Metabolic syndrome, or syndrome X, refers to a collection of symptoms and risk factors that increase our chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. These symptoms and risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, insulin resistance (which causes high blood sugar), obesity, abnormal glucose tolerance, and high triglyceride levels. It is also known as insulin resistance syndrome and it is the number one lifestyle-related cause of death in the United States. Metabolic syndrome is present in about 25% of American adults over the age of 20 years old and more than 50% of adults over the age of 60 years old.
It involves having three or more risk factors for heart disease and diabetes that include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels such as high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol.
Metabolic syndrome is not a disease. In a nutshell, individuals with metabolic syndrome have certain conditions that put them at risk for health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Having these conditions may even put individuals at a greater risk of developing dementia and other cognitive issues. Individuals with metabolic syndrome have the “perfect storm” for some serious health issues.
Metabolic syndrome is actually our bodies’ reaction to adapting to our unhealthy lifestyles. That’s why we can say that diabetes is a response our bodies develop. For example, insulin resistance is developed as an adaptation to prevent hyperglycemia, which can damage vital organs and increase the risk of heart, kidney, and nerve-related disease.
Nutrition plays a major role in metabolic syndrome. Avoiding saturated and trans fats, refined sugar, and salty processed foods is important to maintain a healthy weight and prevent developing insulin resistance. Eating fiber-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and limiting alcohol intake lowers the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, including type 2 diabetes.
Physical activity can help prevent metabolic syndrome. Having excess weight around the waist is a significant risk factor for the development of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, or even certain types of cancer.
Research shows that at least 30 minutes of exercise per day can help us lose weight, boost metabolism, balance blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce high blood sugar levels. In other words, everything we need to lower our risk of having metabolic syndrome.
Individuals with metabolic syndrome need to be especially aware of their nutrient levels.
Thankfully, dietary changes can help bring down our weight, as well as lower our risk of developing high blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, atherosclerosis, and other conditions associated with metabolic syndrome.
The Mediterranean diet is touted as the go-to diet to help address a range of different health conditions, and metabolic syndrome is definitely on that list. The focus on fresh vegetables, healthy fats, small amounts of lean meat, and a wide range of nuts, fruits, and oils brings a wide range of tasty, nutritious food to the table.
Right supplementation is a crucial part of metabolic syndrome reversal. A faster metabolism burns calories more quickly than a slower one, making it less likely that a person will gain weight. Our metabolism naturally slows down as we age, but there are vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that may help keep our metabolism working effectively.
B vitamins play an essential role in boosting our metabolism and energy production. Deficiency in one of the B vitamins can affect other B vitamins, which could lead to the disruption of our metabolism. B vitamins are essential for the metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. A healthy metabolism ensures that the body uses these nutrients for energy rather than storing them as fat.
Foods that contain B vitamins include:
lean meats and seafood
whole grains, including barley and brown rice
some fruits, such as bananas, apples, grapes, and watermelon
nuts and seeds
some vegetables, including spinach, potatoes, and squash
Research suggests that low levels of vitamin D contribute to obesity, insulin resistance, and poor blood sugar control.
Unlike other essential vitamins, we can get vitamin D from sunlight. Safe exposure to the sun is the fastest way to top up vitamin D.
Foods that contain vitamin D include:
fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines
cod liver oil
fortified plant-based milk
fortified breakfast cereals
some types of mushrooms
Magnesium is an essential mineral for metabolism and energy production. Without a sufficient amount of magnesium, the chemical reactions that produce energy in the body cannot occur.
Magnesium is available in a wide variety of foods, including:
nuts and seeds
salmon and halibut
Chromium plays an essential role in glucose metabolism. It is also an important part of the balance preventing insulin resistance. Early prevention may greatly reduce the risk of type two diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Chromium is not easily absorbed. Deficiency has been a problem for many people that do not maintain a healthy diet. It is also a problem with older people that cannot absorb nutrients as efficiently.
Research suggests that patients with metabolic syndrome may be more likely to be deficient in zinc. Zinc plays a critical role in insulin homeostasis. For example, zinc has insulin-mimetic properties and the mineral also plays an important role in insulin receptor signal transduction, insulin storage, and insulin secretion.
Antioxidants are nutrients that reduce oxidative stress that contributes to metabolic disease. Vitamin C and glutathione are among the most powerful antioxidants that profoundly affect human metabolism. Vitamin C is known to be a naturally occurring oxidant. It targets and combats free radicals that prevent oxidative damage in important biological macromolecules. This increases antioxidant enzymes which can even combat diabetes and hypertension.
Glutathione helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body by reducing insulin resistance. Adequate glutathione levels help to boost fat loss and lower fat storage.
Amino acids are small molecules that link together to make larger protein molecules. They are often referred to as the building blocks of proteins. Amino acids play a number of important roles in the body including production and regulation of energy, blood sugar regulation, improved absorption of minerals, and protection of nerve cells.
Amino acids play a vital role in numerous metabolic functions, and their deficiency can seriously harm our health and contribute to metabolic syndrome.
Depletion of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and related mitochondrial dysfunction in the body has been associated with hallmarks of aging and may underlie a wide range of age-related diseases, such as metabolic disorders, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Our risk of metabolic disease increases with age due to declining levels of NAD+, which leads to mitochondrial and metabolic dysfunction.
We also offer IV chromium, Magnesium, B complex as part of many drips and vitamin D intramuscular (IM) shots.
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