If blood sugar regulation is not working efficiently, then optimal health cannot be achieved. Dysregulation disrupts all aspects of human physiology e.g. energy; integrity of tissues in every organ and blood vessel; hormonal balance; and brain health. It leads to oxidative stress, glycation (the result of covalent bonding of a protein or lipid molecule with a sugar molecule, such as fructose or glucose, without the controlling action of an enzyme) and erratic energy output.
Blood sugar regulation is fundamental to life.
Our body's innate intelligence continually monitors the amount of glucose in our bloodstream to maintain balance. Too much or too little triggers the release of hormones to return glucose levels to normal. Ideally we want to give the body small amounts of sugar from our diet, preferably converted from fats rather than large dumps of sugar from the consumption of refined carbohydrates. The human body is designed to use a balance of unrefined carbohydrates along with fats and proteins as our primary source of fuel. If we use the analogy of a fire when talking about energy sources, carbohydrates compare to kindling wood and fats compare to slow burning logs.
There are three main organs involved in blood sugar regulation, the pancreas, liver and adrenals.
Every time you eat sugar of any kind, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin. Insulin increases the uptake of glucose by our muscle and fat cells; increases the amount of glycogen in our muscle and liver; increases fatty acid synthesis from excessive carbohydrates; and decreases fat breakdown and mobilisation from our fat tissue. Eating three meals a day plus snacks, all high in sugar, puts the pancreas at risk of exhaustion. In order to decrease the amount of insulin being produced, it is important to slow it down by using alternate food sources i.e. protein and fats.
The liver is the predominant organ responding to the signals indicating elevated or low blood sugar so a healthy liver is critical for blood sugar regulation.
The adrenals secrete the hormones cortisol and epinephrine which play a crucial role in increasing blood sugar levels when needed by telling the body to break down structures to release fat and protein into the blood.
Cush is a graduate of FNTP of NTA Australia's Class of 2015. She is a Naturopath and Body Talk Practitioner with a clinic in Wellington, New Zealand. Cush works with remote clients, and you can find her at www.cushreid.co.nz