August 2011 – Hypoglycemia & Alcoholism

Thirty-one years ago, in 1980, I founded the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, Inc. (HSF), and was looking for doctors to serve as my medical advisors. I needed both professional and medical guidance as well as a place where I could send patients who wanted to be tested or treated for hypoglycemia. I wrote to about 50 physicians in my area, but not one responded! I don’t know how I overcame my disappointment, but I decided to write to several researchers, scientists and authors from around the country. Whether luck or fate…encouragement, guidance and hope came in from Dr. Emmanuel Cheraskin, who wrote The Vitamin C Connection, Dr. Lenden Smith, author of Feed Your Kids Right, and Dr. Jeffrey Bland, head of the Bland Institute in Seattle, Washington. And I can’t forget Dr. Harvey Ross, author of Hypoglycemia: The Disease Your Doctor Won’t Treat. Even our local celebrity, Dr. Wayne Dyer–author of one of my long-time favorites, Gifts From Eykis: A Story of Self-Discovery–offered his encouragement and support.

Even though I now had several medical advisors, I did not have a doctor in my area. The organization needed a physician who believed hypoglycemia existed, who treated this condition and who was sympathetic to their patients’ needs. I needed a physician who I could call upon for advice and support; one who would be willing to participate in our seminars and lectures. Needless to say–it was a tall order!

It wasn’t until 1982, that my dear friend, Dr. Shirley Lorenzani, introduced me to Dr. Douglas M. Baird. After some persuasive telephone conversations, he agreed to be a guest speaker at one of our monthly meetings. Dr. Baird spoke long and strong to a spellbound audience, and I remember so vividly what he said that night…exciting and frightening at the same time! It was one sentence that sent chills down my spine… “I have never, ever seen an alcoholic who was not hypoglycemic. It just doesn’t occur; it’s the same problem.”

Another tragedy of hypoglycemia – its correlation to alcoholism!

I then realized the information he shared could save the lives of millions of alcoholics! Dr. Baird’s interest in the treatment of alcoholism dates back to the late 1970s, when he became intrigued by the withdrawal symptoms that many times accompany the cessation of drinking–tremors, weakness, sweating, increased reflexes, gastric symptoms and seizures. In extreme cases, people withdrawing from alcohol might even experience visual or auditory hallucinations. These symptoms, he said, often prevented alcoholics from quitting or caused them to replace alcohol with sugar, high carbohydrates, caffeine and/or tobacco.

Working on the premise that alcohol, like hypoglycemia, was related to faulty metabolism, Dr. Baird set out to design a program to meet the recovering alcoholic’s needs. Preliminary physical and dietary evaluations are completed as well as blood and sugar testing. The chemical imbalance created by years of poor dietary habits is then brought back into alignment with implementation of proper diet, vitamin therapy and lifestyle changes. Dr. Baird used his program for 20+ years, helping alcoholics cope with their disease and not fall into hypoglycemia. His program worked because “it stabilize[d] the alcoholic’s blood sugar and thus ma[de] it easier for the alcoholic to maintain abstinence.”

It seems that the following experts agree with Dr. Baird…

According to Dr. James R. Milam, in his book, Under The Influence, “There is no question that a great majority of alcoholics suffer from chronic low blood sugar. When given a 5 hour glucose tolerance test, over 95% of both early and late-stage alcoholics experience a spike in blood sugar levels after intake of sugar and then a rapid plunge.”

In Dr. Atkins’s New Diet Revolution, Dr. Atkins writes, “Experience shows that when an alcoholic succeeds in getting off alcohol, he usually substitutes sweets. This is because almost all alcoholics are hypoglycemic, and sugar provides the same temporary lift that alcohol once did.”

Dr. Harvey M. Ross states, in Hypoglycemia: The Classic Healthcare Handbook, “What is most important is the plethora of doctors and counselors who ignore the results of the research that prove that the alcoholic has a blood sugar problem.”

“To combat alcohol and other drug abuse, abstinence, proper diet, nutritional supplementation and education about abuse and hypoglycemia must be part of the program”…writes Dr. David Williams in Hypoglycemia: The Deadly Roller Coaster.

Dr. Baird brought the hypoglycemia-alcohol connection to light in his first presentation for the HSF in 1982. Then the aforementioned doctors wrote about it in the 1990s. And current expert, Dr. Joan Mathews Larson, author of 7 Weeks to Emotional Healing, stated in an interview with Larry Hobbs… “It is an absolute must that alcoholics change their diet to control their hypoglycemia or they will never get their alcohol under control….It is very clear that the success rate in stabilizing alcoholism is shamelessly low because one of the main contributing factures, hypoglycemia, is not being addressed.”

How far have we come in the past 40 years since this information has been circulating? Well, according to the latest statistics on the rise of alcoholism, not very far! So where do we go from here?

This is where the HSF comes in. I pledge that we will do all we can to spread the word about the correlation between hypoglycemia and alcoholism. Since the HSF has never received any local, state or federal funding these past 31 years, our studies have been limited.

That’s about to change! This coming October 14, 2011, the HSF is hosting its first fundraising gala at the famous Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We are aiming for 400 – 500 attendees! Our goal is to put the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, Inc., center stage! We want to officially be on the map—for all the world to see—and show that, for the past 31 years, the HSF has been the world-renowned leader in disseminating information and offering encouragement and hope to those suffering from hypoglycemia , a confusing, complicated, too often misunderstood condition.

We have a long list of goals and dreams for the HSF, but I assure you that studying the link between hypoglycemia and alcoholism is at the top of the list!

Here’s to your health,

Roberta

For further information, check out the chapter on “Hypoglycemia and Alcoholism: Is There A Correlation” in my book, The Do’s and Don’ts of Hypoglycemia: An Everyday Guide to Low Blood Sugar.

PS…If you would like to support our fundraising gala, please go to our website at www.hypoglycemia.org and click on “Save The Date.” If you would like information about tickets, sponsorship or how to donate auction items, please e-mail me at rruggiero@hypoglycemia.org. Thank you!

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