Today at work I was approached by a colleague asking me how to control his son’s epilepsy…he has been having seizures frequently that he ever has had… And his father, my colleague at work, is giving up work to prepare this son for next year’ GCSEs exams. Well, I am not a doctor and while am studying to be a nutritional therapist I am not qualified to prescribe anything whatsoever – that’s the start.
Having said that I do study and do a lot of research on ‘sugar impact on human being’, ‘food as medicine’… and people do notice that. People also notice that I do try to eat as healthy as possible and am an advocate to a healthy living (although am not perfect, I have got my flaws too!).
Also I have a great friend of mine who has Hashimoto’s (Underactive Thyroid whatever way you want to call it!)…
With above in mind I decided to conduct an in depth research on sugar on both chronic diseases. I am flabbergasted with the result but not surprised. I stand by my restriction on sugar and full stop.
First things first I will post an article on Hashimoto’s (underactive thyroid) then another one on Epilepsy & Seizure.
Hashimoto’s (Underactive Thyroid)
I am a fan of this Australian journalist and TV presenter named Sarah Wilson. She is the author of the Australian and UK best-sellers I Quit Sugar and I Quit Sugar For Life. I Quit Sugar was released in the USA and Canada April 2014 and is a New York Times best-seller.
Sarah first quit sugar because of her autoimmune (AI) disease. She has Hashimoto’s. And a big part of why she stuck to the sugar-free program is that it’s made such a damn big difference in her life.
So the simple answer is this: Quitting sugar has had the biggest impact on AI, more so than her medication or any other medical fix. In the past three years, she has been able to better manage her AI, but also – yes – heal and reverse the damage.
- She reported zero thyroid antibodies now.
- To be on most minimal dosage of thyroxin.
- Her hormone levels have fallen back into the right range.
Sugar damages your Gut
Blood sugar imbalances inflame the digestive tract, causing leaky gut (literally, a perforated gut lining). In turn, leaky gut triggers the development of AI. Toxins are able to pass through the perforations into the bloodstream triggering an autoimmune reaction as our antibodies head out to attack the foreign invaders. These little antibody soldiers can then get confused and head off to attack parts of our bodies, such as the thyroid. Gluten, for instance, has a very similar molecular structure to the thyroid gland.
Sugar causes inflammation
The process above obviously creates inflammation, which compromises immune function. In addition, sugar compromises the ability of our white cells to destroy toxins. This effect begins within 30 minutes of eating the stuff and lasts for 5 hours.
Insulin spikes destroy the thyroid gland
As many of you know (yeah?), sugar causes our pancreas to secrete insulin to move excess sugar from the blood into our cells where glucose is used to produce energy. But over time, the cells lose the ability to respond to insulin. Our poor little pancreas responds by pumping out even more insulin, leading to insulin resistance.
Studies have shown that these repeated insulin surges increase the destruction of the thyroid gland.
Also, this: we’re programmed to see low blood sugar as a threat to survival. Thus our adrenal glands respond by secreting cortisol. Cortisol then tells the liver to increase the amount of glucose available, bringing blood sugar levels back to normal.
As you know, again (um, yeah?), cortisol is the “flight or fight” hormone, reserved for special occasions (like being chased by a tiger or some such). It causes an increase in heart rate, oxygen, and blood flow while shutting down digestion, growth and reproduction so all energy can go to our brains and muscles.
Problem is, if cortisol is over-used ‘n’ abused (from eating sugar daily), this all supresses pituitary function. Um, which is vital to thyroid function (the hypothalamus, thyroid and pituitary work as a threesome).
And around and around and around we all go, right?
Flipside, a bung thyroid can then cause insulin issues
How’s this work? Our thyroid function depends on blood sugar being kept in a normal range, and keeping our blood sugar in a normal range depends on healthy thyroid function.
How so? Low thyroid function slows down the way we process sugar – in our cells, guts, the insulin response and the clearance of insulin. Which means…
We might even have normal levels of glucose in our blood, but because we’re slow to respond to it, and to absorb it we very easily get hypoglycaemic (and thus clutch at sugar)…know this…
So issues stem back to a sugary carb addiction in you may have had. It can lead to gut issues, insomnia, addictions, hormone issues, nervous disorders, adrenal collapse…and then Graves (another form of thyroid disease)…and then Hashimoto’s. God knows…..
Hey, am not finished with this research before I leave a list of ‘solution’ for above restriction…. like I say to my children…. when you come with a problem make sure you at least have a draft solution. None wants someone nagging around… thus please find below some alternatives to sugar:
Stevia – An herb native to South American, stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar.
Xylitol – If the name rings a bell, that’s because you can already find it in chewing gum. Xylitol is a five-carbon sugar (five carbon atoms in the molecule) unlike most other sugars, which have six. This subtle difference means it helps prevent the growth of bacteria. It is found naturally in fibrous fruits and vegetables, corn cobs, and some hardwood trees – even our own bodies produce it.
Coconut Sugar – Sap from the coconut palm is heated to evaporate its water content and reduce it to usable granules.
Date Sugar – Made from, as the name would suggest, dried dates; the fruit is dehydrated, then ground to produce the sugar. Retaining many of the nutritional benefits of dates, it has a rich sweet flavour that makes it an ideal alternative to brown sugar. Unfortunately it doesn’t melt and is difficult to dissolve, making it unsuitable for use in drinks and some baking recipes. However it’s a great additional to wholegrain bread.
Manuka honey – Sweeter than sugar, get honey that’s been organically and locally produced to reap the full benefits. Packed with vitamins, honey also has antimicrobial properties.
Healthy living xx