Date: Tue, 13 Feb 1996 15:30:33 -0500
From: Laura Hundt <LHundt.AOL.COM>
Subject: Hypoglacimia

I have hypoglycemia, it has become quite a pain, I regularly carry orange juice with me everywhere and constantly have to eat. I am far from a weight problem because i have a high metabolism, but this constant worry about food makes it hard at work, school and fun. I was wondering if anyone knew of any herbs I could take to help me, or any I should avoid to keep from aggravating the condition.

From: Kathleen Brown <kbrown.ALPHA.SIGMA1.COM>

Hi Laura, I've had hypoglycemia for about 25 years, and I've lived to tell about it! Keeping diet, exercise, rest and cold (weather) in balance are the most important things that have always worked for me. If it's cold, for instance, my food reserves have to be replenished more frequently. If I'm really tired, the symptoms manifest more quickly and strongly. If I'm exercising vigorously, I have to eat more often. If I'm skiing, for instance, I load up my pockets with food - both cold and exercise are out of balance!

Many years ago I used to carry little containers of food everywhere with me and eat every 2 hours and it really was a pain in the neck (for me and everyone around me). It was impossible to travel much. I learned to read labels religiously because sugar (and milk, to which I'm allergic) seem to be in just about everything. Sometimes the symptoms would get so bad I would feel so weak, shake, cry, feel helpless and disoriented. Once, during a test for hypoglycemia, I lost consciousness. I used to drink a lot of orange juice too, but I became allergic to it eventually and now when I drink it, my throat swells up and I can't swallow.

Eventually, over the years, I decided I didn't want to live my life as a fanatic about my condition and just started eating more normally. I eat mostly whole grains, (oatmeal has great "staying" power), vegetables and fruits. I also have quite a sweet tooth but try to eat healthy-type sweets. I spent several years doing macrobiotics but that, too, limits severely going out to eat. I remember reading the macrobiotic guru of the time, can't remember his name, who said you should do the best you can with your diet as much as possible but that it was still okay to indulge once in awhile, that it was better for the mind to not be so rigid and controlling. It almost seemed that the more I agonized and focused on it, the worse I became. Nowadays, because I quit worrying so much about it, I can occasionally have a sweet, just so I know that I will shortly have a drop in sugar level and be prepared to either eat something that will smooth it out or live with the consequences (dizziness, shaking, weakness, lack of concentration).

Where I used to get the symptoms within minutes if I didn't eat every 2 hours, I can go for longer now (4-5 hours if necessary). I do start to feel some symptoms, especially if I'm cold or tired in addition to not eating, but I don't panic about them like I used to. I never did drink caffeine or alcohol much so that wasn't as much of a problem for me as regulating sweets (there was sugar in my baby formula!). I found I could drink alcohol (one glass of beer or wine) occasionally if I did it with food. I still can't drink (even one) on an empty stomach or the symptoms occur right away. I guess somewhere along the line I decided I could live with the symptoms and just enjoy my life and not worry about it so much. I'm 50 this year and don't think about it much. I've tried many things over the years, even been under a doctor's care at times - when I was first diagnosed, many doctors didn't even believe it was a real malady! One treatment I tried when I first started was a little bit of protein with a little bit of carbohydrate, like I used to do a little tuna on some crackers. Then others said later that carbohydrate loading was better, if the carbohydrate was slow burning as opposed to fast burning. In the end, I just have continued eating what seems to work for me - oatmeal, grains, fruits, peanut butter (that was one that was a big no-no years ago but I find it brings my sugar level up and it doesn't crash right away after like with sugar or orange juice). One thing I heard about orange juice is that it's very hard on the adrenals because it is such concentrated sugar - it takes quite a few oranges to make a glass of orange juice. I can eat an orange but not drink a glass of juice.

Laura, I think it's great to address the problem and certainly the symptoms are no picnic, but after pretty much a lifetime of dealing with it, I think mental attitude about it is probably the most important thing. Good luck.

From: Dara (WrymRyder.AOL.COM)

I am also hypoglycemic. One thing that I have been told that helps, that I have tried, and that my mother has tried and which has helped us is Chromium Picolinate. I am told that it helps stabilize the insulin/bloodsugar ratio.... (it is also "supposed" to speed up metabolism and help with losing weight) another thing i have found to help is a high protein diet. carrying around beef jerky or some other protein rich food helps. i always have a bottle of juice with me. when my blood sugar, or whatever it is, plummets, the a little sugar helps until i can get myself some proper food. i've also found the Ensure and other brands of "nutritional drinks" to help. they have a fairly high protein content.

I have found that some days I am fine and do not need to eat for a while, and others I need to eat every half hour (today is one of them).

From: Paul Iannone <p_iannone.POP.COM>

: >Helpful herbs are Aloe Vera, Dandelion, or Milk Thistle. A mineral complex supplement is helpful as is Royal Jelly. Herbal bulk combinations are helpful. Liquid vitamin B complex or injections of same can help with malabsorbtion. I use a chelated vitamin supplement.
: Thank you for this helpful information, I will pass this on to my mother-in-law who uses oj to help with her hypoglacimia.

Hypoglycemia is a syndrome commonly associated with what Chinese healers call weak digestion. Aloe vera is a Cold laxative...hardly the thing someone with weak digestion needs. Dandelion is a Cold, Bitter herb, and this too is contraindicated for this pattern. I don't know what 'herbal bulk combinations' are, and Royal Jelly is a waste of money for such a condition.

The use of oj to treat hypoglycemia is an approach that resolves the temporary problem, but makes the problem worse as time goes on. Rather, tell your mother-in-law to consume a warm diet, regular meals, no fruit or fruit juice, and no coffee. Laxation regimes will only make her condition worse.

From: Paul Iannone <p_iannone.POP.COM>

: There will always be disagreement between Eastern and Western approaches to natural healing. The above was recommended to me when I was treated by a wholistic doctor trained in Germany. I won't argue with Paul. He is very knowledgeable. However, there is more than one way to "skin a cat" as the saying goes.

Well, that is the thing about Yin/Yang theory--it is highly adaptive, and covers the facts neatly. The primary difficiency of folk and European herbal systems is that they tend to ignore energetics in favor of keynotes. If the German healer is practicing in a community where Hot Stomachs predominate, then such advice works even if it is not theoretically accurate. In a nation of Cold Stomachs like the U.S., this is simply disaster. You feel better for a few weeks or a few months while the aloe bleeds off whatever Excess is present (including the remaining Qi), and then you fall into a deep state of Depletion. A lot of the Chronic Fatigue around is in part due to the wrong therapy which seemed to work, and then left you several miles shy of the North Pole, because the travelling you were doing was --South--.