Hey, everybody. It’s Dr. Eric Balcavage. We’re back for another edition of Thyroid Thursday and today, I want to do part one of what’s going to probably be a three part series on something called Reactive Hypoglycemia. Now, you may not have ever heard of reactive hypoglycemia, but I’m sure many of you who are watching this video have actually experienced it.
Have you ever eaten a meal and then within one to four hours after eating that meal, you start to get some of these symptoms. You get angry, anxious or irritable. We call that hangry. You get blurred vision, maybe you get dizzy or lightheaded, maybe you get confused or you have brain fog. You just can’t think after a meal. Maybe you get fatigue or weakness, maybe you start to sweat or you a headache. You might get heart palpitations or really get this craving that you need to get something to eat. You may even have sleeping problems, especially if you’re eating a meal later in the evening. Maybe you’re waking up in the night or you have disrupted sleep. Something’s causing you to wake up, maybe two, three o’clock in the morning and you’re not sure why. It may because of a late meal and this reactive hypoglycemic state.
So what does reactive hypoglycemia mean?
What it means is that sometime post meal, your blood sugar, or your blood glucose actually drops too low. So let me explain this. Normally, an optimal fasting glucose is somewhere between 82 and 88. I know on lab reports it may say normal range is as high as a hundred, but what some of the research is showing is that is too high. If your fasting glucose is between 89 and 94, you’ve got about a 47% increased risk of developing diabetes. If your fasting blood sugar is over 94, you’ve got a 233% risk of developing type two diabetes. So fasting glucose at 100 or even in the 90s on a regular basis, is not a good level for your health. Optimal fasting blood sugar should be between 82 and 88.
When you eat, you put food into your GI tract. What should happen is that food starts to break down so that we can absorb glucose, fatty acids and amino acids from your protein and all the other micronutrients and minerals that come from our food. But we’re focused on glucose today. So what happens is that glucose starts to rise and we’ve got something that we release, it’s called insulin. We’ve got one hormone to actually bring that glucose level back into range. So as glucose goes up, insulin should go up to help get this glucose into the cells. And then as the glucose drops, the insulin should drop and we should get back to our baseline. But there are some mechanisms that are can occur where the glucose actually drops too low, and if that glucose drops too low after that meal, and it’s usually within a one to four hour window, you’re going to start to get some of these symptoms.
Is there a link between reactive hypoglycemia and hypothyroidism?
Absolutely. I’m going to talk about those in the upcoming videos of this three part series. What’s really important to understand is we only have one hormone that really lowers glucose. That’s insulin. We put a lot of attention on insulin, but we have four hormones that are actually supposed to elevate glucose. Glucagon, adrenaline, cortisol, and growth hormone should actually raise glucose and prevent this (low blood glucose) from happening. But if we’re driving into this reactive hypoglycemic state after the meal, either we’ve got too much insulin, we’ve got poor insulin signaling, or we’ve got a defect in these things being released appropriately. It could be glucagon, adrenaline or epinephrine, cortisol, or growth hormone. We’re going to talk about those a little bit more in depth in the rest of the videos in this three part series.
So stay tuned for those upcoming videos and they should be out in the coming weeks.