Sounds like something pretty scary. Well it is— kind of. Metabolic syndrome or Syndrome X is the new “epidemic” in the modern world now. Insulin resistance is one of the most problems I see in my practice. Metabolic syndrome is really pre-diabetes. It is characterized by elevated blood glucose (>100), elevated triglycerides, LDL, decreased HDL, high blood pressure and a belly size that is bigger than the waist (You don’t have to be overweight to have metabolic syndrome.). Insulin resistance is the primary cause of metabolic syndrome. This means that insulin receptor sites on the cells no longer recognize insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that acts like a key that unlocks the lock on the cell and allows glucose (blood sugar) to enter the cell and be turned into energy. Glucose (our blood sugar) comes from the break down of all carbohydrates. Carbohydrates include: (complex) all grains, bread, pasta, potatoes, (simple) sugars including fruit juice and honey etc. Some carbohydrates break down and turn into glucose faster than others. When glucose floods our system too fast or in too great of quantity over a long period of time, it causes the insulin receptor sites to stop responding. So instead of being burned as fuel the glucose is stored as body fat or turned into triglycerides. It takes more energy to store it than use it so we then get tired. One of the main symptoms of insulin resistance is getting tired or sleepy after eating a meal laden with carbohydrates. And this also causes an increase in triglyceride level in your blood. The symptoms of insulin resistance are: fatigue after meals, crave sweets during the day, eating sweets doesn’t relieve cravings for sugar, must have sweets after meals, waist girth is equal or larger than hip girth, frequent urination, increased thirst and appetite, difficulty losing weight.
So from a functional standpoint insulin resistance can diminish our health in a number of ways. Because insulin resistance leads to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar level), the adrenal glands have to pump out stress hormones (cortisol and epinephrine) to stabilize the blood sugar. Eating too many sweets or starches has the same effects as emotional stress on the body. This causes weakening of the adrenal glands, which has number deleterious effects on the body on its own including fatigue, weakened immune system, memory loss, insomnia and inflammation. Elevated blood sugar also causes inflammation and cross linking of protein fibers. These are the major factors in aging.
Eventually insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome can lead to damage to the lining of coronary arteries, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, blood clot formation and type II diabetes.
The good news is that all this can be corrected. This is a fixable problem. Of course the best thing to do is prevent it from happening in the first place.
The first thing to do is to reduce your carbohydrate intake and don’t eat any “white sugars or starches”. In other words eat only whole grains, no white sugar and avoid potatoes. And when you eat carbohydrates make sure that you balance it out with good fats and protein. Also increase you fiber intake. A good way to do this is to eat enough fruits and vegetables to fill a quart jar. Also avoid foods that you are allergic to. Exercise and losing weight also help re-sensitize your insulin receptors. So it is essential that you exercise at least 4 days a week.
There are a number of supplements that help re-sensitize receptor sites as well. And it is important to repair and support the adrenal glands with supplementation and decrease the allergic load. I have helped many people turn their health around and stop Syndrome X.