Last Modified on Feb 10, 2014
What Is Hypoglycemia?
The body’s main energy source is glucose or sugar. As the body breaks down glucose, it releases energy and regulates several of the body’s processes. However, when the blood sugar drops to an abnormally low level a condition called hypoglycemia occurs, causing a range of symptoms and issues. Hypoglycemia is most commonly associated with diabetes; however, several additional health conditions may cause or be linked to the development of hypoglycemia. Much like a fever, hypoglycemia is not actually the disease itself but rather is an indicator of an underlying health problem.
The symptoms of hypoglycemia may vary depending on the individual as well as the exact cause. Nonetheless, several common symptoms can help identify hypoglycemia. Common symptoms of hypoglycemia include confusion, abnormal behavior, heart palpitations, shakiness, anxiety, sweating, hunger and a tingling sensation around the mouth. While uncommon, hypoglycemia may also cause seizures and loss of consciousness.
Maintaining a constant blood sugar level is important for sustained health and energy. As the blood sugar falls below a normal level, hypoglycemia occurs. This drop in glucose level may be caused by a variety of factors. Drug use, diabetic treatment, critical illness, insulin overproduction, endocrine deficiencies and excessive alcohol consumption may all lead to hypoglycemia.
Natural Remedies for Hypoglycemia
Just as several factors lead to the development of hypoglycemia, several things can be used to treat the condition. Several home remedies stabilize blood sugar and prevent the characteristic drop in blood sugar level associated with hypoglycemia. Angostura bitters taken with artichoke leaf and gentian root normalize blood sugar as does astragalus and licorice root. Additionally, bilberry and wild yam control insulin levels, and gymnema sylvestre suppresses the absorption of saccharides. Additional beneficial herbs include Echinacea, parsley, pau d’arco, raspberry leaves and uva ursi. An effective treatment plan also involves getting regular exercise, avoiding aspartame and artificial sweeteners as well as sugary fruits, and sweetening food with natural sweeteners such as stevia.
Read below for more many remedies from Earth Clinic readers.
[YEA] 06/25/2013: Dorcas from Camden On Gauley, West Virginia: "Hi, I have been hypoglycemic for a long time now and I have always drank diet coke. Do you know that I stoped drinking diet coke and I have not had one low blood sugar since. Last night I tryed the diet coke again and woke up at 3 am with a blood sugar of 60. I believe the aspartame is what makes people have low blood sugar whether it be in the things we drink or eat."
[WARNING!] 03/29/2011: Surfminister from Charlotte, Nc, Usa: "Hey ya'll,
I've been battling hypoglycemia lately and I've found some great stuff here on EC. So thanks to everyone for posting and special thanks to Ted for all of his input.
I did want to point out, however, that if you are dealing with hypoglycemia, be careful of taking too much cinammon. Most of the blood sugar supplements out there are for diabetics and the emphasis is on lowering blood sugar.
I read on one post that cinammon will "stabilize" blood sugar and it will, if you are diabetic. On the other hand, if you are hypoglycemic, cinammon could potentially drive your blood sugar too low. I guess "stabilize" means "lower" to a diabetic, I should have caught that.
So just be careful with cinammon and hypoglycemia. I experienced this myself when I tried taking 500 mg, twice per day. I took one tablet at night and one in the morning and by mid morning, my sugar plummeted. The cinammon was the only thing I changed in my daily routine. Before this, I had been getting progressively better and sugar swings were becoming less and less frequent.
03/29/2011: Sand from Atlanta, Ga replies: "Which brand of cinnamon did you take? I've wanted to use cinnamon for controlling high blood sugar but understand that not all brands will give you the same result."
[YEA] 05/27/2009: Dee from San Diego, CA: "Cinnamon Tablets cured my Hypoglycemia! I use to suffer from Hypoglycemia until I started taking Cinnamon tablets which you can purchase at any Health Food store or Vitamin shop. The Cinnamon helps to stabilize your blood sugar when taken on a daily basis. It's inexpensive and ALL natural. I havn't had any hypoglycemic episodes since I've been taking the Cinnamon. 500 to 1000mg per day is what is recommended. You will experience immediate results!!!"Replies
03/16/2011: Coretta from Suitland, Md replies: "I have had Hypoglycemia for around 1 year because I stopped drinking alcohol. That's what I think. I tried using cinnamon and it helped but I did not no that I could purchase Cinnamon Tablets. Thank you so much I need a good night sleep because Hypoglycemia wakes me up and I have to eat something sweet to go back to sleep. During the day the Hypoglycemia doesn't botter me. So I am thankful for this information. Coretta"
[YEA] 09/27/2008: Mike from Chicago, Illinois: "Nothing cures hypoglycemia better than jogging 40 minutes a day."Replies
02/17/2010: Elf from Blomington, Illinois, Usa replies: "Many people, like myself, who have hypoglycemia get fits of nausea after aerobic exercise. So jogging won't help everyone."
02/17/2010: Bee from Anon, Usa replies: "I would also worry about doing heavy exercise if you don't have your blood sugar under control. I think you should work on diet first. Exercise is important too for overall health, though."
[YEA] 09/18/2007: stephanie from Chicago, IL: "Most "alcoholics" don't realize their addiction is chemical and a direct result of being "hypoglycemic". The addiction to the alcohol is so strong because their blood-sugar level drops so severely and gets replenished so quickly with alcohol--because of the high sugar content. In other words, it's not your fault! This is the answer, if you are trying to cut back on your alcohol intake or go "cold turkey", just buy a bottle of "L- Glutamine" and take one every time you have a craving for alcohol. "Glutamine is an amino acid that your brain can use as an emergency substitute fuel when you haven't eaten recently or have been eating too many carbs and your blood sugar level is too low. This is a glucose stand-in that stops the impulse to run to the candy machine when it's low blood sugar time. L-Glutamine can stop your cravings and get you feeling steady and even within ten minutes." Julia Ross, from The Mood Cure-awesome book. I'm telling you, it works, now go help yourself!"
[YEA] 09/20/2011: Madhavi from Mumbai, India: "No-Grain Diet
After a decade of battling hypoglycemia and it's associated symptoms, I have begun following a no-grain diet. While I do not weigh food and calculate quantities, I do try to eat no more than 1. 5g per kilo body weight of protein per day. This includes a low-carb whey protein shake, two eggs and very small portions of fish or meat. The rest of my plate is filled with non-starchy vegetables/salads and a good serving of healthy fats. The fats are very important. I chase my meals with a glass of water mixed with juice of half a lime. It took about 2 weeks to see results when I first started. For the past 4 months of following this diet, I have felt no hypoglycemia symptoms whatsoever. No shaky hands. No brain fog. No dizzy spells. No afternoon headaches. No ravenous hunger soon after eating. My energy levels are better. Just losing the 'shakes' is such a great feeling! I do take basic multivitamins... But I do not attribute the change to them since I have been taking them for a while now with no noticeable difference. I must note that I have been gluten-free for 5-6 years now... However that alone did not help my hypoglycemia. Giving up ALL grains is what did the trick!"
09/21/2013: Becky from Jefferson, Or: "My husband has been having terrible time for the last year. He has constant diarrhea and can barely keep food down at this point.
Several years ago he started having glucose crashes. His adrenaline kicks on and triggers his insulin to go into overdrive which depletes his glucose causing his glucose to drop into the low 20's. He breaks out in a severe sweat, is not responsive, but is aware of what is going on around him. He can't speak when this happens. His color goes to an icky yellow/grey tone. He lays quietly for about 20 - 40 minutes and it passes. The sweat smells toxic when this happens. The episodes were only happening every few months until about March of 2013. Now they are happening several times a week.
He has been to the gastroenterologist and had the endoscope and colonoscopy done. There is no cancer there they saw.
He saw an endocrinologist that was unable to find any answers for the hypoglycemic episodes.
We have no insurance for him so basically we are unable to find anyone that wants to help him.
He doesn't believe in taking man made medicine, so I need help in finding something that will him. He has lost 20 pounds in the last year. He is only 48 and was a very active and productive construction worker. No he does good to get out of bed long enough to sit at the computer a couple of hours a day or maybe to do some visiting with friends on a good day.
Please someone help me find a way to help my husband."Replies
09/21/2013: Dave from Fountain Inn, Sc replies: "To Becky from Jefferson Oregon,
Three assumptions and three solutions.
1. The diarrhea would indicate a problem with the gut. So getting beneficial bacteria and HCL on an empty stomach will start healing that part of the problem. Assume a gut flora problem.
2. The only thing that triggers insulin release is sugar, not adrenaline. Somehow he is getting sugar and the pancreas which controls the insulin is acting like he is diabetic. Start tracking his insulin levels, even when he is feeling fine. Assume a sugar problem... Which produces an insulin problem which can send him into the dangerous insulin levels you state... Near ICU territory. Get a glycemic index chart (on line). That index needs to be constantly monitored. 70 percent of this problem might be sugar related. He must get off candy/ ice cream/ sodas/ cakes/ pies. (I know, I know... why bother living if I can't have those things.)
3. You mentioned his toxic smelling sweat. That may be significant. It could be toxic... Coming from a yeast infection (fungus) or virus but sounds more in the realm of fungus... Mold. You said your husband was in construction and often mold can be very present in construction sites... Eg Valley Fever is a mold that can be easily stirred up during wind storms or construction areas, and can travel hundreds of miles. Start him on high levels of Colloidal Silver to kill the infection. So: Assume an infection.
Three assumptions based on your descritption and three solutions.
Now, this is just a start up of where to go. You do have him on ACV... right? To help digestion.
09/21/2013: Mama To Many from Tennessee, Usa replies: "Dear Becky,
So sorry about your husband's challenges! You mentioned that his sweat smells toxic. He could be dealing with illness from some type of poison. If he has some type of chemical poisoning, it would come out in the sweat. When my husband uses certain paints (he uses a respirator when he has to use them for work) but they still absorb into his skin. Even after showering and changing clothes, I can smell the chemicals coming off of him. I always give him charcoal to help get these toxins out of him. That is something you could try. Charcoal is also good for diarrhea coming from a variety of problems. He could try 2 -3 t. Of activated charcoal water in 8 oz. Of water a couple of times a day. It will adsorb poisons from his body. Just don't take charcoal near when he is taking any other medicine as it can adsorb them as well. If he tolerates this well, I would do it for at least a month.
Dandelion is sometimes recommended for hypoglycemia (he could drink a couple of cups of the tea each day, or take Dandelion Root capsules. ) It is also a good blood purifier.
I would keep cayenne pepper on hand - it is good for shock. If he is unresponsive, you could rub 1/4 t. Cayenne into his gums. This is something that is done for shock and heart attacks.
I saw at least one other post with a number of good ideas for you. I am praying you find the solution for him. Please keep us posted on his progress.
~Mama to Many~"
09/21/2013: Mike from Denver, Colorado replies: "Becky: Make green smoothies from organic baby leaves. Strain and remove the cellulose. Eat raw honey and raw organic fruits, especially berries. Eat grass fed beef rare. Eat some non gmo red or aka miso. Take 1 tsp. Flax oil and 1 tbl. Coconut oil 4 times a day. Go online and get some water kefir grains. Make 4 cups a day. Take some hawaiin spirulina and non defatted dessicated liver. Watch raw food and raw superfood videos on youtube."
09/22/2013: Becky from Jefferson, Or replies: "Thank you Dave. We are basically just starting more research on our own, because Doctors seem to have given up. So I will track all the input I can get. Thanks for all your help."
09/22/2013: Edna from Ca replies: "I would like to add to the other suggestions : a search on Blood sugar and Magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium 400 mg a day is the RDA for men, anything lower could cause Magnesium Deficiency. Unstable blood sugars is one of the many deficiency symptoms. I hope this supplement could help. Further search is recommended.
... "Magnesium is necessary for both the action of insulin and the manufacture of insulin.
Magnesium is a basic building block to life and is present in ionic form throughout the full landscape of human physiology. Without insulin though, magnesium doesn’t get transported from our blood into our cells where it is most needed....""
02/10/2014: Wendy from Calgary, Alberta replies: "You might want to see if his adrenals are working ok. Hypoglycemia can be linked to adrenal fatigue. Check out Dr. Wilson's book on Adrenal Fatigue."
Small Meals, Caffeine Only After Lunch
[YEA] 03/18/2010: Theglennstreet from Taipei, Taiwan: "I had suffered for years from Hypoglycaemic attacks, mainly when I have neglected to eat regularly, as we all do from time to time.
However, I was still prone rather severe episodes of Hypoglycaemia until I read that caffeine was a probable cause.
I now only ever drink tea, coffee (or caffeine) after lunch and this has virtually eliminated the attacks which only occur if I do not eat regularly.
In short - my personal cure for Hypoglycaemia - eat little and often and avoid any caffeine until after lunch."
08/08/2011: Jeff from Chico, Ca replies: "I've had good luck with smaller more frequent meals however this most certainly will not cure the problem. If you are interested in completely getting rid of it (and you should, low blood sugar is deadly) google Dr. Roberto Illa and make an appointment to see him, well worth the plane ticket (saved my life). He is an ingenious research doctor and has a method that can actually fix the underlying problem (hypothalamus usually), he has a book call the Illa protocol if you are interested."
[YEA] 08/01/2007: Kathy from Frederick, MD: "I first read about stevia a little over a year ago. I was convinced enough to try and have been using it ever since. I have hypo-glycemia (low blood sugar), however, I no longer suffer from the extreme drops in blood sugar levels. I drink 10-15 drops of the darker liquid stevia every day in yerba mate tea. This gives me a nice boost in the morning, staves off my allergies and helps to balance my blood sugar.
I know of a little girl who lost her hair due to extreme thyroid problems when she was younger. I had remembered reading that if you combine a few drops of the dark stevia with creme de cocoa soap and lather on your scalp, you may be able to re-grow hair. I truly didn't know if this would work and was very skeptical but my heart went out to this 12 year old that has to wear wigs everyday so I told her parents about it. She's been using it for about two months now and her hair is re-growing. Granted, ever so slowly and patchy on her head but we're all very hopeful that she will continue to grow gorgeous locks!
Bottom line, stevia is extremely sweet and takes a little getting used to. It's a wonderful alternative to artificial chemicals. It has zero effect on blood glucose levels. I've found it in dry packets, clear liquid and dark liquid forms.
I've also heard it's good for acne but I have not tried that myself. Apparently it tightens a little bit as it dries on your skin. Put a light coating on yoru skin. Leave on overnight. It washes off very easily. After several days you should see much improvement."Replies
[WARNING!] 02/28/2009: Susan from NYC, NY replies: "I would be careful about using stevia for hypoglycemia, depending on the causes. Stevia is traditionally used to treat diabetes because it raises your insulin levels. But, for those who are hypoglycemic because their insulin levels are already too high (like myself) could be sabotaging themselves. Also raised insulin levels affect all your other hormones, raising them across the board, which, if you are a woman, can be very bad, leading to polycystic ovaries."
09/01/2012: Spencer from La, Ca replies: "How can one tell if their Hypoglycemia is caused by high or low insulin levels? Beside seeing a doc."
[YEA] 01/16/2013: Nicholas from Edison, N.j. Usa: "I had a severe case of hypolycemia for 8 years. It started right after I had an emotional upset in 1976. Then I discovered yoga breathing in 1984. By the time I had my 20th breathing session I was healed of hypoglycemia and of most emotional problems. Yoga breathing is also called Rebirthing, Conscious Breathing. A great many of our "uncurable" physical problems are caused by emotions that we suppress into the body."Replies
06/03/2013: Mary from Arlington Heights, Illinois replies: "Please please tell me more about yogic breathing. Thank you."
06/28/2013: Kell from Los Angeles, Ca replies: "Yes, please explain the yoga breathing and how often a day you do it and how long etc... Thank you!"