Getting Off the Rollercoaster – Managing Blood Sugar Levels

Over the past few weeks we had a general look at how the different food types affect brain function. Much of what was discussed confirmed that the old saying ‘You are what you eat!’ is perhaps more true than most people realize! The brain is the nerve centre of the body and determines our actions, thoughts and feelings. If it is not ‘powered up’ in the right way it will lead to us being a little less than we should be! With this week’s article the focus will shift slightly from brain function to another aspect of nutrition, albeit one that still has profound implications for brain function, namely: The maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels.

Many people think of blood sugar as an issue that diabetics should be concerned about but that the rest of us can safely ignore. This perception is very wide of the mark, especially if we are talking about the management of the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. The fact is that blood sugar levels can have a profound effect on our general wellbeing and also on our functioning as productive and healthy members of society. It is therefore quite appropriate that we spend some time in discussing ways in which optimum blood sugar levels can be maintained. Before we do that, however, it would be good to first get a general overview of the whole concept of blood sugar levels.

At its most basic level the concept of blood sugar levels centers around the amount of the body’s primary energy source, glucose, found in the blood stream at any given time. Normally this level is within a remarkably narrow range (about 90 milligrams per 100 milliliters) but significant rises can occur during the period following a meal. It is this rises, their implications for the treatment of ADD/ADHD, and the way in which they can be best managed that will be our focus for the next few weeks.

Blood sugar levels that are significantly above or below normal levels can lead to all kinds of serious medical problems. Symptoms related to both extremes include the following: