It takes courage…

It takes courage…

“No one understands the stress of the spouse or significant other. I believe that more than the patient, the spouse or significant other needs a lot of emotional support. They’re not considered sick. They’re not considered ill. They’re healthy. They are strong. For the spouse, it’s sometimes a job to care for the hypoglycemic, yet there’s no pay, no bonuses, no pat on the back and sometimes no appreciation. So many are suffering emotionally themselves, and therapy of any kind could be of great value.”  – Dr. Hewitt Bruce

It is often written between the pages of The Do’s and Don’ts of Hypoglycemia: An Everyday Guide to Low Blood Sugar that this condition is “the most confusing, complicated, misunderstood and too often misdiagnosed conditions of the 21st century.” That being said, it makes sense that not only does this condition affect the patient but those that are closely involved…from the spouse, significant other…to even the parents and siblings.

The following interpersonal story (excerpted from Living with Hypoglycemia, Journal of General Internal Medicine) of a low blood sugar reaction was told by a 25-year-old woman:

“My boyfriend has had to deal with several [hypoglycemic episodes] recently. And initially, it was very tough on him… I’d be upset that he recognized that I was low and I didn’t, and that he was in control. And all sorts of issues that are tenuous in our relationship would start to come up. And I’d be very mean to him and shun him and tell him to just go away. Let me deal with it on my own. He’d feel incredibly hurt. And then I’d reject treatment from him, and he’d feel like I was calling our whole relationship off. And then once the sugar kicked in 20 minutes later, I was all happy and excited and cheery, and he couldn’t understand it, and he’d say, “Wait, 20 minutes ago you were telling me to go. What is this?” He’d be very hurt. And so there’d be a big long discussion.”

When a patient is diagnosed with reactive/functional hypoglycemia, their world is often turned upside-down. Many hope for an “overnight” remedy and realize that it could take weeks, months, or even years of sorting through the mass of confusing and complicated information. Due to the unfamiliarity with the stages of recuperation, the controversy surrounding its treatment, and non-acceptance from many in the medical community, too many find themselves feeling they’re the only person in the world suffering from this baffling disease.   

So, can success come to the patient and those closely associated with them? Of course!  But not without a plan. It takes a “village” to totally heal from any illness, whether mild, severe or life-threatening. Getting that village together is the secret…and doing it when you are well is even better…eliminating time, stress and unforeseen emergencies. 

Perhaps you have been diagnosed with reactive/ functional hypoglycemia, and started a hypoglycemia diet, or incorporated a vitamin and exercise program…and believe you’ve done everything you can think of – yet, you still feel mentally and emotionally lost?  If you’ve done some or all of the above and still not seeing an improvement; if your spouse or significant other feels helpless and doesn’t know what to do; if the family situation is getting worse instead of better, it may be time to consider professional help in some form of therapy.

For many today, it’s not “Are you going for therapy?” but “Who are you going to?” 

“Therapy” has thankfully reached a level of society-wide acceptance – and there are many different types to choose from. Some are seeking counseling to prevent minor problems from becoming major ones, some are seeking direction as to where they want to go in life, while others are trying to reclaim their lives entirely. 

If you decide to get therapy…how do you choose…where do you start? There are different types of therapy available from psychiatrists, psychotherapists, social workers, hypnotherapists and the clergy. If you’re uncomfortable starting there, perhaps you can begin by sharing your fears and concerns with your present health care provider. You might even consider a trusted friend. Whoever you decide to open up to, the first step is the hardest but the benefits can be most rewarding. The suggestion of seeing a therapist or the idea of having a mental health issue should not carry a stigma; we live in a modern age where seeking professional help for mental or physical health issues is perfectly acceptable and normal. Many of us, whether we are dealing with a health challenge or not, can benefit from some form of therapy where we can address issues, problems, or concerns that start to manage and control us instead of us controlling them.

Author Marianne Williamson sums it up: 

“It takes courage to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” 

Zoom Open House

Zoom Open House

Zoom Open House

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation,

The HSF declared March 13, 2020 as the inaugural Global *Hypoglycemia Awareness Day, and, on this special day, we also celebrated the HSF’s 40th Anniversary!

Our HSF Open House Zoom Room was held from 9am (Pacific) / Noon Eastern to 1pm (Pacific) / 4pm Eastern… a total of 4 hours on March 13, 2020. Our vision was fulfilled and many of our friends, colleagues, followers, and advisors called in and joined the conversation, which we recorded and now share with those who were not able to call in. Roberta Ruggiero and Wolfram Alderson were in the Zoom Room during the entire 4 hours. Questions about hypoglycemia, opportunities to share experiences relevant to hypoglycemia, expertise, and connections to hypoglycemia, etc., were welcomed and a rich discussion was held. This is the first time the HSF haS done something like this, so consider it an experiment in how to engage our community in a way that is inclusive and accessible to all.

Check out our National Petition

We also announced a new national petition to encourage medicare coverage of blood sugar testing supplies for people with severe hypoglycemia.

Here is the audio recording of the entire open house!

Good to Know

Good to Know

Kicking the Sugar

Sometimes we get requests from folks who want to “Quit the Sugar” – looking for recommendations or referrals. We don’t formally recommend anyone in particular in this space, since many of the actors and their business, books, etc., “kicking sugar” are not necessarily tethered to any particular or solid science of dealing with food addiction. A lot of them mean well, but are often padded with “fluff” and personalized approaches that may or may not work.
 
There are several amazing experts you may want to look into though, all trusted advisors to the HSF, and all of whom offer approaches way deeper than just “sugar” addiction.
 
It is worthwhile to start with getting a “Bigger Picture” of what is driving addiction, which is what Dr. Robert Lustig (also an HSF Advisor) spells out on his website:

(Understanding the nature of food addiction and processed food is fundamental to “kicking sugar.”)
 
Joan Ifland, PhD
World’s leading expert on processed food addiction…she literally wrote the book on the subject. Her approach is broader than simply “sugar addiction” or “food addiction”… her website is https://www.drjoanifland.com. She does quite a bit of online coaching and offers a supportive Facebook page. Sugar addiction is processed food addiction – sugar is in 75% of the food supply, and these foods are all processed.
 
Julia Ross
Julia is a Master level therapist who started out treating addiction, but discovered the underlying causes of addiction were related to food and nutrient deficiencies, especially amino acids. Her book, The Craving Cure is excellent, and she also operates a clinic in Mill Valley, California.
 
Ann Childers, MD
Dr. Childers is a psychiatrist who has built her practice on mental and metabolic health. She is based in Portland, Oregon, and only takes clients there. I mention her, because, if I were addicted to any food substance, I would want her to be my doctor. She may be able to give you some advice on how to shop for a health care provider that may share her same paradigm of treatment, which is remarkable. Like Julia, many of her clients may come in presenting symptoms related to mental health or addiction, but may, in fact, be suffering from dietary deficiencies, or simply the wrong type of diet. For example, cutting sugar is almost impossible without looking at processed carbohydrates (sugar being an ultra processed carbohydrate) and your blood sugar health. 
 
The Suppers Programs
This organization, founded by addiction expert and visionary Dorothy Mullen, is based in Princeton, New Jersey, and offers the most brilliant community model for helping folks face all kinds of health issues related to food. With The Suppers Programs, you can learn about the importance of eating whole foods for good health. Understanding how and why biological individuality is critical, and seeing connections between food, mood and health is fundamental. The Suppers Programs encourages personal experiments and gathering your own data, and have created a supportive learning environment within a supportive community where you can experiment and discover the way of cooking and eating that improves and sustains YOUR health. They also offer one of the best online recipe databases that allows you to sort recipes by dietary preferences and health conditions. Most are no sugar or low sugar.
 
Among the non-scientific community, Connie Bennett is one of those personal advocates whose books and work have been around for years. A self-described sugar addict and carb junkie, she has been inspired by the work of the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, and has contributed to our work, supporting projects like the “Blood Sugar Rollercoaster” Infographic.  She published her first book in 2006, Sugar Shock: How Sweets and Simple Carbs Can Derail Your Life–And How You Can Get Back on Track.
 
Finally, there is only one organization we know and respect that offers a decent directory of health care providers that might be able to help you… 
 
LowCarbUSA
A dedicated and high quality network of health providers dedicated to cutting unhealthy carbs.
 
 
Insomnia & Carbohydrates

Insomnia & Carbohydrates

High glycemic index diet as a risk factor for depression: analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative
Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug; 102(2): 454–463.
Published online 2015 Jun 24. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.103846
PMCID: PMC4515860
PMID: 26109579

James E Gangwisch,2,* Lauren Hale,3,4 Lorena Garcia,5 Dolores Malaspina,6 Mark G Opler,6 Martha E Payne,7 Rebecca C Rossom,8 and Dorothy Lane4

Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY;

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4515860/

A plausible mechanism by which a high-GI diet may increase the risk of insomnia is through acute spikes and troughs in blood glucose. GI and glycemic load have been shown to provide physiologically valid estimates of postprandial glycemia and insulin demand in healthy individuals (28). Postprandial hyperglycemia from high dietary glycemic load and resultant compensatory hyperinsulinemia can lower plasma glucose to concentrations that compromise brain glucose, ∼70 mg/dL (3.8 mmol/L) (29), triggering secretion of autonomic counterregulatory hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, glucagon, and growth hormone (30). Symptoms of counter-regulatory hormone responses can include heart palpitations, tremor, cold sweats, paresthesia, anxiety, irritability, and hunger (31). Hypoglycemia has been shown to produce arousal from sleep and substantially reduce sleep efficiency in nondiabetic adults (32, 33). High blood sugar from carbohydrate consumption can initially make one drowsy, helping one to fall asleep (4), but the compensatory hyperinsulinemia and counter-regulatory hormone responses can awaken one from sleep (32, 33). Higher-GI diets have also been shown to stimulate inflammatory immune responses (34), which could function to increase the risk of insomnia through antiinflammatory cytokines that inhibit sleep (35). Added sugars could also negatively affect sleep quality by compromising the intestinal microbiome. Higher consumption of added sugars can contribute to intestinal dysbiosis, a maladaptive microbiota imbalance that can profoundly affect multiple aspects of sleep (36).

Possible limitations of our study include the measurement of dietary exposures from FFQs instead of dietary biomarkers or food records and the assessment of our outcome of insomnia from self-reported symptoms as opposed to objective clinical diagnosis. The exact nutrient amounts for each food were not analytically measured, so some of the nutrient values were estimated or imputed rather than being exact analytic values from a laboratory assay. For example, 26–50% of the values for the variable “dietary added sugars” are estimated or imputed. Estimates were generally based on a similar food, another form of the same food, a known nutrient value associated with the missing value, or recipes or formulations from manufacturers. Although we would expect any misclassification of exposure or outcome to be random, resulting in nondifferential misclassification which typically leads to bias toward the null hypothesis (37), we cannot rule out the possibility that bias, particularly food recall bias, could be systematic and related to variables such as BMI, age, or ethnicity. Sleep deprivation from insomnia could also induce carbohydrate cravings, so reverse causation could have contributed to our results in the cross-sectional analyses (38). There is also a potential for residual confounding from unmeasured confounders and the possibility of false positives with multiple statistical tests. Because the variables included in Model 3 are theorized to be mediators of the relation between the dietary variables and insomnia, any resultant attenuation from their inclusion does not necessarily imply confounding, but could be consistent with some of these variables lying along the causal pathway. The participants’ eating habits may not be representative of those common now, almost 20 y later. Finally, our study sample was confined to postmenopausal women, limiting the generalizability of our findings to other populations. The results from this study suggest that a high-GI diet could be a risk factor for insomnia in postmenopausal women, whereas dietary fiber, nonjuice fruit, and vegetables reduce its risk. If high-GI diets increase the risk of insomnia, then dietary interventions that promote the consumption of whole unprocessed carbohydrates that are high in fiber and have low GIs could serve as potential treatments of, and primary preventive measures for, insomnia in postmenopausal women. Randomized controlled trials examining dietary patterns in relation to insomnia are needed to clarify these findings. We acknowledge the following WHI investigators: Program Office (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD): Jacques Rossouw, Shari Ludlam, Dale Burwen, Joan McGowan, Leslie Ford, and Nancy Geller; Clinical Coordinating Center (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA): Garnet Anderson, Ross Prentice, Andrea LaCroix, and Charles Kooperberg; Investigators and Academic Centers: JoAnn E Manson (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA); Barbara V Howard (MedStar Health Research Institute/Howard University, Washington, DC); Marcia L Stefanick (Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford, CA); Rebecca Jackson (The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH); Cynthia A Thomson (University of Arizona, Tucson/Phoenix, AZ); Jean Wactawski Wende (University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY); Marian Limacher (University of Florida, Gainesville/Jacksonville, FL); Robert Wallace (University of Iowa, Iowa City/Davenport, IA); Lewis Kuller (University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA); and Sally Shumaker (Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC). The authors’ responsibilities were as follows—JEG and LH: designed the research; JEG: analyzed the data and had primary responsibility for the final content; and all authors: wrote the paper and read and approved the final manuscript. All authors report no conflicts of interest. References 1. Leger D, Bayon V. Societal costs of insomnia

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Along with the rest of the nation we honor and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.

Many find ways to serve on this special day. Here at the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, we are especially aware that hypoglycemia along with other metabolic conditions have disproportionate effects on African Americans. Too many health disparities exist in this country – and Dr. King once stated that “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

The HSF is committed to the ideals of Dr. King who taught us that sharing our struggles and supporting each other as a nation is essential to our evolution as well our collective health.

Interview with Dr. Ann Childers

Interview with Dr. Ann Childers

Interview with Dr. Ann Childers and Roberta Ruggiero

Wolfram Alderson facilitates this rich conversation with Dr. Ann Childers and Roberta Ruggiero.

Wolfram Alderson has dedicated his career to improving human and environmental health over the last four decades, currently serving as CEO of the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation as well as Global Education Director for Dr. Robert Lustig, among other interests in the metabolic health and nutrition space.

Dr. Ann Childers is an Air Force veteran and a child and adult trained psychiatric physician based in Portland. Dr. Childers is one of the rare psychiatrists who sees the connection between mental and metabolic health and her practice is at the forefront of nutritional psychiatry.

Roberta Ruggiero founded the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation nearly 40 years ago in South Florida, wrote the book Do’s and Don’ts of Hypoglycemia, and has proven herself to be a remarkable patient advocate – surviving medical misdiagnosis for what was eventually determined to be low blood sugar.

The focus of this conversation is blood sugar health and how it can be a key part of preventing and managing diet related disease – both mental and physical.

Dr. Seale Harris, pioneer discoverer of hypoglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, prophetically stated in the 1940s: “The low blood sugar of today is the diabetes of tomorrow.”   Tomorrow is here and over half of the U.S. population is either prediabetic or diabetic, and only 12% is metabolically healthy (according to a study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health).