1. abdominal obesity, with a waist measurement greater than a hip measurement.
2. triglyceride levels over 150
3. fasting glucose over 110
4. H.D.L. (the protective cholesterol), less than 40 for men and less than 50 for women
5. elevated blood pressure over 135/80
*(Personally, I feel that triglyceride levels and fasting blood glucose should be less than 100)
The criteria above has been eloquently described as Diabesity by Dr. Francine Kaufman M.D., in her book by the same name. She writes, "Diabesity describes the obesity-diabetes epidemic where our ancient genes and our modern environment have collided. " She goes on to say that "metabolic syndrome imperils human existence as we know it."
Essentially Metabolic Syndrome is a result of a genetic risk factors, dietary and lifestyle choices that result in Insulin Resistance. Insulin resistance is the continued increased demand by your body to secrete more insulin to bring down blood sugar. Eventually your body can no longer meet the demand and blood sugar remains elevated. Some people refer to insulin resistance as pre-diabetes.
What causes Metabolic Syndrome?
Essentially the same thing that causes Insulin Resistance. Here are the top reasons:
1. Genetics and a history of diabetes in the family
2. A high glycemic diet. Eating too many refined carbohydrates, especially high fructose corn syrup.
4. Inadequate exercise
5. Inadequate amount of fiber in the diet
6. Excessive amounts of poor quality fats. This is generally termed hydrogenated fats or trans fats.
7. Too much alcohol
8. Cooking at too high a heat. Burned bread and charred meat create A.G.E.'s which are advanced glycosylated end products.
9. Endocrine dysruptors: BPA in plastics, P.B.B. (flame retardants), and other environmental toxins such as Organochlorines found in plastics, bleached paper products such as toilet paper and pesticides.
Bisphenol A, or BPA is a chemical that is gradually being reduced from plastic bottles but it is still all around us. For instance it is on every cash register receipt and on the paper used in credit card machines. A recent government study showed that it is present in the urine of 95% of U.S. adults.
Why you should be concerned
The statistics show that those people who meet the criteria for Metabolic Syndrome are:
3 times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack
5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes
have a higher risk of developing fatty liver disease and gall bladder disease
have a higher risk of developing sleep apnea
women will have a greater likelihood of developing P.C.O.S. or polycystic ovarian syndrome
What can be done?
Blood testing can serve as an early warning check to see if someone is in the early stages of Metabolic Syndrome. If so, then nutritional and lifestyle changes can be made to reverse the dangerous path that someone could be on.
Starting a regular exercise program, removing simple carbohydrates, and trans fats from the diet along with supplementing the appropriate supplements will help too.
There are many supplements to consider but here is a list that includes most:
Specific amino acids (especially those high in sulfur), and herbs that support liver function such as Artichoke, Milk Thistle, Dandelion, and Turmeric
For blood sugar regulation:
Cinnamon, Bitter Melon, Gynmenna Sylvestre, Nopal Cactus, Maitake Mushroom, Banaba leaf, Betaine, Green Tea, zinc, chromium, magnesium, lipoic acid, B vitamins, resveratrol, and fish oil.
If you or someone you know has abdominal obesity, and has not had a blood test in two years then they should be checked for the 5 risk factors. In my opinion, helping this problem with lifestyle and nutraceutical support in its earliest stages offers superior advantages over prescription drugs and insulin.