Blood sugar imbalance is a fairly common, but often overlooked, cause of hormonal imbalance and menstrual problems among women.
Did you know that blood sugar imbalance could be the underlying cause of various unpleasant symptoms you experience throughout your menstrual cycle?
And you don’t have to be diabetic or pre-diabetic with an elevated blood sugar level to be affected either.
In fact, low blood sugar is a fairly common, but often overlooked, cause of hormonal imbalance among women.
How Low Blood Sugar Creates Hormone Imbalance
Our brain, along with every cell in the body, needs a constant and even flow of glucose (sugar) for energy – and to function properly.
When the supply of blood sugar is unstable, either too high or too low, it puts stress on various organs, among them the brain.
At this point the adrenal glands are called in to rescue the situation.
They release the stress hormone cortisol to normalize the blood sugar level with emergency stores of a special sugar called glycogen.
Our brain and cells get the sugar they need and all is good.
However, if this stressful scenario repeats itself too often, the adrenal glands will become overwhelmed, fatigued, and eventually exhausted.
And a burned-out adrenal system is a sure way to disrupt the natural balance of reproductive hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
Check out to see if you have these 7 cardinal signs of adrenal fatigue.
Common Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar
When there’s an insufficient supply of sugar to our brain and various parts of the body, we’re likely to feel less than optimal. Here are some common symptoms of low blood sugar:
- Sugar cravings
- Fatigue, exhaustion
- Constant worrying, nervousness, anxiety, depression
- Headache, blurred vision, fainting, dizziness, drowsiness
- Forgetfulness, poor concentration, confusion, indecisiveness
- Digestive problems
- Heart palpitation, rapid pulse, tremor, cold sweats
- Muscle pain, numbness, twitching, cramps, poor coordination
- PMS irritability, anger, crying spells or mood swings
- Menstrual pain, irregular periods, heavy bleeding or amenorrhea
- Low sex drive, infertility
See below a graphic showing the effects of low blood sugar on the body and mind (graciously provided by Healthline).
Causes of Low Blood Sugar
So what causes the blood sugar level to be low? Interestingly, this can happen when you eat either too much or too little.
Eating Too Little
Our body converts the foods we eat into glucose for energy.
If you’re not eating enough due to dieting or other reasons, you’ll not have sufficient blood sugar to sustain your body.
Since up to 50% of women are dieting at any given time, low blood sugar is much more common than many people think.
Side Note: World Health Organization (WHO) establishes that starvation begins under 2,100 calories a day, and USDA standards indicate 2,500 calories as the daily minimum that an adolescent or adult woman needs to get the minimum amount of life-sustaining nutrients.
Eating Too Much
You can also get low blood sugar when you eat too much.
This often happens when you eat foods with a high glycemic index that are turned into sugar quickly, such as soda, candies, pastries, white breads, etc.
When there’s a lot of sugar in the blood stream, insulin works extra hard to pump it from the blood into the cells, and stores it as fat.
If you regularly overeat, your insulin will get exhausted and become less effective, leading to either high or low sugar levels in the blood stream.
How to Balance Blood Sugar
If I could sum up my learning on life, health and happiness in one word, it would be “balance.”
And balancing blood sugar is one of the most fundamental aspects because it sets us up biochemically to balance the rest of our lives.
So to harmonize our menstrual cycles and to ensure our physical as well as mental and emotional well-being, it’s extremely important that we keep our blood sugar stable on a daily basis.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Have a Protein-rich Breakfast
Eat a substantial (at least 25% of the day’s food intake), protein-rich breakfast within 90 minutes of waking.
2. Eat 3 Meals a Day
Eat at least 3 solid meals a day.
3. Eat Every 4 Hours
Don’t skip a meal and don’t let more than 4 hours go by without food.
4. Choose Low Glycemic
Avoid or minimize the intake of junk foods that give you empty calories without adequate nutrients.
Balance carbs with healthy fats, protein and fiber (veggies). They will make you feel full and satisfied, reducing the chances of overeating.
6. Take Supplements
The B vitamins, vitamin C, and the mineral chromium are crucial for keeping blood sugar level stable and preventing carbohydrate cravings.
7. Take Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids can help raise your metabolism, promote fat-burning, and support your insulin function to keep your blood sugar stable.
8. Add L-glutamin
L-glutamin is an amino acid that’s proven effective in stopping cravings for sweets, starches and alcohol almost instantly.
It helps balance the brain chemistry (and hence reduces your need to depend on your limited willpower).
Consider taking 1 capsule of L-glutamin supplement 1 to 3 times a day, preferably between meals.
9. Support the Adrenals
Support your adrenal function to restore your overall hormone balance.
Get adequate rest, keep your stress level manageable, and build up your adrenal reserve with natural remedies.
These tips are simple enough to implement. The key is to make them part of your daily routine – something you do day in and day out without having to think about it.
Remember, when you take care of your blood sugar, it’ll take care of you!
I hope you find this article helpful. And as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences and feedback!
Note: If you have any underlying health condition, please check with your doctor before taking any dietary or herbal supplements as they may interfere with your medication.
Chasteberry (proven to help treat low progesterone and regulate menstrual cycles in more than 60 years of clinical research, including 5 randomized trials)
Vitamin B6 (one of the best vitamins to boost progesterone)
Progesterone Cream (bio-identical hormonal support)
Liver Cleanse Detox and Repair Formula (support liver functions)
Dim Plus (improve estrogen metabolism)
Support Adrenal and Thyroid Functions
Adrenal Health Daily Support (promote overall hormone balance)
Thyroid Support Complex (support energy and metabolism)
Once Daily Organic Whole Food Vitamin Supplement (provide essential nutrients for health and hormone balance)
Liquid Iron (support healthy blood)
The Hormone Cure, by Dr. Sara Gottfried
Cooking for Hormone Balance, by Magdalena Wszelaki