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Avoid hypoglycemia.

Your brain's only food is glucose. When your blood sugar is low, your brain functions poorly. When you go on a starvation diet, you starve your brain.

The brain runs only on one fuel - glucose, or simple sugar and it requires a full 25% of your blood flow to provide this fuel. Any disruption of your serum glucose levels has a powerful and immediate impact on your brain. When you miss a meal you may feel lightheaded and irritable, and have poor long-term and short-term memory. This occurs because your brain is not getting enough fuel. The "power plants" in your neurons, the mitochondria, are struggling to help buid memory traces, but they do not have the needed power.

If this "power outage" to neurons lasts more than a few minutes, neurons can be badly damaged and possibly die. Most of us have lost millions of neurons from blood sugar disruptions.

Disruption of the fuel supply can be caused by not eating and by reaction to stress. This stress reaction is a good example of how sensitive your brain is to blood sugar supply.

Under stress your adrenals produce cortisol, which stimulates overproduction of insulin, by your pancreas. When this happens, sugar, which is stored in your liver as glycogen rushes out of your liver and into your bloodstream, where it is converted to glucose. This glucose quickly enters your cells. For a few minutes you surge with energy and your cognitive function hits peak levels. Shortly after, because your blood has been robbed of its normal supply of sugar, when the fuel surge ceases, you quickly begin to lose energy. Your brain, which s extremely sensitive to glucose deprivation is hit hard and fast.

When you experience this hypoglycemic episode, you may reach for a candy or a cup of coffee with sugar, to stimulate more adrenaline/insulin/glucose. This is a quick fix, which ultimately exacerbates the problem.

Most hypoglycemic states are produced not by stress, however, but by simply eating too much sugar. Ingestion of too much sugar causes the same release of insulin, as stress does. As many as 1 out of 4 people has a mild inability to process dietary sugar, including me. If I eat only one ounce of the good Swiss chocolate, which my wife always has around, I can not write and often I need to take a short nap to recover. I allow myself one cup of sugarless coffee per week, because it brings me up and then I crash, with a strong desire to recover from the crash with an additional cup. I think this is why people drink so many cups of coffee each day.

This intolerance or sensitivity has a very simple solution because it is often caused by a lack of dietary chromium. The body needs about 30mcg per day, of which only 0.5% passes through the digestive tract into the blood. The balance is secreted. Antacids and some drugs will decrease the amount absorbed. Eating a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, meats, and milk and milk products should provide sufficient chromium. But it has been found that foods grown with petroleum based fertilizers, and dairy products from cows, which are fed fermented silage, as on most large farms, are deficient in chromium. The factory food system strikes again.

If you must, you can supplement with chromium nicotinate, or chromium picolinate. I supplement with brewer's yeast, which is high in chromium and folic acid, and I like the flavor and smell.

By far the best way to avoid hypoglycemia is to eat a prudent diet, rich in complex carbohydrate and protein. It may help to eat a number of small meals during the day. Your diet should be low in foods that convert very quickly to blood sugar.

Any questions??