Adrenergic Postprandial Syndrome: What is it?

If you have normal blood sugar concentrations (from 70mg/dL to 120mg/dL) but are experiencing hypoglycemia symptoms (palpitations, sweating, tremors, anxiety and nausea), you could be suffering from adrenergic postprandial syndrome.

What is Adrenergic Postprandial Syndrome?

Adrenergic postprandial syndrome is caused by abnormalities in the autonomic adregenic counterregulation system in your body. The adrenergic syndrome gives you the same symptoms as hypoglycemia but avoids the actual blood sugar crash by using epinephrine and adrenaline to counter the biochemical mechanisms that would have caused true hypoglycemia. It isn’t a “false” disease — you’re still experiencing actual symptoms due to an excess of hormones and chemicals in your body.

What causes Adrenergic Postprandial Syndrome?

Adrenergic postprandial syndrome is a dysregulation of your autonomic nervous system. It’s sometimes called pseudohypoglycemia or non-hypoglycemia but in fact, hypoglycemia isn’t involved in the process at all.

Why Do I get Symptoms if I don’t Have Hypoglycemia?

When blood sugar gets too low, the body produces epinephrine and glucagon to counteract the low blood sugar and return levels to normal. In normal people, this counterregulation happens at under 50mg/dL. However, in adrenergic postprandial syndrome, the response occurs at much higher levels. Epinephrine (adrenalin) is the hormone that makes you feel jittery when something suddenly happens (like being in a fender bender). Put simply: the symptoms you experience with adrenergic postprandial syndrome are due to the release of epinephrine into your bloodstream.

What is the Treatment for Adrenergic Postprandial Syndrome?

adrenergic postprandial syndrome

Can food be causing your adrenergic postprandial syndrome? Image: Moyan Brenn | Flickr


Although you don’t get a blood sugar crash, the syndrome has the same root cause as reactive hypoglycemia: your diet. Therefore, you should eat a reactive hypoglycemia diet, free of simple carbs (like sugar and white pasta) and full of protein, vegetables, nuts and other healthful choices. See this article on the reactive hypoglycemia diet for where to start.

2 thoughts on “Adrenergic Postprandial Syndrome: What is it?

  1. Jeri

    Caffeine intake seems to cause the same reaction in me as does carb intake. Is there a connection between caffeine intake and this response?

    As far as my diet is concerned, I do eat small, frequent meals and I try to include a good protein intake with any carbs I eat. When I do this, I am able to avoid the unpleasant symptoms of this condition.

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