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Sugar's Effects on the Sinuses

by
author image Christine Garvin
Christine Garvin is a certified nutrition educator and holds a Master of Arts in holistic health education. She is co-editor of Brave New Traveler and founder/editor of Living Holistically... with a sense of humor. When she is not out traveling the world, she is busy writing, doing yoga and performing hip-hop and bhangra.
Sugar's Effects on the Sinuses
MRI Xray of human sinuses. Sinus issues may be stemming from excessive sugar intake. Photo Credit Photoprofi30/iStock/Getty Images

Sugar is found in a wide variety of foods ranging from breakfast cereals to salad dressings. In fact, the average American consumes over 30 tsps. of refined sugar daily, according to registered dietitian Sandra Woodruff in her book, "The Complete Diabetes Prevention Plan." This is on top of the large consumption of high carbohydrate foods such as white bread, rice and baked goods. The impact of sugar on the human body is still up for debate, but more and more health professionals believe it has a detrimental effect on the immune system, causing issues ranging from fatigue to long-term sinus issues.

Sinusitis

Sinusitis is one possible effect of sugar on the sinuses, according to Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., in his book, "Beat Sugar Addiction Now!" Usually this has to do with the growth of fungal yeast that is fed by sugar, which in turn causes an inflammatory reaction in the sinuses. The inflammation then creates swelling, which blocks the drainage from the nose and sinuses. Sinusitis is often treated with antibiotics, but this makes the yeast overgrowth worse, which can lead to chronic sinusitis, maintains Teitelbaum. One way to fight against sinusitis is to cut down sugar intake tremendously or remove it altogether.

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Immune System

Dr. Robert S. Ivker states in his book, "Sinus Survival," that sugar weakens the immune system, which leads to higher possibilities of sinus infections. When the immune system is weakened, it is more susceptible to bad bacteria and also allergies. If the immune system is depressed for long periods of time, auto-immune diseases may become a problem. Also, sinus infections may begin to occur on a regular basis.

Mucus Buildup

According to Chiropractor Ellen W. Cutler in her book, "Live Free from Asthma and Allergies," a sugar intolerance causes a buildup of mucus in the nose and sinuses. Cutler believes that the inability to properly digest sugars and starches in quite common, and that an undiagnosed sugar intolerance plays a role in many kinds of sensitivities, including those with sinuses. Cravings for sugar and carbohydrates often accompany intolerances to it, so note if you desire sugary foods as a pick-me-up or a way to get through the day, and if your nose starts to run after eating sugary foods.

Liver Impact

Sugar also has a negative impact on the liver, according to licensed acupuncturist Jason Elias in his book, "Chinese Medicine for Maximum Immunity," which in turn affects the sinuses, since the liver helps to thin mucus. When the liver isn't working properly, mucus can build up in the sinus and nasal passages, and they aren't able to drain properly. Sugar both stresses the adrenal glands, negatively impacting blood sugar levels, and makes the liver work harder to steady blood sugar.

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References

  • "Beat Sugar Addiction Now!"; Jacob Teitelbaum, MD; 2010
  • "Sinus Survival"; Robert S. Ivker, DO; 2000
  • "Live Free from Asthma and Allergies"; Ellen W. Cutler, DC; 2007
  • "Chinese Medicine for Maximum Immunity"; Jason Elias, L.Ac; 1999
  • "The Complete Diabetes Prevention Plan"; Sandra Woodruff, RD; 2005
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