Hypoglycemia is the name given to a condition where blood sugar levels are lower than normal.  When the body needs energy, a signal is sent to the adrenal glands, which in turn release cortisolCortisol stimulates the liver to convert glycogen (a starch molecule), fats, carbohydrates, proteins and amino acids into blood glucose (sugar).  Then blood glucose is released into the bloodstream.

Although needed by the cells, glucose cannot be readily absorbed into the cells without the assistance of the insulin hormoneInsulin is manufactured by the pancreas, an endocrine gland located below the stomach and released into the bloodstream when more glucose is needed by the cells. Insulin signals the cells to “open up a channel” into which the glucose flows.

A person suffering from hypoglycemia who encounters a situation where some stress is felt—like having to get a report done for school — will send a signal to the adrenals to release cortisol to stimulate the production of glucose and in turn the release of insulin to enable the absorption of glucose by the cells.  However, if the adrenals are not functioning properly due to adrenal fatigue, they are not capable of releasing enough cortisol, and the result is not enough production of glucose.

This explains why someone will have some minor stress and feel so fatigued or unable to fully function that they have to eat a sweet or drink a cola or have a cup of coffee—to get through the stress.  While this may help for an hour or even more, the fatigue comes back.  To make matters worse, when someone experiences low blood sugar but feels the stress of not being able to satisfy this condition, more strain is placed on the already depleted adrenals and the cycle gets worse.