Blood sugar is one of the key foundations of optimal health, and many functions in the body depend on it being at a healthy balance. Often called blood glucose level, it is one of the two most regulated systems in the body. The other is oxygen delivery to the cells. Without these two systems, your body cannot survive.
When talking about blood sugar balance, let’s look at these three terms:
Hyperglycemia is another term for high blood sugar. It’s normal to have a spike in blood sugar after a meal, but chronically high blood sugar causes severe health issues.
Insulin resistance describes what happens when you consume a large amount of refined carbs with very little fat and protein. Your blood sugar spikes very high and the pancreas frantically overcompensates with insulin release This overcompensation of insulin eventually causes insulin resistance, which leads to Type 2 Diabetes if poor dietary practices are continued.
Continual elevation of blood sugar damages the insulin receptor sites making it extremely difficult for the glucose to reach the cells where it is needed. Symptoms include cravings for sweets that don’t go away even if sweets are eaten, increased thirst, fatigue after meals and frequent urination.
Hypoglycemia is often referred to as low blood sugar, but it really is an indication of glucose fluctuations. Glycogen, the sugar stored in the liver, is responsible for raising blood sugar in-between meals and should prevent hypoglycemia. Stress and hormonal imbalances, however, reduce the body’s ability to store glycogen.
Hypoglycemia can also occur after a high-carb, low-fat meal when excessive insulin pushes too much sugar into the cells. Symptoms include irritability (feeling “hangry”), lightheadedness, shakiness, and fatigue between meals, often relieved by eating. This results in surges of insulin production, rather than elevated levels as with the insulin resistant. However, either one of these will cause problems because there is not a steady stream of blood sugar available for energy production.
What Causes Blood Sugar Issues?
Some things that can cause or continue blood sugar imbalances include improper eating habits such as too much sugar, carbs, and processed food – along with not enough healthy fat – and other health concerns like adrenal fatigue, liver dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies, underlying infections, heavy metal toxicity, food allergies, inflammation, and stress.
Hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) helps us view the body as a whole. Through nutrition, lifestyle, detoxification and supplementation based on the HTMA, we can focus on the underlying stress response pattern in the human body, rather than chasing symptoms. Ways that we can see possible trends toward blood sugar imbalances on an HTMA are:
- A sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.5:1. A low ratio is associated with chronic stress on the liver, pancreas, kidney and cardiovascular system.
- The presence of toxic metals such as cadmium, copper, lead, arsenic, aluminum or iron. All these can interfere with the vital minerals such as zinc, chromium, selenium and others.
- A hair calcium/magnesium ratio of less than 3:1 or greater than 10:1 are possible indicators of blood sugar imbalance.
- A zinc level less than about 12mg%. Zinc is needed to manufacture insulin, secrete insulin and extend the action of insulin. Low zinc can predispose one to iron, copper and other toxic metal poisonings that can affect the pancreas and other organs.
- Low levels of chromium, manganese, and/or selenium. These minerals are essential for proper glucose metabolism.
Imbalanced blood sugar levels can lead to health issues such as:
- Lack of energy/fatigue
- Depression/mood swings
- Sleep disturbances/trouble staying asleep
- Weight gain
- Adrenal fatigue, followed by thyroid issues and other endocrine issues
- Hormone imbalances
- Yeast overgrowth
- Mineral deficiencies
- Vision impairment
- Mental clarity/function decrease
As you can see, it’s clear that having good blood sugar balance is key to overall health. Again, it’s one of the two most tightly regulated systems of our body. Every aspect of our health is at risk when we don’t maintain appropriate blood sugar balance.
Ways To Help Balance Your Blood Sugar
Just like everything else in life, managing your blood sugar really is about balance. Here are some important ways to help you do that.
Eat the proper ratio of macronutrients for you as a bio-individual
Eliminate processed foods from your diet, especially refined sugars. Make sure you get enough high-quality fat and protein. Starting on a Blood Sugar Balancing Eating Plan, designed to help recalibrate your body’s sugar control circuits is a great place to start. The human body was designed to fuel itself on foods that come from the earth or are supported by the earth – not from a box, can or bag.
Use the proper fuel
Have you ever had a wood stove or a campfire? If so, you know that small pieces of wood and paper are typically used to start a fire, then larger pieces are added on. Once the fire is going, it burns long and hot as it feeds on the logs. When the fire starts to go low, simply add another log to keep it burning. The same is true of the type of fuel you use to feed your body. Sugar and simple carbs are like paper or kindling, and healthy fat is like the logs.
So what happens if all you have is kindling or bits of paper to feed the fire? You’ll be spending all your time adding more fuel because it burns up too quickly. Consider animals such as horses. What do you see them doing all day long? Their faces are on the ground continually because, for them, eating is a constant need. We have much better things to do with our time!
The ultimate goal is to become a “fat burner” rather than a “sugar burner” as this forces the body to adapt to fat as a primary source of fuel. This removes the constant need for “blood sugar” or glucose derived from carbohydrates as your energy source. Healthy fat burns better, longer and more consistently.
Heavy metals and other toxins can interfere with glucose handling.
Supplement properly for mineral deficiencies
Mineral deficiencies can be determined through a Hair Mineral Analysis. Magnesium, zinc, and chromium and more play a role in blood sugar regulation. Supporting your adrenals with either adaptogens or glandulars (depending on what stage of adrenal fatigue you might in) will also be very helpful in trying to balance blood sugar levels.
Make good lifestyle choices
Make sure to get adequate sleep, movement, and stress management. These all play a role in balancing blood sugar.
Consider measuring your blood sugar
I like to suggest that some clients use a glucose meter to help balance blood sugar.
We can take hints from our body about our blood sugar level from some of the symptoms mentioned above (like feeling “hangry”) but the only way to truly understand your blood sugar levels is to use a glucose meter.
This is a pretty affordable and easy option, and the only reoccurring expense is the test strips. I even like to take my blood sugar readings at least once a week or so. This helps me stay on track with my blood sugar, although by now I know how to keep it pretty balanced. You may find it helpful to monitor your blood sugar daily for a month while you’re tweaking your diet.
Look into essential oils
There are several essential oils that can help regulate your blood sugar levels as well, such as Thieves®, cinnamon, clove, coriander, and Ocotea.
Is it time to start balancing your blood sugar?
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not to be construed as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical condition. These statements made have not been approved by the FDA, nor should they be taken as a substitute for medical advice from a licensed physician.
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