Do you ever feel dizzy and start to sweat when you haven’t eaten for a while? The “shakes” are often caused by hypoglycemia, otherwise known as low blood sugar or low blood glucose. While I am not diabetic, my blood sugar level will often drop with no warning. This can happen for a number of reasons: too much insulin (in diabetics), skipping a meal, exercising too strenuously, too much alcohol or by certain medications or autoimmune disorders.
Other signs that you have low blood sugar may include: headaches, blurred vision, lack of coordination, anxiety, depression, confusion, irritability, heart palpitations, slurred speech, seizures, fatigue and even a coma. At this point, you will need to seek medical care. Long term treatment for hypoglycemia is typically aimed at its cause; however, alternative treatments may be useful in helping to regulate blood sugar in the short term.
Exercise regularly. While strenuous exercise can cause bouts of hypoglycemia, regular moderate exercise may actually help you keep it under control. To start out, light exercise may be advisable until you are able to regulate your blood sugar and tolerate higher intensity exercise.
Regulate your meals. Rather than eating three larger meals a day, which has been recommended in the past, try eating six small (healthy) meals daily. This has helped me immensely in trying to regulate my blood sugar. And don’t skip meals; when I forget to eat for a while, I may feel fine until I suddenly crash with no warning. If you can, spread each meal and snack out so they are approximately two to three hours apart.
Incorporate nutritional support into your treatment. There are a number of ways you can supplement your diet with nutritional foods. First of all, try to increase your intake of healthy fats, which are found in avocados, olive oil, raw nuts and cold water fish. Eat foods that are high in B vitamins and iron, like whole grains and vegetables. Soluble fiber — flaxseed and pure oat bran, for example — can slow the rate at which dietary sugars enter the blood and help regulate blood sugars throughout the day. Also, be sure to eat the recommended amount of protein to maintain a stable glucose level during the day.
Drink herbal teas. Luckily, I enjoy a cup of tea on a regular basis, so this is great for us tea drinkers. If you haven’t already, switch to green tea, which is one alternative treatment for hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Licorice and burdock root are believed to help control hypoglycemia symptoms, as well.
Try ginseng supplements. Ginseng is a plant that comes in the form of teas, powders and capsules. You should always consult with your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, because they can have an adverse effect when not taken properly, and they can interact with other drugs you may be taking. When used properly, ginseng can help reverse fatigue, improve memory, strengthen the heart and nervous system and increase your capacity to focus and think.
What NOT to do:
There are also certain foods that should be avoided if you frequently suffer from hypoglycemia. First and foremost, you should always avoid suspected food allergens. Also, avoid too much sugar, refined carbohydrates, and trans fatty acids. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, as well, to keep your blood sugar in check. Finally, do not use medical advice found on the Internet until you have spoken with your doctor (see disclaimer below).
Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia , University of Maryland Medical Center
** Note: The author does not claim to be a medical professional, and this article is intended to be used for informational purposes only. If you are experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia, please consult with your physician to determine the cause and discuss your treatment options.**