Before we hit a state of blood sugar pathology (diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood for example), we most likely spend some time, perhaps decades, in a state of functional blood sugar imbalance.
These functional imbalances probably begin due to diet and lifestyle, and the good news is that they can usually be corrected with diet, lifestyle, and natural supplementation, under the care of a trained functional medicine practitioner.
Two most common functional imbalances:
-Functional reactive hypoglycaemia
Here’s how Dr. Datis Kharrazian, a leader in the functional medicine community, defined the two states of functional blood sugar imbalance. “There is an overlap between the two conditions, but functional reactive hypoglycemia is generally a lower than ideal blood glucose physiological state with spikes of deficient glucose, whereas insulin resistance is generally a higher than ideal glucose physiological state with spikes of excessive glucose.”
When I first began to study functional medicine some years ago, I didn’t understand how not managing my own blood sugar was such a stress to my body. Sure, eating a giant cookie or skipping a meal didn’t make me feel good, but why was it such a big deal?
I now understand how my amazing body works to keep an even stream of glucose to my cells, so they can convert it to energy. When I sabotage that balance with my poor choices, I risk short-term fatigue, anxiety and acne, and long-term diseases such as dementia and cancer.
How can you know if you are upsetting your own blood sugar? Here are some key points:
Your habits include:
-Skipping breakfast or other meals
-Having coffee for breakfast
-Eating breakfast a few hours after waking
-Surviving on sugary snacks
-‘Grazing’ (eating a bit throughout the day)
-Using caffeine or cigarettes to suppress appetite
-Engaging in lots of exercise without replenishing calories
-Surviving on carbs, sweets and processed foods
-Ignoring your expanding waistline
You may be experiencing these symptoms:
-Irritable if you can’t eat often
-Fatigued after meals
-Eating sweets does not relieve craving for sweets
-Difficulty losing weight
-Tired all the time
The ‘A’ lists correspond more to functional reactive hypoglycemia, and the ‘B’ lists correspond to insulin resistance. But as Dr. Kharrazian stated, there can be some overlap.
As I mentioned earlier, if you have not yet entered an irreversible pathologic state, there is still much hope for treating functional blood sugar disorders. You can resolve everyday symptoms like fatigue and sugar cravings, plus help balance your hormones in conditions of PCOS, infertility and more.
Blood sugar balance is one of the most important balancing acts in your body, and a trained functional medicine practitioner can spot these patterns both in your history and your lab results.