As I alluded to in earlier writings, anxiety is a biochemical problem, resulting from various molecular imbalances affecting the brain; furthermore, the underlying problem is never based on a shortage of pharmaceutical drugs. Identifying molecular imbalances takes careful investigation and/or testing.
Unfortunately, many people forgo testing and go straight to the meds when trying to solve their anxiety issues. Initially drugs may mask symptoms and bring relief, but in the long run, they exacerbate biochemical distortions and bring on more anxiousness.
Don’t delude yourself, drugs never have, never will correct the real biochemical distortions causing anxiety. Correcting the biochemical distortions causing anxiety, rather than changing the structure of the brain with a drug, is (in my opinion) a more sane way to treat anxiety.
To begin, first consider the biochemical possibilities that may be the primary cause of long-term biochemical-based anxiety:
- Nutrient Deficiency
- Elevated Blood Lactate
- Food and Chemical Sensitivities
- A High Imbalance of Excitatory Neurotransmitters
What is Hypoglycemia and how Does it Affect Anxiety?
Basically, hypoglycemia is one end of the spectrum of fluctuating glucose levels, namely low blood sugar. The other end, hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar we know in its extreme expression as diabetes.
Although these two biochemical distortions are at opposite ends of the spectrum, they are in fact two sides of the same coin. Where you find one, you will find the other. In terms of anxiety, and a great many other mental health issues, hypoglycemia is a major factor.
Here’s a short list of hypoglycemic symptoms identified by Dr. Stephen Gyland in his study of 1000 hypoglycemic patients:
- Unprovoked Anxieties
- Constant Worrying
- Mental Confusion
- Rapid Pulse
- Internal Trembling
- Cold Sweats
- Digestive Disturbances
Before delving into the proper protocol to correct hypoglycemia, consider the biochemical confusion people create when they turn to toxic pharmaceutical drugs instead of fixing the real underlying problem.
They just make themselves worse, opening a new door to anxiety that wasn’t part of the original problem. Years of working with clients addicted to anti-anxiety drugs have shown me that drug induced anxiety (i.e. anxiety brought on from extended use of anti-anxiety drugs) is much more complex and difficult to stabilize than any other cause.
Diagnosis is fairly straightforward. Hypoglycemia is a widespread problem in the U.S. because so many Americans are living on high quantities of simple carbohydrates and sugars.
If that sounds like you, you may wish to take the “Hypoglycemia Symptometer Test” found in Joan Mathews-Larson’s book Depression Free, Naturally. This pre-screen can help you determine if hypoglycemia is the true source of your symptoms.
The Five Hour Glucose Tolerance Test
Finally, I recommend incorporating science into your diagnosis by getting a Five Hour Glucose Tolerance Test (standard procedure at Health Recovery Center). This lab test is used to detect hypoglycemia and other blood sugar anomalies. Here’s how it works:
To get valid test results, it is important to be sober for one week prior to testing. You must fast from 10:00 pm the night before the test: no food or supplements, no liquids (except water), no tobacco, no toothpaste (baking soda is okay).
The morning of the test a blood sample is drawn to determine your blood sugar level in a relatively stable state (the fasting blood sugar level).
Then you will drink a measured 100 gram, quick-energy glucose drink. Following the drink, more blood is drawn at the first two half hours, and then every hour thereon for a total of five hours.
In addition, you will record symptoms as they occur throughout the test (because we are all biochemically unique, symptoms are expressed differently). All the blood samples get sent to a lab where special equipment determines their blood sugar levels. The information can be plotted on a graph to reveal abnormal glucose fluctuations.
As you may have guessed, this test not only determines hypoglycemia, it can also diagnosis pre-diabetes, diabetes, and a few other interesting anomalies in blood sugar fluctuations.
It’s too bad more doctors don’t offer this test to their patients. It’s a relief to find out you’re not going crazy, and the symptoms you experience for years have a real biochemical basis that can be treated (without toxic drugs).
The Answer is in the Diet, So a Lifestyle Change is Crucial
Sometimes people feel changing the eating habits of a lifetime is too hard, but it’s not … it’s only hard for a few days. Day by day it gets easier and easier until one day your junk food addiction is nothing more than a disgusting memory.
I Know the Solution but What Can I Eat?
The fastest way to say it is … the paleolithic diet or the caveman diet. Allow me to expound. Simply stated, a recovering hypoglycemic’s diet should consist of protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates. No allergy foods (wheat and dairy), no simple carbohydrates (junk food), and no sugar.
Eating small frequent meals throughout the day (grazing) is the way to go. It ensures a modest supply of glucose is always available to keep glucose fluctuations at a minimum.
Eating big, once or twice a day, puts a metabolic fat-building burden on the body, so eat small, and eat often. Especially in the beginning.
During the first few weeks of acclimating to a new diet, small meals provide a constant supply of “time-released” glucose to keep you stable and calm. Don’t worry about weight gain, small frequent meals burn up fast.
As you know, I’m a strong advocate for orthomolecular medicine. I haven’t said too much about additional supplements you can add to this new diet, but there are a few: chromium, glutamine (to quell sugar cravings), B3 niacin, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin B5. But the real challenge to correct anxiety brought on by hypoglycemia is not by swallowing a bucketful of pills, but rather to eliminate certain foods and chemicals (found in processed junk foods).
The foods I’m implicating are in fact, anti-nutrient foods. They deplete you of the very orthomolecular substances required to block anxiety. Once you stop eating these things, your body will start coming back into balance, and anxiety will fade away.
More information about hypoglycemia, including that great prescreen symptometer test I mentioned; a specific formula with the nutrients I mentioned; and a list of labs recommended by the Health Recovery Center can be found in Dr. Joan Mathews-Larson’s book Depression Free, Naturally.