PMS, fatigue, sugar cravings… Do these symptoms sound familiar? They can be signs that your blood sugar levels are imbalanced.
From regulating our energy levels and eating patterns to working with hormones involved in our menstrual cycles, our blood sugar levels play a significant role in keeping us healthy. It’s safe to say that an imbalance in blood sugar levels can impact us in many ways. Let’s dive into why that is and what you can do to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
What is blood sugar?
Blood glucose, or blood sugar, is the main type of sugar that is found in your blood. When we eat, our bodies break down the carbohydrates in our foods into glucose and release it into our bloodstream. After a meal, our blood sugar levels typically rise, which signals the pancreas to release a hormone called insulin. This hormone delivers the glucose to our cells, which goes through many chemical reactions to provide us with energy.
Glucose is the primary source of energy for every cell in the body. But more glucose doesn’t necessarily mean we will feel more energetic. This is because frequent periods of high blood sugar can put stress on our brains and energy production, leaving us burnt out, fatigued, and with a blood sugar imbalance.
What does blood sugar imbalance look like?
A healthy blood sugar range before meals is between 4.0 to 7.0 millimoles per litre (mmol/L). Around 2 hours after eating your meal, a healthy range is between 5.0 to 10.0 mmol/L, depending on the foods you consumed and how big of a meal it was.
When you have too much sugar in your blood, your body restores healthy levels by releasing insulin. On the other hand, when you have low blood sugar levels, your body releases a hormone called glucagon which digs into glucose reserves to increase blood sugar levels.
Too much or too little sugar in our bloodstream can look and feel different.
Signs your blood sugar is low:
- Pale skin and sweating
- Shaking or trembling
- Irritability or confusion
Signs your blood sugar is high:
- Feeling thirsty
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination
Those with a blood sugar imbalance often experience a combination of these symptoms throughout the day.
Blood sugar levels and your health
Blood sugar levels can have a large impact on health concerns related to hormonal balance, such as menopause, yeast infections, UTIs, and PCOS.
These hormones affect how our cells respond to insulin, so a decline can make it harder for us to process insulin. This can lead to insulin resistance, where the body can no longer properly respond to insulin and take up glucose from the bloodstream, leaving us with excess glucose. This prompts our bodies to make more insulin to help glucose enter our cells.
However, the production of more insulin only increases the amount of glucose within the bloodstream, resulting in high blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood sugar can cause damage to your nerve fibres, which can further contribute to vaginal dryness, a common symptom of menopause.
Yeast infections and UTIs
Studies show that there’s a strong link between high blood sugar levels and yeast infections. This is because yeast tends to thrive off sugar. An increase in sugar can trigger the overgrowth of yeast, specifically in the vaginal or oral regions, ultimately resulting in yeast infections.
Additionally, with high blood sugar levels often comes compromised immunity because high blood sugar adds stress to the body’s cells, which includes the white blood cells of your immune system. This means there is a higher chance of bacteria entering the body and causing issues. For example, there may be an increased risk of bacteria entering the urinary tract, leading to a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition where the body produces high amounts of androgens like testosterone and androstenedione. Excess facial hair, acne, unpredictable menstrual cycles, fluctuating weight, and inflammation are all common markers of this condition. Although insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels can contribute to developing PCOS, they can be symptoms of PCOS, too.
If you’re looking to naturally manage PCOS symptoms, try our PCOS-Pro formula. This formula features 600mg of D-chiro-inositol, which is proven to be effective in relieving the symptoms that come with PCOS. It can help normalize menstrual irregularities, promote glucose metabolism, restore egg quality, and support healthy cholesterol levels.
Tips for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels
While all this information can sound a little intimidating, the good news is that there are ways to help keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Exercise regularly – Any activity that regularly gets your body moving can increase insulin sensitivity and help your muscles use blood sugar towards energy, ultimately managing your blood sugar levels. Try weightlifting, brisk walking, running, biking, dancing, hiking, swimming, or even doing some leg raises or squats throughout the day.
- Manage your refined carb intake – Our bodies break down carbohydrates into sugars like glucose. Too many refined carbs can lead to high levels of sugar in the bloodstream. That’s why monitoring your carb intake can help control your blood sugar levels.
- Eat more fibre – Fibre-rich foods like pears, oats, and strawberries are known to slow down carb digestion and sugar absorption. This helps promote a gradual increase in blood sugar levels and as a result, aids with maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
- Eat more protein – Similarly, high-protein foods like salmon and sardines can help slow digestion, prevent postmeal blood sugar spikes, and increase feelings of fullness. This helps limit overeating and promotes proper weight management, which are essential for managing healthy blood sugar levels.
If you’re curious to learn more about your blood sugar levels, ask your healthcare practitioner for a urine test. If your blood sugar levels need to be closely monitored, your practitioner may suggest a device such as a blood glucose meter to test your levels at home.
Monitoring your blood sugar levels is an essential part of your overall health. From affecting your energy levels and food cravings to playing a role in menopause and PCOS, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels can help bring you one step closer to achieving optimal health.
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