This condition, metabolic syndrome, isn’t one that you would typically hear about. Metabolic syndrome is the precursor to type 2 diabetes.

In these conditions changes to insulin sensitivity and, later, insulin resistance. Insulin resistance results in reduced uptake and utilisation of glucose by your cells and, because of this, an increased amount of glucose in your blood.

High cortisol levels and increased adiposity, fat storage, are the two main mechanisms that lead to the development of metabolic syndrome.

Cortisol increases the amount of glucose in your blood and stimulates the production of more glucose from protein. Stress up-regulates the action of cortisol causes changes in liver function too.

When you are stressed, your body is geared towards creating more glucose, but it also causes insulin resistance. A stressed body doesn’t store glucose.

Too much glucose in your bloodstream leads to further complications including increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and developing type 2 diabetes.

Metabolic Syndrome: Testing

Testing for metabolic syndrome is very similar to testing for type 2 diabetes. Both occur following changes to insulin sensitivity. The following irregular results, if there are three or more, indicate metabolic syndrome:

  • Elevated fasting glucose
  • Elevated glucose tolerance test
  • Elevated insulin
  • Increased hip: waist ratio or BMI
  • High blood pressure
  • High triglycerides
  • Low HDL

Improving your Health

Knowing that you have metabolic syndrome, or might be developing it, can be daunting – but it is also a window of opportunity. Knowing where the condition leads means that you can take steps to improve your health before it gets to that point. 

  • Modify lifestyle and diet:
    • Increase your intake of essential fatty acids with a good quality fish oil like Nordic naturals,
    • Reduce alcohol consumption,
    • Increase the amount and variety of fresh foods consumed, especially organic vegetables; try to eat a variety of different coloured vegetables as well as leafy greens.
  • Increase activity levels – this helps to improve your uptake and utilisation of glucose and reduce how much is stored as fat,
  • Improve self-care to help reduce mental stress and thus, regulate cortisol levels, you may try:
    • Orthoplex White MagTaur Xcell is a lovely supplement that supports your energy levels and neurotransmitter production to help you manage and recover from stress,
    • Withania, Oats, and Lemon balm are just some of the herbs that can help to support your nervous system and improve your mood.
  • Manage sugar cravings, improve blood glucose regulation, and support insulin sensitivity:
    • Cinnamon, Gymnemia, St Mary’s Thistle and Garlic are just a few of the herbs that can help here. 

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