What is one aspect of health that is undervalued unless its grossly out of balance and yet affects everything? Blood sugar, or glucose levels in the body.
What is blood sugar in the first place? Let’s break it down
Blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is what circulates in the bloodstream. Glucose is essential because it’s the body’s primary fuel source.
Every time you eat – you release glucose into your blood stream. Then Insulin, which is a hormone released by the pancreas, moves glucose from the blood into the cell, where it can be used for immediate energy or stored for later use. It’s a pretty effective system as long as everything is in balance.
Other things raise glucose levels as well like exercise and stress. The body wants glucose to stay in healthy ranges and will work hard to keep them there – we don’t want it too high or too low.
When blood glucose is too low, the body releases glucagon to bring it back up.
What does the system look like if blood sugar is out of balance?
One situation is if glucose and insulin are always in excess or too high.
If we have more glucose in our blood stream than we can utilize at one time it can lead to problems. This usually happens because we ate too many starchy or sugary foods, our emotional stress is too high, or something like mold, toxicity is stressing our bodies.
When this happens our liver and muscles can store the excess glucose as glycogen. However, glycogen storage space is limited and once that storage space is full, glucose is then converted and stored as body fat. Body fat, unfortunately and fortunately, has an endless storage space. Its saving our life by storing excess glucose away yet causing many other health problems.
Since glucose is our body’s preferred source of fuel, if glucose and insulin are always in excess, our bodies aren’t accessing the fat stores. Over time, this may lead to an excess of body fat, obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes and many other issues.
Another situation is if blood glucose keeps crashing and going too low. This can be an indicator of decreased metabolic flexibility and skipping meals etc. It can potentially lead to issues down the road like diabetes.
Why is blood sugar balancing so important and what can it affect?
Insulin and Cortisol are best friends. When one goes up, the other would like to follow. And cortisol has a massive effect on our hormones. Too high of cortisol levels can create issues with progesterone + testosterone leading to issues with periods, cycles, fertility etc
Imbalanced blood sugar can affect mood – it can lead to irritability, sadness, moodiness.
It can affect your job and lead to less focus, more ADD like symptoms and memory issues.
Too low of blood sugar can affect sleep causing multiple wake ups through the night, nightmares and night terrors in kids.
We want to balance our blood sugar using healthy diet and lifestyle to avoid these issues and create healthy levels of hormones.
- Always prioritize protein. Protein can help stabilize blood sugar for longer periods of time and can also help balance something sweeter when consumed first
- If your blood sugar fluctuates a lot or you are under a lot of stress – eat more frequently (every 3-4 hours) and don’t fast for long periods of time
- If you eat something higher carb/sugar make sure you have some movement afterwards like walking. This will help pull the glucose for use by your muscles
Blood sugar management is often over looked unless fasting glucose is super high or insulin is high. However, having managed blood glucose can be a game changer for optimizing health.