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Hypoglycaemia

What and Why?

This is a topic most doctors simply refuse to believe in, mainly because they are not prepared to prolong the test for diabetes sufficiently to spot it, or else make no attempt to reproduce the stressful tone of ordinary life as a background to the test. Yet experienced physicians who look for it claim that it affects up to one American in ten during some part of their day: Europeans are unlikely to be far behind.

What happens?

Fredericks’ book Low Blood Sugar and You (Ace 1979) sets out the details. When your healthy body is deluged with refined sugar it is forced to respond with a huge pulse of insulin wrenched urgently from storage in your pancreas. It synchronizes imperfectly with the arrival of the sugar in your blood so that spare insulin is still around when all the sugar is dealt with. Its level in your blood goes on dropping, which provokes release of hormones from your adrenal gland to offset the insulin effect.

This exactly corresponds to accelerating hard in your car and then braking savagely and is just as wasteful and wearing. Before too long your pancreas and adrenal tire and begin to respond more sluggishly to these relentless mealtime challenges. Even more insulin needs mopping up and it takes longer to work up enough adrenal hormone to do it. Consequently your blood gets very short of sugar for a time; around three or fours hours after the meal.

The result

This decline in blood sugar makes you giddy, confused, faint, inattentive, irritable, nervous or tired, and may produce severe headache. You crave for a sugary snack — alcohol, sweet bakery or confectionery. Any of these works in the short run but only brings on another hypoglycaemic bout a few hours later.

Stress, nervousness and premenstrual tension exhaust your adrenal gland further and may bring hypoglycaemia into the open. Since the symptoms are vague and apparently neurotic they tend to be discounted. You are discredited in your doctor’s eyes and left to suffer. Your pancreas follows your adrenal into feebleness over the next decade or so. By then you are diabetic but unlikely to be discovered early because you have ‘cried wolf’ once too often.

What can I do?

1. Consult your Doctor: If your symptoms appear to fit this description consult your doctor and say so. Receive his reaction and follow his advice if you reasonably can — it may involve referral to a hospital clinic for tests. If this gets you nowhere try the following, but keep a note of your progress and summarize it briefly and clearly in writing for your doctor’s interest if you succeed. Send or deliver it to him after an interval, with thanks for his advice. This may be tedious but is how doctors will learn to take the problem seriously. A decline in your use of his time will convince him more than anything else.

2. Without an Extended Glucose Tolerance Test, lasting six hours after three days of preparation, hypoglycaemia cannot be proven — and it may not show clearly even then. If a hospital doctor declines to do this the next best thing is to try for yourself the diet which follows. If it does not quickly abolish your symptoms you have not got hypoglycaemia.

Commence the diet for health in addition to:

  • Avoiding every scrap of sugar (whether refined or not), glucose, malt and honey; all refined flour, pasta, rice, confectionery and bakery; all coffee, tea, chocolate and cola; all alcohol; all soft drinks and packaged snack foods. To begin with, avoid dates, bananas, grapes and oranges too.
  • You are allowed whole milk, butter and soft cheese, eggs, peas and lentils, peanut butter, oils and Mayonnaise recipe (no sugar — and fresh fish to your heart’s content.
  • You can have moderate amounts of all other sweet whole fruits, fresh or dried, any unsweetened whole-grain cereal product and black strap molasses (the residue of whole cane syrup after the sugar has been removed).

4. Have smaller meals often, or add legitimate snacks to fill the gaps in your present routine. In either case breakfast well and sup lightly.

5. If this seems to help continue and supplement the diet for three months with a Dolomite or Bonemeal tablet, three Brewers Yeast tablets, 500mg Vitamin C and 10mg Zinc with each of three meals daily. Chromium Orotate 1mg twice daily would insure you against deficiencies in the yeast.

6. You should by then be able to reduce your supplements to the Brewer’s Yeast and Vitamin C alone, and broaden your diet a little. Never take your recovery for granted or you still risk a slow slide into diabetes.

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