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Metabolic Syndrome

By Dicken Weatherby, ND

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Metabolic Syndrome (also known as syndrome "x") is a term that was first used by Gerald Reaven, M.D., a researcher at Stanford University, to describe a cluster of interrelated symptoms that seemed to appear in individuals and increase their risk of cardiovascular disease. The syndrome is characterized by the following: high serum triglycerides, high cholesterol, decreased HDL cholesterol, increased serum insulin, high blood pressure, and glucose intolerance. The underlying factor in Metabolic syndrome elevated insulin levels and insulin resistance. All other factors are secondary to this.

Insulin resistance occurs when the insulin released from the pancreas is no longer able to “unlock” the door that allows the glucose to move into the cell. It is caused by the over-consumption of refined carbohydrates, sugars and trans fatty acids in the form of hydrogenated oil. Under normal circumstances the body is able to break down carbohydrates into glucose, release adequate amounts of insulin and up-take the glucose into the cell where it is converted into ATP. Metabolic Syndrome starts when the body can no longer handle the over-consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugars day in and day out that causes the insulin levels in the blood to remain high and the cells to become less and less responsive and more and more resistant to insulin’s effect. The net effect is that glucose levels remain high, which increases the likelihood of protein glycosylation and oxidative stress from free radical production, both of which have been linked with aging and the development of chronic degenerative diseases. Excessive insulin or hyperinsulinemia is a risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis, type II diabetes, obesity, some forms of dementia, and other diseases.

The insulin resistance that occurs sets the stage for the development of more serious metabolic issues. Blood triglycerides cholesterol and glucose levels begin to rise, the HDL levels begin to drop and the patient begins to put on weight and their blood pressure begins to rise.

metabolic syndrome, along with hypoglycemia, increased insulin secretion, and type II diabetes are all progressions of the same problem. The over-consumption of refined carbohydrates, sugars, and hydrogenated oils causes insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance takes many years to become severe. As alternative physicians we can play an essential role in preventing this cascade from occurring by paying attention to some of the early warning signs: slowly increasing blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, decreasing HDL levels and by monitoring blood pressure. It is essential to reduce your patient’s intake of refined carbohydrates, sugars, trans fatty acids and other harmful compounds. By doing this with your patients in their 30s or 40s, you can reverse insulin resistance and prevent diabetes and coronary heart disease.

© 2004 Dicken Weatherby, ND


Dr. Dicken Weatherby is a graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. He is the co-author of the best-selling book "Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis- Clinical Laboratory Testing from a Functional Perspective". To learn more about Dr. Weatherby's functional diagnosis books and sign up for FREE functional diagnosis tips, tools, and techniques, visit his web site at

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