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Alcohol Induces Hypoglycemia Study

It is a known fact that alcohol ingestion may cause hypoglycemia among diabetic patients, but as to how alcohol causes severe low blood sugar levels remain elusive.

Now, researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden disclosed how alcohol ingestion may harm the human brain by decreasing the blood glucose concentration to inappropriately low levels. Scientists from the Stockholm South Hospital Diabetes Research Center of Karolinska Institutet evaluated the influence of alcohol administration on pancreatic islet blood flow and dynamic changes in insulin secretion and blood sugar levels.

“We have now found that alcohol exerts substantial influences on pancreatic microcirculation by evoking a massive redistribution of pancreatic blood flow from the exocrine into the endocrine (insulin-producing) part via mechanisms mediated by the messenger molecule nitric oxide and the vagus nerve, augmenting late phase insulin secretion, and thereby evoking hypoglycemia.” said Ake Sjaholm, lead study investigator.

Researchers add that the discovery can also bring about the well-known properties in alcohol that can cause hypoglycemia in diabetics or in alcoholics with hepatic failure. They also note that the study might be relevant to “the derailed metabolic situation in diabetic subjects.” Furthermore, sustained hypoglycemia might be provoked by alcohol intake in type 2 diabetics being treated with hypoglycemic sulfonylureas due to the drugs’ long biological half-life.

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