Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Hypoglycemia Forum

Fix Your Adrenals, Fix Your Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) commonly occurs in Adrenal Fatigue due to the combination of low cortisol and high insulin levels during stress of any kind. Low cortisol levels lead to a slowing of glucose (blood sugar) production and high insulin levels lead to increased demand for glucose.

This increased demand and decreased availability of glucose creates a state of hypoglycemia. As a result the body cells do not get the glucose and other nutrients they require. There is a very close relationship between adrenal function and blood sugar levels.

We have known for almost a century that people who suffer from low blood sugar frequently suffer from Adrenal Fatigue. We also know that people who suffer from Adrenal Fatigue almost always have some form of irregular blood sugar pattern, of which hypoglycemia is the most common.

With hypoglycemia there are usually cravings for sugar and there are real physiological reasons why these cravings exist. When the adrenals are fatigued, their cortisol output is diminished, resulting in lower cortisol levels circulating in the blood.

With lowered blood cortisol, the liver has a more difficult time converting glycogen (stored blood sugar) into glucose (active blood sugar) which is necessary for energy production.

Fats, proteins and carbohydrates, which normally can be converted into glucose (gluconeogenesis), also cannot be as readily converted into glucose. These reserve energy pools controlled by cortisol are critical to achieving and maintaining normal blood sugar levels, and thus energy levels, especially during stress.

Further complicating this matter is that during stress, insulin levels are increased because the demand for energy in the cells is greater. Insulin opens the cell wall membranes to take in more glucose in order to provide more energy to the cells.

Without adequate cortisol levels to elevate blood sugar levels by facilitating the conversion of glycogen, fats and proteins to new glucose supplies, this increased demand is difficult or impossible to meet. Cortisol also normally protects the cells against the detrimental effects of excessive amounts of glucose by helping create insulin resistance at the cell membrane to keep too much glucose from flooding into the cell.

When cortisol levels are low, there is less inhibition of this process, further reducing energy supplies. All this combines to produce low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

People with Adrenal Fatigue are in a real bind because when they are under stress (even a mild stress such as a math exam or an argument at home), demand for blood glucose increases, but their fatigued adrenals cannot produce enough cortisol to generate higher glucose levels from reserves.

In the presence of increased insulin and decreased cortisol, blood sugar drops rapidly. If this happens at the same time as an increasing demand for glucose, the stage is set for tragedy.

Without available energy, every energy-requiring mechanism of the cell slows dramatically. This lack of energy combined with the electrolyte imbalance (resulting from decreased aldosterone and other adrenal hormones) produces a cell in crisis.

When energy and electrolytes once again become available and the cellular stress decreases, the damaged cell must be repaired or replaced. The reactivation of normal cell functions is an energy consuming series of events that uses up a greater amount of energy than is normally required.

Yet this has to take place in a situation in which your body is struggling just to produce enough energy to maintain some semblance of homeostasis.

In a physical survival situation this hypoglycemic condition might lead to death because response times slow down, thinking easily becomes confused, muscular strength is weakened, and other problems occur which render the individual too helpless to effectively defend themselves or escape.

Typically in our society in which physical survival is not usually a daily source of stress, people handle their low adrenal related hypoglycemia symptoms with a double-edged sword; they eat something sweet with a coffee or cola. This is a short acting emergency remedy that temporarily increases blood sugar with nearly immediate impact.

They can almost feel it hit the back of the brain as their blood sugar moves out of the basement and shoots for the stars, relieving their hypoglycemic symptoms for about 45-90 minutes.

However, this is inevitably followed by a precipitous plunge back to even lower blood sugar levels than they started with.

Many individuals do this day in and day out, not realizing that hypoglycemia itself is a significant stress on the entire body, and especially on the adrenals. With each plunge their Adrenal Fatigue increases and their hypoglycemia worsens.

To the body, hypoglycemia is a strong stressor, an emergency call to action, that further drains already fatigued adrenals. People who treat their hypoglycemia with sweet snacks and caffeine are on a constant roller coaster ride throughout the day with their blood sugar erratically rising and then falling after each "sugar fix." This throws not only cortisol and insulin levels into turmoil, but also the nervous system and the entire homeostasis of the body.

Therefore, by the end of the day, the person may feel nearly exhausted without having done anything. It might take an entire evening or weekend to recover from this daily/weekly roller coaster ride. It has sometimes been characterized as driving with both the brakes and the accelerator pushed to the floor at the same time.

Low blood sugar times are most likely to occur at around 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and from 3-4:00 PM. The old Dr. Pepper commercials had this pattern of hypoglycemia pegged when they created the slogan encouraging people to have a Dr. Pepper (high in sugar and caffeine) at "10, 2 & 4 each day."

It is not by accident that work breaks are scheduled at about these times or that people typically have something sweet and/or caffeine during these breaks. We have a nation of hypoglycemics. Sixty percent of people suffering from hypoglycemia go on to become diabetics. So is it any wonder that we also have a nation suffering from diabetes in epidemic proportions?

The brain also requires increased energy during times of stress and is especially affected by a lack of glucose. Although it uses several different fuels, when low on glucose, it often does not do well.

In fact, most of the mechanisms involved in regulating blood sugar are designed to ensure that the brain always has adequate glucose with which to function. Many of the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue and most of the symptoms of hypoglycemia are the result of insufficient glucose available to brain tissues.

Hypoglycemia, without proper snack and meal placement, also encourages overeating when food is available. This overeating causes rapid weight gain because the increased levels of insulin circulating in the blood usher that excess energy (glucose) from the extra food into the fat cells where it is stored as fat.

Even though the effects (weight gain) of this process may be undesirable in a hypoglycemic/Adrenal Fatigue condition, this is a beautiful and savvy compensatory mechanism that has helped us survive. Much of human history is a story of feast or famine; excess calories are a luxury in evolutionary terms.

Therefore, after coming out of a situation of temporary famine (hypoglycemia) into a situation of excess calories (fat and sugary junk food), our evolutionary history urges us unconsciously to overeat. Our bodies are designed to store that energy while it is available. In this way hypoglycemia creates a tendency to put on weight.

To avoid gaining weight, those low blood sugar dips that increase hunger and also create a tendency to store energy as fat must be avoided. This means regular exercise and eating the kinds of meals and foods that control hypoglycemia.

It also means eating regular meals and not eating those sugary foods and caffeine that send blood glucose levels on a roller coaster ride and worsen Adrenal Fatigue and hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia often has a food sensitivity or food allergy component. Consuming something that the body is sensitive or allergic to can set off a hypoglycemic reaction or make blood sugar levels more irregular.


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I have been on a hypoglycemia diet while treating my adrenal glands for 3 months now, and my hypoglycemia has improved remarkably. I can even go 5 hours without eating with no symptoms of onset coming on. One thing I do have to watch though is my carbohydrate intake, which usually triggers me to feel really horrible.. but even in that area, things have improved.

Basically, cortisol is what keeps your blood sugar stabilized. Your adrenals produce cortisol. When your adrenals are weak, they aren't producing enough cortisol to keep your blood sugar levels stable, thus hypoglycemia is prevelant. I highly, highly, highly recommend treating your adrenal glands to anyone that has hypoglycemia.

And just so you know I'm being legit, I contacted Dr. James L. Wilson (expert on the adrenal gland health)'s site, and asked them myself about the hypoglycemia. Direct quote fromme: "If I fix my adrenal glands and get them functioning normally again, will my hypoglycemia be gone?" and they replied back, "Yes, in many cases the hypoglycemia dissapears completely when the adrenals are corrected", so there!

This is REAL, this is not another crock of quackery. This is the problem for many of you. Good luck to you all!! I myself can't wait to live life again!
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First Helper Crystalline Green
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replied April 25th, 2007
Hey crystaline
This sound really encouraging , I am seing my doctor who is also a natural remedy expert next thursday and i will talk to him abouth the adrenal fatigue. Ive had problem with hypoglycemia ever since i had a mononucleose 4 years ago , ive been on a good regime for abouth 4 months, i have hard time during the day especially in the afternoon but at night and early in the morning i am usually much better. (rest of the day is a pain). I cannot wait until i can have a normal life again , being able to run my business properly and finishing school. Anyways good luck to you with your regime and everything !!
Etienne
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replied April 23rd, 2011
i need peope to talk to. help? cant control this
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replied April 27th, 2007
I've read Dr Wilson's book and am convinced my adrenals are at least part of my problem. My hypoglycemia is such that my sugar drops rapidly ... within 30 to 45 minutes of eating. High insulin and low cortisol (a symptom of fatigued adrenals) supposedly cause a rapid drop like that. Besides that, I have many of the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue.

I am more concerned about getting healthier and happier than I am about a life of being restricted to a low sugar diet (which I will likely stick with no matter what), but I am greatful to the people on this board who have mentioned adrenal fatigue in the past because it is the posts on this board that have led me to reading about it.

I have an endocrinologist appointment coming up, but I am prepared for the common occurance of adrenal fatigue not being recognized or properly tested for. I am ordering a home lab test kit from ZRT to get some answers for myself (zrtlab.com).

For anyone who liked Dr Wilson's book, I also recommend "Feeling Fat, Fuzzy, or Frazzled" by Richard Shames. It's a long the same lines, but has a broader perspective of hormone imbalance including the thyroid and sex glands. You can check it out at feelingfff.com.

Another resource I've found is stopthethyroidmadness.com. As Thyroid and Adrenal problems often accompany eachother, there are quite a few people on this board with both Adrenal and Hypoglycemia issues.

I have also discovered that yahoo groups is a pretty good resource as well. They have two hypoglycemia groups as well as an adrenal fatigue group.
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replied April 27th, 2007
I almost forgot the most important part of my post ...

Crystalline, how did you begin your adrenal treatment? Did you have a doctor assist you with the supplementation or did you have to figure it out for yourself based on the recommendations in Dr Wilson's book? I really don't want to mess with some of these supplements without some guidance from a physician (hoping that I can find one).
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replied April 29th, 2007
Nah, I took matters into my own hands. At one point though, I did go to the Doctor just to make my parents happy because they kept thinking I was losing my mind because of all these outrageous health claims. They thought I was a manic hypochondriac.. which is totally untrue. I know myself well enough to know how bad I was feeling.

I have really dedicated 100% of my energy and life to healing this. That is the only way you can get better.. you can't have a sublife of going out to the clubs or drinking coffee or whatever because those things will really prevent you from achieving your goal. So I have basically buckled down and really devoted a few months to getting this over with. I'm a very, very, very determined person and I go to the max of extremes to get what I want.. and I really wanted to get better, and now I'm reaping the benefits.

Dr. Wilson's Adrenal Rebuilder is really great.. that has helped me alot. I'm not too sure on his other products, they seem a bit overpriced for what they are. Here is my protocol:

9 AM - 200 mg Korean Ginseng, 500 mg Pantothenic Acid, 50 mg Pregnenolone, 1 Adrenal Rebuilder tablet, 1 g Vitamin C, 1 g Omega-3 Complex, 100 mg L-Tyrosine, 200 mcg Kelp, 200 mg Licorice

12:30 PM - 400 mg Rhodiola Rosea, 500 mg Pantothenic Acid, 2 Adrenal Rebuilder tablets, 2 g Vitamin C, 1 g Omega-3 Complex, 100 mg L-Tyrosine, 200 mcg Kelp, 200 mg Licorice

4 PM - 200 mg Korean Ginseng, 500 mg Pantothenic Acid, 50 mg Pregnenolone, 1 Adrenal Rebuilder tablet, 1 g Vitamin C, 1 g Omega-3 Complex, 100 mg L-Tyrosine, 200 mcg Kelp, 200 mg Licorice

7:30 PM - 400 mg Rhodiola Rosea, 500 mg Pantothenic Acid, 2 Adrenal Rebuilder tablets, 2 g Vitamin C, 1 g Omega-3 Complex, 100 mg L-Tyrosine, 200 mcg Kelp, 200 mg Licorice

Before Bed: 400 mg Ashwagandha, 500 mg Pantothenic Acid, 1 Adrenal Rebuilder tablet, 2 g Vitamin C, 1 g Omega-3 Complex, 100 mg L-Tyrosine, 200 mcg Kelp, 200 mg Licorice

This regimen has helped me to get where I am now... it has everything that you need to recover quickly and safely. All these supplements cover every department of the adrenals.. Korean Ginseng/Rhodiola Rosea/Ashwagandha all strengthen the glands.. while Pregnenolone/Adrenal Rebuilder/Licorice help produce the missing hormones that your adrenal glands AREN'T producing, giving your adrenals a break from having to work so hard, which means they are resting.. and that combined with the strengthening from Korean Ginseng/Rhodiola/Ashwagandha.. it is a QUICK recovery. The other supplements like Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin C, Omega-3, & L-Tyrosine are also very important.. so don't write those off. They are necessary for the adrenals to start functioning well again. And I use kelp to help support my thyroid, which is usually also fatigued and worn out if you have Adrenal Fatigue. It costs a bit of money, but I always say that I would go $1,000,000,000 into debt if I could just feel happy again.

It may seem like alot of work... but if you are determined and strong enough to fight through this, then you will come out at the end victorious, happy, healthy, and stronger than ever. Good luck to you all!
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Users who thank Crystalline Green for this post: Konnor5092 

replied April 29th, 2007
Crystalline,

Did you do the blood pressure test in Wilson's book? I have many of the symptoms and failed the iris test miserably, but my blood pressure is normal and increases when I stand as it's supposed to.
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replied April 29th, 2007
No, I actually never read Dr. Wilson's book... just articles online. But I can tell now that my blood pressure is higher than it use to be (which is a good thing concerning adrenal fatigue) because my heartbeat is alittle quicker.
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replied April 10th, 2009
My problems with Hypoglycemia
Hello,
I am needing some advice and input about my problems with hypoglycemia. About 2 years ago, I began my battle with this condition. It seemed to come from nowhere, and I was very lost about how to treat it. I have been going to a nutritionist for the past two months now, and she has put me on a Diabetrol and Bio-Chrome supplement. I also monitor my blood glucose levels, but the times that I am feeling the worst, my glucose levels turn out to be just fine. This is very odd and I have become very confused on whether I actually have hypoglycemia, or if it is something else.
My nutritionist has also guided me on what to eat and what to stay away from. I take the supplements and eat my healthiest, but my condition is ongoing and is consuming my life. I feel tired all the time, and I can't remember the last time I actually felt normal. I worry alot, and I just want to be able to find a clear answer to what I may have. I have tried my hardest to stick to the guidelines, but this condition has deeply affected me. I have become less aware of my surroundings, and become confused easily. I have also noticed that I have become a quieter person, and just don't care as much about things anymore.I often find myself getting upset even just by thinking about the fact that I have a problem. I have the symptoms of a hypoglycemic, but when I check my glucose levels it is just normal. I just need some input on what I might have because I just don't know.
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replied April 11th, 2009
I'm a bit confused on this topic though, because I don't know which way round it goes. It could be either right? Stress can cause hypoglycemia, and hypoglycemia (through depleted adrenals) can cause stress? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Smile
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replied April 16th, 2009
Hi Vickster.

I don't believe there is a reliable opinion to which causes which.

KeepTheFaith, have a little look into the possibility of Candida. This can be a cause of hypoglycemia, and you will find the symptom sets between adrenal fatigue and candida are almost identical. Particularly look into this if you have issues with delayed food intolerance or any digestive difficulty.

Good luck!
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replied April 27th, 2009
How is Adrenial fatique curred?
How is the adrenail problem curried or put unter control? What foodd or medicine will heilp make it go away?
Most people and doctors say the causes of hypoglycemia is idiopathic in nature, meaning they do not know why it comes up in some and not others.
Well?
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replied July 28th, 2009
Re: How is Adrenial fatique curred?
dutchmann2 wrote:
How is the adrenail problem curried or put unter control? What foodd or medicine will heilp make it go away?
Most people and doctors say the causes of hypoglycemia is idiopathic in nature, meaning they do not know why it comes up in some and not others.
Well?


You can have an adrenal stress profile test to determine the specific nature of your adrenal imbalance. Depending on the result of this test it can be addressed with different supplements, depending on whether you are trying to raise or reduce cortisol.
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replied September 2nd, 2009
I never paid attention to the subject of Adrenal Fatigue before thinking it had nothing to do with me but something made me look into it and I have to say, Wow! That is me! (Appt for testing scheduled to verify.)

I just got Dr. James L. Wilson's book yesterday and have actually had moments when I laughed while reading, it's such a revelation.

I couldn't put my finger on when or why the hypo started but I can with the adrenal fatigue to within a couple of months, five years ago. The adrenal fatigue definately came first for me. I take this as fantastic news because there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank you, Crystalline, so much for this post!
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replied September 2nd, 2009
While I'm here, I have a hypo related question for the room. I can't seem to think through this one.

I haven't been able to record a spike in my blood sugar, just a drop. I don't know if it is just happening too fast or not happening at all. My drop generally starts 15-20 minutes after eating and bottoms out at 45-60 minutes. I have tested at 10 minutes and still not found a spike. I can't imagine going from a spike to a drop in under 10 minutes so I am pretty sure it isn't happening.
Do you thin this could be cortisol related?

I'm one of those people who has to know the process of how things work to fully understand something and I'm lost of this one.
Any opinions would be greatly appreciated!
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replied April 23rd, 2011
are there any open conversations regarding hypo? I am also desperate for help
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replied February 29th, 2012
A very cheap and efficient diet.
Hey, I like very much this page and the comments, it is exactly the problem I am facing at the moment and I know there is more to discover.

I started just with the book "Potatos not Prozac" that is basically a diet and helped a lot. Not many rules to follow. It also talks about the blood sugar level and other aspect that afects humor.

I fell for the first time I will be a happy person and I won't fell aging 5 years every year. 90% of the problem solved.

Then I noticed that the problem described in the book started to desapear as I didn't have it. So must be something else to investigate.

I believe theres no way to ignore sugar/carbohydrate that is the first lesson. The second would be investigate which is my weakest part. I will be visiting an endocrinologist soon to continue this.
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