The X Factor

the-x-factor-metabolic-syndrome-baucominstitute

We’re always looking for the next big thing but the next big thing is already here – Metabolic Syndrome X – the biggest problem in America! The USA has the highest percentage of obese in the world, 34% female and 27.7% male, 35% of whom are Mexicans and 40% African American males.

What is Metabolic Syndrome X? In our blog last week, we shared that this syndrome is a result of having three or more metabolic risk factors: insulin resistance, elevated blood pressure, abdominal obesity, high lipids – TG, LDL, etc.

“94% of the rats who were allowed to choose between sugar and cocaine, chose sugar. Even rats who were addicted to cocaine switched their preference to sugar!”

Here are the symptoms:

  • Borderline high or normal blood glucose
  • High triglycerides (above 2.3 mmol/l)
  • Low HDL (good cholesterol)
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Excess weight resistant to dieting
  • Skin tags
  • Osteoarthritis

According to researchers at Yale University School of Medicine, insulin resistance in skeletal muscle leads to changes in energy storage and insulin-resistant individuals rerouted carbohydrates to liver fat production. This leads to elevated triglycerides in the blood by as much as 60% while lowering HDL (good) cholesterol by 20%. In a study done by Yale, participants who were young and lean, with no excess abdominal fat became insulin resistant. The good news is, they found that insulin resistance in skeletal muscle can be treated with one simple method – exercise!

Let’s talk about sugar for a moment, because that it ultimately the biggest culprit in the cause of The X Factor.

The average American eats 142 pounds of sugar a year, or about 2.5 pounds each week, a 23% increase over the last 25 years! And most of it is coming from, one guess . . . soft drinks – which includes artificially sweetened drinks as well! In the US, ¼ or 22% of the daily calories are from drinks, according to a report called “What America Drinks.”

According to Drs. Fischer, Hommel, Fiedler, and Bibergeil, in a study done on “reflex mechanism on insulin secretion,”  we are seeing that soft drinks are linked to Metabolic Syndrome:

  • Men and women who drank more than one soda daily had a 48% adjusted higher prevalence
  • insulin level rises in the first minute after the start of a carbohydrate-rich meal, vs glucose level rising in the third minute of a balanced diet
  • An increase in triglyceride levels and LDL
  • Consumption rose 135% of high fructose corn syrup between 1977 and 2001
  • Americans eat an average of 132 calories of high fructose corn syrup a day

In a lab experiment with rats by the University of Bordeaux called “Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward,” 94% of the rats who were allowed to choose between sugar and cocaine, chose sugar. Even rats who were addicted to cocaine switched their preference to sugar!

Obviously, we have to get over our addiction to this satiable substance! In the meantime, many changes have to take place to get this X Factor under control.

Doctors, in weight-loss fields, GP’s, restorative, and otherwise, are all finding that to get this syndrome under control several factors have to take place:

  • Balance glucose/insulin levels
  • Increase metabolism
  • Increase fat burning
  • Create appetite suppression

A study done by Sweden’s Karolinska Institute European Association for the Study of Diabetes found that a natural substance can greatly help in this fight:  Green Tea Catechins or EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). After 5 and 10 weeks of treatment with EGCG, and GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug Avandia, the blood sugar and insulin levels of mice were tested. The researchers found that the mice did just as well on the green tea extract as they did on the drug. The extract has been found to have these benefits:

  • Reduces fat absorption
  • Reduces LDL cholesterol/TG levels
  • Reduces glucose/insulin levels
  • Increases beta oxidation
  • Helps decrease appetite

Which ultimately:

  1. Reduce body weight gain
  2. Reduce body fat accumulation
  3. Stimulate oxidation in the liver

All in all, here are the recommendations by Alexander McLellan, ND, Neuropathic Physician in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and professor at the Canadian School of natural Nutrition and Chief Medical Officer for three clinical research trials in Diabetic Neuropathy in Canada and the US, in treating obesity and Metabolic Syndrome: Check thyroid function, Restrict carbs, Check for food allergies, Keep hydrated, Get stress levels down, Get to a support group and stay educated, Detox, detox, detox! The bottom line? It’s the samo, samo:

  • Eat right
  • Exercise more
  • Don’t rely on a “magic pill”

What do you think?

The “Delicate Butterfly” Thyroid

img_pod_butterfly-little-girl-2603-RTXXX1TContinuing our series on hormones, we next look at the thyroid and the delicate balance it creates to regulate our body. Endocrineweb.com says your thyroid gland is a small gland, normally weighing less than one ounce, located in the front of the neck. It is made up of two halves, called lobes that lie along the windpipe (trachea) and are joined together by a narrow band of thyroid tissue, known as the isthmus. The thyroid is situated just below your “Adams apple” or larynx.

The function of the thyroid gthyroid butterflyland is to take iodine, found in many foods, and convert it into thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4. T3 and T4 are then released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body where they control metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy).Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism. The normal thyroid gland produces about 80% T4 and about 20% T3, however, T3 possesses about four times the hormone “strength” as T4.

thyroidThe thyroid gland is under the control of the pituitary gland, a small gland the size of a peanut at the base of the brain (shown here in orange). When the level of thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) drops too low, the pituitary gland produces Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which stimulates the thyroid gland to produce more hormones. Under the influence of TSH, the thyroid will manufacture and secrete T3 and T4 thereby raising their blood levels. The pituitary senses this and responds by decreasing its TSH production. One can imagine the thyroid gland as a furnace and the pituitary gland as the thermostat. Thyroid hormones are like heat. When the heat gets back to the thermostat, it turns the thermostat off. As the room cools (the thyroid hormone levels drop), the thermostat turns back on (TSH increases) and the furnace produces more heat (thyroid hormones).

The pituitary gland itself is regulated by another gland, known as the hypothalamus (shown in our picture in light blue). The hypothalamus is part of the brain and produces TSH Releasing Hormone (TRH) which tells the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid gland (release TSH). One might imagine the hypothalamus as the person who regulates the thermostat since it tells the pituitary gland at what level the thyroid should be set. (http://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/how-your-thyroid-works)

The thyroid is probably the most common of the glands to become diseased as low thyroid or high thyroid. A properly balanced thyroid gland efficiently burns fat, improves the feeling of wellbeing and helps with brain function. If this doesn’t happen, hormone replacement is prescribed. Indications of a low thyroid might be fatigue, weight issues, cold intolerance, dry skin, thinning or brittle hair and depression. As we age, the thyroid may produce fewer hormones. Testing for a thyroid issue is done using different processes. The most common is a blood test that checks the levels of the hormones of the thyroid (T3, T4 and TSH). These tests will give an accurate account of your thyroid hormone balance.

Because of the wide range of what is considered to be acceptable, many people remain undiagnosed for a thyroid disorder or diagnosed incorrectly. The replacement of thyroid hormones is a unique balancing process. T4 has to be converted to T3. With the appropriate tests, we can combine natural hormones that are tailored to the patient’s individual needs and restore their thyroid hormonal balance as part of their personalized age management plan. As with all hormone replacement treatment plans, proper dosage and scheduled monitoring is essential.

Do you have symptoms you believe are related to the thyroid being out of balance or not functioning properly? Comment below—we can help!