Why Low Blood Sugar Causes Panic/Anger Attacks

Hypoglycemia is a medical term for “low blood sugar”. The brain requires large amounts of glucose and oxygen for fuel.  When the glucose level goes below a certain point, a hypoglycemic episode may occur. This can become almost any symptom up to and including coma and even death. In most cases, such a hypoglycemic episode may only cause drowsiness or sleepiness, but fainting and passing out is not unknown. Some males may have an “explosive” anger attack.  Some females may have an anxiety attack.

Let’s first examine the actual cause of the “new” disease label (for insurance purposes) called “Explosive Anger Disorder”.Because of excessive insulin released, both adrenalin and testosterone may be released in males with blood sugar going low. In some males, this combination causes what is called “undifferentiated” rage.

This is undoubtedly is a part of the current “road rage” problem as well as childhood male tantrums, spousal abuse, bar fights, etc.

If a temper tantrum by a boy or man occurs about 3-4 hours after a meal, look into hypoglycemia and limiting sugar and high carbs.

Females, also release hormones and fatty acids into the bloodstream when glucose levels go low.  However, release of estrogen doesn’t act like testosterone.  Instead of “anger”, this combination may cause anxiety, and even depression.

Too much Insulin drives glucose into body cells, limiting the amount available to the brain.  Since the brain depends on a constant supply of both oxygen and glucose to even function, there are several methods that the body uses to make sure that glucose is available.  First is the release of adrenalin (the fight or flight response in effect.  If this not enough, then fatty acids and hormones are released and changed into glucose.    

Since glucose is as necessary to proper brain function as is oxygen, there are many different symptoms possible. These can range from a simple yawn about a half hour to an hour after eating, to a full-blown anxiety attack, or even a real depression (the term “sugar blues” has a basis in real fact), passing out/fainting, or even death for diabetics, or almost anything in between. Sometimes, allergies can cause similar symptoms, or even cause a hypoglycemic episode!

In non-diabetic persons, too much insulin can be the result of a sugar overload, and this can cause hypoglycemia. This can be as simple as eating a doughnut or drinking a full glass of orange juice on an empty stomach for sensitive persons. (It happened to me once!) The response to low sugar/glucose is individual, and everyone reacts slightly differently. Also, one person can eat a dozen doughnuts one time with no bad effects, and have a hypoglycemic episode from just one doughnut at another time.

Let’s look at a simple example, which will help clear up some of the confusion surrounding this subject. If a normal (whatever that is) person eats an apple, he/she will gain approximately the equivalent of 3 teaspoons of sugar. It will take about 3 hours to digest the apple in the following way:

1. As sugar is absorbed in the mouth,  the incoming amount is measured and the brain determines how much insulin to release into the blood. For simplicity, let’s call this process a “sugarstat”. We don’t fully understand how it works, but we do know the effects.

2. From millions of years of evolution, the sugarstat “knows” that with the amount of sugar absorbed over a certain time it needs a certain amount of insulin and releases that amount accordingly.

3. As the apple fiber passed thru the digestive system, it takes about 3-4 hours for all the sugar to get into the bloodstream. It’s a downward curve, and the insulin released also has a similar downward curve, and it lasts about the same 3 hours in the blood, as it’s used.

So, eating an apple has an immediate effect of raising glucose (blood sugar) somewhat, and this “blip” is fast compensated for by insulin release, and from that point the incoming sugar is pretty well balanced by insulin release over the three or so hours of digestion. In effect, there is very little change in blood sugar, and that’s what nature intended – the sugarstat is working as designed.

The situation is drastically different if we “pre-digest” the same apple by squeezing it in a cider press. In effect, all we have removed is the fiber, and retained all the sugar, vitamins/minerals, etc. (A glass of apple juice might contain the juice from 10 apples or 30 teaspoons of sugar). Now, there is much more sugar absorbed within minutes, and the sugarstat is “fooled” into releasing many times the amount of insulin actually needed as a result.

Remember that for millions of years of evolution, we didn’t have cider presses, let alone the “designer” apples of today. And the processed foods!  We simply aren’t designed to handle the amounts of sugar we get.  (In the 1800’s the average intake of sugar was about 5 pounds per year.It’s over 200 pounds today.)

This “overdose” of insulin drives blood sugar into body cells at a furious rate, and even though the blip is now much larger, it quickly lowers it.

The sugarstat has released enough insulin for 3 hours of digestion, but all the sugar is actually digested and within the bloodstream within minutes. This results in way too much insulin (hyperinsulinism), since enough insulin has been released for three hours of this same amount of intake. The sugarstat has been “fooled”, by not evolving far enough to handle our “modern” food processing.  

This excess insulin “drives” all the glucose it can find in the blood into the body cells (its job). This results in a shortage of glucose to the brain.

Now, since the brain MUST have glucose as well as oxygen, for fuel, several body mechanisms go into action to raise the glucose. (Few people realize that without BOTH glucose AND oxygen, brain cells start to die in about 4-5 minutes).

The two most important body hyperinsulinism defenses are adrenalin release, which releases stored glucose for emergencies (the flight/fight response), and the release of some fats and sex hormones that can be converted to glucose fairly quickly. 

From the above scenario, it can be seen that hypoglycemia isn’t really an actual disease, but in fact, it is actually normal to we humans, even though the effects are individual and may vary greatly. It’s our modern sugary diet full of processed and/or pre-digested food that’s really to blame.

These body defenses against low blood sugar also cause some very different symptoms in different individuals. Usually, this is about 3+ hours after eating a sugary processed meal.  This time may also vary from about 2.5 hours to 5 hours in different individuals at different times.

I once helped to save a marriage by simply advising the husband to eat a handful of peanuts and raisins every two hours after lunch. (He was her boss, and at 3PM, she couldn’t do anything right according to him – his lunch included a candy bar and a soda!!) 

Anyone who has a sugar handling problem might be well advised to carry a bag of peanuts and raisins around, and make sure that they eat a handful every two hours or so. The ratio of about 1 raisin for every 5 nuts seems to work well.) The raisins will provide glucose within a relatively short time, and the peanuts will provide protein and fats that can be converted into glucose over a longer time. This was what I usually advised hypoglycemic sensitive persons to do, and it works well. Really sensitive persons should know to eat 6-8 small meals every day. A meal might be a hard-boiled egg, or half an apple, etc.

Dr Bate is a retired orthomolecular psychologist
who invented Neuroliminal Training, a simpler and
affordable way to change brain wave amplitudes solving
ADD-Autism, depression, insomnia, and more.
http://drbate.com – http://Neuroliminal.com


1 Response to “Why Low Blood Sugar Causes Panic/Anger Attacks”

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