Blood Sugar and Your Hormones

Blood Sugar And Your Hormones

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Americans now consume an average of 150 pounds of sugar a year, which is 20 times as much as was the norm in 1700 when Americans were consuming only 7½ pounds per year! This crazy sugar consumption, about ½ a pound a day, has lead our country to obesity, disease, and all sorts of health issues that are now seen as normal. Today we are going to examine the causes and effects of sugar cravings, and what we can do to properly balance our hormones.

Inflammatory Meal And Effect On Fat Burning

Causes of Sugar Cravings

Sugar cravings can be caused by blood sugar imbalances, which occur due to poor diet (including inflammation-inducing high doses of sugar) or going too long between meals. Blood sugar imbalance leads to more inflammation, hormone imbalance, and sugar cravings. The sugar cravings continue the negative cycle of eating sugar, crashing, and craving more, which only causes hormone imbalances to worsen over time.

The HPA axis, the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands, can be disrupted by a poor diet, stress, and emotional toil: all of which are symptoms of a sugar overdose. The disturbance to the HPA axis can lead to adrenal fatigue, which can lead to blood sugar imbalance and more cravings for something sweet.

Consuming sugar releases dopamine, a feel-good “rewards system” neurotransmitter which is responsible for motivation and emotions. This release of dopamine can be addictive, making it very difficult to cut out sugar, which effectively becomes an addition.

Sugar and Your Hormones

We know consuming too much sugar contributes to blood sugar imbalances, adrenal fatigue, and inflammation. But is goes deeper than that: overconsumption of sugar can throw our hormones out of whack, leading to serious health conditions. Weight gain or weight loss that’s unexplained by your diet and exercise, depression, anxiety, changes in appetite, low libido, irregular periods, fatigue, insomnia, digestive issues, hair thinning or hair loss are all signs of hormone imbalance.

Common hormonal imbalances include:

Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism: Hypothyroidism causes the metabolism to slow, meaning weight gain is a common issue. Hyperthyroidism is the opposite, causing the body to speed up and weight to be lost quickly. Both thyroid disorders can come with anxiety, sleep issues, and other irregularities.

Low testosterone comes with weight gain, fatigue, mood swings, erectile dysfunction, and muscle loss.

Low estrogen can lower your sex drive, cause menstrual and reproductive problems, and cause mood swings.

Estrogen dominance can change your weight, appetite, and sleep patterns. Easier to become overwhelmed by stress, and the metabolism slows.

Diabetes comes with weight gain, nerve damage, fatigue, skin problems, and vision loss.

Adrenal fatigue plagues many people in our over-stressed society. Fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia, brain fog, and muscle aches and pains are common.

PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, in which elevated androgen (male hormone) levels cause many cysts to grow in the ovaries of women of reproductive age. Infertility, weight gain, acne, and abnormal hair growth are symptoms of this condition.

Click here to work with a functional medicine doctor to test your hormone levels!

How to Balance Your Hormones

Adaptogen herbs are a class of healing plants that are very powerful in protecting against stress. They can support the thyroid, reduce anxiety and depression, support the adrenals, and stabilize blood sugar. Ashwagandha is your go-to for balancing hormones. It can help with hyper- and hypo- thyroidism, as well as help with adrenal function. We recommend Ashwagandha Supreme, or a more complex supplement, like the ashwagandha-containing Adrenal Revive. Holy Basil, or tulsi, also regulates hormones and can help the body deal with emotional stress, as well as give protection against environmental and ingested toxins.

Vitamin D is more of a hormone than a vitamin. Vitamin D keeps inflammation low, and is a very important component of a healthy body; read more about vitamin D here. A high-quality vitamin D supplement, like Emulsi D Supreme, is very beneficial in protecting against hormonal imbalances as well as autoimmune diseases.

Healthy gut function is crucial in virtually all aspects of overall health. Leaky gut, inflammation of the gut lining allowing undigested food particles and toxins into the bloodstream, cause inflammations in other areas of the body, including glands such as the thyroid, which are responsible for regulating our hormones. A high quality probiotic, or probiotics from foods such as sauerkraut and kombucha, can repopulate the gut with good probiotics. Bone broth is also good for healing the gut, as it is soothing to the intestines and contains collagen and other healing compounds.

AntiInflammatory Meal And Effect On Fat Burning

How to Beat Sugar Cravings

As we know, sugar feeds inflammation and messes with our hormones. Despite knowing that sugar is not good for us, strong cravings make it hard to resist! In the heat of the moment, apple cider vinegar, lemon, or lime water can help curb a sugar craving.

Sugar cravings can also be due to dehydration or a mineral deficiency. Using healthy pink himalayan salt on meals and maintaining proper hydration will allow your body to properly balance your hormones and improve blood sugar.

In the long-term, switching from a diet high in processed foods and carbs to a cyclical keto diet, or a lower carb diet rich in complex carbs and healthy fats, can help you feel satiated and balance your blood sugar.

Click here for a consultation with a functional medicine doctor for a personalized health plan!


Intermittent Fasting Pros and Cons

Intermittent Fasting Pros And Cons

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Intermittent Fasting

What’s the deal with intermittent fasting?  Intermittent fasting is a very cool modality that involves avoiding calorie intake for about an 18 to 20 hour period. The best times to do intermittent fasting would be after you finish your dinner the day before, let’s say around 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. When you wake up the next day, you would skip breakfast, and you would continue going without food until somewhere between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. This would give you a solid 18 to 20 hours of fasting.

Intermittent fasting has many great benefits. One of these benefits is cellular autophagy. Cellular autophagy is a process by which your body recycles protein. Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting include longevity, increased insulin sensitivity, neuroprotection, improved mental clarity, and an increase in anabolic hormones (hormones that help rebuild your body).

The nice thing is that when you’re fasting, your body is increasing its production of ketones. Ketones are the breakdown products of fat, which your body uses for energy. They can also help suppress your appetite during fasting. Many people think they may be starving during an intermittent fast, but with the ketone production, your body’s hunger pangs are kept in check.

intermittent fasting

The Problems with Intermittent Fasting

Glutens Problems And Diagnosis

Many people shouldn’t be intermittent fasting, especially if they have problems with blood-sugar stabilization. I see many individuals, especially female patients, who are hypoglycemic. Certain people may have a very difficult time stabilizing blood sugar, to the point where their blood sugar actually drops very low, to the point where they feel jittery, shaky, and anxious.

Your adrenal glands have to stabilize your blood sugar during periods of fasting. If your adrenal glands are not working properly, you end up throwing your body into a more stressful situation where your adrenals have to produce extra secretions of adrenaline to keep your blood sugar in a normal range.

Click here to know if you can benefit from intermittent fasting.

Gluconeogenesis and Blood Sugar

There is a process called gluconeogenesis, which is where your body converts amino acids from protein to glucose.  The hormone that facilitates this process is cortisol.  If your cortisol function is imbalanced due to adrenal fatigue, your ability to use gluconeogenesis as a means of blood-sugar stabilization is decreased.  The only way you can bring the physiology back into balance is by going on an adrenal-healing diet and addressing lifestyle stressors, like sleep and emotions, as well as any hidden infections.  Going on an adrenal program that uses specific supplements that support the adrenals helps decrease the recovery time significantly.  I find healing someone’s adrenal fatigue is 50% managing physical, chemical, and emotional stress and 50% following a customized adrenal-support program (1).

Glucogenesis And Blood Sugar

As long as you have enough protein in your diet, (my minimum recommendation is 0.5 grams per pound of lean body weight), you will be able to keep your muscle mass when you go into a gluconeogenic state.

My recommendations for intermittent fasting have always been that you need healthy adrenal and thyroid function to truly benefit, without causing extra collateral damage. Research has shown that low-calorie diets decrease thyroid-hormone production. So if you already have low thyroid-hormone production, throwing your body into a fasting state will decrease your thyroid-hormone production even more.

Thyroid Lab Testing and Intermittent Fasting

Thyroid Lab Testing And intermittent Fasting

Before you take advantage of intermittent fasting, get your adrenal glands assessed via a salivary cortisol rhythm and also run a complete thyroid-hormone panel, including TSH, free T3, total T3, total T4, free T4, T3 uptake, and thyroid antibodies. One of the biggest stressors put on your endocrine system is to stabilize your blood sugar, so before you add more stress to your body, make sure you can handle it first.

Intermittent fasting 1 to 2 days a week can be a great start! I recommend choosing days that aren’t very stressful. Your adrenals are always doing their best to handle everyday stress; the more stress they are under, the less ability they have to multitask in regards to managing inflammation, producing sex hormone, and stabilizing blood sugar. Choose a nice Saturday or Sunday that is low-key where you can kick back and relax, go for a walk, watch a movie, or do any other non stressful social activities.

Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting

Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting

I am a big fan of Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting. Using a high-quality coffee source, such as Bulletproof coffee (that doesn’t contain mycotoxins), with grass-fed butter and MCT oil can be a great way to give your body an extra supply of healthy fats, which will allow your body to produce more ketones for fuel (these fats are also anti-inflammatory).   Using bulletproof intermittent fasting will allow your body to operate with a higher level of energy, providing your body with more ketones to burn, while at the same time stimulating cellular autophagy and its other healthy antiaging benefits.

Click here to know more about Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting

To learn how to make Bulleproof Coffee, feel free to watch the video below!


1. Cortisol increases gluconeogenesis in humans: its role in the metabolic syndrome.

The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Justin Marchegiani unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Justin and his community. Dr. Justin encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Marchegiani’s products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using any products.