Causes of Depression – Hypoglycemia

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Causes of Depression – Hypoglycemia

Unknown to many, hypoglycemia is one of the causes of depression.

Many natural health therapists have come to realize that changes in moods, thoughts and feelings are not always a result of psychological disorders, but can instead be a reflection of the physical state of the body.

And hypoglycemia is one of the physical conditions that they have found to cause severe metabolic changes in your brain and nervous system, as such altering your moods, creating emotional instability and changing your thought patterns and behaviors. [1, 2]

In other words, addressing hypoglycemia could be your natural remedy for depression.


What is hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is a bodily state where the level of sugar in the blood is pathologically low. This is problematic because blood sugar is our body’s major source of fuel and our brain’s most important requirement other than oxygen.

Normally, all the foods we eat are converted to glucose in the body, with the rate of conversion for refined sugars and white flours (starches) being higher. When there is too much sugar in the blood, the pancreas secretes extra insulin to convert the excess blood glucose to other forms for storage and the blood sugar level returns to normal.

When one consumes frequent and excessive meals or snacks of refined sugars and starches, the body frequently experiences rapid and extreme rise in the blood sugar levels. Eventually, the pancreas may become oversensitive, and pours too much insulin into the blood too quickly when food is consumed.

This large insulin dosage removes too much sugar from the blood, causing the blood sugar levels to go below normal. The brain then suffers from reduced glucose (fuel) and soon symptoms like headaches, anxiousness, irritability, fatigue, confusion etc appear.

To counter the drop in blood sugar level (for otherwise your body could go into shock), the adrenal hormone epinephrine (adrenaline) is released. This hormone signals the liver to convert its emergency sugar, glycogen, into glucose for release into the blood stream. This sugar protects the brain from insulin shock by making emergency glucose available.

However, adrenaline brings with it other problems, such as symptoms of nervousness, trembling, palpitations and hunger (ironically, this hunger may drive the hypoglycemic back to the sweet and starchy snacks and so a vicious cycle is formed).


Hypoglycemia and depression

In turn, the various symptoms that are brought about by the drop in blood sugar supply to the brain and the pouring of adrenaline into the body matches the depressive and fatigue symptoms experienced by sufferers of depression. The continual stimulation of the adrenal glands also overworks them, adding more problems to the already exhausted body.

It is believed that the link between hypoglycemia and causes of depression probably lies in the metabolism of serotonin, which is an important mood stabilizer [1].

The euglycemic diet appears to promote a more stable supply of tryptophan (serotonin’s precursor) to the brain, while the typical refined-carbohydrate-rich diet of modern Westerners seems to trigger an unstable, “roller coaster” high-low serotonin level in the body [1], explaining the mood downswings hypoglycemic depressives experience, especially one to four hours after meals.

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