Unstable Blood Sugar and Thyroid Disease – how to break the vicious cycle.
Miriam thought this talk yesterday by Ritamarie Loscalzo was so good that she has made notes from it for us. It describes the connections between unstable blood sugar and thyroid disease and how to break the vicious cycle.
Wednesday 14th May 2014
Video interview with Dr Ritamarie Loscalzo
Breaking the vicious Cycle of Blood Sugar Imbalances and Thyroid Dysfunction
Jump Start Your Energy.com – http://www.drritamarie.com/jumpstart/
If blood sugar is too low, the thyroid is sluggish. The thyroid doesnt have any fuel so everything slows down. High blood sugar causes inflammation and that causes inflammation in the thyroid as well. Therefore it cant function well and there is low production of thyroid hormone. TSH creates damage to the cells that are supposed to be picking up the thyroid hormones. Therefore high TSH makes insulin resistance worse. When blood sugar goes too low even genes are affected. The production of these genes is necessary to maintain healthy blood sugar.
Factors that contribute to insulin resistance
1. Poor sleep
2. Lack of movement
Trained muscles are more sensitive to insulin. Effective exercise is Burst Training short bursts of activity, 30-60 seconds of all-out exercise. This raises the level of growth hormone for 1 hours after that. It decreases levels of insulin dramatically. 4-8 burst per day help create a healthy hormone balance. Its like sprinting as opposed to running a marathon. Dr Ritamarie has a stair stepper under her desk and uses it in her office. You could also do squats at your desk for 30-60 seconds, until your legs burn and youre panting.
Stress increases cortisol, then the liver produces blood sugar (gluconeogenesis), which in turn provokes the production of insulin. Cortisol prefers to break down lean tissue or protein (muscle) rather than fat. So when you get stressed it turns your thighs to fat.
4. Poor timing of meals
(The timing of meals with relationship to sleep, to exercise and to each other).
Dont eat right before you go to bed as this tends to raise both cortisol and insulin levels. This inhibits the rise in growth hormone, which should be higher at night to help with repairs. You need to eat protein first thing in the morning. Its the natural peak in cortisol at around this time. If you dont eat protein the cortisol will break down lean tissue. You dont have to eat a great deal of protein, just something the cortisol can convert to glucose, such as a hemp protein shake. Eating every 2-3 hours is not good as it keeps provoking the secretion of insulin. This happens to some extent even if you are only eating protein. When in an insulin dominated state youre not burning fat.
How does stress affect the brain?
Stress affects pituitary output. High cortisol sends a message to the hypothalamus, danger, which in turn asks the pituitary to deal with it. The pituitary asks the adrenals to respond, so that creates a vicious cycle, a loop of hyper production. The pituitary also produces TSH. If youre constantly dealing with stress, the thyroid is getting 2nd fiddle, in effect shutting it down. Cortisol itself has an inhibitory effect on T4.
When you have thyroid dysfunction it causes a decreased uptake of glucose into the cells. It has an impact on those receptors. When you have a blood sugar imbalance, that has an effect on the secretion of T4 and T3 it reduces it. You have an inflammatory process because the insulin produces inflammation.
Unstable blood sugar and the gut
When your sugars are out of balance it affects your gut. Dysglycaemia in the gut can create leaky gut and inflammation in the gut, which is a big contributory factor in Hashimotos. Leaky gut is one of the leading problems that has to be dealt with if youre dealing with Hashimotos.
Reactive hypoglycaemia triggers the stress response. Cortisol overshoots the mark, brings blood sugar up high, then the whole cycle starts again.
Hashimotos is an inflammatory and autoimmune process, with antibodies attacking the thyroid. When you have a leaky gut, big molecules of food get through to the blood stream. The immune system attacks these foreign particles. It creates antibodies. The immune system targets these food particles in the blood stream, and as the blood circulates the thyroid suffers a drive-by shooting effect. Another factor is cross-reactivity. The antibodies that are trying to get rid of gluten also have an affinity for the thyroid.
Healing the gut
1. Remove reactive foods, such as gluten and sugar.
2. What is the cause? Is it simply the Standard American Diet with its alcohol, caffeine, etc? Is it an infection such as candida overgrowth or H Pylori?
3. Provide certain nutrients for repair, in particular Slippery Elm (as tea) or Marshmallow, vitamin B1 (150mg 3 times per day) and DGL liquorice. Other possibilities are L-glutamine, though it may not suit everyone, and arabinogalactans. It takes a while to repair.
1. Ginger juice it and put 1 teaspoonful in water and sip on it like ginger ale. It reduces the internal inflammation of glands and organs as well as alleviating external pains such as back ache.
2. Omega 3 fats
Chia seeds combined with coconut help the conversion of fats down to EPA/DHA. Make chia porridge soak 1 part chia seeds with 5 parts water for a few hours. Add some coconut, vanilla and cinnamon. Its a good way to start the day.
3. Spices and herbs such as cinnamon, clove, cardamom and dill.
Supplements for balancing blood sugar
1. Chromium its only role is to transport glucose into the cells. Sometimes it provides immediate relief from carbohydrate cravings. Chromium polynicotinate works best.
2. Magnesium (glycinate, taurate, malate)
Cinnamon can help reduce blood sugar. So can a bowl of chia porridge, or a couple of sessions of burst training.
Blood sugar testing
The blood sugar curve should follow what is called a normal distribution, symmetrical on each side of the curve. It should peak at about 45 minutes after a meal and then start to reduce. In an optimally balanced person the blood sugar is at the same level just before the meal as it is 2 hours later. For example, if it started out at 85, at 2 hours it should also be 85. What happens in between is really telling. It shouldnt spike too high at the peak (such as 167!).
115/120 in the morning, rising to 140, is considered non-diabetic, but it does show insulin resistance. Even taking on a sugar load, such as in the glucose tolerance test, your peak blood sugar shouldnt go above 110.
The A1C test tells you about blood sugar spikes over a 3 month period. It can be indicative of problems. For example, Ritamaries morning blood glucose was 85, but her A1C was 5-6, showing that her blood sugar generally spiked too high. Excess blood sugar can damage tissue. Glucose gets latched on to your red blood cells. Haemoglobin A1C measures glycoselated haemoglobin how much sugar coating the red blood cells have. This causes blood cells to get stiff and brittle and can pierce the lining of your blood vessel walls. Cholesterol plaques then come along to try and heal all these little nicks.
Optimal blood sugar range
Morning fasting glucose should be between 75 and 85. Above 90 you see in increase in cardiovascular risk even though 90 is considered to be a normal blood glucose. 100 is iffy and 120 is diabetic. When you are testing blood sugar, test before a meal, then initially at 15 minutes, 30, 45 and 60 minutes, then every hour until the next meal.
On ketogenic diets, which can be super healing for cancer, multiple sclerosis and seizures, they like to keep people on a blood sugar level of between 45 and 70. When fasting and just having a daily green juice, Ritamarie had a blood sugar as low as 45 to 40, but still felt great and had plenty of energy.
Avoid anything artificial such as Splenda, sucralose and Aspartame. An individual may be able to tolerate fruit, but test whether it causes blood sugar to spike. Stevia is good, and erythritol (organic and from birch) is generally tolerated. Other sugar alcohols can be irritating to the gut, certainly sorbitol and dont use manitol. Some people can handle Xylitol OK. Avoid agave which is simply fructose and causes blood sugar to spike.
People react very individually to different foods, so you must test your own reaction. The Glycaemic Index is an average of thousands of peoples reactions, but we are not average.
How to undo the insulin resistance
Before you start the strict 30-day metabolic reset, test all your normal meals to see how you react to them. Then, for the next month, leave out any foods that made your blood glucose rise over 110.
Then for 30 days you have to be really strict and only eat foods which dont cause blood sugar to spike. Do spot tests, checking your blood sugar once or twice a day.
The next stage is to try reintroducing foods. For example, if before blueberries made blood sugar go up to 140, now retest and see how you react to them.
You can also test if you have to eat out and are not sure how you reacted to that restaurant meal. Ritamarie carries a blood glucose meter around with her.
Inflammation and out-of-balance blood sugar
When you are insulin resistant, you are creating an inflammatory process from too much insulin. You run the risk of high C-Reactive Protein (CRP). This damages your blood vessel linings, the lining of your lungs, and can damage joints, so its important for health in general to get your blood sugar stable.
Hashimotos indicates an underlying blood sugar problem which tends to go with chronic fatigue and belly fat. You cant address one without the other.
There are 5 free videos about blood sugar at
If you need extra help Ritamarie Loscalzo runs a 3 month programme. http://www.b4begone.com/
The 4 Bs are Belly fat, Burnout, Brain fog and Blood sugar balance.