Monday, July 24, 2017

Autoimmune Diseases and Glycobiology

Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the body actually attacks its own cells. The immune system mistakes some part of the body as a pathogen and attacks it. This may be due to a cellular communication problem.

At one time medical professional learned in biology classes that cellular communication in humans took place via proteins embedded in the surface of most cells of the body. New research in glycobiology has proven that this is not the case. Science now recognizes that cellular communication takes place via glycoproteins, which are the biological merging of specific plant carbohydrates and proteins embedded in cell surfaces.

It is believed that when certain high quality macronutrients are ingested, the body is able to form the very important glycoproteins that embed themselves on cell surfaces. It’s these exact glycoproteins that allow the cells of the immune system to communicate with one another.

Examples of high quality macronutrients ("super" carbs) include medicinal mushrooms, sea vegetables, some land vegetables and some whole fruits that are organically grown and ripened on the plant are rich sources of polysaccharides and phytonutrients. This is because vegetables and fruits plucked before ripening and subjected to ripening by artificial means do not have the last surge of nutrients which are only available to the naturally ripening process. 

Glycobiology is the study of the structure, biosynthesis, and biology of saccharides (sugar chains or glycans) that are widely distributed in nature. These saccharides (or sugar molecules) are essential components of all living things that require cell-to-cell communication to sustain life.

Glycobiology believes that these sugar molecules constitute an ‘alphabet’ of ‘letters’ that can be combined in endless ways to form ‘words’ which are used by the body to communicate information required for healthy function. McAnalley and Vennum (2000), explain that the process of molecular communication codes can be thought of as a written language whereby just as four different shapes can be combined to make many letters and the letters can be combined to make words, the different carbohydrate molecules combine to make cellular recognition (McAnalley and Vennum 2000, p2).

Once cells have been properly glycosylated only then are they able to send a cell-to-cell communication and communicate with other cells, (i.e. recognize the enemy and tag it).
It is believed that autoimmune diseases occur when cells are not properly glycosylated (the presence of a sugar added to a protein) and thereby unable to differentiate between a ‘friendly’ cell and an ‘unfriendly’ cell (Nugent 2005, p21).

However, if cells (such as red blood cells) are glycosylated improperly, this can lead to excessive glycation and damage to the red blood cells. Then, these damaged red blood cells create advanced glycated end products (AGEs) and cause damage to the arteries as they circulate throughout the body. 

Although it is recognized that a multiple of factors ensure good health and no one nutrient stands alone in this process, there is strong belief that without proper cell-to-cell communication, there is no hope for good health because without communication there can be no function.

Glycoproteins, proteoglycans and glycolipids are the most abundant glycoconjugates found in mammalian cells. They are found predominantly on the outer cell wall and in secreted fluids. Glycoconjugates have been shown to be important in cell-cell interactions due to the presence on the cell surface of various glycan binding receptors in addition to the glycoconjugates themselves.

However, more research in glycobiology needs to be performed and studied to determine the benefits to our health.

Please Note: In the meantime, do not waste your money buying glyconutrient supplements. Instead, get your key sugars from quality carbohydrates such as land vegetables, sea vegetables, whole fruits, beans, and some organic whole grains.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Top 10 Super Foods for Thyroid

When you have hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, symptoms can include fatigue, depression, constipation, and other more serious health concerns. Fortunately, eating certain foods can help boost the effectiveness of your thyroid.
Bone Broth
Bone broth contains collagen, glycine and other nutrients that to help repair and heal a leaky gut. Seventy percent of our immune system resides in the gut, making it impossible to have a healthy and balanced body without a healthy digestive system. Bone broth naturally heals the gut lining, excellent news for anyone with leaky gut, which most people with autoimmune diseases suffer from! Bone broth is packed full of amino acids and collagen, making it both a thyroid and digestive health super food. You can drink it plain, like a savory tea, or use it as a base for soups and pastas.
Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are a top source of selenium. In fact, just two of these nuts contain 100 percent of your daily needs. Selenium is often forgotten about for optimal health, but this one mineral is necessary for a well-functioning thyroid, liver, skin health, and even a healthy body weight.
Selenium can also help decrease anti-thyroid antibodies and has even been shown to help improve the physical structure of the thyroid itself.
Macadamia nuts and hazelnuts are also particularly high in selenium.
Chlorella is a single cell fresh water green microalgae that is loaded with nutrients. It contains more nucleic acids (RNA/DNA) than any other food, which gives it a lot of energy producing potential.
It is a great supplement with a wide variety of useful nutritional applications, which include supporting natural detoxification, digestive health, immune function, thyroid support, inflammation reduction, antioxidant function, estrogen balance, cholesterol metabolism, and circulation.
Chlorella contains more chlorophyll than most plants, along with an impressive array of vitamins and minerals (A, D, E, K1, beta carotene, lutein, B vitamins, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc).
Chlorella contains glyconutrients (glucose, mannose, rhamnose, arabinose, galactose, and xylose) and amino acids (glutamine, alanine, serine, glycine, proline, asparagine, threonine, lysine, cysteine, tyrosine, and leucine).
Chlorella is one of the top nutrients for absorption of toxic metals as it readily absorbs toxins such as uranium, cadmium and mercury.
Note: Chlorella can contain moderate levels of iodine, so those with iodine sensitive thyroid conditions or iodine allergies should avoid it. Those with auto-immune disease should consult with a doctor first as it can increase immune function and may make these conditions worse.
Coconut Oil
Coconut oil’s medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) support thyroid function, liver health, brain function, hormonal health, and help speed up metabolism naturally. So try adding a couple of teaspoons (or tablespoons) to your daily diet, but be sure to choose organic and extra virgin coconut oil as the best option.
One of the many unwanted side effects of Hashimoto’s is fatigue. If you find yourself dragging all day grabbing cup after cup of coffee just to stay awake, you may want to try adding some coconut oil to your diet. This oil contains two important acids, caprylic and lauric, which help balance your metabolism, fight fatigue, and provide powerful immune-boosting properties.
Coconut oil has even been shown to help fight off pathogens in the GI tract. This is extremely important because, as you now know, gut health and thyroid health go hand in hand.
Try adding a tablespoon or two of coconut oil to your morning smoothies for an extended energy boost while also supporting your metabolism and keeping your immune system in tiptop shape.
Grass-fed, organic eggs are fantastic for optimizing your thyroid. Eggs contain choline, vitamin D, B vitamins, easy to digest protein, and healthy fats, which all nourish the thyroid gland and promote optimal brain health.
Did you know that your thyroid can’t thrive without enough healthy fats? Cholesterol is actually the building block of hormones, so don’t fear the fats in whole eggs — enjoy them! Fats propel energy in the body and keep digestion humming along too, so skip all those egg white omelets and use some whole eggs once in a while!
Fermented Foods
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchee, coconut yogurt, and water kefir are loaded with healthy probiotics to help support the healthy bacteria in the gut.
Remember that gut health is central to the health of our immune system and thyroid. More and more evidence points to the fact that intestinal microbiota is essential for hormone balance.
Keeping the bacteria in our gut healthy requires that we feed the healthy bacteria in our digestive system to help keep the pathogenic bacteria out. You can top bowls with sauerkraut or just eat coconut yogurt plain for breakfast!
Flaxseeds are important for your health because it is high in fiber and it also aids your thyroid. Those with an underactive thyroid can boost their thyroid hormone ratio by consuming this food on a daily basis. You only need about one tablespoon of freshly ground flaxseed every day to reap its full benefits.
Fruits and Vegetables
An early symptom of hypothyroidism is weight gain. Low-calorie, high-density foods such as fresh produce are the cornerstone of every successful weight loss program. Include either fresh fruits or veggies at each meal, if possible.
Specific foods such as blueberries, cherries, sweet potatoes, and green peppers are also rich in antioxidants, nutrients that are known to lower risk for heart disease.
However, people with hypothyroidism may want to limit their intake of raw cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, to 5 ounces a day, as they can block the thyroid's ability to absorb iodine, which is essential for normal thyroid function.
You probably already use ginger to calm nausea and upset stomach, but it is also ideal for the thyroid. This herb is rich in zinc, magnesium and potassium, all of which are nutrients that the thyroid requires for optimal health. You must use the fresh ginger herb to reap the full benefits.
Goji Berries
Goji berries are an excellent source of flavonoids and are rich in antioxidants. In general, the endocrine system which also includes the thyroid is relatively fragile and vulnerable to damages caused by the oxidative processes.
These damages are a result from our exposure to toxins from the environment, sun radiation, and pesticides in fruits and veggies. Therefore, the foods that fight free radicals and are antioxidant-rich are vital for our health and well-being.
Licorice Root
Licorice root is an adaptogenic herb that helps balance cortisol levels and improves acid production in the stomach. Licorice root supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum. This herb is especially beneficial if someone’s leaky gut is being caused by emotional stress.
Licorice root has been used for over 3,000 years in the treatment of digestive issues including ulcers and indigestion. If you have an underactive thyroid and are experiencing fatigue, this herb can help. Licorice also gives you a gentle boost in energy.
Consumption of Maca helps balancing the pituitary that itself sends hormonal signals to the thyroid thus regulating its work. This Peruvian root contains nutrients such as Vitamin B, zinc, iron and copper all of which boost the function of the thyroid.
Consume 2-3 Tbsp of Maca root powder with your morning smoothie or make a salad dressing with 2 Tbsp of Maca powder and olive oil and eat on salads.
Seaweed has a high concentration of iodine, an essential nutrient for thyroid function. Seaweed, packaged as nori, wakame, and dulse, can be used in sushi, soups, and salads. Another plus: Seaweed offers nutritional benefits of fiber, calcium, and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K.
But, it is possible to have too much iodine, which can worsen thyroid disease. However, according to the American Thyroid Association the likelihood of this is greater if you're taking supplements that contain iodine.
Keep in mind that if you suffer from a selenium deficiency, iodine can actually cause more inflammation. To prevent this from happening, try adding a couple of Brazil nuts to your diet to help balance both selenium and iodine.
Spirulina is rich in minerals including iodine, carotenoids, beta-carotene and Vitamin A. It is also one of the best green foods for detoxifying the liver. Good functioning of the liver is crucial as the transformation of the inactive hormone T4 (of the thyroid) into an active hormone T3 is taking place there.
In addition to all the nutrients Spirulina contains, it is also a great source of tyrosine. It is one of the most important amino-acids when it comes to healthy thyroid.
An all-around excellent health-promoting superfood, turmeric works well for those with Hashimoto’s since it’s great at reducing inflammation and can even help give your body a detoxifying boost.
Detoxification is important because some patients with Hashimoto’s also have heavy metal toxicity. This superfood has also been shown to inhibit thyroid cancer cells. Toss it in stir-fries, or sprinkle a bit in your smoothie in the morning.
Leafy green vegetables contain an array of B vitamins, amino acids, and minerals, like magnesium, which your body needs to function well.
Consume a variety of greens to ensure a balance, and so that you’re not consuming too much of one type. Try greens such as Romaine, spinach, arugula, collards, and spring mix lettuces to switch things up. When you go this route, a little kale and cabbage now and again will do the body good and are less likely to negatively affect your thyroid. Balance is key!
Wild Salmon
Wild salmon is a great food for your thyroid due to its high omega-3 fatty acid profile. Salmon is also a great source of B vitamins, Vitamin D, amino acids, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
Be sure when you choose salmon to opt for wild fish from Alaskan or Norwegian waters. Farmed salmon and those that are cultivated in other parts of the world are usually filled with toxins, pesticides, antibiotics and more, which do not promote optimal health.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in other fatty fish such as trout, tuna, or sardines make these fish an excellent choice for lunch or dinner. Unmanaged hypothyroidism can increase the risk for heart disease as a result of higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol. Omega-3s are known to decrease inflammation, help with immunity, and lower the risk for heart disease. Fish is also a good source of the nutrient selenium, which is most concentrated in the thyroid and also helps decrease inflammation.

Note: Refer to the author's DTD Autoimmune Diseases  & Natural Remedies ebook, DTD Power of Juicing ebook and/or DTD Cleanse/Detox ebook to help with thyroid dysfunction (e.g. hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Graves' Disease) and for natural thyroid remedies.

Death to Diabetes Website References: 
Autoimmune Diseases web page
Thyroid Diseases web page

Top Foods to Avoid for Thyroid Health

Most people are aware of the obvious healthy foods that will benefit your thyroid as well as your overall health. They include green, leafy and bright-colored vegetables, some fruits, plant oils, cold-water fish, and free-range animal meats.
Also, most people are aware of the obvious foods that are not good for your health, e.g. sugar, pastries, bread, trans fats, alcohol, and tobacco.
However, there are some unhealthy foods that you should avoid and some so-called healthy foods that you should limit or avoid, especially if you are having problems with your thyroid and you need to improve your metabolism, energy level, blood glucose, blood pressure, digestion, nerves, weight, and/or immune system activity.
These foods include: Coffee, Cruciferous Vegetables (Raw), Dairy Products (Cow's Milk/Cheese), Drugs, Fatty Foods, Fiber (Excess), Grains/ Gluten, Processed Foods, Soy, Sugar, and Vegetable Oils.
Almost everyone seems to loves coffee, so I'm sure most people are tired of hearing that they have to give up their coffee. Unfortunately, caffeine has been found to overstimulate the thyroid and block the absorption of thyroid hormone medication. When you take the medication with your morning coffee, this causes uncontrollable thyroid levels. Instead, take your medication with water; and, wait at least 30 minutes before having your coffee.
An even better option is to use our DTD Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program so that you can get off the thyroid medication and have your coffee whenever you want without any negative effects. (We'll discuss this program later).
Cruciferous Vegetables (Raw)
This is a tricky one. As you are probably aware, cruciferous vegetables (e.g. cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc.) provide anti-cancer and blood glucose benefits. They are also beneficial to your thyroid, except in rare situations where the person is iodine-deficient and happens to eat a lot of raw cruciferous vegetables.
These vegetables contain substances called goitrogens, which are compounds that can inhibit the absorption of iodine by your thyroid gland. Iodine is a critical component in the manufacture of thyroid hormones.
To avoid this problem, get a physical exam to make sure that you're not iodine-deficient; and, steam or sauté your vegetables to break down the .
If you are iodine-deficient, make sure that you eat seaweed and wild-caught seafood (not farmed fish). These foods contain iodine, plus selenium, Vitamin D and zinc, which are all helpful for healthy thyroid function.
Dairy Products
Dairy products (e.g. cow’s milk, cheese, ice cream) can create a lot of inflammation in the body. Many people (e.g. lactose-intolerant) find dairy products difficult to digest and they are a common cause of irritable bowel syndrome, bloating and reflux.
If dairy products are disrupting your digestion, it means you will not be absorbing the nutrients from your meals adequately. It can also promote the growth of harmful microbes in your digestive tract such as bad bacteria, yeast and fungi.
The protein in dairy products is called casein and in many people it worsens autoimmune disease just as much as gluten.
Most drug affect the biochemistry and hormonal balance within your body, which can affect your thyroid. Avoid recreational drugs such as alcohol, beer, wine and tobacco. And, if possible, avoid OTC drugs and prescription drugs.
FYI: Alcohol has a toxic effect on the thyroid gland and suppresses the ability of the body to use thyroid hormone. Ideally, people with hypothyroidism should cut out alcohol completely or drink in careful moderation.
Fried/Fatty Foods
Fried foods such as French fries and fried meats contain carcinogens and unhealthy fats that cause damage to our cells and negatively affect our hormonal balance.

Fats have been found to disrupt the function of the thyroid and the body's ability to absorb thyroid hormone replacement medicines. Fats may also interfere with the thyroid's ability to produce hormone as well. 

Some health care professionals recommend that you cut out all fried foods and reduce your intake of fats from sources such as pasteurized butter, mayonnaise, margarine, and fatty cuts of meat.
Fiber (Excess)
I'm sure this one is a surprise. Getting enough fiber is good for you, but too much can complicate your hypothyroidism treatment. Amounts of dietary fiber from whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes that go above 35 mg a day may affect your digestive system and can interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement drugs. If you're on a high-fiber diet, ask your doctor if you need a higher dose of thyroid medication. Your maintenance dose may need to be increased if you aren't absorbing enough medication.
Of course, as mentioned earlier, the best way to get around this problem is to follow an autoimmune/thyroid-friendly diet such as the DTD Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program so that you are able to control your thyroid without the need for the medication.
Wheat and other grains like rye, barley, spelt, millet and oats contain gluten, which is a major trigger for thyroid problems and autoimmune diseases.
Gluten can irritate the small intestine and cause a great deal of inflammation in the body, and in some people it can trigger an autoimmune thyroid-related disease such as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis or Graves' Disease.
Gluten may also hamper the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medication.
Processed Foods
Processed foods may taste good, but, they are empty calories that leave us with food cravings and biochemical/hormonal imbalances. In addition, these foods tend to contain lots of sodium and partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats).

Having an underactive thyroid increases a person's risk for high blood pressure, and too much sodium further increases this risk. And, processed foods tend to have a lot of sodium. People with an increased risk for high blood pressure should restrict their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams a day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The hydrogenated oil (trans fats) is a "fake" fat that, when absorbed by your cells, causes damage to the integrity of the cell wall, leaving the cell susceptible to bacteria, viruses and toxins. Studies show that this type of fat can cause damage to the myelin sheath of the nerve cells and may even trigger certain autoimmune diseases!
This food has been marketed for years in the United States as a "healthy" food. But, most soy foods are overly-processed and come from genetically modified beans. Soy is very difficult to digest, so even if soy beans supposedly contain a fair amount of protein on paper, you absorb very little of that protein because of the enzyme inhibitors in soy beans.
The lectins in soy cause irritation to the gut lining and worsen leaky gut syndrome in people with autoimmune disease. Soy is also a source of goitrogens which inhibit iodine absorption.
Soy is loaded with plant-based phytoestrogen, and some researchers believe too much soy may increase a person's risk for hypothyroidism. Even a small serving of soy each day is enough to suppress thyroid function.
Soy is one of the worst foods for your thyroid. Don’t underestimate how damaging this food is to your metabolism.
You already know that sugar is bad for you; now you know it’s bad for your thyroid gland as well. This is because of the destructive effects sugar has on your immune system and your gut.
It raises inflammation in your body and makes all autoimmune diseases worse. Sugar fuels the growth of all sorts of harmful pathogens in your gut and fosters gut infections. If your gut lining is overgrown with harmful microbes, they inflame the lining of your intestines and cause “leaky gut syndrome”. This is an initiator and driver of all autoimmune diseases. ("Leaky gut syndrome" will be discussed in more detail later).
Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils include corn oil, sunflower, safflower, soybean, cottonseed, canola, grape seed and rice bran oil. These oils are all very high in polyunsaturated fats. Your body does require some polyunsaturated fat but the problem with these oils is the delicate fats have been damaged. The extraction process (using heat and chemical solvents) causes the polyunsaturated fats to become damaged and oxidized. If you then cook with those oils, they become damaged even further.

Damaged fats create a great deal of inflammation in your body. They act as free radicals and cause wear and tear to your organs and tissues. Healthy fats to include in your diet include olive oil, macadamia nut oil, avocado oil, raw nuts and seeds, oily fish, avocados, coconut oil and grass-fed raw butter/ghee.

Note: Refer to the author's DTD Autoimmune Diseases  & Natural Remedies ebookDTD Power of Juicing ebook and/or DTD Cleanse/Detox ebook to help with thyroid dysfunction (e.g. hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Graves' Disease) and for natural thyroid remedies.

Death to Diabetes Website References: 
Autoimmune Diseases web page

Thyroid Diseases web page

Organs Affected by the Thyroid

Because the thyroid gland affects multiple system, organs and parts of the body; and, because some of those systems affect the thyroid, this can make it difficult for your doctor to provide a proper medical diagnosis.
Systems and organs of the body that are affected by the thyroid include the following.
Adrenal Glands
Thyroid function is intricately tied to our adrenal health. Part of a comprehensive, functional medicine thyroid treatment plan usually involves adrenal gland support for the following reasons:
  • Adrenal fatigue causes the thyroid receptors on cells to lose their sensitivity to thyroid hormones
  • Adrenal fatigue can decrease the conversion of T4 to T3 to a usable form
  • Adrenal fatigue decreases the efficiency of the immune system barriers in the gut, lungs and the blood/brain barrier
  • Adrenal fatigue inhibits absorption of thyroid hormone into cells
  • Adrenal fatigue disrupts the interchange between the hypothalamus and pituitary gland with the thyroid gland

Blood Glucose
Blood glucose (or blood sugar) is controlled by the pancreas. The pancreas and thyroid are both part of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is made of many feedback loops and their various hormones all “talk” to one another and make changes to the body to try and keep things in balance.
These systems also work in both directions. They influence each other. In the case of sugar, insulin is released by the pancreas to help the cells of the body absorb sugar so that it can be used. And the adrenals release cortisol to help sugar get absorbed by the cells of the body.
A hypothyroid state leads to a slow absorption of glucose, a slower breakdown of insulin, a decrease of the speed at which glucose is absorbed in the gut, a lower glucose to insulin response and, finally, less glucose in the cells for the body to use. All of this means less energy to power your cells and brain and more fatigue.
To make matters worse, all of this affects the adrenal glands and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis). In order to try and fix the problem of not having enough sugar, the adrenal glands release the stress hormone cortisol to increase glucose in the cells.
Every Hashimoto’s patient has some degree of the sugar imbalance described above. If you are skinny, its probably hypoglycemia. If you are overweight it may be insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. If you feel better after you eat, you are hypoglycemic. If you are tired after you eat, you have insulin resistance.
All of this creates a vicious cycle that can really stop you from getting better. All Hashimoto’s patients must take blood sugar problems seriously.
Thyroid hormones are very important for healthy brains. In the adult brain, thyroid hormones have shown the ability to help the brain grow and change and to help the brain age in a healthy way.
Hashimoto’s patients know about “brain fog”. There are many reasons for this, the principle ones being inflammation of the brain and a breakdown of the blood brain barrier. The proteins that protect the brain (called zonulin) are the very same proteins that protect the gut. So if you have leaky gut, there is a good chance that you also have leaky brain.
When your brain is inflamed you get brain fog and it degenerates.  There are 2 primary symptoms:
1. Depression
2. Fatigue
It is no surprise that the most common drugs prescribed with Hashimoto’s are anti-depressants. You absolutely must support your brain if you have these symptoms.
Brain fog is a brain cell activated immune response. The immune system in the brain is not specialized and sophisticated like the immune system in the rest of the body. Brain immune cells (called microglia) are kind of like paranoid chihuahuas with automatic rifles. They tend to over react quickly and when they do you get lots of inflammation (brain fog).
In some patients, thyroid hormone may improve brain fog. In others it won’t. You have to reduce inflammation in the brain in a different way. In my 6 week course you learn how to do this and what herbs and supplements can really help with this. One important herb that is used is turmeric.
Cardiovascular System (Circulatory)
Thyroid hormones have a big impact on many functions of the arteries and veins in the body. Low T3 levels have been linked to  diseases of the blood vessels. One of the most common problems that Hashimoto’s patients have is cold hands and feet. Hair loss and fungal nail growth can also be signs of poor blood flow.
Hypothyroidism is characterized by the reverse- a lowed heart rate and lower blood pressure. With lowered thyroid hormones in circulation there is an increased risk of atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction (heart attack).
Low thyroid function means less nitric oxide is available in the blood vessels, this can lead to a break down of the vessels themselves.  When you add in the problems with cholesterol and you have a recipe for plaque clogging the arteries.
Hyperthyroidism induces a hyper-dynamic cardiovascular state which manifests by a faster heart rate, higher systolic and diastolic function i.e. higher blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and reduced exercise performance.
Insomnia is often associated with hyperthyroidism. Some of the symptoms and signs of hyperthyroidism can make sleep difficult. The stress of having a "racing" heart or palpitations, rapid pulse (above 100 beats per minute is considered tachycardia), and higher blood pressure can cause lack of sleep. 
Insomnia can also be related to a decreased amount of serotonin production that is linked to gut issues which are often seen with thyroid problems.
In hypothyroid conditions, both the breakdown and the use of cholesterol by the body are depressed. But the breakdown is much slower, so the net result is higher cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL. This may be slower because of a decrease in the breakdown of fats once they leave the liver or in a decline of LDL receptors.
This is why some Hashimoto’s patients also have high cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL (and sometimes low HDL). Once they get their thyroid under control, it is not unusual to see their cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides return to normal as well.
Digestive System
Chronic constipation is associated with hypothyroidism while diarrhea or frequent bowel movements are linked with hyperthyroidism. These symptoms are partly due to altered metabolism but also are created by faulty digestion beginning in the stomach. 
Hypothyroidism can reduce the production of stomach acid by its effect on the hormone, gastrin. When too little gastrin is produced, this reduces the amount of stomach acid (HC1). Bloating, G.E.R.D., heartburn, intestinal inflammation, decreased food digestion and more can result from the lack of normal HC1 levels.
Food allergies are consistently seen in those presenting with thyroid problems. Beyond gluten sensitivity, which most people are aware of, there are other food allergens to which patients will test positive.
Gall Bladder
Gall bladder function is also adversely affected in hypothyroid conditions. Studies have shown that the gall bladder gets larger and doesn’t contract normally.
Studies also report an increase in the number of gallstones and stones in the common bile duct. One reason they think this might be happening is because the thyroid hormone thyroxine relaxes the gall bladder's opening (called the sphincter of Oddi). This makes bile not flow normally, and makes the possibility of stones forming in the bile duct more likely.
Bile also helps to break down cholesterol so when there is less bile, less bile flow and gall bladder is slow and sluggish you have the perfect situation for stone formation.
Damage to the thyroid gland affects the body's metabolic rate. As a result, weight can be easily gained (hypothyroidism) or lost (hyperthyroidism). Hashimoto's disease can cause both weight loss and gain depending on the phase of autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland.
Cold hands and feet are related to a low metabolism caused by hypothyroidism while sensitivity to heat is linked to hyperthyroidism.
Nervous System
The central nervous system (CNS) can be greatly affected by a thyroid disorder. The CNS reacts to both too little and too much thyroid hormone. Too little hormone causes mental sluggishness or "brain fog" while too much hormone induces anxiety and nervousness. Depression is commonly associated with thyroid conditions.
Recent studies have linked hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's disease with accelerated brain degeneration and development of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease.
Red Blood Cells (Anemia)
Anemia is a condition that develops when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a main part of red blood cells and binds oxygen. If you have too few or abnormal red blood cells, or your hemoglobin is abnormal or low, the cells in your body will not get enough oxygen.
Anemia is diagnosed in 20-60% of patients with hypothyroidism and is often the first sign of hypothyroidism. Anemia caused by an iron or B12 deficiency begins in the stomach and stems from low stomach acid also known as hydrochloric acid or HCl. Hypothyroidism causes the hormone, gastrin, to decrease.
The production of stomach acid, HCl, depends on the hormone gastrin. So when gastrin is diminished there is less stomach acid. Less stomach acid hinders the absorption of such vital nutrients as B12, iron, and calcium.
The most common symptom of anemia is fatigue which is also the hallmark symptom of hypothyroidism.
Reproductive System
Hypothyroidism can be related to heavy menstrual flow, miscarriage, and infertility in women. Hypothyroidism can decrease the absorption of the sex hormone, progesterone, by the body's cells which can upset the menstrual cycle.
Hypothyroidism can also cause constipation which can delay the body's normal elimination of another sex hormone, estrogen.
Skeletal System
Low TSH or a hyperthyroid state can lead to an increased lifetime risk for fractures, even after TSH has become normal again.
In children, a lack of thyroid hormones will affect normal growth. Adults tend to have higher than normal bone density. But, this higher density does not necessarily mean good bone quality: there may be issues with collagen, bone turnover, the size of mineral crystals and bone structure. So, even though the bones are more dense, these people may still be at risk for fractures because the bone quality is really poor.

Given the many systems and parts of the body that are affected by your thyroid, that means there is a very good reason why you are experiencing the symptoms that you have. There are very clear reasons why your body is experiencing what it is going through. 
The goal of this information is to help you to understand how all this works in simple layman terms, so that you can discover how to get control of your health without having to rely on a lot of drugs.
Note: For more details, get the author's DTD Autoimmune Diseases & Natural Treatment Strategies ebook, which includes nutritional, herbal and lifestyle strategies for optimizing the health of your thyroid and rebalancing your immune system.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Autoimmune Disease Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

Autoimmune Disease Symptoms

Symptoms of autoimmune disease vary and depend on the type of autoimmune disease. Here is a quick overview of some of the symptoms of the most common autoimmune diseases:

Celiac disease: Inflammation and pain in the abdomen, chest burning, tiredness, weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Rheumatoid arthritis: Painful swelling and stiffness of the joints, particularly in the hands and feet.

Psoriasis: Joint pain, dry skin, skin rashes, and itchiness.

Inflammatory bowel disease: Stomach cramps, bloating, bloody diarrhea, nausea, and constipation.

Addison's disease: Tiredness, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, dizziness, dehydration, and loss of appetite.

Type 1 diabetes: Frequent urination, increased thirst, loss of energy, blurred vision, hunger, and nausea.

Vitiligo: Loss of skin color (especially noticeable in darker-skinned patients).

Hashimoto's disease: Weight gain, tiredness, depression, joint stiffness, and increased sensitivity to cold.

Graves' disease: Weight loss, anxiety, shaky hands, high blood pressure, and sweating.

Lupus: Muscle and joint pain, rash, tiredness, and fever.
Since many autoimmune diseases share similar symptoms, diagnosis is often challenging.

For example, lupus affects the joints in a similar way to RA but tends to be less severe. Lyme disease also causes joint stiffness and inflammation similarly to RA but is caused by a tick.

IBD has similar symptoms to celiac disease but is not typically caused by eating foods containing gluten.

Symptoms and Signs of an Autoimmune Disease

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, especially a combination of several of them, you may have an autoimmune disease:

  • Uncontrolled blood sugar, especially as a child or young adult
  • Joint pain, muscle pain or weakness or a tremor
  • Weight loss, insomnia, heat intolerance or rapid heartbeat
  • Recurrent rashes or hives, sun-sensitivity, a butterfly-shaped rash across your nose and cheeks.
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Feeling tired or fatigued, weight gain or cold intolerance
  • Hair loss or white patches on your skin or inside your mouth
  • Abdominal pain, blood or mucus in your stool, diarrhea or mouth ulcers
  • Dry eyes, mouth or skin
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Multiple miscarriages or blood clots

Diagnosis of Autoimmune Diseases

The following are some of the medical tests used to diagnose an autoimmune disease:

  • Autoantibody tests: any of several tests that look for specific antibodies to your own tissues
  • Antinuclear antibody tests: a type of autoantibody test that looks for antinuclear antibodies, which attack the nuclei of cells in your body
  • Complete blood count: measures the numbers of red and white cells in your blood; when your immune system is actively fighting something, these numbers will vary from the normal
  • C-reactive protein (CRP): elevated CRP is an indication of inflammation throughout your body
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate: this test indirectly measures how much inflammation is in your body

Diagnosis Differences
The diagnosis of autoimmune disease differs based on the specific disease. Rheumatoid arthritis, for example, may be diagnosed after a physical exam, blood test, or X-ray. These tests can determine the type of arthritis as well as how severe it is.

Diseases can sometimes take years to diagnose because many symptoms of autoimmune disorders mimic other diseases. Conditions like lupus and celiac disease may be misdiagnosed in their early stages because their symptoms are so similar to other diseases.

Hashimoto's disease and Graves' disease are a bit simpler to diagnose as they usually rely on a simple thyroid test. This test determines levels of thyroid hormone.

An autoimmune disease usually centers around the immune system and the antibodies produced by this system. As a result, diagnosis often involves testing for specific antibodies.

A complete blood count may be ordered to measure the amount of white and red blood cells. When the immune system is fighting something, the number of white and red blood cells will differ from normal levels.

Other tests can determine if there is any unusual inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a symptom that is fairly common among all autoimmune diseases. These tests include a C-reactive protein test and an erythrocyte sedimentation rate test.

A doctor should be seen right away as soon as symptoms begin. While symptoms may not always be caused by an autoimmune disease, it's best to tackle any issues right away than wait for them to get worse.

Medical Treatment Strategies
Unfortunately, conventional doctors only treat the symptoms of autoimmune diseases; they don't look to find the root cause. Often, they prescribe medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, or immunosuppressants.

All of these treatments fail to address the underlying cause of the autoimmune condition in the first place and, while they may be effective in the short term, they are not a long-term solution. Treatments involving immunosuppressant drugs increase the risk of severe infections and cancer when taken for long periods of time.

Medical treatments include:

  • Hormone replacement therapy, if necessary
  • Blood transfusions, if blood is affected
  • Anti-inflammatory medication, if joints are affected
  • Pain medication
  • Immunosuppressive medication
  • Physical therapy

Alternative Treatment Strategies
If you suspect that you have an autoimmune disease, the most important steps to stopping and reversing your disease and symptoms are to identify and then to treat the underlying root cause.

Identifying which autoimmune disease is affecting you can be a difficult process. Symptoms may be vague, and autoimmune diseases can present themselves in so many different ways, affecting the thyroid, the brain, the skin, or other organs.

Work closely with a functional medicine physician or naturopathic doctor to help you with a proper diagnosis. A proper diagnosis is key to getting well.

Ensure that they review your family medical history, and understand your risk factors for infections, food sensitivities and toxins, as well as listen to your body closely to discover how all of your symptoms are related. And, you should keep a food diary to track how you're feeling and when you have a specific flareup,

All of this is an essential part of diagnosing your problem and getting well. A functional medicine physician, naturopathic doctor or similar alternative health professional will help to narrow down which labs they recommend in order to help find the root cause of your condition.

Then, they can help you design a nutritional and overall wellness program to treat your disease.

The following alternative therapies have provided relief for some people:

  • Nutritional therapy
  • Raw Juicing therapy
  • Detox therapy
  • Herbal therapy
  • Chiropractic therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Naturopathy
  • Homeopathy
  • Hypnosis

References: (American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association)

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Types of Autoimmune Diseases

There are several different types of autoimmune disease that may affect different organs and systems in the body.

There are nearly 80 different types of autoimmune disorders. While some like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are quite common, some are rarer.

Autoimmune diseases that affect multiple organ systems

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) – this is a chronic auto-inflammatory disease. It is seen more commonly among females. The diagnostic tests are usually positive for antibodies against nuclear proteins including nucleic DNA and RNA. Some of triggers for flare ups include UV radiation, viral infections and stress.
  • Acquired Autoimmune Disorders caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection is also seen. Infection with HIV causes destruction of the immune system leading to damage to several organ systems and tissues.

Autoimmune diseases that affect the eyes

  • Acute anterior uveitis – this is the commonest inflammatory disease of the iris of the eyes. There is a strong genetic association with HLA-B27.
  • Sjögren's Syndrome – an autoimmune disease in which the immune system damages the glands that make moisture, such as tears and saliva.


  • Ankylosing Spondylitis – this is a common form of chronic, inflammatory arthritis that is caused by autoimmune pathology. It affects the joints in the spine and the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis leading to severe pain, deformity and disability.
  • Reactive Arthritis or Reiter's Syndrome – this is usually triggered by an infection. There are three classic symptoms of this condition including inflammatory arthritis of large joints (commonly knees and lower back), inflammation of the eyes with either  conjunctivitis or  uveitis and presence of urethritis in men (urethral inflammation) or cervicitis (cervical inflammation) in women.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – this is an autoimmune disorder affecting the tissues in the joints. It leads to severe damage of cartilage in the joints leading to inflammation. Other organs such as lungs, pericardium, pleura, and sclera of the eyes may also be affected.

Autoimmune diseases affecting hormone producing organs

  • Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 – here the autoantibodies affect and target the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas leading to their severe deficiency. The lack of insulin leads to increased blood and urine glucose.
  • Autoimmune Pancreatitis – this is an inflammatory condition that affects the pancreas.
  • 21 - Hydroxylase Deficiency – this condition affects the adrenal glands. This condition leads to excess production of androgens, which are male sex hormones.
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis – this condition leads to inflammatory cells targeting cells of the thyroid causing them to be destroyed leading to an underactive thyroid gland. Chronic thyroiditis or Hashimoto's disease may being at any age are is often common among middle-aged women.
  • Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland that leads to an overactive thyroid gland.

Autoimmune diseases affecting the skin

  • Scleroderma – this type of autoimmune disorder commonly affects the connective tissues of skin and blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs. The disease usually affects women more commonly between ages 30 and 50 years.
  • Dermatomyositis – this condition results in inflammation of muscles and a skin rash. It may affect persons with cancers of the lungs, abdomen or other organs.
  • Psoriasis – this is an autoimmune skin disease. There is excessive growth of the new cells underneath the layers of skin.
  • Vitiligo – in this condition the cells that give pigment to the skin are destroyed leading to formation of white de-pigmented patches.
  • Alopecia areata is seen when the immune system attacks hair follicles or the roots of the hair.

Autoimmune diseases affecting the nerves

  • Multiple sclerosis – this is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and the nerves. The autoimmune cells cause damage to the myelin sheath that normally acts as the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells.
  • Myasthenia gravis – in this condition the immune system attacks the nerves and muscles leading to severe weakness

Autoimmune diseases affecting the blood and blood vessels

  • Polyarteritis nodosa – this is a severe autoimmune disease affecting the small and medium-sized arteries that become inflamed and damaged. The risk of this condition rises with hepatitis b and C infections.
  • Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome leading to damage to blood vessels
  • Hemolytic anemia – this type of anemia is caused when the immunological cells damage the blood cells.
  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) – this causes damage to the blood platelets that are essential to formation of blood clots.

Autoimmune diseases affecting the gastrointestinal system

  • Autoimmune Hepatitis – this type affects the liver when the body’s immune cells attack cells of the liver. There is a genetic predisposition to this condition. Autoimmune hepatitis affects 1-2 people per 100,000 per year and affects women much more often than men (70%). 
  • Celiac disease – this is caused when the intestines react to foods containing gluten (e.g. wheat).
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – this condition leads to severe and chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the commonest forms of IBD.
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis – in this condition the immune system slowly destroys the liver’s bile ducts.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

What Causes Blood Sugar to Rise

The key elemnts that cause blood sugar to rise include:

  • Food
  • Drugs
  • Lifestyle

The following is a more detailed breakdown of these key elements that can cause your blood sugar to rise. This is important to understand because it's not just the food that may cause your blood sugar to rise.

By understanding this, you won't become frustrated when you eat properly and notice that your blood sugar is not coming down. This is why it's so important to maintain a daily journal of your meals, exercise regimen, activities, events, stress level, etc.

Normally, the liver releases glucose to maintain blood sugar levels. But when alcohol is consumed, the liver is busy breaking the alcohol down, and it reduces its output of glucose into the bloodstream.

This can lead to a drop in blood sugar levels if the alcohol was consumed on an empty stomach.

However, alcoholic drinks with carbohydrate-rich mixers (e.g., orange juice) can also raise blood sugar because they have plenty of carbs. But your levels may drop for as long as 12 hours after drinking.

Some people with allergies have been known to have higher glucose levels, primarily due to the stress hormone cortisol and the specific medications.

Artifical Sweeteners
An interesting new Israeli study suggests that artificial sweeteners can raise blood sugar levels! In a follow-up study of 400 people, the research team found that long-term users of artificial sweeteners were more likely to have higher fasting blood sugar levels, reported by HealthDay.

Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills with estrogen can affect the way your body handles insulin and cause your blood sugar levels to rise.

Many studies have suggested that caffeine in coffee increases insulin resistance and stimulates the release of adrenaline.

The same goes for black tea, green tea, and energy drinks. But, since each person with diabetes reacts to foods and drinks differently, it's best to keep track of your own blood glucose readings.


Of course, everyone is aware that carbohydrates raise your blood sugar. However, you should still eat carbohydrates, especially the high quality carbohydrates such as vegetables and some fruits.

It isn't just the carbs in rice, bread, pasta, etc. that cause your blood sugar to rise. It's the high amount of fat in foods such as sesame beef or sweet and sour chicken, which can make your blood sugar stay up longer. The same is true for pizza, French fries, and other foods that have a lot of carbs and fat. Check your blood sugar about 2 hours after you eat to know how a food affects you.

Dawn Phenomenon
The “Dawn Phenomenon” raises your blood sugar due to the body’s daily production of hormones around 4:00-5:00 AM. During this time, the body makes less insulin and produces more glucagon, which raises blood glucose.

Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, which are used to control asthma, arthritis, MS, and other health conditions, can raise blood sugar levels. In fact, steroids may even trigger diabetes in some people. !

In addition, common drugs such as statins to lower cholesterol levels, and diuretics to lower blood pressure, can raise blood sugar levels. Again, statins have been shown to trigger diabetes in some people!

Some antidepressants can also raise blood sugar.

Decongestants that have pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine can raise blood sugar. Cold medicines also sometimes have a little sugar or alcohol in them, so look for products that don't have those ingredients.

Being dehydrated may raise your blood sugar, especially if you're not eating foods that contain water, e.g. vegetables, while eating foods that dehydrate you, e.g. coffee, soda, fried foods, processed meats, alcohol, soy sauce, popcorn, sugary drinks.

Anger, anxiety, fear, etc. cause our bodies to produce hormones such as cortisol that can raise blood glucose even if we haven’t eaten.  These hormones are known as the “fight or flight” hormones.

Modern day stresses can be anything from starting a new job to fighting an illness to getting ready for that big birthday party. These hormones release our body’s emergency stores of sugar into the bloodstream for use as energy.  Sometimes the influx of sugar is too much for the body to use when someone has diabetes and it can cause blood sugars to rise too high.

High-intensity and moderate exercise such as sprinting or weight lifting, can sometimes raise blood glucose. This stems from the adrenaline response, which tells the body to release stored glucose. But this is not a reason to avoid high intensity exercise – studies show it can improve blood glucose for one to three days post-exercise!

Female Hormones 
When a woman's hormones change, so does her blood sugar. Keep a monthly record of your levels to get a better idea of how your menstrual cycle affects you. Hormone changes during menopause may make blood sugar even harder to control.

Heat makes your blood sugar harder to control. You should test it often and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. High temperatures can affect your medications, glucose meter, and test strips, too. Don't leave them in a hot car.

When you're sick, your body produces stress-related hormones that help your body fight the illness, but they can also raise your blood sugar level.

Whether it’s a cold, flu, or even a urinary tract infection, your immune system releases germ-fighting chemicals that can raise your blood sugar. Illness can cause the body to release epinephrine (adrenaline), glucagon, growth hormone, and cortisol. As a result, more glucose is released from the liver (glucagon, adrenaline) and the body can become less sensitive to insulin (growth hormone, cortisol).

Illness also causes the liver to increase glucose production to provide more energy. At the same time, stress hormones are released that make cells more insulin resistant. The net result is that blood sugar can rise dramatically when you’re ill.

Meals: Frequency, Timing
Eating less than 3 meals a day leads to larger meals which leads to higher blood glucose levels. Eating 4 to 6 smaller meals spaced out across the day and at the same time every day will help keep your blood glucose levels more consistent.

Meals: Order In Which Food Is Eaten 
A small new study from researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College suggests that the order in which diabetics eat their food may cause blood glucose to rise.

The researchers found that, when carbohydrates were eaten last, the participants’ blood sugar levels were significantly lower at the 30-, 60-, and 120-minute after-meal checks (29%, 37%, and 17%, respectively), and insulin levels were substantially lower as well, compared to when the carbohydrates were eaten first.

However, the study investigators agreed that they need to do follow-up work and conduct more studies.

Meals: Proportion Sizes
If meals are not balanced and contain too many carbs or too little fat or protein, this will raise your blood sugar.

Too much food in proportion to your diabetes medications — especially insulin — may cause your blood sugar level to climb too high (hyperglycemia).

If possible, it is also important to eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal or snack to keep your blood glucose levels within target range, or to have your medication match your carbohydrate intake.

Menstruation and Menopause
Many women report having higher blood sugar levels a few days prior to their period starting, but some women notice a sharp drop in sugar levels. To figure out how you respond, your best bet is to test your blood glucose often during this time of month.

Changes in hormone levels the week before and during menstruation can result in significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels. And in the few years before and during menopause, hormone changes may result in unpredictable variations in blood sugar levels that complicate diabetes management.

Many studies have found that not getting enough sleep leads to high glucose levels and poor diabetes control, insulin resistance, weight gain, and increased food intake.

A Dutch study of patients with type 1 diabetes found that when they got just four hours of sleep a night, their insulin sensitivity dropped 20 percent compared to when they got a full night’s sleep, according to

Not getting enough sleep is a form of chronic stress on the body, and any time you have added stress, you're going to have higher blood sugar levels.

A 2006 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that those who report poor sleep quality have higher A1Cs. This finding is of concern because of the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in people with diabetes.

Caution: Blood sugar can dip dangerously low during sleep for some people with diabetes, especially if they take insulin. It's best to check your levels at bedtime and when you wake up.

Sugar-Free Foods
Many sugar-free foods will raise your blood sugar levels, because they can still have plenty of carbs from starches. Check the total carbohydrates on the Nutrition Facts label. You should also pay attention to sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol. They add sweetness with fewer carbs than sugar (sucrose), but they may still have enough to raise your sugar levels.

Some studies suggest that smoking can increase insulin resistance, and people with diabetes who smoke are more likely than non-smokers to have trouble with insulin dosing and managing their diabetes.

A 2011 study from California State Polytechnic University found that the more nicotine samples of human blood were exposed to, the higher the A1C level (a measure of blood sugar control).

Ref: CDC
Ref: American Society for Clinical Nutrition

In people with diabetes, stress can alter blood glucose levels in two ways:

1. People under stress may not take good care of themselves. They may drink more alcohol or exercise less. They may forget, or not have time, to check their glucose levels or plan good meals.

2. Stress hormones such as cortisol can raise blood glucose levels directly. Stress can cause the body to release epinephrine (adrenaline), glucagon, growth hormone, and cortisol.

As a result, more glucose is released from the liver (glucagon, adrenaline) and the body can become less sensitive to insulin (growth hormone, cortisol).

Job Stress: Being overwhelmed, overworked or unhappy at work takes a toll. When you're under stress, your body releases hormones that can make your blood sugar rise. Learn to relax with deep breathing and exercise. Also, try to change the things that are stressing you out, if that's possible.

Stress Monitoring Tip: It's easy to find out whether mental stress affects your glucose levels. Before checking your glucose levels, write down a number rating your mental stress level on a scale of 1 to 10. Then write down your glucose level next to it. After a week or two, look for a pattern. Drawing a graph may help you see trends better. Do high stress levels often occur with high glucose levels, and low stress levels with low glucose levels? If so, stress may affect your glucose control.

Believe it or not, negative thoughts, a negative talk-track of self-blame, self-hate, anger, etc. trigger the release of cortisol and other hormones that can raise your blood sugar. Use positive affirmations, mantras, etc. and replace bad thoughts with good ones.

Each time you notice a bad thought, purposefully think of something that makes you happy or proud. Or memorize a poem, prayer, or quote and use it to replace a bad thought.

Whatever method you choose to relax, practice it. Just as it takes weeks or months of practice to learn a new sport, it takes practice to learn how to relax.

Why Blood Glucose Levels Change During The Day

Your blood glucose levels vary (up or down) due to a number of factors such as those listed below:

1. Eating food. As the carbs in food break down, glucose is released into the bloodstream ready to be absorbed by cells. Increased glucose in the bloodstream = higher blood sugar level.

2. Exercise. Exercise provides many benefits to your body, including burning excess sugar and reducing insulin resistance (by making cells more receptive to insulin, so rather than requiring more insulin to facilitate glucose uptake, the insulin you already have becomes a bit more effective). However the effect on blood sugar depends on the type of exercise, the duration of exercise, glucose and insulin levels before you start exercising.
During long, intense workouts the body may release adrenaline which counteracts the efforts of insulin. The normal process for blood sugar would be to be absorbed by cells (via insulin) for utilization or storage. Adrenaline causes the glucose to be redirected to where it is required for use immediately rather than for storage. 

3. Your physiology. The fitter you are the better. More specifically, if you have a greater muscle to fat ratio, you will burn energy at a faster rate and therefore be more effective at reducing your blood glucose level. Also, muscles do not rely on insulin to absorb/use blood glucose - same goes for the brain.

4. Emotions. Stress increases your blood glucose level. It also causes some people to forget to take their medication, turn to comfort foods, overeat and therefore introduce a higher than normal amount of glucose in the blood.

5. Sleeping. People often talk about the "dawn phenomenon" with regard to diabetes, where your blood sugar level spikes in the mornings as a result of the body releasing hormones which increase insulin resistance. However, another explanation could be a slow metabolism of dinner from the night before. Some research also suggests that not getting enough sleep causes the liver to produce/release more glucose, hence increasing your blood sugar levels.

6. Medications. Obviously, the medication you take regulates your blood sugar level and therefore your readings during the day, depending on when you took the medication. But, the medications don't get rid of your diabetes!

Note: Read Chapter 11 of Death to Diabetes for more information.