Balancing Blood Sugar For Thyroid Health
In the first part of this series on thyroid health we discussed the importance of the digestive tract on thyroid function; but also flipped it round and highlighted how an underactive thyroid can impact digestive health. The same vicious cycle is true when we discuss thyroid function and and blood sugar levels.
Managing a person with Hashimoto’s or functional hypothyroidism is futile as log as he or she continues indulging in sugar-laden, high-carbohydrate diet
When the brain recognises low blood sugar it sends out hormones to increase blood levels. The problem with these hormones is they also cause ‘stress’. Every time we experience this surge of hormones, functions such as digestion, immunity, hormone balancing and thyroid function may be affected.
Dysglycemia (a condition in which the body loses its ability to keep blood sugar stable) weakens and inflames the digestive tract, weaknes the immune barriers of the gut, lungs and brain, drives the adrenal glands into exhaustion, sets the stage for hormonal imbalances, clogs the body’s attempts at detoxification, impairs fatty acid metabolism and fatigues metabolism. All of these significantly weaken thyroid function.
It is therefore essential we look to support healthy blood sugar regulation if we are looking to support healthy thyroid function.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is linked to all forms of hypothyroidism, but the most common type, according to Dr. Kharrazian, is that caused by sluggish pituitary function. This is due to constant blood sugar swings stressing the adrenal glands (the adrenal glands produce cortisol which increases blood sugar levels). This, in turn, drags down function of the pituitary gland, ultimately effecting thyroid health.
Low thyroid function also effects blood sugar control
Low thryoid function slows the response of insulin to elevated blood sugar, so that glucose is slow to get into the cells to make energy.
Because hypothyroidism slows down the absorption of glucose both into the bloodstream and cells, a blood test will show normal blood sugar levels, but the person will experience symptoms of hypoglycemia.
Autoimmune thyroid disease patients are prone to fat metabolism disorder, and the serum thyroid hormone level has a close correlation with blood lipid metabolism, insulin metabolism, and inflammatory factors. (source)
Tips to support healthy blood sugar levels include:
- Eat a high quality protein breakfast
- Eat protein every meal
- Find your carbohydrate tolerance and stick to it – if you feel sleepy or crave sugar after you eat, you have eaten too many carbohydrates
- Do not eat suagry food
- Avoid adrenal stimulants
- Elimiate food intolerances
- Avoid fasting if you suspect you are hypoglycaemic or have have reactive hypoglycaemia
‘If you feel sleepy or crave sugar after you eat, you have eaten too many carbohydrates’
I would like to acknowledge this article is based on the work of Dr. Kharrazian, a faculty member of The Institute of Functional Medicine.
If you would like to learn more I recommend purchasing his book “Why do I still have thyroid symptoms“. It is an excellent resource for those struggling with hypothyroid symptoms.