Sherrie is 42 years old. She came to our clinic with the following health concerns: fatigue, anxiety, sugar cravings, inability to lose the fat that had accumulated only on her waist, Type 2 insomnia (waking up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep because her “brain won’t turn off”), and inability to handle much stress (she has three teens). She works full time.
Although she had already had some blood tests done, we ran some other tests. She had been previously told that “everything looks fine.” But on closer examination, everything wasn’t fine.
How would you diagnose her?
I’ll give you a few hints to help your diagnosis:
1) she craves sugar in the afternoons;
2) she also craves salty foods like chips;
3) if she skips a meal she becomes irritable;
4) she’s a very slow starter in the mornings;
5) if she stands up too quickly she’ll get lightheaded;
6) drinking soda pop helps her keep going.
So what was wrong with Sherrie and so many like her? When she came to our clinic, Sherrie was not enjoying life because she had several things going on metabolically that would have kept her feeling poorly for the rest of her life unless she took care of them immediately. This reminds me of the great book Change Or Die by Alan Deutschman. Now obviously, Sherrie was not going to die right away. But inside she was dying slowly, because she suffered silently everyday, day after day.
Diagnosis: Sherrie had two things going on. First, the blood tests showed that she was borderline severe hypoglycemic - hence the sugar cravings, irritability, and self-medicating with soda. It also had much to do with her insomnia - which then made her so tired the next day.
But another huge part of her diagnosis and proper treatment was that she has a condition called hypoadrenia or low adrenal function. Slow starter in the mornings, salt craving, inability to handle stressful situations, Type 2 insomina, lightheadedness, anxiety, fatigue. Since the adrenals directly impact the thyroid function, she constantly fought the battle with being overweight.
Are You Sherrie?
If you’ve read this article and find yourself being in Sherrie’s shoes in some ways, all is not lost. Sherrie is fine today (yes, she is an actual patient, although with a different name). She was taught a more correct way of eating for her hypoglycemia, which had a huge impact on her almost overnight. (Isn’t it amazing what a little knowledge will do?) She was also given a powerful supplement that helped keep her blood sugar levels from crashing in the afternoons - and also kept her sugar cravings from getting the best of her.
But the real difference was in dealing with her weak adrenals. Hypoglycemia and low adrenal function often come together. If you don’t deal with both of them, it’s a tough road. We supported her adrenals after first putting her on a small amount of the hormone cortisol, to support her adrenals. She soon found that she could handle stress better, the salt cravings were gone, and she wasn’t waking up in the middle of the night with her “racing mind.” Calm the adrenals and you calm the entire body.
When I first met Sherrie, she told me she thought she was “really going crazy.” Nope. Not even close. Her health problems were impacting her mind of course. But these were physical problems that were surmountable with some changes in her eating and giving her hormonal and nutritional support.
Change or die? Choose change.
This article is sponsored by Dr. Robert Jones, who is the Clinic Director at the Utah Wellness Institute in Draper, Utah. (801) 576-1155; utahwellnessinstitute.com.