(NaturalHealth365) Are you feeling overly sensitive or do you tend to easily “fly off the handle”? Notice yourself quarreling with your spouse or children all too often? If you find yourself experiencing frequent mood fluctuations that affect your relationships and emotional wellbeing throughout the day, low glucose levels could be to blame.
Instead of getting angry, researchers suggest you get eating!
Low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia should not be taken lightly. Published recently in Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences, Florida University researchers reported that hypoglycemia leads to greater aggression in married couples.
In addition, studies indicate that preventing childhood diseases such as mental health issues, diabetes and obesity is directly related to optimizing blood sugar levels from infancy.
Chronic stress and adrenal ‘burnout’ can be caused by blood sugar imbalances
For those of us that burn the candle at both ends or are on the go without taking time for meals and snacks, the optimal insulin to cortisol ratio that keeps us even-keeled and feeling energized is often tapped out. This extreme shift in neuro-hormonal homeostasis can result in anxiety, frustration, anger and sadness making it difficult to maintain both personal and professional relationships.
Some of you may be thinking, “but I snack all day and still experience those fluctuations, why?” This can even happen to people who choose healthy, nutrient-dense foods, but may not be ingesting them at optimal times. If high sugar-rich foods (even natural varieties) such as fruits are selected without following up with proteins and fats – blood sugar can quickly drop, causing you to feel a sudden change in mood.
Are you having a problem with your child due to low glucose levels?
Monitoring blood sugar is especially important for children of all ages – they too may experience difficulty with relationships at home and at school if hypoglycemic episodes become a regular occurrence. My colleagues specializing in pediatric health emphasize that a “cranky” child is not necessarily just going through “terrible twos” or a “moody teenager”, but may not be ingesting enough glycemic-index optimizing foods throughout the day. You may notice intermittent crying, wining, lethargy and fatigue or conversely, anxiety, anger or frustration as a result of hypoglycemia.
Because learning and development depend on the right balance of fats, carbohydrates and proteins it’s important to keep children on a meal and snack schedule to fuel them throughout the day. Children are also very susceptible to reactive hypoglycemia. This results when two or three doughnuts for example or foods rich in simple sugars are eaten closely together causing blood sugar to skyrocket, but then quickly plummet.
Be careful: Certain drugs can cause low blood sugar
Antidepressants including SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to negatively influence blood sugar resulting in hypoglycemia. While antidepressants may not directly cause low glucose levels, they do cause appetite suppression making it difficult for some patients to maintain an ideal glycemic index. If you take an antidepressant or are considering one, talk to an integrative health professional about regulating blood sugar.
While optimizing blood sugar through dietary awareness is frontline “treatment”, current research is aimed at observing genetic markers that influence the severity of hypoglycemia and related metabolic syndromes to help prevent its multi-systemic effects.
About the author: Christine M. Dionese L.Ac, MSTOM is an integrative health expert, medical journalist and food writer. She’s dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health. Christine practices, writes and speaks on environmental functional medicine, epigenetics, food therapy and sustainable living.