Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors that raises one’s risk of heart disease and other problems, such as diabetes, stroke, cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and many more.1 8.6% US children3 and 34% of adults4, population between ages of 20-64 are affected by metabolic syndrome. That indicates nearly 1 in 10 children and over 1 in 3 adults in the United States currently have metabolic syndrome.
There are five defined constituents of metabolic syndrome2:
1. Large waistline - waist circumference of 40 inches (102 centimeters or cm) or more for men and 35 inches (89 cm) or more for women
2. High Triglycerides - 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L) or more
3. Low HDL cholesterol - less than 40 mg/dL (1.04 mmol/L) for men or less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) for women.
4. High blood pressure – Systolic BP of 130 mm Hg or more or a diastolic BP of 85 mm Hg or more.
5. High fasting blood sugar - 100 mg/dL or 5.6 mmol/L or more.
A person with metabolic syndrome can be twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes, compared to someone without metabolic syndrome.
Here are the risk factors that may predispose individuals to metabolic syndrome1:
2. Inactive lifestyle
3. Insulin resistance
4. Genetic inheritance
Of these, the first three are considered modifiable, meaning they can be changed based on an individual’s behavior and preventive care. Let us look at natural approaches to help bring balance in metabolic syndrome.
Low-fat, plant-based diet have been shown to reduce weight, overall cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin resistance.5 In another study researchers looked at effects of low caloric diet, that is mostly plant-based with moderate amount of fats and proteins. Low-caloric diet activates thyroxine kinase, promotes thyroid function, helps increase insulin sensitivity and activate systemic metabolism.6
Exercise is the most beneficial daily activity for managing various symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Aerobic exercise, walking, yoga and pranayama (breathing exercises) help reduce stress, promote weight loss, as well as improve insulin sensitivity and health of blood vessels.7
1. National Institute of Health. What is Metabolic Syndrome? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Nov. 2011, online article. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms/>
2. Mayo Clinic Staff. Diseases and Conditions: Metabolic Syndrome. Mayo Clinic, 2014; Online article. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/basics/symptoms/ con-20027243>
3. Yau PL, et al. Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome and Functional and Structural Brain Impairments in Adolescence. Pediatrics, Oct. 2012; Vol. 130(4), Pg. 1-9.
4. Ervin RB. Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome Among Adults 20 Years of Age and Over, by Sex, Age, Race and Ethnicity, and Body Mass Index: United States, 2003–2006. National Health Statistic Report, Number 13; May 2009.
5.Kent L, et al. The Effect of a Low-fat, Plant-based Lifestyle Intervention (CHIP) on Serum HDL Levels and the Implications for Metabolic Syndrome Status. Nutrition and Metabolism, 2013; Vol. 10(58).
6.Ren J, et al. Nutritional intervention in the metabolic syndrome. Asian Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007; Vol.16 (Suppl 1), Pg. 418-421
7.Sales ARK, et al. Aerobic exercise acutely prevents the endothelial dysfunction induced by mental stress among subjects with metabolic syndrome: The role of Shear Rate. American Journal of Physiology - Heart – Circulatory Physiology, 2014; e-publication.
Adapted from a Longer Article By: Virender Sodhi MD(Ayurved), ND