This Syndrome has suddenly been swept into the limelight. There are hundreds of
thousands of Internet Sites with information on this Syndrome. Much of this
information seems to have conflicting data, or changes overnight. It can be very
Metabolic Syndrome is a group of metabolic disorders that when tested for can be
used to demonstrate a patient’s risk factor for the development or
presence of cardiovascular disease and Diabetes 2. However, Metabolic Syndrome
was not always Metabolic Syndrome. The name “Metabolic Syndrome” has been
changed a number of times, and we discuss the significance of this a bit further
into the article.
We review Metabolic Syndrome because it is so well recognized in its metabolic
risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease and the disease of
diabetes 2. Our focus is the long-standing and historical ties these risk
factors have always had to Insulin Resistance. It is the link in the
imbalance in the body’s blood sugar control system to the development of many if
not all western nations’ degenerative "dis-eases" we are attempting to
demonstrate. This look into Metabolic Syndrome is being used to help with this
Long before today’s few testable factors for Metabolic Syndrome were taken over
by cardiovascular “Specialists” and used to determine risk factors for
cardiovascular disease, those few disorders, and many others were being
studied by scientists who were attempting to determine the role that “Insulin
Resistance” might play in the development of ALL "dis-ease".
Orthodox medicine clearly recognizes the Metabolic Syndrome of today has
significant ties to Insulin Resistance. But Insulin Resistance is one factor
that is not generally truly tested for when testing for Metabolic Syndrome.
There are many scientists, and medical researchers that feel the sooner Insulin
Resistance can be identified the greater the probability to reverse it and
maintain long term health. It’s “Preventative.” Once a person begins to
develop Insulin Resistance and is unaware of it – in most cases insulin
resistance ultimately leads to full-blown adult diabetes. During this
developmental period, the risk of developing dis-ease promoting metabolic
changes in the body also increases. High sugar levels in the blood are extremely
dangerous, but years of high levels of insulin to keep the sugar levels under
control are just as dangerous.
These are the Metabolic Syndrome factors you will be tested for in
assessing a risk factor for the development of heart disease, stroke and
diabetes – as laid out by the National Cholesterol Education Program:
“Metabolic Syndrome” is present when 3 or more of the
5 criteria are met
Cardio Vascular Disease no longer sits alone as the only dis-ease that can be
directly tied to Insulin Resistance. But the cardiovascular medical specialty is
a powerful sub-unit of orthodox medicine that includes the even more powerful
“National Cholesterol Education Program” – whose main goal is to “treat”
cardiovascular risk factors with cholesterol lowering drugs.
Insulin Resistance was always the metabolic common
denominator in the cluster of cardiovascular disorders found in Metabolic
Syndrome. Further, a person does not develop this cluster of symptoms all at the
same time – metabolic syndrome begins with the silent but deadly development and
progression of Insulin Resistance.
A rose by any other name always was and still is insulin resistance
We want to make it clear that while there are many factors that can result in
metabolic imbalances, the one that seems to be most significant and dangerous –
with the greatest links to many life-threatening dis-eases and conditions and is
the one that can be most easily changed - Insulin Resistance.
What is Insulin Resistance and Why is it so Important?
Insulin resistance is the body’s inability to make the most of the food we eat.
Insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas) helps to put the “sugar” from our
foods into the cells of our body – our body needs sugar (glucose)– it’s a prime
source of all our energy requirements. The brain and muscles cells use the
greatest amount of the sugars from our foods.
Even with perfectly normal levels of sugar and insulin, every time a cell in the
body is exposed to insulin it become a bit more “insulin resistant” – that’s
just a fact of life. The older we get the more insulin resistant our cells
become. Insulin is toxic to our cells. As soon as sugar hits the blood
stream insulin also hits the blood stream. The higher the level of sugar the
higher the level of insulin. The pancreas will churn out as much insulin as is
needed to “reduce” the level of sugar.
Cells become insulin resistant because they are trying to protect themselves
from the toxic effects of chronically high insulin. They do this by turning down
their receptor activity and begin reducing the numbers of receptors so that they
don't have to listen to that noxious noise all the time.
When this happens, in order to make the cells accept the sugar the
pancreas churns out higher and higher levels of insulin and just by mass action
of the insulin yelling at them the cells are able to “listen” and manage to keep
our blood sugar levels in a good range. This is insulin resistance.
The progression from the beginnings of insulin resistance to diabetes is a
lengthy process – years in fact. During this period if you were to have only a
blood sugar test, results may appear to be at ‘acceptable levels,’ but your
insulin levels would be higher than normal and simply testing for blood sugar
levels would not show this.
The pancreas can’t keep up this excessive production forever. Once that happens
insulin production drops to a point where it can no longer control the blood
sugar. You are now no longer insulin resistant you have full-blown diabetes.
The importance of disease development and the need to determine early stages of
Insulin Resistance begins with some background information that goes a few steps
beyond Metabolic Syndrome.
When looking up information about Metabolic Syndrome you may notice some of the
Metabolic Syndrome X
Insulin Resistant Syndrome X
Insulin Resistance Syndrome
For the time being just remember that the first 4 names, while changing over
time, simply refer to a diagnostic method of detecting risk factors for
developing Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes II. Not to make light of this
because testing for these factors can help detect the metabolic changes taking
place that can lead to 2 of the 5 leading causes of death. Keep in mind, the
medical model that put this diagnostic testing in place have always been aware
of the additional link CVD and Diabetes have with Insulin Resistance.
However this is not either the beginning nor the end of the insulin resistance
story – it is only one part of the story.
History of the Metabolic Syndrome we Know of Today
Years ago, a group of scientists were investigating the role that insulin and
insulin resistance might play in the development of dis-ease. Not any particular
dis-ease, mind you, just any old dis-ease.
Their most preliminary findings linked insulin resistance with some metabolic
changes found in people with cardiovascular disease and of course type 2
diabetics. They gave these metabolic changes the name, Insulin Resistant
Syndrome X (number 5 on the above list of names)
We paraphrase here, but it sounds like because orthodox medicine was not yet
ready to look at insulin resistance and its metabolic ties to other disease, it
picked up the indicators or factors that could predict CVD and they ran with
that, renaming it Syndrome X.
Thankfully, from the time of the original metabolic findings, to today, the
scientists continued with their research aims.
What today’s science is saying about the insulin resistance links to other
life threatening dis-eases.
Considerable new science and information has evolved relevant to the role of
insulin resistance in human dis-ease – which goes well beyond CVD risk
factors, pointing to a significant metabolic role in other life-threatening
[Quote] Since CVD has now been recognized to be just one
of the multiple clinical syndromes associated with insulin resistance,
it seems appropriate to replace the term syndrome X with one that
incorporates this new information. Insulin Resistance Syndrome. [Unquote]
Lets have a look at all the connections to insulin resistance that have been
found so far (including Metabolic Syndrome factors) – remembering research data
in this area are coming in like an avalanche and we just bet even more metabolic
dis-ease, illness and disorders will be found:
The following are other disorders that are the result of insulin resistance or
have been linked to insulin resistance. Some of these disorders also cause
insulin resistance – research is ongoing and hopes to clarify some of the
mysteries that still exist around insulin resistance.
We stuck Diabetes II at the top of the list because if insulin resistance is
allowed to progress to the point where the pancreas becomes exhausted and can’t
pump out the high levels of insulin anymore then Diabetes II results.
Once you have developed full-blown Diabetes 2 you can expect (according to the
medical model) a huge increase risk in metabolic complications that include,
cardiovascular diseases, nerve degeneration, immune system dysfunctions, kidney disease, retinopathy (blindness) greater incidence of cancer.
Gee, that pretty much covers all the chronic degenerative dis-eases that
westernized countries are now dealing with. Does it take a big leap to figure
out that sugar/insulin imbalances might be the underlying factor, or at least
the biggest underlying factor, in the development of all these dis-eases?
Certainly, it is a major player at the very least according to mitochondrial
medicine and endocrinology research.
IS THE PROOF IN THE PUDDING?
Have we demonstrated that sugar/insulin metabolic disordering may be in great
part responsible for all our “incurable” dis-eases, disorders, and other
negative physical and emotional symptoms?
We hope we have we been able to demonstrate the significant role that insulin
resistance plays in disordering our metabolic systems and how it may not only be
the primary cause of many dis-eases, but that it also can hasten their
development and compound their end results?
This information makes it so important to ensure that anyone who is insulin
resistant or could be in danger of becoming so – discovers this as soon as
possible. Insulin levels are predictors of life expectancy
– the higher the levels the shorter the life-span. The sooner insulin
resistance is discovered the better the outlook for long-term health benefits.
The aim is to catch the problem before the body begins to undergo dis-ease
processes that make changes in organs and tissues.
What can be done to diagnose insulin resistance and help determine the status or
risk factors for any dis-ease process that may be starting? Lots, but we can
begin with testing for those factors that can determine risk of cardiovascular
disease and diabetes II. However, these test factors do not tell the whole
story in diagnosing how close you are to developing diabetes II. There are more
detailed tests for this and they have to include a fasting insulin test and a
2 and 5 hours glucose challenge test (with insulin), which are not included
when testing for Metabolic Syndrome and we will talk more about this below.
Why is There No Test for Insulin Resistance?
According to research, there are varying degrees of insulin resistance and
numerous factors that affect it. For this and a host of other reasons, most
medical model GPs are reluctant to try to determine if a person is insulin
resistant using blood insulin as a marker, probably because most GPs are not
trained in their interpretation. These tests are a fast-developing area of
endocrinology so be sure to consult your provider for the latest information
about which tests to take and how to interpret them. Unless you demand
insulin testing, you won’t automatically get it.
There are different types of insulin tests. A fasting insulin test measures how
much insulin is in your body when fasting. Another test compares how much
insulin you secrete vs. how much blood glucose you have, and it is the
PROPORTION of these two numbers that indicates a potential problem.
Natural physicians will include this in the tests they undertake. And it seems
to us it is important to try to determine insulin resistance. A good percentage
of MD’s and ND’s and scientists agree that even when your fasting sugar may be
within acceptable levels if your insulin is high it is a good bet you are
insulin resistant. Knowing this provides the person with options to turn it
around long before it progresses to serious dis-ease.
Why Test? First, these statistics about how many people may be in danger
of sugar/insulin imbalances, which we discussed in the article “Aging
and the Metabolic Affects of Western Living,” (AKA
Insulin and Western Living) should not be ignored. Insulin Resistance can
remain effectively hidden for many years working silently destroying your
health. The start of insulin resistance can take place without producing any
significant symptoms. Over those development years insulin resistance can
masquerade as symptoms such as fatigue, poor mental concentration, poor sleep
patterns, nerve damage, inflammatory conditions, depression, depressed immune
function, pain, edema (fluid retention – loss of kidney function) intense
cravings for sweets, fats and stimulants, slowly increasing abdominal (apple
shaped) weight (fat) gain.
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar?
Might You Have Insulin Resistance?
Your chances of having this are too high to ignore. You don’t think you have any
of the symptoms listed above? Have you been tested? Have your children
In the US, 1 out every 3 children born in the year 2000 will develop full-blown
diabetes 2 by age 20 to 30. Children are being born with Insulin Resistance
passed on from their mother’s and grandmother's diets. Have you tested your children?
I’m Not Fat – So I’m Ok That is a MYTH - It is interesting to note that there are people
of normal or below average weight who also suffer with insulin resistance.
One does not have to be overweight to be insulin resistant or to qualify
for a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. Metabolically speaking, the methods for
putting on ordinary weight and gaining of visceral fat (associated with insulin
resistance) work differently.
While there is proof that simply being overweight can increase your risk
to develop insulin resistance and diabetes II, many people who are overweight,
even obese don’t have this condition and never develop it. Why? Because
their cells are not insulin resistant. No one has any answers to these puzzles.
Have you been tested?
All About Testing and Diagnosing – What To Expect
If you walk into your physician’s office today and ask to be tested for
Metabolic Syndrome – the tests you would receive are for the simple diagnoses of
Cardiovascular and diabetes 2 risk factors. A diagnosis of CVD
Metabolic Syndrome means you already have some significant metabolic changes
that need to be dealt with ASAP before your system imbalance progress.
Those metabolic changes were listed above – but they show very little about
other metabolic disruptions taking place.
In the past 13 years or so these other metabolic imbalance symptoms have been
added. So lets look at some of the other tests you could at least look to have
done. Some of these are tests that cannot be undertaken by orthodox physicians.
Inflammation (e.g., elevated high-sensitivity
C-reactive protein in the blood) - Done thru MD’s – make sure these are
Blood clotting abnormalities - Done thru MD’s
Low levels of antioxidants and certain vitamins –
Low levels of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) -
High cortisol levels (the stress hormone) MD tests
System wide hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances
(causing depression and many other far more serious illness problems)
A number of identifiable “aging factors” such as AGEs
(Advanced Glycosylation End-products) Free Radicals and RAGEs (Reactive
Oxygen Species) as discussed in the Aging and the Mitochondria article.
Tests and Results for Diagnosing Metabolic Syndrome
Testing for Metabolic Syndrome is not yet a part of a yearly examination. You
must make sure your doctor includes them. You must also make sure you
receive a copy of these test results.
Here are the minimum (orthodox medical) tests you should have done and
the results you are looking for:
Body Mass Index
The use of the “body mass index” is going the way of the dinosaurs. The inches
on your waist are a better predictor. The best predictor is apparently for you
to see as your weight is creeping up if your waistline is where the pounds are
beginning to settle. On the other hand, if the pounds are already there then
look at the max figures for the waistline. Measure the waistline at the belly
button level, and always do it after you have let out your breath – do not
measure while holding in your stomach.
Understanding the Fasting Insulin Test:
Undetected high insulin levels can give a false lower result for the fasting
blood glucose test. That’s because the pancreas is still able to churn out high
levels of insulin and manage to keep the “sugar” within a “normal” range. For
instance, your pancreas still works OK, and your tests show a normal fasting
glucose of 110 - 120 mg/dL (6.1 - 6.7 mmol/L) but your insulin is up over 20 or
30 (maybe even higher) – you are definitely insulin resistant and your pancreas
is now in overdrive. Without the fasting insulin test – your glucose would
indicate you are OK, when you certainly are not.
The Treatment Protocols
The Orthodox Medical Model
The medical model treatment protocol for this Syndrome is to once again isolate
each “symptom” into functional body disorders and treat each with drugs specific
to that disorder in an effort to stave off heart disease, stroke and diabetes
2. Remember, medical model doctors have little choice in their treatment
protocols. These protocols are written in stone.
Dieting is now supposed to be recommended for those who fall into the overweight
category. Diet change is now supposed to be specifically recommended to those
who show insulin resistance or diabetes 2. Unfortunately, dieting protocols have
to be based upon the one that is currently accepted by the Diabetes and Heart
Association. This diet is one that will not help you get better. It is basically
no better then the diet that led to insulin resistance in the first place –
sometimes it is much worse because it recommends replacing normal sugar with
excitotoxic (brain damaging) chemical sugar substitutes and low, bad fats.
There are many people who believe the chem/food
industry has deliberately included addicting chemicals to keep people eating
their processed food products. We do not know if this is factual or not.
What is known is that the western diet of processed foods, drinks and
additives to create "cravings." Those cravings make it impossible to
"stick to" any type of diet that contains these foods.
It is interesting to note that not only are medical model physicians taught very
little about the ways foods work to help maintain homeostasis, but they do not
get payment for time spent on counseling individually tailored dietary changes.
Nor do most of them have the time to do this. They are more often going to take
the drug route to try and control those symptoms that test out of range, mainly
because they are required to. This adds insult to injury as these chemicals
intensify the cellular level metabolic dysfunction that is already present. A
diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome (the earlier the better) can save your life
depending upon the choices you make for your treatment.
The medical model diet will not succeed in rebuilding the body, nor is it one
most people will be able to stick to. Adding to this multiple drugs to treat the
most dangerous of the symptoms is a typical approach, which seems to be a part
of the start of the “slippery slope” to even greater metabolic system
imbalances. If you are already feeling “unwell,” you may not recognize this
insidious additional damage taking place.
The Natural (Holistic) Model
As said above if an MD had not confirmed Metabolic Syndrome because tests fell
within normal ranges, but you have doubts and took those results to an ND to
evaluate, rest assured NDs will be digging much deeper, especially if there are
other ‘symptoms’ such as back or neck pain. The Natural (Holistic) model
physician also recognizes the inherent long-term dangers with a diagnosis of
Metabolic Syndrome. They will evaluate each imbalance as indicated by test
results and perhaps perform additional tests to find out the best place to begin
to enable the body to return to homeostasis. If nothing else shows up but a
sugar/insulin imbalance, they will take this symptom very seriously too. They
will start by tailoring a diet specific for individual need, likely adding a
variety of supplements. Expect to receive an exercise plan. The ND will work
with you – assisting to help you with problems you may have sticking to your new
diet and exercises. Treating your pain will be a big priority. Office
visits are much longer so much greater time is available, with the emphasis on
what it is you want to achieve and fitting treatments into your life so they can
be successful. Once your metabolic imbalances are under control – NDs then
provide ongoing “preventive” medical care.
Test Results in the Life-Threatening Range
Chemical drugs are recommended and used by both medicine models for those people
who produce a test result in the life-threatening range. These drugs do serve a
purpose for quickly bringing these numbers down. The natural model sees this
type of drug intervention as a temporary necessity. Only needing to balance the
body systems well enough to then provide natural means to continue the process.
The medical model is forced to use these drugs for a life-time – mainly because
they don’t know have the means to help the body rebalance – chronic drug use is
thus require to keep the “numbers” in the normal range.
The main point to this article – the sooner Insulin Resistance is
discovered and the causes eliminated the more quickly the body is able to
restore its optimum state of health. The secondary point is that “health” can
never be restored to the body by treating the “symptoms” of insulin resistance
with drugs - the underlying cause must be found and eliminated.
A SERIOUS WORD OF CAUTION HERE
The Web and other media sources are full of remedial
measures, a great deal of which are selling or recommending “Natural” products,
herbs, vitamins and the like. It is true that most metabolic imbalances
involving sugar/insulin have resulted from bad diet and this usually means the
body is also deficient in many enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
However, you should never attempt to diagnose and treat yourself. This
is just as dangerous as not treating yourself or taking chemical/pharmaceutical
People routinely make their metabolic imbalances much worse by self-treating
with “natural” products – even normal vitamins. Just because it says it is a
natural treatment does not mean it cannot damage you. There are many other
causes of metabolic imbalance. Without proper and complete metabolic tests,
no one can know what their specific problem may be. Please always keep this
information in mind.
If you want specific natural treatments, please contact a Licensed,
Natural physician, or a trained natural nutritionist.
As you investigate all possible causes and contributors to your back pain
(and other symptoms of imbalanced metabolism you may also have) remember the
real benefits you can obtain by using the
Heat Treat Backpack.
If you have not yet read about these benefits, please do so now.
You will not be disappointed.
A good look at what the statistics tell us about the dangerously high numbers of
people in westernized nations who may have sugar/insulin problems and especially
those who may already have insulin resistance can be found in the articles, “Degenerative
Conditions” and “Aging
and the Metabolic Affects of Western Living” (AKA
Insulin and Western Living). Both articles will provide you with the
information about the major factors that have been identified as being the
primary contributors to dis-eases including the causes of back and neck pain.
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