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Never Ask Us if We're Hungry -- The Answer's Always No
There are three of us here and for many years, none of us ever got hungry. When our brains would turn to mush, when our faces would go numb, and we would start the invisible vibration which is the signature dance of ME/CFS, we knew we needed to eat.
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PEM/PENE and low blood sugar

Discussion in 'Post-Exertional Malaise, Fatigue, and Crashes' started by November Girl, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. November Girl

    November Girl Senior Member

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    Normally, I eat a bit of protein and carb every 3 hours to keep my blood sugar regular. I avoid the awful blood sugar crashes this way. I've noticed what when in PEM state, the necessary interval is much shorter, 1.5 to 2 hours.

    Has anyone else noticed this? Years ago, a doctor told me that many people don't even react to blood sugar drops. He gave the example of soldiers on long marches. I've always theorized that I depend so heavily on blood sugar for energy because my body isn't very good at producing energy any other way.

    Any thoughts?
  2. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    I concluded what you did, and I eat often. I seem to get a real improvement if I have simple sugars. I also get the side effect of the lows that everyone gets after the sugar. I like fruit sugars and get less problem from them compared to corn syrup or actual sugar, which I avoid. I think it works better than complex carbs for me. Also I try to avoid gluten so many carbs are out for that reason.
  3. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Soldiers are an unfair example. They are almost universally fit, though long marches on short rations might show problems.

    I think our need for sugar can go up or down on PEM, but I don't know for sure. On the one hand we become exhausted and do little, reducing our need for blood sugar. On the other hand we have a higher need for inefficient anaerobic metabolism producing lactic acid. I would like to know what happens to blood sugar regulation. I suspect the liver might be compromised in PEM, and possibly the pancreas.

    I am not sure about PEM, but I do know that exhausted from lack of sleep that eating high carb regularly can help me cope. I suspect that in PEM protein would be a better choice, just as it is for those with conventional hypoglycaemia.
  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I find that I can benefit from regular meat eating... but it's expensive!

    If I have two meat-based meals a day, or meat to snack upon, I think that it does mean that I tend to feel a bit better. That's something of a luxury though. I've got no idea why I would find this helpful, and I generally do much better than most with eating regular, balanced meals.
    rosie26 likes this.
  5. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    Esther12, have you tried eating a very smalls serving of meat with your meals. That might be enough to control your blood sugar and would reduce the cost.

    I have had low blood sugar problems all of my life. Some people who enlist in the military do too. I knew a man who had gone on a 'live off the land exercise' while in military training. His blood sugar got so low they had to take him back in a vehicle.
  6. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    My very worst blood sugar (hypoglycemia) readings have been when I was in a very crashed state so I know that affects my blood sugar more then what I are eatting.
  7. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    If glucose metabolism is messed up enough (this can include fats) then very little gets fed into the Krebs Cycle from the normal source. Proteins can be broken down and fed into the Cycle at various points, though it's pretty inefficient, and less energy is produced.

    If this is happening and your body is drawing on proteins when you aren't eating enough proteins, eventually you'll break down your own muscle to get that protein.
  8. Firestormm

    Firestormm Senior Member

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    Wouldn't mind breaking down some of this fat :) Got any tips for that which don't involve me giving up anything or exercising with wonton wanton abandon? :snigger:

    OK that's funny. Am in stitches now: 'dumpling' abandon :lol: Christ I crack myself up sometimes :rofl:
    November Girl and SickOfSickness like this.
  9. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I think that I have found that to be a bit helpful, but it's a bit of a pain to organise, so I've never really committed to it.

    Any easy resolution if this is a problem? I know nothing about anything like that.

    I have always been really skinny, and when I first got ill, friends would joke that it must be a parasite considering how much I ate, how little I did, and how little I weighed. I've not really looked into whether this could lead to identifying a treatable problem - I always expected that it would be the sort of thing that would lead to a shrug from a doctor.
  10. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Eat protein? :p No idea what could be done about it. It could be a central issue causing our muscle weakness/fatigueability, since the Krebs Cycle creates the energy (ATP) which fuels the muscles.
    Esther12 likes this.
  11. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Weirdly, my blood sugar seems to be much more stable since I quit animal-based products and switched to a diet that's based on complex carbs, vegetables, pulses and a little fruit. Previously I'd been advised to eat animal protein with each meal and did so for years - I'm amazed that I'm doing better in terms of blood sugar (symptomatically speaking - I've never had it measured but used to get weak and hungry quite quickly after meals) on this new diet.

    I was convinced to go on it by reading 'The Starch Solution' and have been confirmed in thinking it's a good diet to be on by reading 'The China Study'. I realise of course that we're all different but this has worked for me. I don't yet feel any better on it in terms of general health but it has been an improvement not to be getting so hungry and needing to snack so often.
    brenda likes this.
  12. brenda

    brenda Senior Member

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    Hi Sasha

    I started the same diet without nightshade veggies but with a small amount of grass fed beef twice a week so l don't lose the enzymes needed until l am certain l can stop it. I lose more weight the days l eat the beef (l have lost a stone so far) l also read the china study and my blood sugar is more balanced. My adrenals feel better too and allergies have reduced including MCS. I am looking loads better so doubt the wisdom of a high protein diet for us.

    I keep down brown rice consumption though and boil it in plenty of water.
  13. November Girl

    November Girl Senior Member

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    The soldier's fitness was the point. When their measured blood sugar levels were very low, most of them didn't even notice.

    When I'm so crashed I can hardly move, let along get out of bed, I don't need to eat often at all. But sometimes I move around a little or sit in the recliner when I'm still very wiped out. That's the point that I feel the blood sugar drop much earlier than normal. When I'm more my usual state, eating every 3 hours prevents that dip. I finally realized that the blood sugar dip, like a POTS episode, leaves me in worse condition for the rest of the day, so I try to prevent it.
    Little Bluestem likes this.
  14. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    When I got low blood sugar, it left me in a worse condition for the rest of the day too. I did some reading on hypoglycemia and was surprised by how the body responds when the blood sugar gets low. The liver and adrenals really take a hit.
  15. November Girl

    November Girl Senior Member

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    For some reason, I never thought to look for any information. I'm glad that you did. I developed the blood sugar problems at the same time as the CFS. For years I didn't even realize that the shaky, awful feeling, low blood sugar episodes weren't just part of my CFS. I wonder how much the repeated sugar drops contributed to the worsening of my CFS. At any rate, I'm I know better now. :confused:

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