Home » Hypoglycemia » Info for hypoglycemics » What is Hypoglycemia

What is Hypoglycemia

By Jurriaan Plesman BA(Psych), Post Grad Dip Clin Nutr

Although its existence was denied by the American Medical Association in 1973 (Marilyn Light in her book “Hypoglycemia” (and here), hypoglycemia is now the direct precursor of the epidemic of diabetes – affecting 246 million people worldwide – possibly responsible for various degenerative diseases, obesity, and a soaring rate of mental illness and clinical depression. (82 JOM studies). Hypoglycemia is the precursor to full blown diabetes, which could take about 20 years.

Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar level, although “unstable blood sugar levels” would have been more fitting. This is truly a silent disease (like diabetes), since most people would not be aware of having it. This term is used to describe a metabolic disorder, that may manifest itself in a variety of physical and ‘psychological’ symptoms. One must understand that glucose is a source of both physical (muscle) and mental (brain) energy. The brain, representing only 2 percent by weight of the body, has no energy stores of its own. It requires about 60 per cent percent of the all available glucose in the body and consumes about 120 grams per days regardless of whether we are asleep or awake (Source). About one teaspoon of glucose is available in the blood at any time. Most doctors believe that hypoglycemia is due to “insulin resistance”, which it shares with diabetes. see Robyn Cosford (1). It is estimated that in 2005-8 about 35 percent of US adult had pre-diabetes. See Research EvidenceSee: for causes.

As in diabetes, when a patient injects excess insulin, it causes the blood glucose concentrations to crash. This happens in non-diabetic hypoglycemia when the body produces too much insulin called hyperinsulinism. Consequently any extreme fluctuation in the supply of glucose to the brain will inevitably affect our emotions, feelings and personality. References. Hypoglycemia (or pre-diabetic insulin resistance) is also an important factor in the metabolic syndrome and therefore if you want to avoid diabetes and/or the metabolic syndrome you need to treat the hypoglycemia by nutritional means. The symptoms of hypoglycemia may mimic and even cause many psychological and physical disorders some of which are shown in the following list in order of frequency and as reported by hypoglycemics;

Nervousness, irritability, exhaustion,

Faintness, dizziness, tremors, cold sweats, heart palpitations,

Depression, PTSDmigraine headaches, insomnia, digestive disturbances, forgetfulness, Alzheimer’s Disease, Helpful in Autism

 mood swings, anxiety, aggression, violence, anti-social behaviour, low-self-esteem, perfectonismSugar addiction,

obesity, drug addiction and alcoholism, Mental confusion, limited attention span,learning disability, Lack of sex drive in women and men, lack of concentration, Itching and crawling sensation on skin,

blurred vision,nightmares, Phobias, fears and neurodermatitis, Acne (24719062), OCD,

restless leg syndrome (8%), nervous breakdown, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS),
Premenstrual Tension, Bedwetting and hyperactivity in children.
See also: references in other books and here.(–>SYMPTOMS)

For studies showing the connection between hypoglycemia and mood disorders:References for Mood Disorders and Nutrition.

As will be clear later on, hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar level, is only one form of what Dr. George Samra in his book THE HYPOGLYCEMIC CONNECTION II 2 describes as The Hypoglycemic Syndrome. He refers to the four most important symptoms: 1) Depression or moodiness, 2) tiredness, 3) memory impairment or poor concentration, and 4) history of sugar addiction. At least three of the symptoms should indicate the possibility of hypoglycemic syndrome.

The blood sugar level is controlled by the pancreas by means of two hormones; 1) insulin, which pushes blood glucose into body cells and so lowers the blood sugar level, and 2) glucagon, which slowly raises the blood sugar level if it falls too low. Another hormone involved is adrenaline produced by the adrenal glands which may quickly raise blood sugar level in response to a crisis. (See image) When there is a overproduction of insulin, as is the case in hypoglycemia, the brain will be starved of its source of energy – glucose.

The proper test for hypoglycemia is a special Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) designed by Dr George Samra and described in his book The Hypoglycemic Connection II. See Hypoglycemic Test. See also below. Unlike a test for diabetes, Samra’s GTT records the measurements of glucose levels after a load of glucose over time, usually over four hours taken each half hour. He is interested in the rate of variations – the rise and fall of blood glucose during the test. This enables the doctor to discern six types of hypoglycemic reactions in a GTT as described in his book. This test should not be confused with a test for diabetes (a single blood test) which is different from a full GTT. You can also test yourself with a paper-and-pencil test for hypoglycemia with the NBI. Another useful test is: The Hypoglycemia Questionnaire.

There are several forms that the hypoglycemic syndrome can take and we will adopt Dr. Samra’s classification;

Type 1, Relative Hypoglycemia. Following ingestion of glucose the blood sugar level rises unusually high (due to insulin resistance) and then suddenly drops. The rate of descent should be over 2.6mm/L (45 mg/100mL) in any hour, or over 1.6mm/l (30mg/100mL) in any 1/2 hour.

Type 2, Absolute Hypoglycemia. This is any blood glucose recorded below the lower limit of 3.4mm/L (60mg/100mL).

Type 3, Combined Hypoglycemia. This is also known as ‘Reactive Hypoglycemia’. Here the blood sugar level not only drops suddenly, but goes below the lower limit.

Type 4, Flat Curve Response. Where no blood glucose value is more than 1.3 mm/L (24mg/100mL) above the fasting level. This may be due not so much to a reaction to sugar, but a low metabolic rate. People with a Flat Curve Response should have their thyroid tested, for possible hypothyroidism.(This can lead to dementia). It is often indicated by low body temperature in the morning. If you measure your temperature before getting out of bed and you get a reading below 36.2 C. or 97.6 F. one should discuss this with your doctor. You can calibrate your medication for thyroid problems by taking your temperature in the morning over several days.   See: Basal Temperature Test for hypothyroidism
Vitamin B1 plays a role in the production of thyroxin, as does phenylalanine and tyrosine (the latter is the immediate forerunner of thyroxin). Thyroxin is also needed in the conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A. Iodine deficiency may also be a factor in hypothyroidism.  Also look up Hypothyroidism in Index.

Type 5, Fasting Hypoglycemia where the fasting blood sugar level is below 3.4 mm/L (60 mg/ 100ml)

Type 6, Cellular Level Hypoglycemia (Hypoglycia) This is energy starvation at the level of brain cells. Here, the person may have a normal GTT but presents the same hypoglycemic symptoms. This may be caused by a dysfunction in enzymes involved with glucose metabolism, usually as a result of an abnormal zinc/copper ratio or other type of heavy metal toxicity. Zinc is a coenzyme in the breakdown of glucose to simpler biochemical substances, before being used as energy inside brain cells. High copper levels depress zinc levels and vice versa. See also Hypoglycia Notes. Other coenzymes and vitamins are also involved in glucose metabolism inside the mitochondria.

See results at:  Image. If you want to compare with mg/100mL, multiply by 18.

For normal and Diabetic Blood Sugar levels see here.

So far we have shown the various forms of hypoglycemia, which can cause a multitude of negative psychological symptoms, but it needs to be realised that there are a host of other metabolic disorders in addition to or related to insulin resistance, that can trigger mood disorders.The ultimate solution is to get properly tested by a nutritional doctor for any metabolic disorders. Some of these have been covered in the article In Silent Diseases and Mood Disorders

ALLERGIES are closely related to the hypoglycemic syndrome. Many asthmatics have improved their condition by adopting the hypoglycemic diet to be discussed later. Very often, when we adopt the hypoglycemic diet – by eating natural food – hitherto hidden allergies may emerge. Common foods, causing allergic reactions are cows milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans, legumes, grains and various seeds. These may all result in hypoglycemic symptoms. Food allergies often interfere with the proper absorption of nutrients in the intestines, thus causing vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Others obstruct the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain (such as serotonin), often resulting in ‘psychiatric’ disorders. Allergic reactions can be overcome by either avoiding the offending foods and/or by supplementation with special enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Depending on the severity of allergic reactions, these should be treated in consultation with professional nutritionists.

Other factors that may be responsible for allergic reactions may be the Leaky Gut Syndrome, or liver dysfunction. See also Samra, Dr G. The Allergy Connection. 3 Coffee (caffeine) and cigarettes (nicotine) – and allergens – stimulate adrenaline production, which raise the blood sugar level by converting glycogen back into glucose. This provides a ‘high’ to hypoglycemics, who are then often addicted to these substances.This explains why we may be addicted to our allergies.

Food, drug and allergy addiction – and even hypoglycemia – over a long period of time may cause adrenal exhaustion, as the body has relied on adrenaline production to raise the blood sugar level. Adrenaline is a defence hormone against all forms of stress.

Thus often the nutritional treatment of hypoglycemic syndrome must include nutrients to restore the exhausted adrenal glands. In brief the nutritional treatment of the hypoglycemic condition consists of:

1) Avoidance of sugar, coffee, strong tea, nicotine if possible, refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, cakes and sugary drinks etc.

2) High protein + complex carbohydrates snacks every three hours or sooner, to provide a slow release of glucose, and to prevent the hypoglycemic dip. A high protein breakfast must be considered the most important meal of the day. Good sources of proteins are eggs, white meat as in chicken and fish. Eat plenty of green vegetables and fruits and the more varied the diet the better it is.

3) Supplementation of diet with Anti-stress vitamin B-Complex tablets, including chromium, zinc + Vitamin C, Omega-3 fatty acids (Fishoil), B12 and folic acid, vitamin D. See also Hypoglycemic diet.

A rule of thumb is: “Is what you are about to eat nature-made or man-made?” Nature-made food consists usually of complex carbo-hydrates and proteins, the kind of food that we were meant to eat. There are exceptions, such as sugary fruits; melons, honey, dates and bananas. But see here. These can be re-introduced into the diet after some time in moderation. When you change your diet suddenly, you may be left with low blood sugar levels, without the highs, causing depression, fatigue and worsening the symptoms initially. These are withdrawal symptoms, that should not last longer than a week or so.

Nevertheless, these unpleasant feelings can be alleviated, by taking a tablespoon of glycerine mixed in milk or diluted natural fruit juice or better still in a glass of water three times a day. When glycerine is metabolised into “energy” in the liver, it by-passes glucose, and is therefore not recognized by the pancreas as sugar.

Hypoglycemia is a stress symptom. This causes potassium to be excreted in the urine and salt to be retained, contributing to hypertension. Adelle Davis suggests that the unpleasant feelings of hypoglycemia may be relieved by taking potassium chloride tablets. Avocado contains an odd sugar called mannoheptulose, which may actually depress insulin production. Apart from avocado there are many other herbs that can help regulate blood sugar levels. See  Herbal Remedies for Diabetes and Hypoglycemia.

An another plant-based supplement called Pycnogenol, derived from Pine Bark, has recently emerged in scientific literature that may help to ameliorate some of the medical conditions associated with pre- and/or diabetic insulin resistance such cardiovascular diseases or cognitive dysfunctions and many others. It is suggested to discuss this with your medical health professional. See: PubMed Studies.

What’s in a name?

As described previously, hypoglycemia means low blood sugar level. This is the common term used by people who suffer from the hypoglycemic symptoms. Unfortunately, this term causes immediate confusion for conventional doctors who understand hypoglycemia to be low blood sugar occurring in diabetic patients who have accidentally overdosed with their insulin injections. However, if we consider the condition in terms of insulin resistance the difference between diabetes and hypoglycemia is one of degree. In diabetes we have high blood sugar concentrations, whereas in hypoglycemia we see wildly fluctuating sugar levels, depending on the severity of insulin resistance. If you want to research hypoglycemia in the medical scientific literature, you have to look for terms like hyperinsulinism, hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, Syndrome X, diabetes and so on. Many nutritional doctors use the term Dysglycemia. It is possible that in the near future the medical fraternity may agree on a term. See also: Hypoglycemia: an unnamed medical condition There is no doubt that the impact of hypoglycemia is underestimated by the community. There are studies to show that hypoglycemia is associated with a vast array of modern degenerative diseases, from atherosclerosis, arthritis, various bone diseases, heart diseases, in fact every organ found in the body. And there is much evidence that hypoglycemia is a factor in mental illnesses, not generally recognized by conventional medicine or psychology. See Research Evidence.


This condition is one of sensitivity to yeast in the diet occurring in foods such as bread, alcohol, mushroom and malt, as well as to yeast germs which normally live in the intestines, particularly candida albicans. Approximately 25 percent of hypoglycemic patients suffer with candidiasis. The symptoms are almost identical and are mainly tiredness, vagueness, poor concentration, poor memory and depression. People with candidiasis need to follow the rules recommended for hypoglycemics but must also avoid yeast foods and in most cases do better with antifungal agents such as Nystatin prescribed by the doctor as well as acidophilus capsules obtainable from health food stores.

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Other names include ME or myalgic encephalomyelitis or the yuppie flu. Severe fatigue is a common feature of CFS. This disease is becoming more common and many doctors regard it as predominantly a psychological condition. Some of the sufferers do have hypoglycemia and candidiasis and these can be treated mainly with diet and supplements. Dr Samra and other doctors regard this condition as a weakness of the immune system which has developed as a consequence of modern medicine as well as environmental pollution. Defying Darwin’s laws of nature, these days even people with weak constitutions live to become adults and do reproduce. This is one theory; others include the development of CFS as a result of exposure to antibiotics over some years. Again others believe the disorder has resulted from pollutants in the environment, including petrochemicals, lead, mercury and even fluoride in our drinking water.

The Serotonin Connection

One obvious reason for the development of hypoglycemia and diabetes is our modern lifestyle with easy access to manufactured foods laden with sugar. Our sugar consumption has increased exponentially over the last sixty years. See: World sugar Consumption and here and here. Much of it is promoted by the fast food industry. Sugar is addictive and helps to boost the sale of food products. See: The Serotonin Connection But there is another mechanism that may have contributed to excess sugar consumption. Studies have shown that psychological stress produces stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, that may interfere with the synthesis of a neurotransmitter, serotonin. This is called environmental depression. This is why we have included a self-help PSYCHOTHERAPYcourse, that will help people deal with stress in a more effective way. Serotonin is the main ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter in the brain. An imbalance of serotonin in the brain can cause endogenous depression. Doctors usually prescribe Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) for endogenous depression. These drugs are said to increase serotonin by blocking its reabsorption in the brain and so may reduce depression.

The nexus between hypoglycemia and mood disorders is that hypoglycemia interferes with the production of biological energy called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that is essential in the synthesis of feel good neurotransmitters. Without that energy the body cannot produce these neurotransmitters.

The body produces serotonin from tryptophan, an essential amino acid (protein unit) found in food, such as soya protein, cottage cheese milk and many others. See Rich Sources of Nutrients at the web site. The absorption of tryptophan from food has to compete with the absorption and digestion of other amino acids – such as phenylalanine. Most amino acids (including glucose) – but not tryptophan – are transported into cells for utilization via the action of insulin! The absorption of tryptophan for conversion to serotonin can be sped up by consuming refined carbohydrates, such as sugar. Increased sugar consumption has the effect of triggering the release of insulin from the pancreas. This helps to absorb all the amino acids (including glucose) – but not tryptophan – leaving tryptophan free for absorption.

Unfortunately, people who are depressed may be inclined to increase their sugar consumption. This will speed up absorption of tryptophan for conversion to serotonin with the help of vitamin B6 and magnesium and presto they feel happy!!! But this may precisely lead to ‘sugar addiction’ and hypoglycemia! Many depressed people, including those with an addiction problem have been found to have a history of sugar-addiction. A high sugar diet, however, will cause the body to ‘down-regulate’ receptors for insulin in the membranes of cells. This means the cells will fail to respond to normal levels of insulin and eventually show “insulin resistance”. The body will try to compensate for this through what is called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (the HPA axis). This means in response to the perceived energy starvation by the hypothalamus in the brain, a message is sent to the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline into the blood stream. This hormone functions to convert glycogen stores in the liver and muscles into glucose, so as to quickly raise blood glucose levels. But adrenaline is also the fight/flight hormone readying the body to face the dangers of life by pumping energy into muscles and the brain. This panic hormone is also responsible for the myriad of hypoglycemic symptoms, such as tremble, shakes, mood swings, depression and confusion. Some people have learned that taking sedating drugs such as alcohol, marijuana or benzodiazepines will temporarily give relief to these symptoms. But these can lead to addiction. See: The Serotonin Connection. So we see that there is more to hypoglycemia than meets the eye.

Please feel free to use the What is Hypoglycemia? flyer. Send it to your doctor, counsellor, or other health care worker or to friends. Perhaps you may wish to use it for your local Discussion Group Meetings and/or Community Health Centre. The flyer is design for a single A4 sheet paper, printed on both sides and then folded in half.

See also:

Articles by Jurriaan Plesman

Index to Specific Topics and Research

References to Mood Disorders and Nutrition

        Hypoglycemia by Laurie Lynch ND

Treatment of Drug Addiction

Depression and Insulin Resistance

Rich Sources of Nutrients

Research Evidence for Hypoglycemia

Depression is a Nutritional Disorder

Hypoglycemia: an unnamed medical condition


Brighthope, Ian(1990), FIGHTING FATIGUE,McCulloch Publishing, North Carlton Vic.
Budd, M.L.(1981), LOW BLOOD SUGAR (HYPOGLYCEMIA), Thorsons publishers Ltd.
Buist,Robert, (1984), FOOD INTOLERANCE: What it is & how to cope with it, Harper & Row, Pubs., Sydney.
Buist,Robert, (1986), FOOD CHEMICAL SENSITIVITY: What it is & how to cope with it, Harper & Row Pubs., Sydney Cheraskin,E. & Ringsdorf,W.M.(1974), PSYCHO-DIETETICS, Bantam Books.
Coca,A.(1956), THE PULSE TEST, Arco,N.Y.
Davies,S. & Stewart,A. (1987) NUTRITIONAL MEDICINE, Pan Books, London ISBN: 0330288334
Davis,Adelle(1979), LET’S GET WELL, Unwin Paperbacks, Sydney.
Davis,Francyne(1973), THE LOW BLOOD SUGAR COOKBOOK, Bantam Books,Sydney
Dufty,William(1975), SUGAR BLUES, Warner Books, Inc.N.Y.
Eagle,Robert(1979), EATING AND ALLERGY, Futura Pubs.Ltd. Camberwell.
Feingold,B.(1975), WHY YOUR CHILD IS HYPERACTIVE, Random House, N.Y.
Forman,Robert(PH.D.)(1979), HOW TO CONTROL YOUR ALLERGIES, Larchmont.
Fredericks,C. & Goodman,H.(1969), LOW BLOOD SUGAR AND YOU, Constellation International.
Fredericks,C.(1976), PSYCHO-NUTRITION, Dunlap, N.Y.
Hoffer,A. & Walker,M.(1978), ORTHOMOLECULAR NUTRITION, Keats Pub.Inc. New Canaan, Connecticut. Hurdle,J.F.(1970), LOW BLOOD SUGAR:A DOCTOR’S GUIDE TO ITS EFFECTIVE CONTROL, Parker Publishers. Lesser,Michael(1980), NUTRITION AND VITAMIN THERAPY, Bantam Books.
Ludeman (1979), DO IT YOURSELF ALLERGY ANALYSIS HANDBOOK, Keats Publishing, Inc.
Mackarness, R.(1976), NOT ALL IN THE MIND, Pan, London.
Mindell, Earl (1979), THE VITAMIN BIBLE, Guild Publishing, London.
Null,G. & S.(1978), THE NEW VEGETARIAN, A Delta Book Dell Pub.Co.Inc.N.Y.
Pfeiffer,C.C.(1978), ZINC AND OTHER MICRO-NUTRIENTS, Keats Publishing Inc. New Canaan, Connecticut.
Philpott,W.H. & Kalita,D.K.(1980), BRAIN ALLERGIES, Keats Publishing Inc. New Canaan,Connecticut.
Plesman, J. (1986),   GETTING OFF THE HOOK, Second Back Row Press, Katoomba.
Samra,George(1984), THE HYPOGLYCEMIC CONNECTION, M.I.N.T., Sydney.
Schauss, A.G.(1980), DIET, CRIME AND DELINQUENCY, Parker House,Berkeley,Cal.
Sklovsky, Robert J.  Pham.D., N.D., PC  Hypopglycemia
Turnstone Press Ltd. Ross,H.M.(1975), FIGHTING DEPRESSION, Larchmont Books N.Y.
Vayda,William(1981), HEALTH FOR LIFE, Sphere Books, New Century Press Pty. Ltd., Sydney.
Williams,Roger J.(1971), NUTRITION AGAINST DISEASE, A Bantam Book.
Williams,Roger J. & Kalita Dwight,K.(Eds)(1977), A PHYSICIAN’S HANDBOOK ON ORTHOMOLECULAR MEDICINE, Keats Pub.Inc.,New Canaan, Conn.
1 )Cosford R Hyperinsulinism, Hypoglycemia, Obesity and Diabetes —> Volume 14 No 3, September 1998 page 2
2 ) Samra, Dr George (2003), The Hypoglycemic Connection II, One Stop Allergies, Fax (612-9588-5290, PO Box 394, KOGARAH NSW 2217, Australia
3 ) Samra Dr George (2003), The Allergy Connection: Food and Disease Paradigm, One Stop Allergies, Fax (612-9588-5290, PO Box 394, KOGARAH NSW 2217, Australia

Reference for Mood Disorders and Nutrition

See: Articles bt Jurriaann Pleman

36 Responses

  1. Corey says:

    Fantastic article! It explains a lot of the reasons for my anxiety and it’s a shame that during the whole time I’ve suffered anxiety no doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist ever bothered to ask me about my diet or eating habits.

    I was diagnosed with anxiety at the age of 14 after suffering a panic attack in class that triggered panic disorder. Back then I would never eat breakfast in the morning and would have to walk to school, that was coupled with lack of sleep, but I remember my first full blown panic I was in English and my mind wondered off and I was like deeply day dreaming, then out of nowhere I experienced this great sense of unreality and completely freaked out, thing I remember most because it felt like I was in a dream and suddenly woke up.

    I now see that the intense day dreaming was my brain starved off glucose and the intense rush of panic I got was my body dumping adrenaline to get glucose to my brain again. Another feature of my anxiety is that I stop eating which only served to prolong my panic disorder. I know people bash SSRI’s but they are good at helping in dealing with this stuff and I made a full recovery but I see that it only treats the symptoms not the underlining cause, bit like taking medication for a cold. It treats the symptoms and makes the cold bearable but doesn’t actually get rid of the cold.

    The best I have ever felt off medication though is when I was following Tom venuto’s burn the fat feed the muscle program which is along the same guidelines as the hypoglycemic diet, lean protein plus complex carbs every three hours, it wasn’t until I tried a zero carb diet that I had a re-emergence of panic attacks and the longer I stuck to it the worse it got. When one thinks about it though very low carb diets are sort of a chronic self imposed hypoglycemia. Low carbers argue that the body can create its own through gluconeogenesis but the pathway of how the body does that is through the release of adrenaline and cortisol which cause all of the nice symptoms.

  2. Jay Moon says:

    The discovery of this disorder has literally changed my life. I have tried for 23 years now to figure out the cause of all my health issues. Not to mention the last 6 years of psychosis. Coming out of it slowly now has been an intense process. It’s made no easier by the fact I’m still treated like a drug addict and am repeadedly told “its bad to self diagnose yourself”. Granted, that may be true. But if we had a medical system that could actually understand our problems, instead of applying outdated theories to symptoms, then assumably I wouldn’t have had to. And in honesty; the entire process has been hell. I feel sorry for all of those I see day to day that are still affected and may never even figure our the root of their problems. Anyway, could anyone recommend me an organisation or doctor that is already aware of this to save me some hassle? The amount of damage I managed to do to myself while trapped in my frontal lobe seems to be far more than I thought and I think I could do with a little support. Support that can help me get normal again instead of attributing to my already high enough stress. Cheers guys and thanks for the article, more people need to be aware of the seriousness of this, especially those in my generation and even more so it seems those below.

  3. Piers says:

    This is a fantastic article. Finally feel like I can relate all my symptoms to one specific cause.

    Only problem is, I don’t live in Australia. Do you guys have any links/numbers to UK doctors who deal with this?



  4. Dawna Thomas says:

    When he was born, my son eat every two hours until he was 3 or so. I just thought he was a baby with a fast metabolism. But by four he was exhibiting more and more frequent night terrors, bed wetting, then what seemed to be spikes and crashes in blood sugar. He would sneak sugary snacks into his bed at night–little sprite! But his behavior was the most alarming. He became increasingly aggressive with his siblings or even me at intervals between meals and I would describe him best as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde: So sweet and then suddenly very dark, angry and sometimes violent. After a difficult journey, my five year old starting seeing an alternative doctor to unravel his presumed hypoglycemia, gluten intolerance etc issues. Watching my sweet little boy fluctuate from compliant and precious to aggressive and violent I saw an adrenalin connection and I could not understand what was going on. In desperation I found this site after googling: insulin and adrenaline connection. WOW! I am dumbfounded. He becomes aggressive or provokes someone in an attempt to generate adrenaline and get to stored glycogen? He is prone to anxiety, used to sneak sugar, and although has not has attention difficulties, has been under treatment for yeast. He has had a cracked and bleeding spot on his heal for over two years. Recently it started manifesting on his toes. Antifungal cream and probiotics seems to be helping. We are still concerned about that. But now I feel like we might be on the right course! There is even a candida connection. I have wondered if I am hypoglycemic and I had postpartum depression(Anxiety spectrum) after my last baby! I learned so much about serotonin during that chapter. I NEVER imagined that I would be applying what I learned in that experience in the treatment of my son’s dysglycemia! I am stunned and grateful to cinch up these gaps in knowledge and gain a more complete picture. I will also be able to share the information with family and teachers to better help them to understand that my son is not doing this on purpose. I was truly starting to feel like there might be a psychological issue! I can’t tell you what it is like to see such a small helpless little creature so frightened by his own behavior all in an attempt to just FUNCTION. I think we are fearfully and wonderfully made and I marvel at our intricate design. Today I am also marveling at some new strategies for regulating little guy. I thank God for this sight. God Bless you.

    • Jurriaan Plesman says:

      “He becomes aggressive or provokes someone in an attempt to generate adrenaline and get to stored glycogen?” He does not angry “in order to get to glycogen”, but rather that his anger is a reaction to an adrenaline upsurge. He probably needs to be on a hypoglycemic diet to improve his behaviour. If that does not work other factors may be at play as well. See:

      Silent Diseases and Mood Disorders

      Best strategy is staying in contact with nutritional doctor.

  5. Dale says:

    Hi. Nice article. Thanks for the good information on this condition. One observation: the article says, “Hypoglycemia is a stress symptom. This causes potassium to be excreted in the urine and salt to be retained, contributing to hypertension.” However, my understanding is that excess stress causes excretion of sodium and resulting high potassium/sodium ratio due to loss of aldosterone (aldosterone helps to retain sodium I believe.) Consequence is low blood pressure, and for me, leg cramps if I eat too many high potassium foods. All this is related, I understand, to low adrenal function. It all seems very complicated. Any comments on this?

  6. ananya says:

    hi..it took almost 18yrs for me to realize that i hve been suffering from low sugar rather than low pressure. my fight with my mind, obsessions, anxieties imaginery arguments, my god what not i have been into. it is a revelation now that this is what caused all. now the probelm is what to eat. do all fruits cause the trouble or some? i used to get convulsive pain from my heart towards the left hand once fructose reaches blood. but some times it s ok with some fruits. any body can help in this. the combination of low pressure with low sugar is said to be dangerous any article relating the two.. please help

    • Jurriaan Plesman says:

      Yes,hypoglycemia can have a huge impact on one’s life. I know all about that. I suggest you try out the hypoglycemic diet and see how you go. If after two months symptoms persist, see a nutritional doctor.
      Cheers Jur

  7. Gillian Price says:

    Iam amazed at the symptoms you have listed, I have fibromyalgia and I also have all the symptoms you have listed. I will make appointment with my doctor and see what she says. Thankyou for all your information

  8. Taz says:

    Hi was wondering could anyone help me i am in a real state!! i was on a sleeping medication zopiclone 7.5mg for 5 years and recently quit them i have been off them for about 5 months also i was taking an anti depressant venlafaxine at 180mg for about 3 years then i told my psychiatrist i felt they were not working so he upped the dosage t0 225mg now i had recently prior to all the changes with the meds been doing high intensity workout for 30 minutes a day 5 days a week for just over a year i was fine doing this whilst i was still on the zopiclone 7.5mg and the venlafaxine 180mg…but since then with the change of dose to venlafaxine and the withdrawal of zopiclone after a high intensity workout i feel my hands go cold i get a excited feeling but then go extremely disorientated and i feel as if i am out of body very strange feeling plus my mouth and tongue goes dry i have difficulty speaking my memory goes blank and i have to lay down also i dont feel like eating this to me sounds like hypoglycemia but do any of you know if this is to do with the withdrawal from zopiclone ? also i have now been gradually reduced down to 150mg of venlafaxine which i have been taking for a month how long if so do these symptoms last i am very worried i wont be able to exercise again thanks from taz

  9. Paul says:

    Very informative article that rings many bells with my years of a personal journey. I had diagnosed ‘depression’ symptoms. I saw various professionals – doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists. Took many different medications to treat it, all ultimately to no benefit. Then only through my own years of trial and error, elimination diets, to pin point any food allergies and intolerances. I finally found relief in the ‘paleo type diets’, avoidance of high GI foods,caffine and 600 number flavour enhancers, which basically is a low GI diabetic diet anyway. Wish I came across your articles here years ago, they would have cut a painfully long process to find a working ‘cure’ down drastically. Wish my parents and doctors, when I was a child, had some idea of what reactive hypoglycemia, pre diabetes and diabetes 2 where, and just how devastating and destructive they can be for some people. Frustratingly enough, i asked one GP for a glucose tolerance test about 4 years ago, and he said I indeed had hypoglycemia/pre diabetes. But he never suggested that this was a serious problem that could result in depression, low energy and angry mood swings. He didn’t even think a change of diet was necessary at all. So I thought nothing of it, until no medications where found to be ultimatly effective on my depressive symptoms. The other thing that was putting me off the scent of discovering a root cause and cure is that I’m not overweight and never have been, so don’t let a normal or slim bulid fool you into thinking you can’t have reactive hypoglycemia or type 2 diabetes. Again, thank you Jurriaan for your concise article.

  10. Paul says:

    The other things I found to aggravate my own ‘angry diabetic like symptoms’ coconut oil and coconut cream to a lesser degree. Any over stimulating food i.e caffeine, high gi foods, pure fructose powder used as a sweetener, 600 number flavour enhancers. So I take it all of these things impact on insulin or normal glucose processes?

    Personally I find potatoes mixed with butter and their skins, and long grain rice with tumeric, not to be too problematic as carbs go. I’m still experimenting with various herbs/spices to slow/limit the insulin overreaction caused by these foods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© Hypoglycemic Health Association of Australia. Website disclaimer.
Website by Amitee Goulton (with credit to Wordpress and the iFeature theme)