Syndrome X - Is your favorite dessert killing you?

Maybe you have heard the term “Metabolic Syndrome” or “Syndrome X”, but aren’t sure what they mean. Maybe you are wondering why you should even care? Well, it turns out that most of the US population is overweight or obese. Many of those people are trying to lose weight and they are frustrated because they don’t really understand what’s going on. That’s where this idea of metabolic syndrome comes in.

In a nutshell, metabolic syndrome is a pre-diabetic state where your body is becoming increasingly resistant to insulin. Once your fasting blood glucose reaches the magic number of 126, you get diagnosed with diabetes like it happened overnight. Well, it didn’t. It took years and if you understand that your extra weight might turn into diabetes in a few years you may be more motivated to do something about it. After all, knowledge is power as long as you take action on what you learn!

Metabolic syndrome is a defined condition that is diagnosed when a person meets at least 3 out of 5 of the following criteria:

1. Waist measurement > 40 inches for men or >35 inches for women

2. BP of 135/85 or higher

3. Fasting Triglycerides of 150 or greater

4. Fasting HDL of < 40 for women or < 50 for men

5. Fasting glucose > 100

If you have had blood work done, these are all things you would likely have had done. I just found out that the Walmart pharmacy (at least in Branson, MO) now does a walk-up finger stick test that I believe includes all of these things for just $19. No appointment, no doctors order. Simple and objective.

So, those are the objective criteria for metabolic syndrome, but what do people describe? They tell me that they are struggling to lose weight, it seems to be accumulating around their midsection more than their hips and thighs. They have cravings for sweets and “carby” things like bread, cakes, cookies, etc. They tend to get tired in the afternoon after lunch and feel like they could take a nap around 3pm pretty much every day.

So, what is going on in the body with metabolic syndrome? Well, basically, a person’s body is responding less and less to the insulin that is secreted by the pancreas after he or she eats. That is insulin resistance. Eventually, taxing a person’s energy system can even put a stress on organs like the kidneys. There are even connections between things like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and metabolic syndrome. All of this metabolic dysfunction also creates problems in the stress handling or adrenal system and can affect sleep. Inflammation also commonly occurs in individuals with metabolic syndrome. In fact, new research is now linking metabolic syndrome to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is now being called “Type 3 diabetes” This is a big deal, and it’s not just about a few pounds.

So, what is the fix for Metabolic Syndrome?

· Metabolic-friendly diet that is high in healthy fats like avocado and coconut, low in refined carbohydrates and has a moderate amount of high-quality protein. Here is a link to a diet that I recommend to improve blood sugar handling and help reverse this insulin-resistant

condition. You can also consider incorporating Intermittent fasting into your program as this will definitely help increase your insulin sensitivity. Most people can fast for 12 hours very easily. More extended fasts may not work for everyone. If you are stressed and have any kind of adrenal dysfunction (like you would with prolonged stress), intermittent fasting might not work well for you until you address and heal the stress component. You will know this if you get shaky, dizzy, “Hangry” and feel terrible after not eating for 12-16 hours. If this is you, don’t get discouraged. Just back up to the maximum amount of time you can go without feeling shaky, dizzy or irritated. I have also noticed clinically that men seem to handle intermittent fasting easier than women. I have some theories on this, but we’ll have those for another article 😊

· Exercise. This non-negotiable. Diet and supplementation (or medication) alone can not fix the root cause of the issue. We were simply not meant to sit around all day! Basically, 5 days a week for 30 min. is what it takes. High Intensity Interval or HIIT is the way to go to maximize your results. I wrote an article on exercise that you can look at here for more information.

· Supplements to help get results. Diet and exercise will do the job, but sometimes we want to incorporate strategic supplements to help get faster results. This is important for motivation or when you hit a plateau for example. Here are some of my favorites and when/how I use them:

o Gymnema. This is huge for the sugar and “carb” cravings. Sugar can be more addictive than heroine, so weaning off it is no joke! Taking 4 Gymnema per day (2 AM and 2 PM) can be a game-changer for most people. It takes about 2 weeks to get over the really bad cravings. After that, I have people back down to 2/day (1 AM/1 PM) and then once they feel better, just keep the supplement on hand and use if they get a craving here and there.

o Metabol Complex – This is a relatively new herbal formula designed to help support healthy metabolic function. This can be very helpful to see results quickly or if you have hit a plateau in your efforts. 3/day (2 AM / 1 PM) is my recommended dosage.

The products mentioned above are available at by clicking on patient direct and using my code DA5XG3 to create a free account.

I hope you found this article to be helpful!


Dr. Jeni

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