By Josh Redd, DC on September 24, 2016
Do get “hangry” when you go too long without eating. Hanger—hunger plus anger—is that nuclear combination of low blood sugar and hyper irritability that turns a nice person into an ferocious monster.
People make jokes about being hangry, but it means your body and brain are in a perpetual state of alarm, which is no laughing matter. This constant stress causes inflammation that degenerates, or ages, the brain too quickly.
How being hangry is hard on your body
The fight-or-flight mode caused by hanger makes you snap at loved ones or go into a rage over trivial things. This repeated stress ages the body.
Hanger also raises an immune protein called IL-6, which activates inflammation to cause pain and destroy body tissue.
If you have an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, low blood sugar can trigger flare ups that destroy the thyroid gland, worsen symptoms, and worsen your low thyroid condition.
Hashimoto’s is a condition in which an over zealous immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. Many people with Hashimoto’s have not been diagnosed. Low blood sugar and being hangry can worsen Hashimoto’s and speed destruction of the thyroid gland.
In summary, the stress and inflammation from always being hangry ages your body too fast.
How being hangry makes your brain age too fast
The low blood sugar associated with being hangry deprives the brain of fuel, thus impairing brain function. This speeds the brain’s degeneration because brain cells are deprived of energy and die.
Symptoms of low blood sugar when you go too long without eating that age the brain include:
- Irritable and easily upset
- Shaky, jittery, or tremulous
- Agitated, nervous
- Eating gives you energy (you should just feel not hungry, not more or less energetic)
- Poor memory
- Blurred vision
- Lack of appetite or nausea
- Energy crashes around 3 or 4 p.m.
- Wake up anxious around 3 or 4 a.m.
Being hangry exacerbates brain autoimmunity
When your blood sugar is always low this also ages the brain by triggering autoimmune flares in the brain.
A number of people have autoimmunity to brain and nerve tissue. It goes undiagnosed because there is little awareness of it, but it’s more common than realized.
Blood sugar that drops too low can trigger autoimmunity in the brain just as it does in the thyroid gland, speeding aging of the brain.
Symptoms of brain autoimmunity include fatigue, crashing after too much stimulation or exertion, brain fog, forgetfulness, anxiety, depression, autism or ADHD symptoms, and poor balance.
If you suffer from brain-related symptoms, it’s crucial to avoid being hangry.
How to slow aging by avoiding low blood sugar
If you want to slow the aging process, be sure to avoid getting hangry.
Never skip breakfast or other meals, avoid sugars and processed starches, eat ample vegetable fiber and healthy fats, keep caffeine intake moderate, eat small meals every two to three hours until blood sugar is more stable, and avoid foods to which you have an intolernace (such as gluten and dairy).
A variety of herbal and nutritional compounds can also help normalize blood sugar and balance immune and brain health. Ask my office for more advice.
About Dr. Josh Redd, Chiropractic Physician
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto's Low Thyroid Disease
, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center
with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto's disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto's, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here