Medical Questions > Mental Health > Panic Attacks Forum

Panic attacks caused by refined sugar.

Forty years ago, as an electronic technician, I became interested in neurology, at circuits in the brain and comparing them to electronic circuits. The led me to design and build a range of biofeedback equipment to induce a deep trancendental or Alpha state of “no mind”as I came to believe that this was a healing state. Among these was a galvanic skin monitor or GSR that measures skin conductance which increases as one relaxes. A simple device with two electrodes connected to two fingers with an oscillator who's pitch decreased as one relaxed. Now I wanted to use it for migraine sufferers so the oscillator had to go and I coupled it to a bed lamp with a low wattage globe, the idea being to extinguish the lamp by relaxing.
To better understand what was going on I began to study biochemistry and endocrinology, concentrating on diabetes 1 as it is a deregulation of not just blood sugar, but of protein. fat and bone metabolism. To better understand blood sugar regulation I bought a blood glucose monitor and did two 5 hr GTT (glucose tolerance tests) on myself, one using glucose and one using a piece of toast with avocado on it to compare the difference between the single sugar and that of starch. There was a radical difference, the one with glucose having a sharp rise and fall compared to the toast which was much flatter. Now what excited me about the one using glucose was that when my blood glucose fell sharply I became very confused and had visual disturbances. I HAD IDENTIFIED THE CONFUSION BEFORE A MIGRAINE HEADACH as linked to the fall, that it DIDN'T just happen out of the blue as neurologists claimed.
So I upgraded my test equipment and now added a blood pressure and heart rate monitor, a multimeter to measure skin conductance and a finger temperature monitor. (Later I was going to add EEG, EMG and ECG with all data recorded into a computer. I had a lot of this stuff already built when I was bankrupted) THIS IS MY FORTE, WHERE I COME IN AS AN ELECTRONIC TECH for those critics who want to know where my pHD in medicine is as this equipment is NOT used in path labs but should be. All they test is blood glucose, not even blood pressure. I also did tests every 15 minutes to start off with to catch the peak, something which path labs also don't do. They test every hour which can completely miss the peak.) I started to do 5 hr GTT's on friends, including a schizophrenic and a woman with MS and gluten intolerance. Then one day I inadvertently induced A PANIC ATTACK in a male friend. He didn't let on but wanted out at this point. However it was obvious to me as his FINGER TEMPURATURE HAD FALLEN 3 DEGREES and his electrical resistance had dropped very low. I asked if he was having a panic attack and he reluctantly admitted it. Being so paranoid I reckon that he thought I'd put something in with the glucose. Ok, to the point, the fall in finger temperature is a release of NORADRENALIN which constricts blood vessels to the muscles and in high concentration is associated with EXTREME FEAR. The drop in electrical resistance is caused by a sharp increase in muscle tone rate. This ranges between 100 Hz when relaxed and 600 Hz when frightened. Some time later the same thing happened with a woman friend of mine and she wanted out too.
However, the exciting thing was that the PANIC ATTACK COINCIDED WITH THE BOTTOM OF THE TROUGH IN THE GLUCOSE GRAPH, HYPOGLCAEMIA IN OTHER WORDS, but very severe hypoglycaemia with a very slow rise back toward normal. So panic attacks don't just happen out of the blue either, any more than MIGRAINE. This was about 25 years ago and it was just a few weeks ago that the last pieces of the jigsaw fell into place when I put together a model for schizophrenia. What schizophrenic catatonia really is, being frozen stiff with terror, IN HELL FOR DAYS not just a half hour or so. I've been there about 15 times for 3 or 4 hours each time, the last time about 25 years ago. Every atom in the Universe is conspiring against you, as if hundreds of volts of electricity are going through you and EVERYTHING looks and sounds incredibly sinister and threatening. This IS the Kingdom of HELL, the ONLY Kingdom of HELL. I HAD to find out how it happened and at last I've finally found the keys to the Kingdom of HELL.
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First Helper Believinginme
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replied March 20th, 2012
Experienced User
What IS a Panic Attack?
To answer that question I'd like to refer to a documentary shown on the Australian Broadcasting Commission about researchers who were being tested for cold tolerance before being sent to the Antarctic for the first time. They were immersed in water containing blocks of ice and injected with various hormones to see how each modified their cold tolerance. One of these was NORADRENALIN, presumably because it constricts blood vessels to the skeletal muscles and therefore would conserve energy but must expose the individual to frostbite Almost or all of these people had panic attacks. Because they were NOT told what sort of reaction they would experience, they felt they couldn't trust the department sending them and they all, or most, pulled out their commissions. Okay, in this situation there is no possibility of auto-suggestion as they were NOT told beforehand that they might have panic attacks. I guess that with the attack coming right of the blue this is analogous to someone having an attack out in the suburbs but that would depend on the situation. The researchers would know that there had to be a connection with the injection, whereas someone driving a car in heavy traffic, pulled up at a red light, on a centre lane so unable to pull into the kerb, a police car behind, thinking they've been given a drug like LSD, terrified of losing their mind and going berserk, would be different. In this situation there are all of the elements of a runaway CASCADE which I'll deal with later in “A Model for Schizophrenia”.

THE ROLE OF NORADRENALIN IN THE WILD.
Noradrenalin, like adrenalin, is referred to as a 'fight or flight' hormone. I disagree and I'll explain why. Let's imagine a deer grazing on the African Savannah. A lion suddenly appears and the deer is frightened and takes off. A flood of adrenalin is released from its adrenal glands and from different parts of it's brain. Adrenal constricts or narrows all of the blood vessels to it's gastrointestinal tract including pancreas, gall bladder, liver and kidneys, i.e. everything associated with digestion and assimilation. It's been grazing so all of its energy stores, fat in fat cells and glycogen in muscle cells and liver cells have been topped up so digestion and assimilation can stop. I might defecate as well to offload unnecessary weight. Meanwhile all of it's blood vessels to it's heart, brain, lungs and skeletal muscles, i.e. everything necessary for 'fight or flight are DILATED or opened up to allow MORE blood to flow to these organs. Adrenalin also increases the metabolic rate of these organs so they burn energy at a faster rate. Adrenalin also acts on the liver to stimulate it to break down glycogen to glucose and release it into the bloodstream for fuel as well as stimulate fat cells to release fatty acids and glycerol (glycerine) into the bloodstream as a source of fuel. When the blood glucose level in a relaxed animal falls, the hormone GLUCAGON is released by the ALPHA cells of the pancreas and it act's on the liver to release glucose as will as having a mild stimulatory effect on the heart only.
Suddenly our deer spots another lion coming toward it from the opposite direction as the first so it rushes off to one side, yet another lion, swivels around to rush off in the opposite direction only to confront yet another. It has been ambushed, no escape. It rushes all over the place becoming increasingly terrified and confused as it does. The more frightened it becomes the more confused. Every way it rushes the worse it's situation becomes. It stops dead in it's tracks and freezes, becomes totally immobilised in a state of terror. Ironically, this is the best state that it can be in, given it's situation, as it is LEAST VISIBLE, not moving. Hawk's vision can spot movement from a a great height but is no good when it's prey freezes and is well camouflaged.
Enter NORADRENALIN, the hormone of being frozen stiff with fear and NOT 'fight or flight' as noradrenalin CONSTRICTS all of the blood vessels that adrenalin dilates and has NO METABOLIC EFFECT on skeletal muscles, the very opposite to that needed for 'fight or flight'. These changes CONSERVE enery. It also alters perception to what we would call sinister, increases sensitivity to sound, all changes essential to 'fight or flight'. These perceptual changes may also result from the formation of a range of LSD like hallucinogenic neurotransmitters in the bloodstream and liver, e.g. adrenochrome and orthomethyldopa. More on this later.

NORADRENALIN IN THE CONCRETE WILD>
Ok, but no lions are present, no tangible threats whatsoever trigger most panic attacks, so why a release of noradrenalin in this situation? Here the threat is INTERNAL, not external. It is life threatening cerebral hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar in the brain) due to a malfunctioning liver having run out of glycogen and having an impaired ability to make it from lactic acid coming from the skeletal muscles, thereby triggering the release of adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol, the subject of tomorrows post “A Model of Schizophrenia”. Incidentally there is only one difference between a panic attack sufferer and a schizophrenic and that is a diagnosis applying a label and the very negative consequences of that label as well as the antipsychotic drug that goes with it.
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replied April 7th, 2012
Low blood sugar and panic attacks
This is interesting. I was wondering though, why would it be that panic attacks are brought on by driving, being alone, feeling trapped, etc if it is caused by the low blood sugar. Why all of a sudden is the blood sugar low when I decide to drive alone, or speak with my mother which I find very stressful?
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replied April 10th, 2012
Experienced User
It is the lead up to the stressful situations, not just the situation itself and having had a panic attack previously in the same situation creates an expectation of another arrack. The more you think the more glucose your brain AND muscles use, a stressful situation gobbling vastly more glucose than when relaxed. Just thinking about your meeting with your mum later in the day starts the process. Some people might have a panic attack driving on the same day of the week and in the same place if they believe that there is something peculiar or supernatural about the attack and the place. Remember that there is a lot of paranoia at the time of an attack by definition, and as paranoia creates hypersuggestibility, meaning you can believe in just about anything at the time, like dying and going to Hell, even more hypersuggestibility etc. in a runaway cascade. So the stress leading up to going past the same place at the same time AGAIN from several hours before can trigger another attack thereby adding further to the conviction that there is something very strange going on. In other words it is self induced and what is going on with the Bermuda Triangle phenomenon or an LSD flashback.
A fighter pilot going over the same spot that another aircraft disappeared without trace and believing in flying saucers, thinks that they shot down the previous plane in such a way that there was no debris floating on the water, i.e. vaporised it with a very advanced laser. As he gets closer to the spot he gets more and more nervous and paranoid, gets disoriented, doesn't trust his instruments as he thinks that they have been taken over by some alien power. He thinks that his altimeter is reading wrong when it shows level flight and in actual fact he is going into a dive, especially if he is in heavy cloud and has no reference point to go on. Thinking that he is about to crash he pulls the nose up sharply and climbs at such a sharp angle that he goes into a stall, the stall alarm screaming adding to the paranoia and disorientation. The plane falls vertically nose down and hits the water so cleanly that the plane doesn't break up, fuel tanks don't rupture and leave a slick on the surface and ends up on the bottom in water so deep and on rocky bottom with deep canyons and upward projections that finding it with echo sounders would be very difficult.
The people in the search party boat sent out to try to locate the plane are so paranoid themselves that the skipper doesn't trust his compass, thinks that there is an iron lode in a island nearby deflecting it. A dense fog moves in and the entire crew are starting to wet themselves with fear, feeding each others paranoia with stories they have heard. On the bridge the first mate starts screaming at the captain that they are off course because the echo sounder is showing a sudden rise, no the sounder has been taken over by an alien very evil power, or has it. Heart pounding, engines pounding, fear reaches fever pitch Got to get out of here fast before we get vaporised, hits the throttle and suddenly a sharp rock just under the surface slices open the hull without touching the fuel tanks. The tear is so big and the rocky projection has such a steep rise from very deep water, so that by the time the boat goes down in just a couple of minutes the crew, having gone deep down into the hull to get away from the alien ray, thinking the steel hull will protect them, are trapped. No life boats or liferings unstrapped, nothing loose up top on a ship of this kind and it plunges down into very deep water without leaving a trace.
Even if there was a trace, lots of traces, the next search party sent out are not going anywhere near the spot but will report back that they have done a thorer search of the area and found not a trace. Their commander back on land, knowing they are probably lying, doesn't blame them as sure as hell he'd never go near the area. And of course being military personnel they cannot for one instant admit one iota of cowardice, so they embroider their stories with strange objects in the sky, horrible creatures that rose up out of the water.
All of this is down to blood sugar instability and the fact that military guys do believe a lot of very weird stuff.
Hey, I enjoyed killing off all those military guys. Both pilots had a big cup off coffee laced with sugar to steady their nerves before take off, as did the boat crew on the way to the plane crash site and the urn onboard was working over time.
As I said in my post the brain consumes 40% on average of the bodies total and that rises with increasing neural activity of anxiety, more sharply as fear rises so that the brain begins to run out of glucose to a life threatening degree. As I said with driving it the threat of getting caught on an inside lane at a right hand turn traffic everywhere, horns blazing that actually BRINGS ON the attack. I it is the fear of an attack that brings on an attack. Attacks can also occur right out of the blue, which can be even more frightening.
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replied April 12th, 2012
I am not clear on the connection between sugar and the fear of having another attack. Is this what you are saying: After having had one attack you become fearful of having another and it is this fear that raises the glucose causing the attack which basically is a self-fulfilled prophecy so to speak? It is the fear of another occurrence that sends the sugar up actually causing the attack to happen? What should one do during this time?
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replied April 12th, 2012
Experienced User
No sending it DOWN not up,so the brain is STARVED for glucose. This is the paradox. The cuppa coffee laced with sugar I mentioned sends the blood glucose UP initially then DOWN to a lower level than before. Thanks for this as I must make this point much clearer. This why the name REACTIVE hypoglycaemia, ie low blood sugar in reaction to high blood sugar due too the pancreas releasing too much insulin and too slowly. This overreaction by the pancreas is because it's behind the eightball as refined sugar enters the bloodstream much to quickly for reasons I explain in 'Assimilation and Digestion of Sugars'. The pancreas also loses it's so called 'biphasic' release due to it constantly overreacting. The first phase is the release of insulin STORED in the pancreas and is immediate, the second is insulin MADE by the pancreas which takes about 20 minutes. So sugar comes into bloodstream much to quicky and the pancreas reacts much too slowly. That is they are way OUT OF PHASE with each other, hopelessly disregulated.
This is where the confusion in the medical profession comes from. Normally with healthy liver function a 'fight or flight' reaction causes the blood sugar (glucose) level to RISE due the effect of adrenalin on the liver. This is despite the brain, heart, sleletal muscles and lungs using more glucose, also due to the effect of adrenalin, as there's plenty of liver storage to do both. So blood sugar rises in response to an EXTRNAL threat, exercise etc. Fear associated a perceived threat and due to the release of a lot of adrenalin. No problem, you can SEE and HEAR the threat. You know your'e not going bonkers.
However when there is liver malfunction TWO things are impaired, liver STORAGE of glucose from the diet and it's ability to MAKE glucose (gluconeogenesis) from lactic acid coming from the muscles. Thus NORADRENALIN and even more adrenalin are released to INCREASE production of lactic acid by the muscles, but this can be more than offset by the brain using EVEN MORE glucose due to the cascade of fear, hypersuggestability etc. In this case adrenalin release is in response to an UNSEEN threat, critically low blood glucose. The threat, being UNseen and not understood and you think you ARE going bonkers and all of the social implications of going bonkers creates even more fear.
(Over time a number of changes take place in the brain, ie an increase in the number of dopamine, adrenalin, noradrenalin and serotonin receptors on neurons. As well there is inceased thyroid activity, adrenal medulla activity etc. These all increase emotional REACTIVITY. This is moving toward schizophrenia futher down the track and the formation of hallucinogenic neurotransmitters in bloodstream, liver and brain. However, all of this goes into reverse on eliminating refined sugar and restoring liver function, {and moving to a suburb where there are less guns, IF that's possible.})
What to do about it? Just eliminate refined sugar totally from your diet and you won't have to worry about any psychological exercises, as they will just VANISH. I have yet to finish the part on 'Blood Sugar Regulation in The Body' fom my MIGRAINE post. This precisely explains the SWING in blood glucose caused by eating refined sugar conbined with liver malfunction.
Ok now meds. Could you tell me what meds you are on if any as these can complicate normal blood glucose regulation, ie beta blockers severely inhibit gluconeogenesis. Any problems with this reply please ask as I really appreciate this point you have made as it is critical and the point of MOST confusion. The last thing I want to add is even MORE confusion to the subject of confusion. I'll edit all my stuff to emphasise this point.
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replied April 13th, 2012
Okay...so if I understand you correctly....My blood sugar drops in my brain and this sets the panic wheels in motion? And this radical drop in blood sugar is due to faulty liver functioning caused by refined sugars? Is this correct? I can see where this then becomes almost a self-induced condition where the fear of another attack causes the dropping of the sugars which seems that once the dropping has started there is nothing to do but ride it out so to speak. Over time perhaps the fear isn't even a conscious thought as many of my attacks seem to come from out of nowhere...I am not a worrier, or fearful person and I have been told that stress is the problem...stress from worry and fear...I only fear the attacks and they have all but ruined my life.

I am a mental health professional, a psychiatric emergency specialist, crisis intervention specialist, but have been unable to work for 6 years now as I seem to be in a constant state of panic. I say here that I disagree with your correlation of panic disorder and schizophrenia..but, really I don't care about that currently my focus is on me and ending this panic! I want my life back!

I have had panic attacks for 39 years now. I have had periods of time where I was panic free...over the past 6 years it has become unbearable for me.

When I had my first attack I was put on Valium which made me hallucinate where I could see and feel bugs crawling on me!! I stopped the drug and it went away and I have never taken another drug since and I refuse to. Having worked in the mental health field after my Valium experience I learned a GREAT deal about psychotropic meds and I refuse to be a part of the medicating world. I believe that there is something physically wrong going on in my body and it is causing this to happen to me...drugging me isn't going to fix it.

Have you known of anyone to end their panic attacks by getting off the sugar?

I live in the suburbs...across the street from the ocean...But, I own a gun as I refuse to be a victim
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replied April 13th, 2012
Experienced User
The gun reference was just a metaphor for all of the things we can't control, crime, debt, unemployment, etc. Yeah, panic attack can just come out of nowhere, especially if you havn't eaten for a while or say, drunk a cup of coffee with a lot of sugar in it along with a piece of chocolate a combination which really accelerates the rise and fall. Sugar, caffein and threobromine in this lot and all in Coca Cola. All the stressful situation does is accelerate the fall which would happen anyway. What I meant about the liver pathology was that it was partly induced by the blood sugar swings, the rest being all of the usual, stress, chlorinated water, pesticides, herbicides, booze etc.
No I don't know anybody that has stopped having panic attacks after cutting out sugar. All my sucess has been in migraine. One woman, for 28 years, tried everything, including a shrink when neurologist couldn't help her. She said to me, "To think that I've had to suffer these migraines for all these years because the medical profession couldn't help me and all I had to do was cut out sugar." She felt CHEATED by the medical profession that had robbed her of her life. One bloke had migraines so bad he had to inject morphine. They went for days. It's in my migraine post. It seems so simple it couldn't be true, so nobody tries it to see if it is. All the doctors in the world can't possibly be wrong. No, can't they? You have to check every processed food item you buy. It's all in the 'Breaking the Sugar Addiction' up above. You cannot possibly do yourself any harm now can you? So when the next person asks that question I'll be able to say yeah, Beleivinginme. Let me know tomorrow how you went.
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replied April 13th, 2012
I am off sugar as of 24 hours and have a mild headache...I expected that. Like you say, regardless if it stops the panic or not refined sugar does a lot of damage to the body. I don't drink coke or sweetened teas. But every so often I do go on a candy binge! And, I do like my sugared coffee. I know I won't be able to do away with all sugar, but I know I can drastically reduce it. I don't eat much processed food either, but occasionally I do for the convenience of it. Nor do I eat much red meat, but on occasion I do. I do not drink alcohol.
Yes, crime, unemployment, debt and where I live DRUGS are a big problem...then you have drug addicted people with children and there is the neglect and suffering of those children. Vicious world we have created...no wonder I have panic attacks.
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replied April 17th, 2012
Experienced User
Sorry I haven't replied sooner as my internet connection failed a few days ago and I've only just fixed it this morning. Great that you've made a start. The headache might indicate that your blood sugar is a bit low/going into ketosis periodically due to poor liver storage of glucose as glycogem. Would you consider getting a blood sugar monitor as they are very cheap nowdays and a tube of Ames Ketostix. If you are in ketosis in the morning before breakfast that's a good indicator of poor liver storage. Once you break the addiction you'll end up hating sugar in tea and coffee and everything else. Sugar creates it's own addiction, ie the low following the high. No high no low. I love just black tea and almost never drink coffee. What about exercise to build your liver function. As the panic attacks dissappear you'd feel more confident to get out and about, go for walks along that beach, less paranoid about creepy crawlies. Don't overdo it to start off with as you'll send your blood sugar down. Yeah, I often think that the healthiest person in the US would have panic attacks based on very real threats. I hear about school kids having to go through metal detectors on the way into classrooms and my mind just boggles. Here in Australia that sort of threat just doesn't exist, especially for me living in the middle of a National Park a mile from the nearest road. No creepy crawlies would come in here as they'd just too paranoid. No real danger at all, just what's in their own imagination of THEIR panic attacks. That's your best defence, their imagination. The bigger and more vicious they are the more fertile their imagination. Once you transcend your own paranoia you understand other's and know how to exploit theirs to protect yourself, make them feel they've walked into a trap. All the best. Let me know how you are going.
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replied March 20th, 2012
Experienced User
Breaking the Sugar Addiction.
As my posts are not exactly being mobbed I have decided to put off “The Model of Schizophrenia” and go to ADVICE. As this is the best possible advice for panic attacks it will be the LEAST POPULAR thread of all (to start off with) as it involves a complete lifestyle change.
This was written for migraine, however, exactly the same rules apply for PANIC ATTACKS. There is NO OTHER WAY. You HAVE to get off refined sugar COMPLETELY if you are going to be free of panic attacks and MOODSWING. There are no instant fixes, however I've tried to make it as easy as possible. Getting your liver functioning properly is the other half of the equation and that is a whole lifestyle thing, reducing exposure to environmental toxins, eating mostly fresh fruit and veges, organic if possible so they're not smothered in pesticides and herbicides. Stop drinking chlorinated water. Patch up relations with relatives, friends and neighbours, that soured during the attacks and accept that they cannot possibly understand what they have never experienced.

MIGRAINE (And PANIC ATTACKS) Breaking the Sugar Addiction.
Now it's all very well to say cut out the sugar but if the migraineur is addicted, which he or she is almost certain to be. Saturday morning migraines are common for the obvious reason that many people lay in on Saturday so their blood sugar has had longer to fall. If you get out of bed a bit shaky and sweaty your are more likely to be in ketosis, a certain indicator of reactive hypoglycaemia and depending when and what you snacked on before going to bed So its a very good idea to get some Ames Ketostix to test your urine, better still Diastix which also test for glucose although they can't coincide. If you ARE in ketosis this is a sure indicator of poor liver storage of glucose (as glycogen.).
The addictive cycle goes like this. Gets out of bed hanging out for a cuppa with a fair bit of sugar in it, more likely coffee than tea. Blood sugar shoots up, feeling great for a little while then craving starts again as it plunges back down. Another cuppa and so on all day. So first off you've got to cut down the rest period and have a late snack of wholemeal toast with say avocado on it. Now get out of bed early and toast once again, For a sweetener in cuppa cyclemates I suppose although I hate the taste of those things. You could try glycerine as it is very sweet but doesn't trigger an insulin release. Now your blood sugar will rise much more slowly and fall slowly with a much longer cycle. YOU SHOULD HAVE BROKEN THE CYCLE AND NOW BE TOTALLY MIGRAINE/ PANIC ATTACK FREE (as long as you don't backslide)
OKAY NOW SUGARS. Fruit is okay but if you are very sensitive cut out very sweet fruit like pineapple for a coupla weeks. Fruit juices are out as there is no fibre with them and it's just too much sugar.. As much as it's very good for you honey is out for a coupla months as the sucrose in it has been split by the bees digestive system to fructose glucose and there is no fibre in it. Now for the processed food. Chocolate and cola drinks are deadly as they contain sugar, caffeine and threobromine. Now add a fag and you have the very worst combination of all. Especially if you are very sensitive you've got to weed out sugars in all other processed food root and branch, Look for SUCROSE (TABLE SUGAR glucose, fructose), GLUCOSE, DEXTROSE (another name for glucose), FRUCTOSE, (although it's supposed not elicit an insulin response), just be on the safe side, CORN SYRUP and MALTOSE (glucose, glucose) . As to the lactose in milk bear in mind that humans are the only animal that drinks milk after being weaned. Just see how you go. Once your liver bounces back you could put things back on the diet like milk but not the refined sugars. Anyway, once you've broken the addiction you'll hate the taste of it.
WHOLEMEAL BREAD, PASTA, SPAGETTI, BISCUITS, BROWN RICE.
BOOZE. Unfortunately ALL out. Meaning no parties, no pub. However, once your mood stabilises and your stress level drops as your liver comes good you won't feel like a drink.
EXERCISE. A lot of migraineurs do nothing one day then go at it like a bull at a gate the next and get a migraine. Obviously exercise is great and NECESSARY but it also gobbles up blood sugar, so just go easy to start off with and increase it a bit at a time.
TYRAMINE. A substance in a lot of foods which triggers the release of NORADRENALIN. I'll deal with that later in a separate post.
{PS When I say blood sugar I meant blood glucose, same thing).
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replied March 22nd, 2012
Experienced User
The Physiology of a Panic Attack as well as Epilepsy
This is the theory of what is taking place in the body and brain leading up to and during a panic attack. I will go into blood sugar regulation in detail in later posts. Assume that the dietary sugar has gone into the bloodstream too quickly and glucose shoots up to be followed by a big fall to a very low level because too much insulin has been released. Because the liver is not storing much glucose as glycogen, most of it has gone into the muscles instead, so muscles have to take over the role of the disordered liver. But muscles were not designed for this role.

THE CENTAL MECHANISM.
If there is ONE mechanism central to understanding schizophrenia, migraine, epilepsy etc. it is THIS. Muscle cells cannot release glucose back into the bloodstream as they do not express the enzyme Glucose-6-phosphatase, whereas the liver does. The muscles have to take over the role of glucose storage but because they cannot release it as glucose have to ferment it to lactic acid instead. Adrenalin is required to increase the metabolic rate of the muscles and dilate the blood vessels to wash the lactic acid out, but the dilated blood vessels supply oxygen which stops fermentation. Alternatively noradrenalin does constrict the blood vessel, but has no metabolic effect on muscle cells and of course restricts blood flow. Enter muscle spasm, hot and cold flushes as the two hormones alternate. It seems to be hot first followed by cold
NORADRENALIN is associated with extreme fear, but here it's not fear in response to an external perceived threat. The threat is internal and NOT understood by the person experiencing it thus aggravating the attack. The crisis is life threatening cerebral hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar in the brain) which can only be alleviated by increased lactic acid synthesis by the muscles. Liver pathology means not just impaired glycogen storage but also impaired gluconeogenesis (the liver making glucose from lactic acid) thereby necessitating even more secretion (release) of adrenalin and noradrenalin by the adrenal glands and in the brain 'Panic attack' exacerbated (made worse) by the individual not understanding what on Earth is going on. "I must be going mad". (and all that entails).

THE RUNAWAY CASCADE OF FEAR.
The brain metabolises 40% of the bodies glucose. The more neural activity (thought), the more glucose consumption. The more glucose consumption, the worse the cerebral hypoglycaemia and with it the greater the secretion of adrenalin and noradrenalin. 'Jesus, I'm going to die'
Enter HYPERSUGGESTABILITY plus religion, almost universal in schizophrenia. The more frightened you become the greater the imagination for possibilies. 'I'm going to burn in Hell. I AM IN HELL. (More glucose more noradrenalin) TERROR. I might lose my mind and go berserk!!! Now frozen stiff in a catatonic trance. Noradrenalin now predominates to constrict the blood supply to skeletal muscles persistently, along with immobility of the body to conserve energy. Catatonia is the worst case scenario and can go for DAYS ON END in a psyche hospital. However it doesn't happen these days with the advent of the antipsychotics in 1950.

COMING OUT.
So how does the the individual pull out of the attack? Part of the process of gluconeogenesis is ketosis where fatty acids from fat cells are broken down in the liver to ketones, three different kinds. Two of these come out in the urine and can be tested for using Ames Ketostix, a good idea straight after a panic attack. One, acetone comes out in the breath as the “smell of rotting apples”. Most body cells adapt to using ketones but like ketosis itself this takes time especially with liver pathology.

EPILEPSY.
Now add a black out and convulsions as an alternative to the above runaway cascade. The blackout shuts off the panic cascade thereby conserving glucose and the convulsions PUMP lactic acid out of the skeletal muscles. Veins have non return valves along them so that by the convulsions stretching and contracting them they act as a series of pumps to speed up the delivery of lactic acid back to the liver.
Brain tumours don't directly trigger seizures. They use a lot of glucose the more malignant they become (what's called the Warburg effect)and so exacerbate (make worse) the cerebral hypoglycaemia.
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replied March 23rd, 2012
Experienced User
Reactive Hypoglycaemia
Reactive Hypoglycaemia. Low Blood Sugar in Reaction to High Blood Sugar.

If you suggested to a biochemist that refined sugar was a poison he would probably retort indignantly that it has exactly the same molecular structure as the sugar in an apple, and of course he'd be right. However, this misses the point, as refining the sugar removes it from it's natural context of fibre, as well as minerals essential to it's storage and metabolism e.g. zinc. It's all about the way that refined sugar is regulated in the body vs. sugar in it's natural context.
The subject of blood sugar regulation is probably one of the least understood in all of medicine. It is a black hole. The reason for this is that it was suppressed most forcefully in 1972 (no great conspiracy theories). Let me explain. In 1924 a US physician Seally Harris, read a paper put out by the Canadian discoverers of insulin, Banting and Best, in which they described the symptoms of a diabetic injecting too much insulin and the extreme hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) that ensued (there were no glucose monitors then.) These were tremors, sweats, migraines, convulsions, tachycardia, panic attacks, coma and death in the most extreme case (figures). He knew that many of his patients experienced many of these symptoms, sometimes right out of the blue, like panic attacks. Harris concluded that the culprit was refined sugar in that being stripped of the natural fibre of the cane it was absorbed much too fast into the bloodstream so that the pancreas overreacted, producing far too much insulin which caused the severe hypoglycaemia.
He coined the term for the syndrome 'Reactive Hypoglycaemia', that is, low blood sugar in reaction to high blood sugar or hyperglycaemia. He wrote a paper on migraine which received good acceptance at the time, and this term and the syndrome became orthodoxy for many years. However it eventually began to get up the nose of processed food manufacturers who used refined sugar in their products. By this time the US govt., like so many others, was cutting back on funding of research into health and universities had to rely more and more on said food manufacturers for grants, with large strings attached of course. Principal among these manufacturers were the giant chocolate and soft drink manufacturer and cola manufacturer (you've go no idea of who I mean of course). In 1972 these companies demanded that the US AMA drop the term 'reactive hypoglycaemia' or they would take their money elsewhere. The AMA caved in and the term fell into ridicule even by GP's, as it is today. The 5 hour GTT or glucose tolerance test, a test necessary to clearly demonstrate the abnormal BG swing ceased to exist and of course today no doctor or path lab would do it because of the time involved i.e. the cost. (Actually since I wrote this a number of clinics now do it but it useless as they only test every hour.) I've done quiet a few myself, including a couple on myself. I've added a range of monitors to the test, blood pressure and heart rate monitor, finger temperature monitor, skin conductance monitor, as well as using Ames Multistix to test urine, 8 tests instead of the normal 1 with Glucostix or 2 with Diastix.
Medicare Australia will not fund this test, only the 2 or 3 hr diabetes test which is totally useless because of the short time involved and the infrequency of the tests (one each hour). It is ironic that it was these two companies who were the prime movers in this repression of truth, because BOTH use cocoa and a lot of sugar. Cocoa contains caffeine and a caffeine like substance called threobromine. These three combined cause by far the most unstable blood sugar of all. That giant cola manufacturer buys caffeine from coffee decaffeinators to add to their product to make it even more addictive. Now I've studied this subject extensively for forty years and it is very clear that the main problem is not the pancreas but the inability for the liver to store glucose as glycogen and the extremely convoluted and damaging path that the body has to take to restore the blood sugar level to normal following the fall.
The complete understanding of blood sugar regulation can now only get worse as universities are dumbed down worldwide to attract foreign students and their fees or go bust. I have been told at both the Lorne Vic Aust Cancer and Genome conferences I attended for many years that biochemists no longer study metabolism, which is absolutely absurd. The internet seems to have had a negative effect in this regard as researchers just go online to see just the part of a metabolic pathway they need to conduct an experiment instead of seeing the whole picture. Anyway to work out blood sugar regulation requires a lot more than biochemistry as it also involves at least endocrinology, haematology and physiology The only computer to store all of these pathways is the lump of meat between one's ears. Next, liver pathology in panic attacks.
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replied March 28th, 2012
Experienced User
Digestion and Assimilation of Sugars
The term sugars covers a wide range of compounds, however, I just want to cover the hexoses (6 sided) normally found in food. All dietary sugars are either dimers (2 joined together) or the polymer starch, the exception being honey in which the double sugar sucrose has been hydrolysed by the bees digestive system into single sugars. Fruit sugar sucrose is fructose glucose, milk sugar lactose is galactose, glucose and starch is a long chain of glucose molecules with side branches sticking out from the main trunk. Glycogen, the form of glucose polymer which acts as a storage medium in animal cells is much the same as plant starch except the side branches are located in a different place and cannot be digested in a human's gastro-intestinal tract. Starch digestion begins in the mouth by the enzyme ptyalin and it is broken down to the double glucose molecule maltose by the time it enters the duodenum.
Okay, now to a VERY IMPORTANT POINT. In the natural world all sugars (except in honey) arrive in the duodenum for digestion as DOUBLE sugars, sucrose, lactose and maltose and cannot be absorbed into the body until cleaved into single sugars by the enzymes sucrase, lactase and maltase which are secreted into the duodenum by the EXocrine pancreas. This is where regulation comes in and is so important in stabilising the blood sugar level, The ENdocrine pancreas, located inside the body and which produces insulin in it's beta cells and glucagon in it's alpha cells, monitors blood sugar and it communicates with the exocrine pancreas via the GIP (gastro inhibitory peptide) axis. The idea is that the exocrine pancreas does not secrete the digestive enzymes into the duodenum until it the endocrine pancreas is ready and the exocrine pancreas monitors the presence and level of sugars in the duodenum telling the endocrine pancreas when to begin making insulin. THUS THERE IS VERY TIGHT CONTROL
Insulin takes about twenty minutes to synthesise. However, in the healthy individual there is a residue of insulin remaining in the cells from the previous release, so that there is a so called biphasic release. This residue is to nip in the bud any premature release of sugar into the bloodstream until de nova synthesis has finished and it is lost with reactive hypoglycaemia, as with migraine, because the pancreas is forced to overreact all the time. This loss of biphasic release is destabilising as I will cover in the next chapter.
Now we come to fibre. Plant fibre is composed of lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin. Fibre exerts strong osmotic pressure in solution and when present in the digestive tract pulls against the absorption of the monosaccharides resulting from the cleavage of the disaccharrides by the digestive enzymes. The monosaccharrides, glucose and galactose are actively transported in to the bloodstream, whereas, from memory, fructose enters by passive diffusion, So active transport also acts as a regulator.

REFINED SUGARS.
Now I want to leave the subject of digestion and assimilation and talk about the sugars of the concrete jungle. It is harmful to eat monosaccharides as they disturb blood sugar regulation. Processed foods contain the monosaccharides fructose, glucose, dextrose (another name for glucose) and food manufacturers are desperate to shove as much of this stuff into their 'foods' as possible. Sucrose or refined sugar put into a boiling cup of tea or coffee is hydrolysed into the monosaccharides by the heat whilst the caffeine accelerates the rise in blood sugar.
Caffeine poisons the enzyme phosphodiesterase located on the G stimulatory protein of the RAS (rat sarcoma) signalling pathway thereby preventing the pathway from turning off. Let's say that adrenalin binds to the RAS beta receptor outside the cell and activates it. Inside the cell the (C terminus) part of the receptor, now activated, draws the G protein to it and the G protein is diphosphorylated and thus activated. Activated G protein then migrates to adenylate cyclase and activates it and adenylate cyclase then begins to make cyclic AMP or cAMP which in turn activates the rest of the signal transduction pathway.. Within milliseconds or seconds phosphodiesterase on the G protein dephosphorylates the G protein and it migrates back to a position midway between the adenylate cyclase and the RAS beta receptor. Thus by caffeine poisoning phosphodiesterase an adrenalin response remains switched on for some time after adrenalin is withdrawn from the bloodstream. As adrenalin raises blood sugar in a number of ways it is obvious that caffeine is destabilising to blood sugar regulation. RAS pathways are ubiquitous in the body and stimulators include embryonic hormones, hence the suggestion that caffeine can be a promoter of cancer once started and it's cells dedifferientated.
Threobromine is the other blood sugar raiser in Coca Cola and chocolate. It's a xanthine like uric acid, and is essentially caffeine with one less methyl group on it (caffeine has 4). So, boiling coffee, sugar, a lump of chocolate, a swig of Coke and an hour or so the mouth is spewing and the head is thumping, tremors, sweats, no bloody good at all and very destructive.
In part 6 I want to get into the subject of blood sugar regulation INSIDE the body (the GI tract is officially outside the body). This will begin to touch on panic attacks, epilepsy, asthma and schizophrenia..
In veritas Noddy. Paul Hill.
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replied October 27th, 2012
hypoglycemia and hormones
Thank you very much for writing these informative posts. I don't completely understand the detail, but it is reassuring to find someone who seems to have studied, and understand, what is going on with hypoglycemia. My doctor has not really taken it very seriously, and I have been dependent on the internet, and a private nutritionist. Now, a year into my symptoms, I generally keep on top of things, but still cannot go more than 2 and a half to three hours without eating. I have cut out all sugar, refined carbs, caffeine and alcohol, but still do not feel properly stable. My symptoms seemed to start with the onset of menopause. Do you know anything about that?
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replied October 28th, 2012
Experienced User
No, I'm afraid that I haven't researched the connection between menopause and panic attacks. However, there is a clue in that you state that you can't go more than 2 hour without a meal. That is poor liver storage of glucose (as glycogen) and unless you have some sort of genetic glycogen storage disorder, which is doubtfull, means your overall health needs to be worked on to build up your' liver. Then there are drugs such as Paracetamol (Acetaminophren) which cause liver damage as does a range of pesticides, herbicides, chlorinated water, anaesthetics etc.

One thing is certain, PANIC ATTACK IS RELATED TO BLOOD SUGAR (GLUCOSE) REGULATION. As anxiety increases the metabolism of the brain, then the brain uses increasing amounts of glucose, thereby worsening the hypoglycaemia accordingly. All I can assume is that the anxiety related to the onset of menopause worsens that hypoglycaemia which has as it's root cause poor liver storage of glycogen.

Can you get exercise where you are, assuming that if you live in the US, it's not safe to leave the house, and then only if the house is bombproof. Easy does it to start off with as exercise itself gobbles up glucose and worsens the hypoglycaemia. Exercise, good FRESH tucker, fish oil tablets for EPA and DHA oils, Kombucha tea etc. to gradually build up overall health. The health of the liver is an indicator of overall health and poor glycogen storage is an indicator of poor liver health.

Have you eliminated refined sugar TOTALLY following the guidelines I've given in 'Breaking the Sugar Addiction' as some people are exquisitely sensitive. Don't expect the doctor to know any biochemistry, endocrinology, physiology, pathology etc. Just diagnose the symptom and prescribe the drug. Any other symptoms such as arthritis and meds?
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replied October 28th, 2012
Thanks for the reply. My only other symptoms are frequent backache. I don't exercise as much as I should, as my fear of low blood sugar and panic stops me doing much. However I live in a beautiful part of the uk where fresh air is in great supply, and safety not an issue. I'm already on kombucha, and a good fresh diet, but still feel I need to eat every couple of hours. I have cut all all refined carbs and sugar.
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replied October 29th, 2012
Experienced User
What about taking some fruit with you when you go for a walk and munching on it every half hour or so. Are you afraid of a panic attack out in the open some way from home. Ironically fear of a panic attack can actually bring on a panic attack, sometimes at exactly the same time of day, because the rising anxiety level thinking about it increases the metabolism of the brain and worsens the cerebral hypoglycaemia. Autosuggestion, or subconsciously self induced, some thing you can deal with once you understand it.

What about going around in a circle of a couple of blocks, so you are not far from home, to start off with. You really have to get exercise to build up your liver function and it's glygogen storage as that is the fundamental problem. Are you taking Paracetomol (Panadol) for the backache or a non-steroidal anti inflammatory. Is it diagnosed as osteo-arthritis or due to an injury.
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replied October 29th, 2012
Experienced User
Just watching the videos on panic attack and saw a good tip. Breathing into a brown paper bag for about ten minutes (sounds a bit long to me) to raise the level of carbon dioxide in the lungs. This ties in exactly with my hypothesis that anaerobic metabolism in the skeletal muscles is necessary so that they excrete lactic acid which is used by the liver to produce glucose. This glucose is then transported to the brain and alleviates the cerebral hypoglycaemia that causes the panic attack by triggering the release of NORADRENALIN.

Such breathing complements the action of NORADRENALIN in constricting the blood vessels to the skeletal muscles to cut off their oxygen supply. Noradrenalin is the cause of the panic attack and breathing into a bag would reduce the secretion of noradrenalin as it's not needed, and thus minimize the attack.

From memory the same trick is used to alleviate an asthma attack thus indicating that asthma is also a blood sugar disorder, one in which histamine cuts of the oxygen supply to the muscles at the lungs, due to an impaired noradrenalin response. Asthma instead of a panic attack although there is plenty of panic in feeling one is choking to death. All heresy of course but so is just about all TRUTH.
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replied October 29th, 2012
Thanks for these tips. I don't take paracetamol, and generally try to avoid meds. I do also have a digestive problem (possible hiatus hernia) which I occasionally have to medicate, but try to keep it in check with apple cider vinegar. I have been trying to take a walk and stay near to home, but I do get very stressed while out, even if I don't get a full blown panic attack. I had not realised the importance of exercise. Are you saying that exercise will improve liver function, and thus reduce the hypoglycemia? If that is the case, I will definitely persevere and try to build it up. Thanks for your replies.
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