How To Reverse Metabolic Syndrome

metabolic syndrome - exercisingFor reversing metabolic syndrome, I use a method that uses nutrition and the functional medicine approach.  I use this with my patients in my clinic in San Carlos with excellent results.

  1. Get rid of the belly fat!  Exercise effectively and regularly.  Have you made several attempts before and didn’t get the results you want?  I suggest you hire an experienced personal exercise trainer for the number of sessions you need to learn an effective exercise program as if your life depended on it, because it does.  You will save time, grief and even money in the long run by learning to exercise effectively and efficiently.  Of course, for your waist to get smaller, you will have to change your eating habits.  Follow the tips outlined in “How to Cure Type 2 Diabetes Through 10 Lifestyle Changes” as if your life depends on it, because it really does!
  2. Make having a healthy diet and lifestyle permanent habits!  Plan for a specific time for daily exercise and stick to it, with the only exception being a true emergency.   Plan having your healthy meals and snacks for the day, or better yet for the week, even when you are on the go.  Planning meals ahead of time is one of the most successful ways to improve your diet, including planning on eating out where there is available healthy choices.  The foundation of any healthy meal plan is one with an abundant amount of dark green leafy and brightly colored vegetables.
  3. Use safe and effective herbal and nutrition supplements.  You should take them first, before resorting to drugs.  See the list of nutrient substances below.  Those can help support balanced insulin levels and balanced inflammatory response through the mechanisms described.  This list is not to be construed as a complete list of suggested nutrients  for use with metabolic syndrome, but only some key substances with multifunctional effects.
  4. Take mini-vacations.  Pick your own relaxing activities that you enjoy and do it regularly 2 to 3 times a week for stress relief/management.  It may be exercising, reading for enjoyment, painting, drawing, going for a leisurely walk in the park, watching a funny movie or playing with your kids.  Pick something that you can do for 10-30 minutes a few times a week.  Stress activates hormones in our body that cause inflammation and increases fat deposited around our waist.  Unabated stress can get our body “locked” into a pattern where inflammation, fat deposition and glucose dysregulation becomes the new normal of our systems.

Nutritient Substances That Support Balanced Insulin Levels and Balanced Inflammatory Response:

  • Momordica Charantia (bitter melon):  Research studies1 2 and clinical and traditional use of this plant and its extracts have repeatedly proven to be helpful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and glucose regulation. The active components in bitter melon are thought to be charantin, vicine, and polypeptide-p.  How does this work?  The mechanisms suggested are that bitter melon has multifunctional effects on glucose metabolism and cellular insulin sensitivity, and has a potential to raise insulin levels.  This potential to raise insulin levels warrants that bitter melon is best used with supervision of a health practitioner who periodically checks glycohemoglobin A1C, fasting blood insulin and blood insulin after a food challenge because elevated insulin levels can be problematic.  Irrespective of the suggested mechanisms, all the research studies I’ve personally reviewed to date do in fact agree that it has a significant effect on glucose regulation.
  • Gymnema sylvestre:  This plant grows wild in the tropical forests of India.  The research studies indicate improved glycemic control in those using standardized extracts of this herb3 . Postulated mechanisms of action include an increase in glucose uptake and utilization, increase in insulin release through cell permeability, increase in β-cell number, and stimulation of β-cell function.  Research also points to significantly improved lipid levels with gymnema sylvestre4.  My professional experience with this has been that it has been quite helpful in glycemic control and assists with lipid control, especially when used synergistically with bitter melon, chromium, vanadyl sulfate, zinc, fenugreek and cinnamon.
  • Vanadyl sulfate:  This nutrient, required by our bodies in small quantities, has the effect of increasing the sensitivity to insulin5.  My clinical experience with vanadyl sulfate is it is invaluable and very effective for glycemic balance when used synergistically with the other key nutrients listed in this section.
  • Rho-iso-alpha acids (RIAA):  An extract from hops, this can be a very effective synergistic supplement in those with metabolic syndrome when used with the above nutrients mentioned in this section.  The effects are primarily to reduce inflammation.

Let me know what you think by posting a comment below.  If you have any questions, regarding nutrition, functional medicine, or the above recommendations for reversing metabolic syndrome, you can post it as a comment or contact me through our contact form above.

 

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References:

  1.  Nerurkar P, Lee Y, Adeli K, et al.  Momordica charantia (bitter melon) improves hepatic insulin signaling.  The FASEB Journal. 2008;22:948.12.
  2. Yeh G, Eisenberg D, Kaptchuk T, et al. Systematic review of herbs and dietary supplements for glycemic control in diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003;26:1277-1294.
  3. Gymnema sylvestre. Altern Med Rev 1999;4:46–47
  4. Shanmugasundaram ERB, Rajeswari G, Baskaran K, et al. Use of Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract in the control of blood glucose in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J Ethnopharmacol 1990;30:281–294.
  5. Halberstam M, Cohen N, Shlimovich P, et al. Oral vanadyl sulfate improves insulin sensitivity in NIDDM but not in obese nondiabetic subjects. Diabetes. 1996;45:659–66.