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Metabolic Syndrome

Having Metabolic Syndrome doubles the risk for heart disease and multiplies the risk of diabetes by five. It is not a disease itself, but describes a host of related risk factors (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, obesity and insulin resistance) all with a common cause originally coined 20 years ago with 47 million Americans affected.1

Notice Metabolic Syndrome closely mirrors the symptoms found in those suffering from NAFLD (Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). NAFLD can be thought of as the liver’s state of Metabolic Syndrome. Following the progression of Metabolic Syndrome and NAFLD, one has a hard time disputing the causal relationship.

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Cause & Effect

We need to begin with the typical diet, which has changed significantly over the past fifty plus years. People consume way more of the following; sugar, caffeine, harmful fats, antibiotics, preservatives, pesticides, GMOs and hormones. These are all considered toxins to your body, especially sugar.

In fact, the sugar is the major reason for the overgrowth of candida, which displaces the good bacteria. Why are we discussing the digestive tract? What does the digestive tract have to do with obesity? Let’s take a closer look.

liver media, liver problems, becomplete, metabolic syndrome, leaky gut, nutrition, sugar, wellness, fatty liver disease,

The digestive tract has a very complex function; it must simultaneously do at least two operations.

  1. Create specific enzymes to further breakdown digested food into smaller particles for absorption into the body.
  2. Selectively allow nutrients through without passing harmful invaders like; virus, bacteria and toxins present in the GI tract.

Our digestive tract is not alone in this work; it has between 3-5 lbs of bacteria in the gut to help. However, our new diet promotes rapid growth of harmful bacteria.

Leaky Gut

When the increase in harmful bacteria and yeast (candida) within the intestine reaches a tipping point, the intestinal wall is breached. This breach allows food particles to pass through the intestine wall and the immune system becomes overwhelmed. The liver, which receives 70% of its blood flow from the intestine, is charged with detoxifying the blood. If the necessary natural components required in the detox phase of liver metabolism are exhausted the liver simply shuttles toxins into fat cells to keep them from circulating in the body. These fat cells are stored in the liver and elsewhere depending on your genes. 2

Excess accumulation of fat cells in the liver begins a destructive cycle where the liver becomes less efficient, leading to a build-up of toxins including fatty acids and insulin. This spike in oxidative stress and unprocessed insulin leads to insulin resistance in type II diabetes. Tests will confirm the overload of fatty acids referred to as lipotoxicity. This cascade shows the typical risk factors relating to Metabolic Syndrome.

What Works

Fortunately nature provides us with the solution. Studies have shown Silybin (an active compound in milk thistle), medium chain triglycerides like Vitamin E (specifically highly concentrated tocotrienols), NAC, Phosphatidylcholine and Glutathione to work best complimented by a healthy diet and moderate exercise. The success of these natural ingredients relies on rapid replenishment of Glutathione, a critically important liver antioxidant. 3, 4

Extracts from milk thistle have a long history of being used for liver protection. We are just now starting to rediscover this through scientific discovery. One very effective combination of silymarin, Vitamin E and Phosphatidylcholine improved insulin sensitivity, while reversing damaged liver cells by reducing oxidative stress and improving Glutathione levels in the liver. 5, 6

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a sulfur-rich compound used primarily to neutralize the damaging effects of aspirin on the liver. It rapidly restores Glutathione. A recent animal study showed it to prevent NAFLD in a liver disease diet 7. Similarly, SAMe had been found to increase Glutathione levels in humans with Non-Alcohol Fatty Liver Disease. 8

One can think of supplements as putting a person on the highway to good health, but there is no substitute for eating well and getting regular exercise. No supplement is going to offset poor health habits. Successful diets for those suffering from liver problems include FODMAPs designed by researchers at Stanford University. If severe intestinal problems exist, elimination diets and anti-histamine diets should be considered with a physician’s supervision.

Good health to you.

#TherapyThursday #naturalawakenings

References

  1. http://www.webmd.com/heart/metabolic-syndrome/metabolic-syndrome-what-is-it
  2. http://obesity.bodyecology.com/leaky-gut
  3. Kwon do Y, Jung YS, Kim SJ, Park HK, Park JH, Kim YC. Impaired sulfur-amino acid metabolism and oxidative stress in nonalcoholic fatty liver are alleviated by betaine supplementation in rats. Journal of Nutrition. 2009 Jan;139(1):63
  4. -Caballero F, Fernandez A, Matias N, et al. Specific contribution of methionine and choline in nutritional nonalcoholic steatohepatitis: impact on mitochondrial S-adenosyl-L-methionine and glutathione. J Biological Chemistry. 2010 Jun 11;285(24):18528-
  5. Loguercio C, Federico A, Trappoliere M, et al. The effect of a silybin-vitamin E-phospholipid complex on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a pilot study. Digestive Disease & Sciences. 2007 Sep;52(9):2387-95.
  6. Serviddio G, Bellanti F, Giudetti AM, et al. A silybin-phospholipid complex prevents mitochondrial dysfunction in a rodent model of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 2010 Mar;332(3):922-32.
  7. Baumgardner JN, Shankar K, Hennings L, Albano E, Badger TM, Ronis MJ. N-acetylcysteine attenuates progression of liver pathology in a rat model of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Journal of Nutrition. 2008 Oct;138(10):1872-9
  8. .Vendemiale G, Altomare E, Trizio T, et al. Effects of oral S-adenosyl-L-methionine on hepatic glutathione in patients with liver disease. Scand Journal of Gastroenterology. 1989 May;24(4):407-15.

I’m A HUGE fan of finding what works for you and how and what we feed our kids is no different. The one thing we simply can’t escape is that good nutrition is important.

If you have been reading any nutrition articles lately I imagine your head is spinning at the fact that we have been lied to for years about fats and cholesterol. We have been warned off all fatty foods and as a result have made some companies who make low fat products very wealthy. Fats were feared and butter and cheese were demonised.

However no matter what studies come out and what we are told the fact remains that our Western diet is unbalanced. Sugar is now the enemy. I realised this a few years ago during my fight with depression.

As soon as I cut down on sugar and processed foods my mood lifted. Of course, general lifestyle and exercise habits play an important role too, but eating unhealthy foods can cause inflammation, which leads to illness. There are now studies showing links between inflammation and depression.

One is by George Slavich, a clinical psychologist at the University of California in Los Angeles. He told The Guardian newspaper that depression has as much to do with the body as the mind. ‘I don’t even talk about it as a psychiatric condition any more,’ he says. ‘It does involve psychology, but it also involves equal parts of biology and physical health.’

A family of proteins called cytokines sets off inflammation in the body, and switches the brain into sickness mode. Both cytokines and inflammation have been shown to increase when people become depressed and fall when they’re better.

Omega 3 fats worked for me in my recovery from depression. I notice a dramatic difference in my mood when I don’t take them. Omega 3s are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They are essential fatty acids that the body cannot make for itself. There are two EFAs (essential fatty acids) Omega 3 and Omega 6. Omega 6 fatty
acids have been growing in prevalence in modern diets. Some research suggests that too many Omega 6 fats can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. They are in margarines, cakes, some fast foods, dressings, nuts… the list goes on. Many studies are now showing us that we need more Omega 3s instead.

Foods that provide Omega 3s include flax seeds, walnuts and green vegetables. However, our bodies need to convert Omega 3s into the active form that the body can use called EPA or DHA. The body is not very efficient at doing this. It is estimated only 5 per cent of flax oil is converted to EPA and DHA. Shellfish and oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and anchovies already have EPA and DHA in its required form but how many of us eat oily fish three times a week or feed it to our children?

Scientists are still working to reveal how Omega 3s work during brain development, learning and cognition. Dr Alex Richardson has been researching this area for years. She is the author of They Are What You Feed Them, in which she talks about the effect a lack of Omegas has on children’s behaviourand development.

eskimo kids

I give James Eskimo-3 (visit eskimo3.ie for stockists) kids everyday as it combines the unique stable fish oil, Eskimo-3, with Omega 6, Omega 9, vitamin D and vitamin E. I used to add it to yogurts, porridge, smoothies and even spread it on toast to get it into him but now he is used to the taste and takes a tablespoon every morning. A lack of EPA and DHA affects all parts of our body including our bones, blood, organs, skin, hair and mental health. They might be only one piece of the jigsaw but they are a very important piece.