You're Not You When Your Hungry

Oct 19, 2022

When you have low blood sugar, your brain knows it.  Not only does your brain know it, it shows it.  It shows it in how you feel, how you think, and how you interact with others.  It can even show up in your empathy or your ability to think rationally.  

3 things to improve blood sugar for the brain:

1). Eat regularly and don't skip meals.  Too little food or too infrequent of food forces your brain to shunt fuel away from areas of the brain involved in logic and reason and towards areas involved with stress.

2) Vitamin B1 will help you use glucose even better.  Better glucose usage makes for better brain usage.

3) Pepcid AC, the heartburn medication, may help you store glycogen better in the liver.  Better liver stores of glycogen can help you go longer between meals if you must.


Have you ever had an argument with somebody close to you?

Have you ever had an argument with somebody where moments later or hours later or days later, you think to yourself, oh, I had the perfect thing to say I should have said this and really stuck it to him and twisted that knife?

Well, what if I told you that that was actually the result of low blood sugar?

My name is Bryan. I've been in the health and fitness industry now for about 20 years, I've been in the pro metabolic world for close to 10.

I'm going to share with you some of my favorite tips and tricks for improving your brain health, your body health, and your mental health.

Stick around, got some fun things to talk about today.

So first off, low blood sugar has a tremendous impact on your brain. Your brain is the most glucose hungry organ you have. More energy that you consume goes to your brain than any other organ in your body.  You have this two and a half pound mass of jelly, some are bigger than others, of course, and yet it consumes about 25 to 30% of your total caloric intake.

So of all the foods you eat, the bulk of it goes to your brain. When your brain is deprived of blood sugar, weird things start to happen.

And one of those weird things is you become a more irrational person.

Okay. You might be saying, "well, no, I'm very rational person, Bryan." Bear with me, I assure you, if we get your blood sugar low enough, you won't be. 

Your brain operates with a very specific feeding pattern.  What that means is of the blood supply going to the brain, of the oxygen of the glucose that's coming in and your brain is using, the areas of your brain that get access to that fuel first, are areas involved with survival, and emotion; areas involved with heart rate, blood pressure, regulation, breathing, digestion, posture, movement, those are areas that get fuel first.  Following that you get the fear, the stress, the emotional sides of the brain.

And then after that, if there's anything left over, then you get blood flow with fuel, going to the areas of the brain involved with logic and reason. This is your frontal lobe, this is your prefrontal cortex. These are areas of the brain involved with making decisions, making decisions about your future, thinking about your attention and staying on task. These are areas of the brain that are not very active when your blood sugar is low.

In fact, these are areas of the brain that are generally not very active when you're under stress. And so when your blood sugar is low, you're more likely to experience a stress response.

I use air quotes here, because stress in this case is simply a demand for resources. But when your blood sugar is low, in order to make sure you have enough blood sugar to deal with the demands placed upon you, your body will shunt blood flow away from your logic and reason centers.

So when it comes to the research on domestic violence and blood sugar, there is a frighteningly high amount of correlation between domestic violence to spouses hurting each other to domestic partners hurting each other violently, and low blood sugar. And so what shows up in the research is that low blood sugar occurs in either one or both parties at the time of domestic violence.  You're more likely to have an argument with somebody close to you when your blood sugar is low.

Now, here's the other thing that's really interesting about low blood sugar.

A greater predictor of prison sentencing, meaning the duration of the sentencing somebody receives for a crime is actually more positively correlated with low blood sugar than anything else. More so than the crime, more so than skin color, more so than age, sex, whatever. The most strongly correlated aspect of what determines prison sentence is actually blood sugar.

And it's not the blood sugar of the criminal, mind you. It's the blood sugar of the judge.

So here's an interesting little statistic for you. They've done research on this, and they've put together the duration of sentencing and the severity of the sentencing relative to crimes based on the time of day of the court hearing, of the sentencing hearing, relative to when the judge last had a meal break.

And what they found was that closer to breakfast, and just before lunch had very differing amounts of sentencing severity for crimes. 

So just after breakfast, blood sugar's a lot higher. The judge going through his morning, reading off sentencing after sentencing after sentencing, getting closer to lunchtime, his blood sugar's a lot lower. And what they found was that the sentencing prior to lunch was more severe, on average, across multiple domains than simply a matter of crime, or age, or sex, or whatever.

What they found was that blood sugar affects the judges discernment in whether or not he's going to be lenient in the sentencing or not. And what they found is after lunch, blood sugar's back up, sentencing becomes less severe.

So if you really want to commit a crime, for whatever reason, you better hope that you don't get caught. And if you do get caught, you better hope that the judge has just had lunch or just had breakfast before they sentence you.

Okay, so what do you do with this information? It's pretty fancy, pretty cool. What do I do with it?

So here's the thing I want you to think about, like we were talking about with the ability of the brain to think logically to think reasonably, in an absence of fuel, you won't do that.

So the first thing you can do, the number one thing you can do is make sure you don't go a long period of time without eating.  The longer you go without eating, or the lower your caloric intake, or if you're fasting or if you have some other demand on resources in your system, your frontal lobe will receive less blood flow.  When it receives less blood flow, it will receive less fuel, less oxygen, less glucose. And that means less activation. That means you can't use your frontal lobe and your prefrontal cortex as well. So you're not going to be able to think logically and reasonably.

So number one thing to prevent all of these issues from happening, make sure you don't go a long time without eating.

So let's say you are eating, what are some other things you can do?

Well, there are some supplements that can actually help to improve blood flow to the brain, one of those, and in this case, we're going to look at it from a vasodilation standpoint, one of those supplements is actually vitamin B1, which is thiamin. It's a very simple over the counter readily available vitamin.

Vitamin B1 helps to increase your capacity for utilizing glucose. When you use glucose better, you'll make more CO2, which is a vasodilator. CO2 will open up the blood flow to your brain.

So when you have better glucose usage, you create more CO2, you get more blood flow shuttled through your body.  Your brain will be very thankful that you have enough B1.

Not only that, because your brain is so glucose hungry, pyruvate dehydrogenase, which is the enzyme that B1 creates, pyruvate dehydrogenase activity decreases in the brain when you become less and less adept at using glucose.

So not only do you need it to use glucose, but if you become less and less healthy, your brain function will start to become less and less efficient at using glucose.

That's a big deal.

Because you don't want to go from the person who's calm and controlled to the erratic, crazy person who doesn't know how to control their emotions and is always arguing with everybody and everything is the end of the world. That's no way to go through life.

So making sure you have enough be one is a tremendously beneficial thing you can do. And there's all sorts of sources of B1; oat bran, is actually a very high source of B1 from a food standpoint.

To be honest, sometimes people need a supplement. I've seen that with a lot of people, especially in the pro metabolic world, when we start pushing the envelope for carbohydrate intake, you start increasing your carbohydrates enough, you're going to increase your pyruvate dehydrogenase demands to the point where you're not going to be able to match it with foods that we tend to want to go towards. A lot of foods that have high B1 levels are foods that can be irritating to people(such as grains).

So we want to find that happy medium, and sometimes you actually need to supplement with it. So in that case, start small 5-10 milligrams a day. And then see if you can go higher and higher and higher and if that reaches you into that realm that you feel the best and function the best cognitively at.

Okay, the third thing that we're going to talk about as a means to improve your overall frontal lobe function, so that you can stay yourself so that you can stay sane. And this is another supplement to think about. This is a weird one. Pepcid AC, also known as famotidine. Famotidine is a unique drug, we're going to call it a drug, because that's what it is. Over the counter availability here in the US, in some countries, it's not available over the counter.

I have clients that we talked about the benefits of it, and they go to look at the store and they can't find it. But it is available over the counter here in the US.  What famotidine does and what it's primarily marketed as is a heartburn medication. But if you don't have heartburn, that doesn't mean that you don't get benefit from it.

Famotidine is technically a glycogen synthase kinase type 3B inhibitor. It's a mouthful, the GSK 3B inhibitor. So what that basically means, we'll spare you all the biochemical namesake of that, anything that's a GSK 3B inhibitor helps your liver store more glycogen.

Glycogen is the fuel storage type for glucose. So when glucose turns into glycogen, it can get stored in there in your muscles or your liver to be used later on. And as we increase your livers ability to store more glycogen, your ability to have more fuel on demand when necessary to get you through a stressful event goes up.

That means that if you do for whatever reason, miss a meal, your ability to store glycogen in the liver goes up. You can survive longer, with more glycogen in the liver than with less. And you can stay more sane and logical and reasonable with more glycogen in the liver than less.

So Pepcid AC, can actually have a very positive effect on improving liver glycogen. Now it isn't medication, and I'm not a doctor. So don't take my advice for it, talk to your doctor first. But the research on famotidine as a compound shows that it has some very interesting benefits in the realm of brain health.

I hope you enjoyed this video. Stick around. I'm gonna make a lot more of these. If you liked what you're seeing. Go ahead and subscribe. I'll see you soon.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.