Hypoglycemia and Mental Health – Fascinating Facts

I’ve just read a fascinating and very inspiring article in Forbes magazine by Michael Ellsberg, who totally recovered from bi-polar disorder. After many years of suffering with this terrible mental health issue, Michael eventually found a doctor who advised him to give up sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

This wise doctor understood the link between mental illness and hypoglycemia.

After going through terrible withdrawal and craving for sugar during the first two weeks, Michael says he suddenly came out the other side and felt just like a new born baby. His head and mind were clear and stable – it was almost miraculous.

I have always believed there is a close link between mental illness and hypoglycemia. All those many people suffering at the hands of the (well meaning) mental health services. How many of them could be restored to health if they understood the link with sugar/caffeine/alcohol?

If you want to read Michael’s inspiring story, it’s at http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelellsberg/2011/07/18/how-i-overcame-bipolar-ii/ .

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3 Responses to Hypoglycemia and Mental Health – Fascinating Facts

  1. Yolanda Sorrentino says:

    I’ve been diagnosed as hypoglicemic and am looking for help to control my blood sugar. I’ve only read one of your entries concerning which diet is the best to follow. You recommend 3 healthy meals a day instead of the usual eating every 3 to 4 hours. You also mention that hypoglicemics are addicted to sugar, however I’m not. I don’t enjoy sugary snacks and tend to keep away from them. I suppose I’m writing to you because I’d like to know what would work for me. If I have peanut butter I tend to get a headache. I’m really so confused as to what to do.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Yolanda,

      It’s interesting you say you don’t eat sugar, and are not addicted to it. There’s a couple of other things to consider – do you drink much coffee (or tea i.e. caffeine) and are you taking any medication on a long term basis? Both caffeine, and a wide range of common medications can cause hypoglycemia.

      So the first thing is to rule out either of those two other options. Your reaction to peanut butter sounds like an allergy of some kind, so obviously I wouldn’t advise eating peanut butter, although for most people it is a great food.

      I do recommend eating 3 balanced meals each day and make sure to eat enough fats and proteins, because a low-fat diet is one of the main causes of hypoglycemia. If you eat 3 balanced meals a day (i.e. not low-fat meals) you should be able to go at least 4 or 5 hours and keep your blood sugar stable. But if you get a low blood sugar attack, then you should eat something, of course. But I do believe long term that snacking every 2 or 3 hours is not a good habit.

      I hope that helps.

  2. susan says:

    The link between mental health and hypoglycemia is fascinating. I have not been formerly diagnosed with hypoglycemia, but have almost every symptom. The anxiety, irritability and depression are more distressing than the physical symptoms (shaky, sweaty, fatigue etc). In fact, my partner and my family has always ensured I am ‘fed’ to help me manage (and be less annoying to them). I am going to follow the diet recommendations and see how I feel. Thanks very much for sharing this information.

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