STABILIZE BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
by Michael T. Murray, N.D.
Breakthrough developments in blood sugar monitoring have led to greater understanding of how fluctuations in blood sugar levels lead to feelings of stress, depression, and insomnia. Fortunately, there are now effective natural approaches that produce revolutionary effects in stabilizing blood sugar levels within a narrow range. The results are absolutely phenomenal, not only helping people feel better, but also allowing them safe and effective appetite control.….
UNDERSTANDING BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
A lack as well as an excess of blood sugar (glucose) in the body can be devastating to body processes. For this reason, the body strives to maintain blood sugar levels within a narrow range through the coordinated efforts of several glands and their hormones.
The body responds to the rise in blood glucose levels after meals by secreting insulin — a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin lowers blood glucose by increasing the rate at which glucose is taken up by cells throughout the body. Declines in blood glucose can cause the release of adrenalin and Cortisol by the adrenal glands.
INSULIN RESISTANCE AND GLYCEMIC VOLATILITY
Insulin resistance is the greatest threat to the health of most Americans. This statement may sound dramatic, but it is 100% accurate. Insulin resistance is the key underlying factor that leads to weight gain, the inability to lose weight, increased risk for heart disease, and the development of type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance is tied to abdominal obesity. If your waist circumference is larger than your hips, there is an extremely strong likelihood that you suffer from insulin resistance. You are not alone: current estimates are that eight out of ten adults in the United States are overweight. In addition to 20 million Americans meeting the criteria for type 2 diabetes, another 60 million suffer from prediabetes - a condition characterized by insulin resistance. In both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes there is plenty of insulin being secreted, it's just not able to do its job.
As fat cells in the abdomen grow in size or number, they secrete a number of biologic products (e.g., resistin) that dampen the effect of insulin, impair glucose utilization in skeletal muscle, and promote glucose (blood sugar) production by the liver. Also important is that as the number and size of fat cells increase, they lead to a reduction in the secretion of compounds that promote insulin action, including a novel protein produced by fat cells known as adiponectin. Adiponectin is not only associated with improved insulin sensitivity, it also has anti-inflammatory activity, lowers triglycerides, and blocks the development of atherosclerosis. The net effect of all of these actions by fat cells in the overweight individual is that they severely stress blood sugar control mechanisms, as well as lead to the development of the major complication of diabetes - atherosclerosis. Because of all of these newly discovered hormones secreted by fat cells, the collective fatty tissue in the body is now considered a member of the hormonal (endocrine) system.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS BIOCHEMISTRY HAVE TO DO WITH STRESS?
With insulin resistance comes blood sugar volatility and that leads to repeated stimulation of the adrenal glands to secrete adrenalin and Cortisol - mirroring the effects of the fight or flight response. Elevated Cortisol levels are not only associated with increased feelings of stress, but also with loss of appetite control, cravings for sugar, and weight gain. Using new technology that allows for continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels, Michael R. Lyon, M.D., has discovered that most people with weight problems and insulin resistance go through their days with remarkably fluctuating blood sugar levels. Dr. Lyon is the Medical and Research Director at the Canadian Centre for Functional Medicine as well as an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia's Food, Nutrition and Health Program.
Dr. Lyon and I have defined these fluctuating blood sugar levels as "increased glycemic volatility," but most often we refer to it as being on the blood sugar roller coaster. Increased glycemic volatility is not only at the heart of most weight problems, it can also be a major factor in reducing our ability to cope with stress. Rapidly fluctuating blood sugar levels are generally a result of more-than-moderate consumption of foods with a high content of refined or simple sugars.
ARE YOU RIDING THE BLOOD SUGAR ROLLER COASTER?
DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING APPLY TO YOU?
* My waist circumference is larger than my hips.
* It is difficult for me to lose weight.
* I crave sweets.
* I feel much better after I eat.
* I am very irritable if I miss a meal.
* I often cry for no reason.
* Sometimes I feel a bit spacey and disconnected.
* I have elevated blood sugar or triglyceride levels.
* I get anxious for no apparent reason.
* I wake up often during the night.
* I feel hungry all of the time.
* I often get very sleepy in the afternoon.
THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF EXCESS CORTISOL
To fully appreciate the effect of excessive Cortisol secretion on our physiology, let's take a look at the well-known side effects of a drug form of Cortisol, called prednisone. Used primarily in allergic and inflammatory conditions like asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, prednisone is by far the most prescribed oral corticosteroid. It blocks many key steps in the allergic and inflammatory response, including the production and secretion by the white blood cells of compounds that promote inflammation. This disruption of the normal defense functions of the white blood cells is great at stopping the inflammatory response, but it essentially cripples the immune system. Long-term use of prednisone also causes abdominal obesity, puffiness of the face ("moon face"), and accumulation of fat in the upper back ("buffalo hump").
Common side effects of long-term prednisone use at higher dosage levels include: depression; insomnia; mood swings; personality changes and even psychotic behavior; high blood pressure; diabetes; peptic ulcers; acne; excessive facial hair in women; muscle cramps and weakness; thinning and weakening of the skin; osteoporosis; and susceptibility to the formation of blood clots. Unfortunately, every single one of prednisone has side effects, both short and long term, can also occur in our bodies as a result of excessive Cortisol secretion.
Cortisol excess is almost always associated with weight gain. Not only does Cortisol signal the brain to eat more, it increases the amount of visceral (abdominal) fat.
CORTISOL, MOOD, AND SLEEP
Many of the detrimental effects of Cortisol on appetite, mood, and sleep are the result of lowering brain serotonin levels. Serotonin is an important brain chemical that promotes a sense of relaxation and positive mood (happiness). When your brain is low in serotonin, carbohydrate cravings result. What the brain is trying to accomplish by signaling a carbohydrate craving is increasing the manufacture of serotonin from the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan has a difficult time getting into the brain because it competes with other amino acids for transport across the blood brain barrier. Thanks to insulin, after a high-carbohydrate meal there are fewer amino acid molecules circulating in the bloodstream to compete with tryptophan. While insulins primary job is to remove sugar from the blood and help it pass into the cells, it also promotes the absorption of certain amino acids into muscle tissue. As a result, there are fewer amino acids competing with tryptophan for transport through the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, as long as a person has either insulin resistance or high Cortisol levels it will lead to low brain serotonin levels, which may result in strong carbohydrate cravings, depression, or insomnia.
STABILIZING BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS IS A KEY TO STRESS MANAGEMENT
Dr. Lyon and I found that stabilizing blood sugar levels with the help of PGX® not only assisted people with weight loss, but it had an incredible ability to help people handle stress more effectively. One of the first benefits many people with blood sugar volatility noticed when they started our program was complete relief from insomnia - particularly sleep maintenance insomnia. Remember that a dip in blood glucose levels during the night is an important cause of sleep maintenance insomnia. Improving sleep quality alone may be a key reason why people on the program were better able to deal with stress, but we feel the greatest benefits are probably the result of lowered Cortisol levels. We believe that science will eventually confirm that with increased blood
PGX® IS THE KEY
The ability to stabilize blood sugar levels with the Hunger Free Forever program is the result of using PGX®. This completely new and unique fiber matrix is produced from natural soluble fibers using a patented process that causes these fibers to bind together in a way that makes PGX® the most viscous and soluble fiber ever discovered. And, what that means is that all of the health benefits linked to soluble dietary fibers - including stabilizing blood sugar levels - are significantly magnified with PGX®. Detailed analysis has shown that PGX® produces a higher level of viscosity (gel-forming properties) and expansion with water than the same quantity of any other fiber.
PGX® is able to bind hundreds of times its weight in water, resulting in a volume and viscosity 3-5 times greater than other highly soluble fibers like psyllium or oat beta-glucan (the key fiber in oat bran). To put this in perspective, a small, 5g serving of PGX® in a meal replacement formula or on its own produces as much volume and viscosity as at least four bowls of oat bran. This means that small quantities of PGX® added to foods or drinks before meals will have an impact on appetite and blood sugar control equivalent to eating enormous and impractical quantities of any other form of fiber.
Detailed clinical studies published in major medical journals and presented at the world's major diabetes conferences have shown PGX® to exert the following benefits:
* Balances blood sugar levels in the overweight and obese.
* Reduces appetite and promotes effective weight loss, even in the morbidly obese.
* Increases the level of compounds that block appetite and promote satiety.
* Decreases the level of compounds that stimulate overeating.
* Reduces postprandial (after-meal) blood sugar levels when added to or taken with foods.
* Reduces the glycemic index of any food or beverage.
* Increases insulin sensitivity and decreases blood insulin.
* Improves diabetes control and dramatically reduces the need for insulin or other diabetes medications.
* Lowers total and LDL blood cholesterol and triglycerides.
In addition, as I mentioned above, we feel that PGX® is an ideal tool for reducing unwanted spikes in Cortisol secretion.
HOW TO USE PGX
PGX® works best if it is used with a low glycemic diet (discussed below). The dosage of PGX® is based on your needs. If you don't need to lose weight and simply want to take advantage of the ability of PGX® to stabilize blood sugar levels, the dosage is only 750-1,500 mg before meals. However, if you want to lose weight, then the dosage needs to be at least 2.5—5 g before meals (start with a dosage of 750-1,000 mg and work your way up to the full dosage over the course of a couple of weeks).
PGX® is available in a variety of different forms: softgel capsules, a zero-calorie drink mix, granules that can be added to foods and beverages, a meal replacement drink mix containing undenatured whey protein, natural flavors, and sweeteners along with vitamins and minerals (SlimStyles®) and a pre-meal protein drink mix. It does not matter which form you use, just make sure you get the required amount of PGX® before each meal. And, for weight loss I like to recommend taking another dose of PGX® about an hour after dinner to reduce nighttime eating. Be sure to drink 8 oz (250 ml) of water for each 2.5 g dose. For many people, simply taking PGX® softgels 5-15 minutes before meals with a glass of water is the most convenient way to take PGX®.
Detailed studies in both humans and animals have shown that PGX® is very safe and well-tolerated. There are no specific drug interactions, but it is best to take any medication either an hour before or 2-3 hours after taking PGX®.
For more information on where to buy PGX®, how to use it, or the studies behind it, visit pgx.com. Appendix B also provides answers to some of the common questions about PGX®.
EAT TO SUPPORT BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
In addition to taking PGX®, it is important to avoid foods that cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels….. Refined sugars, white flour products, and other sources of simple carbohydrates and sugars are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar and severely stressing blood sugar control. So it's important to avoid "junk food" and pay attention to the glycemic index of food that you eat.
YES I HAVE FOUND PGX TO BE VERY HELPFUL IN MY BLOOD-SUGAR PROBLEM; CUTTING OUT “SWEETS” IS THE BEST FOR ME, BUT HAVING A “SWEET TOOTH” ALL MY LIFE, I’M NOW HAVING TO RESTRICT MY “SWEETNESS” EATING IN MY OLDER AGE, COMPARED TO MY YOUNGER AGE, WHEN MY BODY WAS ABLE TO HANDLE MODERATE “SWEET” EATING - Keith Hunt