Dr Warren Levin

Hypoglycemia is a basic problem that is frequently stress-induced. When people take a large dose of sugar into the body (and one cola drink contains more sugar than the entire bloodstream), the level of sugar in the body goes way up. Now, the body's entire commitment is to maintain balance or equilibrium; the technical word is homeostasis. The body produces a basic hormone called insulin that is supposed to take the sugar from the blood and deliver it into the cells, and when the sugar goes up very rapidly the body reacts excessively, resulting in too much sugar being driven out of the blood, and that produces low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. The body then has to correct the balance again, and it can be an emergency. If the blood sugar goes too high, it is not an emergency; the body can tolerate it. But the brain requires a certain level of blood sugar to function, so when the blood sugar starts plummeting--and it can sometimes drop at a frightening rate--the body calls forth its emergency hormone, adrenaline.

Adrenaline was designed to protect us against the saber-toothed tigers. It mobilizes all sorts of bodily functions. One of the things it does is to dump sugar from the liver into the blood very rapidly. However, adrenline also causes what we call the fight-or-flight reaction, associated with the state of fear. We get a rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, sweating, fear, and a sense of impending doom.

Now, suppose someone has an ice cream sundae and a few hours later he sits down to read the funny papers and all of a sudden he gets this terrible reaction. He goes to the doctor and says that he was just sitting there, reading the paper, when, all of a sudden, he got sweaty and his heart started pounding. The doctor tells him that it is all in his head and that he has a Prozac deficiency, and with this Prozac prescription he will be fine. We have to stop thinking that way. Headaches are not a Darvon deficiency, depression is not a deficiency of Elavil, and until doctors realize that the body's biochemistry is an exquisite balancing act, and start treating it with great respect, we are in a lot of trouble. Hypoglycemia is not a disease; it is a symptom requiring a search for an underlying cause.

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