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Metabolic Syndrome: What Is It and How To Prevent It?

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Metabolic Syndrome is on the rise at alarming rates worldwide, it is a cluster of conditions that increases the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes. Even arthritis and skin disorders have been associated with Metabolic Syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome is a growing concern in the United States. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), more than one-third of the US population is affected by Metabolic Syndrome.[1]

So, while you may be hearing more about it in the news —what is Metabolic Syndrome, and how do you prevent it? 

What are the Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome is insidious and often does not cause noticeable symptoms, making it difficult to detect at first. However, as it evolves over time, a number of signs and symptoms emerge including:

  1. High blood pressure which damages the blood vessels and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  2. High blood sugar which leads to diabetes and other complications.
  3. Excess fat around the waist increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems.
  4. Abnormal cholesterol levels  increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  5. Spinal arthritis nearly quadruples with Metabolic Syndrome.[2]
  6. Skin Disorders, including psoriasis, acanthosis nigricans, lichen planus, acne vulgaris, and atopic dermatitis, have been associated with Metabolic Syndrome. [3]

What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome is caused by a mix of genetic and lifestyle factors. Some of the risk factors that can be controlled include:

Insulin resistance is a condition where the body's cells do not respond appropriately to insulin, which leads to high blood sugar levels and diabetes.
Obesity is a significant risk factor for Metabolic Syndrome. Lack of physical activity and sedentary behavior contributes to metabolic syndrome development.
An unhealthy diet rich in saturated and trans fats, sugar, and refined carbohydrates increases the risk of Metabolic Syndrome.
Irregular eating habits such as late night eating and irregular eating habits disturb the body's digestive and metabolic rhythm and increases our tendency to insulin resistance.
Poor sleeping habits are associated with increased tendency to Metabolic Syndrome.
The Imbalances in gut microbiota that accompany Metabolic Syndrome  produce a low-grade inflammatory response that causes leaky gut syndrome and insulin resistance.

Ways to Prevent Metabolic Syndrome?

  1. Healthy diet: Eating a Mediterranean diet high in fiber, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help to reduce the risk of metabolic Syndrome. 
  2. Weight loss: Losing weight, particularly around the waist, improves insulin sensitivity and reduces the tendency towards of Metabolic Syndrome.[5]
  3. Physical activity decreases risk of Metabolic Syndrome. Research shows that an increase in activity of moderate and vigorous physical exercise is associated with lower odds of metabolic Syndrome [
  4. Avoid night eating and poor sleeping habits, and eat at regular intervals with the largest meal in the morning. [6,7]
  5. Fasting: Intermittent fasting helps with weight loss. 
  6. Improve gut microbiome health with prebiotic fiber and probiotics.[8]
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    6 Herbs To Help Prevent Metabolic Syndrome

    Baobab Fruit Powder
    Baobab Fruit Powder from the African Tree of Life is a prebiotic superfood that supports gut health, improves blood sugar levels, and affects many known risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome.[9,10]

    Cinnamon
    Cinnamon is a popular spice that has the potential to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels. Studies have found that cinnamon can increase glucose uptake by cells and reduce insulin resistance, which can help to lower blood sugar levels. [11]

    Gymnema Sylvestre:
    Gymnema Sylvestre has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat diabetes. It has the potential to reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Gymnema Sylvestre works by stimulating insulin secretion and reducing glucose absorption in the intestines. This herb can be consumed in supplement form or as a tea.[12]

    Fenugreek
    Fenugreek is an herb commonly used in Indian cuisine and can potentially reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Studies have found that fenugreek can increase glucose uptake by cells and reduce insulin resistance. [13]

    Ginger
    Ginger is a root used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including diabetes. Studies have found that ginger can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels. Ginger works by increasing glucose uptake by cells and reducing insulin resistance. Ginger is included in the diet in various forms, including in supplement form or as a spice added to food.[14]

    Holy Basil
    Holy Basil is an herb commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine and has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Studies have found that holy basil can stimulate insulin secretion and reduce insulin resistance. Holy Basil can be consumed in supplement form or as tea.[15]

    In Conclusion

    Metabolic Syndrome can be prevented. You have the tools in your hands and can start today with easy steps beginning with changing your diet, adding physical activity, and including beneficial and enjoyable practices to your every day lifestyle! 

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    References 

    1.Lemieux I, Després JP. Metabolic Syndrome: Past, Present and Future. Nutrients. 2020 Nov 14;12(11):3501. doi: 10.3390/nu12113501. PMID: 33202550; PMCID: PMC7696383.

    2.Gandhi R, Woo KM, Zywiel MG, Rampersaud YR. Metabolic Syndrome increases the prevalence of spine osteoarthritis. Orthop Surg. 2014 Feb;6(1):23-7. doi: 10.1111/os.12093. PMID: 24590989; PMCID: PMC6583166.

    3.Fatima F, Das A, Kumar P, Datta D. Skin and Metabolic Syndrome: An Evidence-Based Comprehensive Review. Indian J Dermatol. 2021 May-Jun;66(3):302-307. doi: 10.4103/ijd.IJD_728_20. PMID: 34446955; PMCID: PMC8375528.

    4.Di Daniele N, Noce A, Vidiri MF, Moriconi E, Marrone G, Annicchiarico-Petruzzelli M, D'Urso G, Tesauro M, Rovella V, De Lorenzo A. Impact of Mediterranean diet on metabolic Syndrome, cancer and longevity. Oncotarget. 2017 Jan 31;8(5):8947-8979. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.13553. PMID: 27894098; PMCID: PMC5352455.

    5.Schroder JD, Falqueto H, Mânica A, Zanini D, de Oliveira T, de Sá CA, Cardoso AM, Manfredi LH. Effects of time-restricted feeding in weight loss, metabolic Syndrome and cardiovascular risk in obese women. J Transl Med. 2021 Jan 6;19(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s12967-020-02687-0. PMID: 33407612; PMCID: PMC7786967.

    6.Alkhulaifi F, Darkoh C. Meal Timing, Meal Frequency, and Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients. 2022 Apr 21;14(9):1719. doi: 10.3390/nu14091719. PMID: 35565686; PMCID: PMC9102985.

    7.Zimmet P, Alberti KGMM, Stern N, Bilu C, El-Osta A, Einat H, Kronfeld-Schor N. The Circadian Syndrome: is the Metabolic Syndrome and much more! J Intern Med. 2019 Aug;286(2):181-191. doi: 10.1111/joim.12924. Epub 2019 Jun 10. PMID: 31081577; PMCID: PMC6851668.

    8.Galié S, Papandreou C, Arcelin P, Garcia D, Palau-Galindo A, Gutiérrez-Tordera L, Folch À, Bulló M. Examining the Interaction of the Gut Microbiome with Host Metabolism and Cardiometabolic Health in Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients. 2021 Nov 29;13(12):4318. doi: 10.3390/nu13124318. PMID: 34959869; PMCID: PMC8706982.

    9.Cicolari S, Dacrema M, Tsetegho Sokeng AJ, Xiao J, Atchan Nwakiban AP, Di Giovanni C, Santarcangelo C, Magni P, Daglia M. Hydromethanolic Extracts from Adansonia digitata L. Edible Parts Positively Modulate Pathophysiological Mechanisms Related to the Metabolic Syndrome. Molecules. 2020 June 21;25(12):2858. doi: 10.3390/molecules25122858. PMID: 32575811; PMCID: PMC7356617.

    10.Suliman HM, Osman B, Abdoon IH, Saad AM, Khalid H. Ameliorative activity of Adansonia digitata fruit on high sugar/high fat diet-simulated Metabolic Syndrome model in male Wistar rats. Biomed Pharmacother. 2020 May;125:109968. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2020.109968. Epub 2020 Feb 25. PMID: 32066041.

    11.Wu T, Huang W, He M, Yue R. Effects of cinnamon supplementation on lipid profiles among patients with metabolic Syndrome and related disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2022 Nov;49:101625. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2022.101625. Epub 2022 June 30. PMID: 35803022.

    12.Kahksha, Alam O, Naaz S, Sharma V, Manaithiya A, Khan J, Alam A. Recent developments made in the assessment of the antidiabetic potential of gymnema species - From 2016 to 2020. J Ethnopharmacol. 2022 Mar 25;286:114908. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2021.114908. Epub 2021 Dec 11. PMID: 34906636

    13.Nagulapalli Venkata KC, Swaroop A, Bagchi D, Bishayee A. A small plant with big benefits: Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn.) for disease prevention and health promotion. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Jun;61(6). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600950. Epub 2017 Apr 27. PMID: 28266134.

    14.Salaramoli S, Mehri S, Yarmohammadi F, Hashemy SI, Hosseinzadeh H. The effects of ginger and its constituents in the prevention of metabolic Syndrome: A review. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2022 Jun;25(6):664-674. doi: 10.22038/IJBMS.2022.59627.13231. PMID: 35949312; PMCID: PMC9320212

    15.Suanarunsawat T, Anantasomboon G, Piewbang C. Anti-diabetic and anti-oxidative activity of fixed oil extracted from Ocimum sanctum L. leaves in diabetic rats. Exp Ther Med. 2016 Mar;11(3):832-840. doi: 10.3892/etm.2016.2991. Epub 2016 Jan 13. PMID: 26998000; PMCID: PMC4774317.

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