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Blood Sugar Levels

HYPO vs HYPER-GLYCAEMIA

There is some evidence that suggests our blood sugar levels play a role in the causation of headaches and migraines. Blood sugar levels fluctuate according to intake of food and medications, and are regulated by a number of hormones, mainly Insulin and Adrenalin.

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Our bodies system for regulating sugar levels has developed over thousands of years with the consumption of natural sugars. Some researchers believe that our bodies are unable to adequately cope with our increasing consumption of refined sugars. When a natural sugar such as that found in sugar cane is refined, the fibre and nutrients (which aid correct absorption, storage and metabolism of the sugar component) are stripped away.

Ultimately, all sugars, natural or refined, end up as glucose in our blood stream, however it is the speed with which they get there that is important. The result of consuming refined sugar is a rapid rise in blood sugar levels (hyper-glycaemia) which our body overreacts to, by producing large amounts of insulin. This release of Insulin then causes a rapid drop in the blood sugar level, which may then lead to a constriction of blood vessels in the brain, which corresponds to the aura stage of the migraine. Therefore the blood sugar goes from being abnormally high to abnormally low in a very short time.

When the blood sugar levels are too low (hypo-glycaemia), the brain does not receive enough glucose to function properly. The body then responds by increasing the quantity of blood flow to the brain as well as releasing hormones, which in turn release stored glucose into the blood stream. This results in increased blood pressure, and a change in the blood vessels of the brain. It is this change in blood vessel diameter and blood flow dynamics that is believed to cause the headache pain.

To prevent these scenario's occurring, it is important to:

  1. Limit the consumption of foods containing large amounts of refined sugars.
  2. Limit caffeine intake as this can affect blood sugar levels.
  3. Avoid skipping meals as this results in blood sugar levels dropping too low.

Blood sugar level problems may be one of a number of potential triggers for any one migraine or headache sufferers' problems, and it is important to investigate thoroughly any / all potential triggers; and address them simultaneously.

Problems with blood sugar level regulation (ie: diabetes) as well as other dietary problems may further complicate the picture and need to be addressed by the appropriate specialist(s).

Blood Sugar Level Problems may contribute to Headaches and Migraines, so it is important to have them professionally addressed. It is also important to investigate for other potential causes, as many cases of Headaches and Migraines have more than one ingredient.

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Author:

Dr Grant Shevlin B.App.Sc (Chiropractic)R.M.I.T 1995
Contact- Suite 6 / level 5
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Australia
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