How to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range.
By Dr Richard Hagmeyer Naperville Institute For NeuroMetabolic Solutions.
Blood Sugar problem are rampant among Americans but they pose a special problem to those of you suffering with Hypothyroidism and Hashimotos Thyroidits. It’s important to understand that whether you have high or low blood sugar, you probably have some degree of insulin resistance. Insulin is a fat storing hormone that takes sugar in the blood and shuttles it into the cells. Insulin resistance occurs when the insulin receptors on the cell fail to respond and consequently your blood sugar stays elevated.
Elevated Insulin levels are at the root of many disease processes such as Heart disease, PCOS, Fibroids, Hormonal imbalances, Leptin Resistance, and of course Cancer. Reactive Hypoglycemia is another all too common problem for those suffering with thyroid problems or autoimmune Hashimotos.
Too much insulin due to chronic spikes in blood sugar (cereal, toast, bagel for Breakfast, Latees, Pastries, soda, sandwiches, past salad) cause the blood sugar levels to swing from high to low. As the blood sugar drops so does your energy, mood, mental function.
This is called Reactive Hypoglycemia because the drop in blood sugar causes the symptoms just mentioned two to five hours after eating. This is an early stage of Insulin Resistance and Type II diabetes. So now that we go through the basics lets learn a little more about healthy blood sugar levels.
In either scenario Insulin Resistance or Reactive Hypoglycemia the solution is to make sure your blood sugar levels stays within a healthy range. There are two targets to consider. The first is fasting blood glucose, which is a measure of your blood sugar first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything. I define the normal range for fasting blood glucose as 85 – 100 mg/dL.
Although 100 is often considered the cutoff for normal, studies have shown that fasting blood sugar levels in the mid-90s were predictive of future diabetes a decade later.
The second, and much more important, target is post-prandial blood glucose. This is a measure of your blood sugar 1-2 hours after a meal. Several studies have shown that post-prandial blood glucose is the most accurate predictor of future diabetic complications and is the first marker (before fasting blood glucose and Hb1Ac) to indicate dysglycemia.
Normal post-prandial (after a meal) blood sugar one to two hours after a meal is 120 mg/dL. Most Healthy people are under 100 mg/dL two hours after a meal.
Now that we know the targets, let’s look at how to meet them. If you’re hypoglycemic, your challenge is to keep your blood sugar above 80 throughout the day. The best way to do this is to eat a low-to-moderate carbohydrate diet (to prevent the blood sugar fluctuations I described above), and to eat frequent, small meals every 2-3 hours (to ensure a continuous supply of energy to the body.
If you’re hyperglycemic, your challenge is to keep your blood sugar below 120 two hours after a meal. The only way you’re going to be able to do this is to restrict carbohydrates and eat plenty of fats and proteins. But how low-carb do you need to go? The answer is different for everyone. You figure your own carbohydrate tolerance by buying a blood glucose meter and testing your blood sugar after various meals. If you’ve eaten too many carbs, your blood sugar will remain above 120 mg/dL two hours after your meal.
I highly recommend you pick up a blood glucose meter if you have a thyroid and/or blood sugar problem. It’s the simplest and most cost-effective way to figure out how much carbohydrate is safe for YOU to eat. You can easily pick these up at Wal-Mart, CVS or Walgreens.
Finally, if you have poor thyroid function it’s important that you take steps to normalize it. As I’ve described in this article, the cycle works in both direction. Dysglycemia can depress thyroid function, but thyroid disorders can cause dysglycemia and predispose you to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
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