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exercise and a healthy diet

How to Beat Metabolic Syndrome

Approximately 34 percent of North Americans 20 or older have it, and overweight children as young as five.

C. Leigh Broadhurst, PhD

Metabolic syndrome describes an association of health conditions that greatly increase risks for Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic inflammation.

This is a complex, multifactorial disorder that involves many genes plus environmental and dietary impacts. I would argue that metabolic syndrome is not a disease, but rather the predictable response of our 100,000-year-old physiologies to chronic “high-calorie malnutrition.” High-calorie malnutrition results from heavy consumption of refined/processed foods, which don’t contain enough vitamins, trace element, and fiber to metabolize the calories provided. Here, I’ve outlined key points for preventing or reversing metabolic syndrome.

Lean and Mean

Obesity is the major cause of metabolic syndrome. What reduces your risk is having a high ratio of lean to fat tissue. 300-pound body builders don’t have the syndrome, because they have extra muscle, not extra fat! The more muscles you have—and the more you use them—the lower your risks for insulin resistance and high cholesterol

Simple solution: Combine weight training with any low-fat, high-protein diet.

Sluggish Without Supplements?

It’s been overlooked that extreme fatigue is symptomatic of scurvy: Millions of people who feel overtired may simply be vitamin C deficient. In a 2006 study, low vitamin C resulted in increased fatigue, shortness of breath, wheezing, and a 25 percent reduction in fat burning during exercise compared to control. Supplementing with 500 milligrams (mg) C daily increased fat burning four-fold.

Diets low in magnesium and calcium are associated with adult obesity. Low magnesium specifically interferes with muscle, cardiac, and blood sugar metabolism. A definitive USDA study found that moderate magnesium deficiency greatly reduces exercise capacity. A calcium-deficient diet predisposes one to store body fat, because chronically low calcium is a “drag” on overall metabolism.

Now widespread, vitamin D deficiency is linked to an increased risk for metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes. Moderate sunlight exposure alone drops your risk of metabolic syndrome significantly.

Another consequence of high-calorie malnutrition, L-carnitine deficiency makes it difficult to burn fat for energy. Supplementing carnitine can speed fat loss and help reverse insulin resistance.

Simple solution: 1,000 mg calcium, 500 mg magnesium, 3,000 mg C, 3,000 IU D, and 3,000 mg L-carnitine daily.

The Evolutionary Diet

For 99.8 percent of our time as humans, we ate unprocessed wild foods. Our diets had no cereal grains, refined sugars, soybeans, peanuts, dairy products, vegetable oils, or distilled alcohol.

To reverse metabolic syndrome, consume 60 to 100 grams (g) lean protein daily, including fish or shellfish twice weekly, and take 2 to 4 g fish oil daily. The EPA in fish oil helps reduce the formation of clots within the bloodstream, and the DHA stabilizes the heart muscle against arrhythmias.

Eat produce at every meal! Use fruits and starchy vegetables (such as peas, lima beans, winter squash, potatoes, and beets) as your major carbohydrate sources.

Simple solution: Eliminate wheat from your diet. Take fish oil, 2 tablespoons flaxmeal, 2 to 3 teaspoons bee pollen, antioxidant supplements, and vegetable juice daily.

About C. Leigh Broadhurst, PhD

C. Leigh Broadhurst, PhD, is a research geochemist and geobotanist. Her publications span scientific fields from high temperature magmatic simulations to the origin of Type 2 diabetes. In addition, she participates in a cross-disciplinary scientific collaboration that investigates the impact of brain-specific nutrition on the origin of modern human intelligence. Dr. Broadhurst has been an author, lecturer, and consultant in the natural products industry for 18 years.