Bulletin #192

Hypoglycemia Association, Inc.
Box 165
Ashton, MD 20861-0165
(Founded in 1967)

Our bulletin is not meant to be medical advice. It is written by lay people, dedicated to helping those with hypoglycemia. All cases are individual. If you need medical advice, see your physician.


Dorothy R. Schultz

Norman Cousins a well known writer, after flying home from Russia in 1964, found himself gravely ill. He was diagnosed with alkylosing spondylitis, a serious collagen disease of the connective tissue. Collagen is the fibrous substance that binds the cells together. He wrote, "I was coming unstuck." In extreme pain and hypersensitive to virtually all the medication he was receiving, he began to look into alternative treatments. Felling that a positive mental attitude would be helpful, he moved from the hospital to a hotel room where a movie projector was set up with Allen Funt's funniest films. A good belly laugh seemed to ease the pain and allow him some sleep. He also persuaded his doctor to administer intravenous Vitamin C in large amounts. Mr. Cousins credits this for his recovery. (Precaution: According to Fred C. Klenner, M.D. of Reidsville, N.C., who used this procedure for 30 years with good results for a number of health problems, it is necessary to incorporate calcium gluconate with the Vitamin C in the IV. Although he published 26 scientific papers on the use of Vitamin C for collagen disease and other conditions, this treatment is not available in the U.S. today.

Many of Our Members and Friends have also used Humor to help them cope in their search for the cause and treatment of their illnesses. Here are some excerpts from their letters, most of which have been received in the past few months.

Virginia: "I am a diagnosed hypoglycemic through the delights of a 5 hour Glucose Tolerance Test. The results for me have been frustration, near suicidal periods of depression, Jekyll and Hyde behavior, and shortened days, due to my excessive need for sleep. Only through trial and error have I achieved any semblance of normalcy, yet always knowing that some mistake in eating could bring out an irritable ogre in me or cause horrible depressions. My sweet tooth is almost gone thanks to a nagging fear of the results of such an indulgence."

Canada: "I read about your association in the book, 'Prescription for Nutritional Healing'. I have had a flat curve hypoglycemia for about 6 years and have tried faithfully to follow the diet (didn't describe type of diet) but am still very tired most of the time. We are moving back to Canada after 8 years away and was wondering if you could recommend a doctor or some doctors who DELIGHT in helping hypoglycemic in the area of Vancouver, B.C., Canada."

California: "Until I received my July, 1994 Fibromyalgia Network Newsletter last week, I had no idea that a Hypoglycemia Association existed. Where have you been all my life?"

"It wasn't until my husband became insulin dependent that we understood my condition. When he tested me on his blood glucose meter my blood sugar was under 40. During a Glucose Tolerance lab test it would read 90 or 100 yet after a 24 hour fast, I would have severe tremors, sweats, fatigue, and pallor. The physician would read the lab reports and pronounce me 'fine'. Returning home we'd take a test and read '50'. Go figure. I'm better, but only because we understood how serious this could be at last and we now take appropriate steps to avoid those drops. The fibromyalgia was finally diagnosed, but it is a poorly understood condition as well. Sever pain often triggers a drop in glucose levels. It has been our experience that most deny it exists." Anyone or any group dealing with this condition needs a good sense of humor."

North Carolina: "I have had hypoglycemia for about 15 years but I have never been able to find reliable, accurate information about it. It interferes greatly with my life, and the symptoms are quite disturbing and troublesome. Most doctors don't take it very seriously, even though at its peak the symptoms are very like diabetes. Whenever I warn my treating physicians I have it, I always feel like I'm 'spitting into the wind'. (I feel I should warn them before surgery or any procedure where I can't eat several hours beforehand.) It is so hard to explain my needs and limitations of hypoglycemia to friends, employers, and medical people. I hope you can help me understand it and explain it better."

North Carolina: "In 1986, after suffering from fatigue, chronic recurrent colds (diagnosed chronic rhinitis), indigestion--initially with current bowel infections, insomnia, irritability, and an intolerance to cold, I persuaded one in four doctors to give me a Glucose Tolerance Test." (At the 3rd hour his blood sugar dropped to 32.)

"I have always had a huge appetite for my size, often consuming a pound of spaghetti, a whole pizza, or 3 quarter pound hamburgers with milkshake and fries. At this time I weighed approximately 160 pounds and had to leave construction work due to my symptoms. I have since graduated college as an R.N. and all my symptoms have become more pronounced, except for the bowel infections which subsided after using pancreatin for a short time purchased ar a health food store. During days when the temperature is lower than 60 degrees I basically stay inside because of my low resistance. In June of 1994 I persuaded the original doctor to give me a 3 hour GTT. He would not give me a 5 hour GTT again, much to my dismay. AT the 3rd hour my blood glucose was 123 so, after returning to my job at a nursing facility, I obtained a finger stick blood sugar which was 54. It seems to me that a lot of doctors do not believe in the effects of reactive or fasting hypoglycemia."

New Jersey: "I have had terrible luck with my reactive hypoglycemia and haven't had luck with medical support so far. Diagnosed in 1982, I've seen two endocrinologists and one doctor of internal medicine so far. I need help fast. I have learned a great deal of what is happening and why through various books, but and still unsure of the emotional component of hypoglycemia. Which behaviors are me and which are symptoms? One specialists even advised me to throw away my books! Hence all the gray area. I know several other 'sufferers' who would benefit highly from your information as well."

New Jersey: "You are a Godsend to me. I have many of the symptoms that are listed in the bulletins. I feel like I am going crazy. Depression has set in this week. A doctor put me on a no meat, no dairy, no fat except flax seed oil, diet. I've gone through withdrawal and detox. Now I don't seem to be coming out of it. My heart palpitates all the time. I need to eat meat again, but I have to do it slowly. A blood test came back too low in fat. I went to an endocrinologist who asked, 'How do you know you have hypoglycemia?' My last test was in 1982, so he gave me another one. I want to know if there is a doctor in New Jersey who would treat me the way the Hypoglycemia Association would be proud of. I have to work the best I can. I am so weak I could cry."

Maryland: "Please send me 1 Basic Packet. I feel this packet could be quite useful in dealing with this disorder. It may help me better control my 'sugar' drops, as I call them. My doctor has never provided me with any information or dietary information. I have always had to 'guess'. I hope this packet will clear up some questions that both my husband and I have."

Arizona: "I am sure those brochures will be a great help to me. I'm happy to say I recently acquired a part-time job where I am allowed to 'snack' when I need to. Much continued success!"

New York: "About a year ago I was diagnosed a low blood sugar hypoglycemia condition while I was in my home country, Columbia, South America. However, I have encountered many problems mainly because many of the specialists I have consulted don't believe me even though my condition still persists."

New Jersey: "I am writing in response to the latest information by the medical profession to the public about the lack of evidence correlating sugar to behavior, focusing and learning. As a hypoglycemic myself and the mother of a 19 year old Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) son, I find it outrageous. (Ref: The New England Journal of Medicine, 2/3/94, page 301. Baltimore Sun, 2/3/94, USA Today, Page 1, 2/3/94 & Washington Post, Page A-8. Radio-Paul Harvey 2/3/94. CH7 TV Dr. Timothy Johnson 2/3/94. Rebuttals: New York Times, 2/24/94 and Townsend Letter for Doctors, 5/94.)


Bendigo, Australia: Dr. J.I. Gault, as he was reading "Winne the Pooh" to his children, realized that Pooh is suffering from spontaneous functional hypoglycemia. Pooh "always liked something a t 11 o'clock in the morning. This was not a social habit. It was a craving, accompanied by peculiar sensations. A sort of funny feeling began to creep all over him. It began at the tip of his nose and trickled all through him and out the soles of his feet. His breakfast was almost pure carbohydrate--a simple meal of marmalade spread lightly over a honey comb or two. On occasion, when the symptoms came upon him and he was not given anything to eat, he sighed, became drowsy and was unable to concentrate." Dr. Gault wrote, "I feel that the evidence shows that Pooh suffered from hypoglycemia. His symptoms are consistent with a syndrome described in human beings in which attacks of sweating (bears do not sweat), hunger, and dizziness, and peculiar sensations occur repeatedly one to three hours after meals. The are often precipitated by exertion or excitement and are rapidly relieved by easily assimilable carbohydrates such as honey or condensed milk. "Carbohydrate-rich meals foster the symptoms", while they are prevented by a diet of high protein and low carbohydrate content."

He stated, "There is one way to confirm this diagnoses: Find a high- protein, low-carbohydrate diet suitable for bears, and give it to Pooh. If the foregoing analysis is correct, he will be able to take Eeyore a full jar of honey without tampering with it on the way. (Reprinted with permission of Medical World News, July 30, 19965.)

The Yale Review, Winter 1960: Edward Deevey, a Biologist, in studying the problem of why lemmings go berserk periodically beginning in 1579 in the Scandinavian countries, wrote that the stresses of a crowded existence, poor and insufficient food, increased exertion, and fighting-- animals that have struggled through a tough winter, which make clashing hormones burn sugar like a school girl making fudge, and the rodents, not being maple trees, have to borrow sugar from their livers. The name for this state of endocrine strain is stress. Dr. Deevey mentioned Hans Selye, M.D.'s book "The Stress of Life" and explained that life can be sweet without necessarily caramelizing the liver. He said that it is possible to speak of vital needs as payable in sugar. for which the liver acts as a bank. Routine withdrawals are smoothly handled by hormones from the pancreas and from the adrenal medulla (which produces adrenaline) which act as paying tellers but the top level decisions are reserved for the bank's officers, the adrenal cortex and the pituitary gland. Stress, in Selye's view, amounts to an administrative flap among the hormones, and shock results when the management overdraws the bank. If stress persists, a hormone called cortisone send a worried message to the pituitary. Preoccupied with the big picture, the pituitary delegates a vice-presidential type, ACTH, or adrenocorticotropic hormone, whose role is literally to buck up the adrenal cortex. The cortex, bucked, takes on more personnel, and expands its activities. A tiny extra stress, such as a loud noise, corresponds to an unannounced visit by the bank examiner; the adrenal medulla is startled into sending a jolt of adrenaline to the muscles, the blood is drained of sugar and the brain is suddenly starved. An overactive pancreas, like the panicky adrenal, resembles and untrustworthy teller with his hand in the till. ( I remember hearing Dr. Selye speak in Washington, D.C. at a conference of the International Academy of Nutrition and Preventative Medicine in 1974. He said he wished that he had used the word "strain" instead of "stress" but that "stress" had caught on and it was too late to change it.) This excellent article, "The Hare and the Haruspex, A Cautionary Tale" by Edward KS. Deevey was reprinted in the American Scientist , Sept., 1962, Vol 48, 15 pages.


1. Norman Cousins, Anatomy of an Illness , Saturday Review, 5/28/77.
2. Fred C. Klenner, M.D., Significance of High Daily Intake of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) , Journal of Preventative Medicine, Spring 1974, pages 45 to 69.