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Possible Causes: Insulin resistance, inner-ear issues, nutrient deficiency

If you skipped lunch and feel light­headed, consider the possibility of insulin resistance, a condition caused by the pancreas producing additional insulin to bring blood glucose under control. The only healthy response to a delayed meal is hunger, says Myrto Ashe, MD — not lightheadedness or irritability.

If lightheadedness arises when you shift positions quickly and you suddenly feel like the room is spinning or you’re falling, the cause could be benign vertigo, a viral infection, or Ménière’s disease, caused by fluid buildup in the inner ear.

Ashe tests her patients for deficiencies in iron and other micronutrients if they report dizziness; she’s also observed a connection to gluten. Many have reported that their lightheadedness disappeared after giving it up. Some studies have investigated a link between gluten sensitivity and Ménière’s disease, but none has yet proven conclusive.

What You Can Do: Keep blood sugar stable by staying active, avoiding excessive carbohydrates and sugary snacks, and including healthy fats, high-quality protein, and high-fiber, phytonutrient-rich foods at every meal. If you suspect a micronutrient deficiency, ask your doctor to run tests for vitamin D, B vitamins, and iron, says Ashe. You might also consider a trial period without gluten.

(Seeking more insight on troubling dizzy spells? See “Treating Dizziness and Vertigo” for a Q&A with a functional neurologist who offers tips on diagnosing — and treating — dizziness and vertigo.)

This originally appeared in “What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You, Part 3” in the July/August 2019 print issue of Experience Life.

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