Many people who have Graves’ Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis have difficulty balancing their blood sugar levels. While at first glance this might not seem to have anything to do with your condition, the truth is that problems with blood sugar levels can put a great deal of stress on your adrenal glands. And as I’ve said in the past, weakened adrenals can be one of the primary causes behind your autoimmune thyroid disorder. The reason for this is that the adrenals can affect the immune system, which obviously is affected in both Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
Besides causing or contributing to your condition, weakened adrenal glands can also lead to sleeping problems. So if you have difficulty falling to sleep at night, and/or wake up in the middle of the night for what may seem like for no good reason, then there is an excellent chance that your adrenal glands are the reason for this. One of the hormones the adrenal glands secrete is cortisol, which is normally high when you first wake up, and then decreases as the day moves on. Blood sugar problems can affect the cortisol levels, making it difficult to fall and/or stay asleep, and can also make it difficult getting out of bed first thing in the morning. In fact, people with chronic fatigue usually have severe adrenal problems.
In a future post I’m going to go over the details of how to test the adrenal glands, but for now I want to focus on how to eliminate any sugar cravings you might have, which will go a long ways towards restoring the health of your adrenals. The good news is that in most cases it is possible to completely restore the health of your adrenal glands. And doing so really isn’t too difficult, although it does of course require some cooperation on your part.
Here are three things you can do to eliminate sugar cravings:
1. Eat every two hours upon waking up. First of all, you ideally should eat something within 30 minutes of waking up. If you typically don’t eat breakfast, try to put some type of healthy protein in your body, such as an egg, protein shake, etc. Then after eating breakfast, throughout the day you want to eat every two hours. Doing this will help prevent the highs and lows in your blood sugars, putting less stress on the adrenal glands, and will help control any sugar cravings you may have.
2. Don’t eat too many refined foods. I know this isn’t easy to do, as many of the foods we all love happen to be refined. But during the refining process, they deplete the food of its nutrients, although they do add some of them back, which is the process of “enriching” your food. But besides removing the nutrients, the refining process also removes the fiber, which means that these refined foods absorb quicker, which will cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. So if you eat a lot of refined foods throughout the day, this will create constant surges in your blood sugar levels, which once again will put a lot of stress on your adrenal glands, which in turn can weaken your immune system, and affect other areas of your body. This doesn’t mean you need to eliminate refined foods from your diet completely (although if you can then that’s great), but most of the foods you eat should be whole foods.
3. Nutritional supplementation can usually help. A great supplement that can help regulate blood sugar levels and most likely eliminate any sugar cravings you might have is the herb gymnema. The only challenge is finding a quality supplement, as a low quality supplement will not be sufficient. Standard Process is the company I use, although I’m sure there are others out there are of high quality. As with any supplement or herbal remedy, I would recommend consulting with a natural endocrine doctor to find out the specific dosage you should take, etc.
If you follow the advice I have given above, it will help a great deal in restoring the health of your adrenal glands. If you have sleeping difficulties and/or chronic fatigue, you should see a great deal of improvement in these areas. And if your adrenal glands are already functioning properly, it will prevent future problems from developing.
By the way, if you want to learn some more about the physiology of sugar cravings and how it affects not only the blood sugar levels, but also how it ties into the brain biochemistry (in an easy to understand manner), I recommend checking out the book “Potatoes Not Prozac”, by Kathleen DesMaisons.