Metabolic Syndrome - Today’s biggest global health epidemic
When you think of worldwide epidemics things like HIV, Malaria, Bird flu or Ebola come to mind. In-fact these infectious and contagious diseases come and go on regular cycles and have been around for a long time. The epidemics we are going to talk about are completely different and much more modern. They stem from our society and lifestyle rather some pathogen or infection.
You probably know somebody in your own family who has suffered with a breathing difficulty, diabetes, a heart attack, a stroke or even cancer. That’s because these are the biggest killers globally and they are definitely on the rise in recent decades.
For Cancer in 2012 alone, there were 14.1 million new cases and 8.2 million deaths worldwide. The most commonly diagnosed cancers were lung (1.82 million), breast (1.67 million), and colorectal (1.36 million) and the most common causes of cancer death were lung cancer (1.6 million deaths), liver cancer (745,000 deaths), and stomach cancer (723,000 deaths). (1)
Apart from these cancers the top 10 leading causes of death in 2012 globally can be seen in the chart below. This chart is from the World Health Organization
These top killers represent the result of our biggest epidemic is history, but they are not actually the epidemic themselves. In other words the real epidemic is not listed as a cause of death. The real epidemic is not spoken about and is not addressed by the governments or public health systems. It is swept under the carpet and ignored for the same reason many businesses ignore something that involves time and money, but little immediate profit. That’s because it’s just too hard to deal with.
The real epidemic is something much more difficult to accurately quantify and more difficult to manage in a public health scenario. The real epidemic is called Metabolic Syndrome.
"1/4 of the world’s adults have metabolic syndrome"
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of the most dangerous heart attack risk factors: diabetes and pre-diabetes, abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- A quarter of the world’s adults have metabolic syndrome (Over 2 Billion)
- People with metabolic syndrome are twice as likely to die from, and three times as likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared with people without the syndrome
- People with metabolic syndrome have a five-fold greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Up to 80% of the 200 million people with diabetes globally will die of cardiovascular disease
- This puts metabolic syndrome and diabetes way ahead of HIV/AIDS in morbidity and mortality terms yet the problem is not as well recognised (1)
Over exercising and crazy workouts are not really the solution either, as these have been around for the last 40 years, and we're still queuing up at the hospitals. A real solution would offer another path, one of health. Real, sustainable, peaceful, long-term good health.
The real epidemic is what I would call "General Bad Health"
This includes Obesity, Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, High Blood pressure and High Cholesterol, collectively known as "Metabolic Syndrome." The solution to this is what I want to share with you today.
Metabolic Syndrome – a definition
Metabolic syndrome is a disorder of energy utilization and storage, diagnosed by a co-occurrence of three out of five of the following medical conditions: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels.
The International Diabetes Federation worldwide definition of the metabolic syndrome (2006) is: Central obesity AND any two of the following:
- Raised triglycerides: > 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L), or specific treatment for this lipid abnormality
- Reduced HDL cholesterol: < 40 mg/dL (1.03 mmol/L) in males, < 50 mg/dL (1.29 mmol/L) in females, or specific treatment for this lipid abnormality
- Raised blood pressure (BP): systolic BP > 130 or diastolic BP >85 mm Hg, or treatment of previously diagnosed hypertension
- Raised fasting plasma glucose (FPG): >100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L), or previously diagnosed type 2 diabetes (1)
Some studies have shown the prevalence in the USA to be an estimated 34% of the adult population, and the prevalence increases with age. (2)
Metabolic syndrome is also known as metabolic syndrome X, cardiometabolic syndrome, syndrome X and insulin resistance syndrome.
How does it happen?
Currently accepted causes of Metabolic Syndrome.
Low Grade Inflammation – People have constant, low grade inflammation throughout the body. Researchers don't know whether this causes metabolic syndrome or worsens it. (6)
Fatty Liver or High blood triglycerides – High fat levels in the blood and liver are an accepted risk factor for developing metabolic syndrome. (6)
Genetic factors – This is one area we have little control over, although it is known that our genes can switch on and off in response to our thoughts.
Obesity - A waist measurement of 35 inches (87cm) or more for women or 40 inches (90cm) or more for men is a known metabolic risk factor. (6) Too much fat and sugar in the body can cause obesity and lead to insulin resistance over time. (7)
Insulin resistance - Many factors contribute to metabolic syndrome, including decreased physical activity, genetic predisposition, chronic inflammation, free fatty acids, but insulin resistance appears to be the common link between the two elements, obesity and metabolic syndrome. (5) Scientists still don’t fully understand what causes insulin resistance, but excess weight and phiysical inactivity definitely contribute. Pre-diabetes usually also occurs in people who already have insulin resistance.
It appears clear that the world’s biggest lethal health epidemic is simply related to fat and sugar over-consumption. Why aren’t we told about this, when it’s killing the majority of us.
The metabolic syndrome can be induced by overfeeding with sugar or fructose, particularly along with a high processed fat diet and excessive meat. The excessive fructose ingestion leads to increased metabolic burden to the liver because fructose is metabolized predominantly by the liver.
Fructose is one of the most common forms of added sugar on our supermarket shelves and is hidden (as high fructose corn syrup) in hundreds of everyday foods, such as fruit juices, snack bars and cereals. These foods are commonly called “healthy” and advertised as such.
Obesity and metabolic syndrome are increasing global health problems. In addition to the malnutrition offered by highly processed and mass produced refined foods, found on most supermarket shelves.
High acid levels are also created by these types of foods which cause other problems, such as:
- Kidney Stones
- Acid Reflux
- Back and Muscle Pain
- Cardiovascular Disorders
- Stunted Growth
- High Blood Pressure
Controlling metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance with herbs
Most culinary herbs and spices exert anti-inflammatory activities and the extent to which they activate insulin sensitive cell receptors, and enhance expression of anti-inflammatory agents in the body.
Spices can play essential roles as anti-inflammatory agents in our diet, improving insulin sensitivity, enhancing circulation and counteracting weight gain. The effects of chronic inflammation caused by obesity are counteracted and, consequently, the progression of diseases associated with chronic inflammation slowed. (3)
Aging is associated with immune dysfunction and accompanied by a chronic inflammatory state, which contributes to metabolic syndrome, diabetes and their cardiovascular consequences. Risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and diabetes overlap, leading to the hypothesis that both share an inflammatory basis. Obesity is increased in the elderly population, and adipose tissue induces a state of systemic inflammation
These changes predispose aged individuals to CVDs. CVDs and vascular dysfunction are characterized by a chronic alteration of inflammatory function and markers of inflammation and the innate immune response, including C-reactive protein, and linked to the occurrence of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke in healthy elderly populations and patients (4)
Herbal treatment protocol – Detox Diets
With over 100,000 people having completed Brett Elliott's Herbal detox program reports come in continuously of weight management, lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure. This is no surprise considering the detox diet consists of fruits and vegetables and a combination of up to 40 medicinal herbs.
By completing a herbal detox program annually and including culinary herbs and spices in your diet regularly you can not only improve your general health, but greatly reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.
To curb the global trend of these escalating health epidemics a change in habits is needed. By following a program like the good herbal detox new habits are formed. It takes many years for the body to become overwhelmed to the point of heart attack, stroke or diabetic atrophy, by which time it is often too late to recover to full health.
In the same way, it takes years of regular healthy habits to promote a long-term state of good health. The earlier the habits begin, the more likely it is that a long healthy life can be achieved.
This article is a very brief look at metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance and is by no means a comprehensive study. Please follow some of the references below if you want to know more.
If you are interested in starting a program to improve your life and your health status then it might be worth investigating what people are saying about their experiences with a herbal detox below.
Brett Elliott ®
(1) (International Diabetes Federation IDF) consensus PDF https://www.idf.org/webdata/docs/IDF_Meta_def_final.pdf
(2) Pubmed.com PMID 11790215.Ford ES, Giles WH, Dietz WH (2002). "Prevalence of metabolic syndrome among US adults: findings from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey". JAMA 287 (3): 356–359. doi:10.1001/jama.287.3.356. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11790215
(3) Pubmed.com PMID: 22226987 Maturitas. 2012 Mar;71(3):227-39. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2011.12.009. Epub 2012 Jan 9. Anti-inflammatory properties of culinary herbs and spices that ameliorate the effects of metabolic syndrome. Jungbauer A1, Medjakovic S. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22226987
(4) Pubmed.com PMID: 25341516 Interdiscip Top Gerontol. 2015;40:99-106. doi: 10.1159/000364934. Epub 2014 Oct 13. Low-grade systemic inflammation connects aging, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Guarner V1, Rubio-Ruiz ME. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25341516
(5) Insulin resistance in obesity as the underlying cause for the metabolic syndrome. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20960553
(6) Metabolic Syndrome. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0062969/
(7) Insulin and Insulin Resistance. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1204764/