect us from stress. That’s nice and all, but low levels of cortisol leave us feeling zonked and completely overwhelmed by things that used to be “no sweat”. Because of the relationship between cortisol and insulin (and the way that we’re eating), we also have little ability to balance our blood sugars, and so we find ourselves on the blood sugar roller coaster, pretty much all of the time.
I call this inflamed in the membrane (which also does lead to being inflamed in the brain). I know. It’s funny, but it’s not really funny…
Eating for optimal blood sugar is one of the foundations of restoring adrenal function, in addition to balancing our hormones, taming inflammation, restoring our energy levels and stabilizing our moods.
It’s a wonder drug, except it’s not a drug. No drug can do this. It’s a diet and lifestyle change. It’s natural medicine.
Eating for optimal blood sugar, which I find that even the smartest and most educated people do not know how to do, is basically where I start with my clients, and it’s basically where we will start this Fall in my upcoming 6-week Functional Nutrition group experience.
I’ll be divulging more details over the next couple of weeks, but for now, I can tell you that the dates for the program are Monday October 17, through the week of November 21st.
Yes, that last week is the week of Thanksgiving. I’m taking you all the way up to start of the holiday season, and I’m doing it on purpose. I want to you succeed. I want you to carry your newfound habits, knowledge and empowerment, right through the 2016 holiday season and throughout the rest of your long, happy life.
If that sounds like it’s just what the Functional Nutritionist ordered, then stay tuned for more details and registration information over the next couple of weeks.
I will be pairing each participant up with a buddy for added support and accountability, so if you have someone you’d like to do this with, start talking to them now! If not, don’t worry. You will get a buddy, no matter what (unless you REALLY don’t want one)!
If you’re interested, start by downloading my free E-Book on unraveling disease, and you’ll also receive updates about the Root Cause Reset Preview Call, as well as registration.
I hope this serves you well. Here’s to wellness BEYOND the status quo!
Health & Happiness,