The Vicious Cycle of Blood Sugar Problems and Thyroid Disease
If you have diabetes, prediabetes or insulin resistance you should know that blood sugar problem like those just mentioned can impact your Thyroid in many ways. We also know that Thyroid disease can also contribute to blood sugar problems-
I’m Dr Hagmeyer and If you can related to some or the majority of these symptoms you see below, you are the 1 in 3 American adults struggling with a blood sugar problem.
5 Ways That Blood Sugar Problems Interfere With Thyroid Function.
#1 Prediabetes/Dysglycemia stresses the adrenal glands which in turn stress the pituitary gland which is the master control center for all hormones. The pituitary glands makes TSH
#2 Prediabetes/Dysglycemia weakens and inflames the digestive tract- this can impact how Thyroid hormone is converted. That T4 to T3 conversion. (your Thyroids worst enemy)
#3 Prediabetes/Dysglycemia breaks down immune barriers of the gut aka Leaky Gut– This can lead to Hashimotos disease.
#4 Prediabetes/Dysglycemia induces hormone imbalances, detoxification and metabolism- this too can impair T4 to T3 conversion leading to Low T3 or Elevations in Thyroid Binding globulin.
#5 Prediabetes/Dysglycemia creates a fight or flight response this can cause problems with the Adrenals but can also cause an elevation in Reverse T3.
#6- has more do to with the effects of low Thyroid- but low thyroid slows down the absorption of glucose, it also causes insulin to break down slower- both of these scenarios will keep blood sugar high and affect the pituitary gland.
Don’t Forget to check out 12 tips to balancing your Blood sugar when you have Thyroid disease.
Symptoms of Prediabetes You Should Be Aware Of If You Have Thyroid Disease
- Feeling grouchy in the morning until you have had your coffee or soda?
- Blurry vision
- Weight Gain
- Bouts of anger combined with poor memory and forgetfulness
- Irritability or feeling lightheaded if you skip a meal
Fatigue-Do you notice a frequent slump in those energy levels early to mid afternoon that 3 or 4pm window?
- Tingling in hands or feet
- High Triglycerides
- Low HDL (good Cholesterol)
If you can identify with those symptoms, you are going to want to pay very close attention to what I have to say over the next 15 minutes if you are interested in getting to the root cause of why your Thyroid is not working for you.
I’m Dr Hagmeyer and today I am going to spend some time covering one of the most important metabolic imbalances that is linked to ALL patterns of Hypothyroidism and that’s the connection between blood sugar and Thyroid Function.
In Functional Medicine, we talk a lot about the “Patterns of hypothyroidism” because each pattern based on a having a complete Thyroid bio marker panel, has different set of causes and requires specific testing.
If you don’t have a copy of the different patterns of Thyroid disease- visit my website and you can download that free guide.
Now… Whether you have primary hypothyroidism, secondary hypothyroidism, low T3 (Thyroid under conversion), Thyroid over conversion, Thyroid binding globulin elevation, Thyroid resistance or Hashimoto’s disease– All of these patterns are linked to some sort of blood sugar dysregulation
Fluctuating blood sugar levels is hands down…….. one of main deal breakers to healing the Thyroid- So you must get a handle on it.
Insulin Resistance and How it Affects Your Thyroid.
Why is Dysglycemia and Blood Sugar Problems Are Such A Big Deal?
First off Dysglycemia weakens and inflames the digestive tract, weakens the immune barriers leading to leaky gut, drives the adrenals into exhaustion and also sets the stage for hormonal imbalances such as Poly Cystic ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), PMS, and a miserable transition into menopause.
Is that all? No…. Dysglycemia also impairs liver detoxification pathways, impairs fatty acid metabolism, suppresses the immune system, and disrupts your metabolism. All of these will impact your thyroid or even set the stage for Hashimoto’s disease or some other autoimmune disease.
Have you ever wondered why you are crashing at 3 or 4pm looking for that cup of coffee or caffeine/sugar jolt? It’s your blood sugar!
When the pancreas pumps out too much insulin due to chronic spikes of blood sugar, your blood sugar swings from high to low.
Every high has a low….. So when your glucose drops you experience drop in energy, you get sleepy, a change in mood, a change in mental quickness, you space out, you get irritable, you have brain fog. Most of these symptoms are occurring 2-5 hours after eating. This is what we call Reactive Hypoglycemia- there is a drop in blood sugar after eating. The good news is that this reactive hypoglycemia can be corrected.
Another problem although more serious is something called hypoglycemia. And what this means is that you are past the point of regaining normal blood control and you will need to make some serious lifelong dietary habits to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Hypoglycemic patients have chronically low fasting glucose levels. Later on we will talk about ranges for blood sugar and when to test but before we do that I want to explain one more common problem I see with the majority of my Thyroid patients and that is Insulin resistance.
With Insulin resistance also known as Syndrome X or Metabolic syndrome, the problem is that your cells are not responding or listening to Insulin.
The main purpose of Insulin is to lower your blood glucose levels by pushing glucose from the blood in into the cell. Without glucose getting into the cells, we can’t make something called ATP or cellular energy.
When you have chronically high blood glucose levels, your cells no longer listen to insulin, and so you have glucose that builds up in blood which then gets converted into Triglycerides. This is why elevated Triglycerides are often a sign of Insulin resistance.
With those patients who are insulin resistant, rather than having more energy from food you just ate, you are tired and sleepy after every meal, you feel like you need to lay down and take a nap-instead of feeling energy after you eat you feel exhausted.
This is also the person who develops the fat around the belly and back fat. This is the spare tire so to speak, in a woman she begins to make more testosterone, she grows a faint mustache, she starts loosing hair, Men develop more fat around breast tissue, they experience spells of mental fatigue, they lose their stamina.
Ultimately, they at a greater risk for colon and prostate cancer, heart disease, sleep apnea, and most likely already have hypothyroidism/Hashimotos or are in the process of developing it.
How To Test Your Blood Sugar And Determine If You Are Insulin Resistant
Get yourself a Glucometer if you don’t already have one. These can be purchased at your local pharmacy, Walgreens, Wall-mart. These are the same devices that diabetics used to monitor their blood sugar.
So what you want to do is record your blood sugar over the course of about 7-10 days. You want to essentially chart these so you can compare them from day to day.
Healthy Blood Sugar Ranges for People with Thyroid Disease
Now that you understand a bit more about Hypoglycemia, Reactive hypoglycemia and Insulin resistance and how they are tied into hypothyroidism, let’s talk about the blood sugar ranges you want to optimally shoot for.
There are 3 times or collections that will be important. You will want a morning fasting test no food or drink other than water to fall between 80-100 mg/dl
Anything over 100mg/dl is potentially insulin resistance and anything less than 80 is hypoglycemic. In functional medicine any fasting test over 110 is considered diabetes whereas the American Diabetic Association states a fasting glucose level over 126 is diabetic.
The next important reading will occur 1 hour after you eat and two hours after you eat.
What I like to see is 1 hour post meal I like to see those reading <120 and 2 hours post meal I like to see those reading back to the 85-100mg/dl. Now if you are already a diabetic you may not be able to get back to these numbers, but any improvement to your numbers will help your thyroid.
Need Help? Get started here
Every week I offer a few Phone consultations to perspective patients. If you would like to work with one of my nutritionists or me, take a few minutes and answer a few health questions. Once completed, we will send you email with recommendations on how to get started.