Low blood sugar

Should actually be called fluctuating blood sugar. The results are frequent cravings for sweets, fast transferable carbohydrates or alcohol when blood-glucose levels fall to low values. There are many symptoms - both physical and psychological.

In 1924, dr. Seale Harris published his first article on hypoglycaemia which until then had been an unknown disease. 28 years later, he received the recognition of the American Medical Association for his thorough research of hypoglycaemia. However, 5 years later, the recognition was withdrawn and it was officially announced that the disease did not exist even though there was no scientific basis for this volte-face.

For this reason, the decision might have been political instead of scientific. As the disease has not officially existed for 50 years, doctors have not been given much education of this suffering and official research has been sparse.

An estimated 25% of people in the Western world suffer from low blood sugar to a smaller or larger extent.

There are three different kinds of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar):
  1. Functional or reactive hypoglycaemia: Here, the body overreacts to a meal because the pancreas is hypersensitive to especially the easily absorbable carbohydrates and therefore produces too much insulin. This overproduction of the hormone insulin reduces the blood sugar level and the body reacts to this with many different symptoms which can be quite a nuisance. Functional hypoglycaemia is very common but is largely not recognized by classic medicine. People with this kind of hypoglycaemia are often misdiagnosed and are often wrongly treated. This type of low blood sugar is the one described here.
  2. Diabetic hypoglycaemia: Occurs when a diabetic person does not eat enough food or takes too much insulin making the blood sugar level fall drastically - in severe cases this is called insulin shock.
  3. Organic hypoglycaemia: This is caused by an insulin producing tumour in the liver or pancreas which is highly life-threatening - and occurs very rarely. If the blood sugar level is too high, you are at risk of developing diabetes. The blood sugar level must not be too high or too low; the blood should have a certain content of blood sugar. The low- or unstable blood sugar makes the energy supply to the cells unstable or reduced, which is very straining for the cells and thereby for the function of the organs.

The blood sugar then represents the momentary energy status and a fluctuating blood sugar indicates that there is something wrong with the person's energy administration. If it falls below the fasting blood sugar level which is the level of blood sugar you have prior to eating, this equals an energy crisis for many body organs.

The brain is first and foremost affected and then later, other organs and functions might be affected as well, such as movement, digestion, sensation, perception, vision, thinking, and hearing, and later on, they may even stop functioning. Death may ensue after a low blood sugar attack, but, thankfully, this rarely happens.

The main causes for fluctuating blood sugar are:
  1. Physical and mental stress: An overburdened lifestyle, shock, hormonal fluctuations, and poisonings.
  2. Malnutrition: Over-consumption of sugar/sweetening agents and fast food/junk food.
  3. Hereditary factors: A predisposition to a weak nervous system and to having difficulties handling stress and anxiety.
  4. Alcoholism: Can be both a symptom and a cause (and may also have a hereditary factor).

If you suffer from low blood sugar and feel unpleasant, you need to eat something right away. Then, the blood sugar level in your blood will increase, and the immediate crisis will wear off. However, the fluctuating blood sugar often repeats itself over and over again if you do not get to the root of the problem. Fluctuating blood sugar most often is related to stress and to eating too many easily absorbable carbohydrates.

During digestion, carbohydrates are transformed into glucose which is the most necessary fuel for our cells. If there is not enough glucose in the blood, the cells will lack nutrition and will not be able to function optimally. The glucose passes from the intestine into the blood and then further on to the liver where most of it is transformed into stored sugar. The sugar is stored in the liver until its use is required by the body.

Nutrients containing refined, white sugar are absorbed with lightning speed and then rush a shock wave of glucose out into the bloodstream which will strain and possibly damage organs. Easily absorbable carbohydrates which quickly make the blood content of glucose rise can be found in white bread, fruits, and other products containing sugar – but they can also be found in boiled vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, beetroots, and parsnip and in refined cereals.

The pancreas reacts quickly to this increase in blood sugar by producing more insulin which makes the glucose being more quickly taken up by the cells and therefore reduces the blood sugar level. A decrease in blood sugar level will often be perceived as a desire to eat.

According to what you choose to eat – the following will happen:
  1. If you eat easily absorbable carbohydrates, i.e. sweets or stimulants, the process is repeated from the top: a new rise in the blood sugar level, then a fall, and then a new desire to eat sweets which mediates another fall, etc.
  2. If you eat food consisting of complex carbohydrates and proteins, the blood sugar level will rise slowly and therefore not tend to fall again quite as quickly.
  3. If you do not eat at all, you will become tired, weak, and even more hungry, but the hunger and tiredness will disappear after ½ - 1½ hours because the adrenal glands begin to produce epinephrine which raises the blood sugar by affecting the cells of the liver, making them liberate stored sugar and making you feel better. In this way, however, you will strain your adrenal glands and liver which in time will become less tolerant towards other kinds of strain.

Hypoglycaemia can be recognized by:
  1. The symptoms occurring in less than 3 – 5 hours after meals.
  2. The symptoms showing up simultaneously with the blood sugar level being at its lowest.
  3. The feeling of weakness disappearing after consuming sweets because the blood sugar level will then rice rapidly.
The symptoms are very different from one person to the next and may include:
  • A feeling of unpleasantness if you do not have your meals on time. You will feel improvement by eating but also have feelings of hunger immediately after a meal.
  • A sensation of hunger, strong thirst, a hollow feeling in your stomach, a strong desire for food right here and now, and a specific craving for something fatty, salty, and sweet.
  • A tingling sensation in your lips and hands, visual disturbances, soreness in the left side of the stomach by the costal margin.
  • A tendency towards alcoholism, dependence on and abuse of stimulants and medicine.
  • An urge for stimulants such as coffee, tea, alcohol, and tobacco.
  • Confusion, restlessness, uneasiness, anxiety, lack of concentration, desperation, depression, and being on the brink of tears.
  • Constipation, loathing of food, obesity, or emaciation.
  • Fainting, rambling speech, cramps, a weakened immune response, and frigidity and impotence.
  • Headache or migraine, restless sleep, sleeplessness, and nightmares.
  • In extreme situations unconsciousness, coma, and death.
  • Irritation, mood swings, flightiness, aggressiveness, desperation, violent behaviour, and suicidal thoughts.
  • Problems with dry mucous membranes, allergy, asthma, and epileptic seizures in predisposed person.
  • Sensation disturbances, muscle tension, infiltrations, pain in joints and muscles, and a tendency to bruise easily.
  • Tiredness, weakness, exhaustion, nausea, dizziness, palpitations, and being cold.
  • Violent sweats, cold and moist skin, cold sweats, a shaking hand, and a quivering and trembling body.
A number of these symptoms affect the nervous system while others affect the hormonal system which, again, affects your mentality. Research indicates the existence of parallel symptoms between PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) and low blood sugar in quite a few women suffering from PMS.


General advice on disease prevention and a healthy lifestyle can be found in the library article "General Advice - for healthy as well as for ill ones" in the VitaHealth section under Focus Articles. You can also test your health by taking our "Health Check".

It is possible to diagnose blood sugar problems based on a questionnaire where the most important symptoms are listed. The most reliable method is to take a glucose tolerance test.

However, many people use iris diagnosis, kinesiology, and reflexology and, in many cases, this works well in practice.

Since stress and malnutrition are the primary causes for fluctuating blood sugar, it is important to eliminate stress in your everyday life, avoid pollution and infections, and to focus more on foods that stabilize your blood sugar.

Following the advice below will have a stabilizing effect on your blood sugar:
  • Eat smaller but more frequent meals during the day instead of a few large ones.
  • Avoid foods that contain lots of sugar, cornflakes, breakfast cereals, alcohol, coffee, tobacco, desserts, white flour, light crispbread, white rice, pasta made from white flour, and fatty and very cured cheese.
  • If you want, you can replace coffee with grain coffee, herbal tea, mild green tea, or vegetable juices.
  • Minimize or avoid using marmalade, large amounts of fruits, dried fruits, sugary fruit juices, carrot juice, grapefruit juice, fruit yoghurt, deep-fried food and food thickened with roux, salty-, smoked-, and spicy meat and fish fried in fat, duck, goose, mayonnaise, lamb, pork, fish- and delicatessen, ketchup, and salt. You can use salt with potassium chloride and eat marmalades sweetened with apple pectin.
  • Eat whole meal bread, brown rice, and be cautious with vegetables containing starch, such as carrots, potatoes, and parsnip.
  • Eat more fibres – millet, rye, barley, oats, and especially all greens.
  • Make sure to have your protein need covered by animal and/or vegetable sources. Vegetable protein can be found in soya, legumes, almonds, nuts, and most greens – they can with benefit be eaten as raw food at the beginning of a meal. Moreover, proteins can be found in lean cheese and eggs. Soft-boiled eggs are recommended as they are more easily digestible than hard-boiled ones.
  • Use cold-pressed oils made by maize, sunflower, thistle, or olives and take fish oil.
  • Avoid dietary or environmental influences that you cannot tolerate, e.g. wheat, milk, cheese, eggs, or meat – and exhaust gas, chemicals, perfumes, passive smoking, etc.
  • Exercise moderately.

As it can be difficult to have all your needs for vitamins and minerals covered by your diet alone, you can supplement with dietary supplements. Heavy smokers and people who consume large amounts of aspirin and other preparations with acetylsalicylic acid, in particular, are at risk of being deficient in vitamin C. Research indicates that the consumption of the amino acid L-Tryptophan has beneficial effects on the blood sugar level.

Herbs such as blueberry leaves, juniper berry, liquorice root, dandelion, milk thistle, mistletoe, and peppermint have beneficial effects on the pancreas, the liver, and the production of bile. Oats, Avena sativa, supports the nervous system and is beneficial against stress, sleeplessness, and general weakening. Tormentil, Potentilla tormentilla, can be used as an extract – it has beneficial effects on the pancreas.

Reflexology and other kinds of reflex stimulation of the pancreas, adrenal glands, and pituitary gland have proved to be useful in the treatment of low blood sugar.

Regarding essential fatty acids (EFA):

Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (EPA) can be found in flaxseed, cod-liver oil, fatty fish, walnuts, rape, purslane, pumpkin seeds, greens, and wheat germ. 1 tbsp. of cod-liver oil a day or 1 tsp. of ground flaxseed or walnut oil every morning is cheaper than fish oil capsules.

Omega 6 fatty acids (GLA) can be found in blackcurrant, borage, cold-pressed maize-, rape-, sesame-, sunflower-, thistle-, and evening primrose oil plus seeds.


In case of acute drops in blood sugar level where extreme weakness, shaking, and feelings of fainting occur, you can, as an exception, take 1 tsp. of honey or sugar in a cup of warm water.

You should be aware that a drop in blood sugar might happen while driving a car, swimming, or managing a machine and therefore, you should abstain from such activities if you frequently suffer from attacks of low blood sugar.

Nocturnal attacks may occur in elderly people and if they are not discovered, they might, over time, lead to brain damage.

If the affected person is unconscious, you must not try to feed him/her because the food can end up in the trachea which can result in suffocation.

Using reflex stimulation/reflexology in relation to adrenal gland reflexes should call for circumspection if the person in question has received cortisone treatment.


Also see "Alcoholism", "Behavioural problems", "Blood sugar diseases in general", "Crime", "Dependence – Addiction", "Depression", "Food intolerance", and "Overweight and Obesity".