Originally published on phlabs.org
We are officially well into the new year, and many of us are on a mission to be more proactive about our health. If you are currently overweight or obese but are not sure if you have any additional health issues (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.), I would highly suggest making a doctor’s appointment in order to determine whether you have metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is not a disease. In a nutshell, individuals with metabolic syndrome have a certain conditions that puts them at risk for health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Having these conditions may even put you at a greater risk of developing dementia and other cognitive issues. One source refers to individuals with metabolic syndrome as having the “perfect storm” for some serious health issues.
There are varying opinions in the medical field regarding what is considered proper diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, however, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that in order to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have a minimum of three of the following metabolic risk factors:
Abdominal obesity or being “apple shaped.” Also called visceral fat, excess belly fat can wrap around your vital organs and increase your risk of developing diabetes and fatty liver disease.
High triglyceride levels (type of fat found in the blood).
Low HDL (good cholesterol) level.
High blood pressure (hypertension).
High fasting blood sugar. Moderately high blood sugar could be a sign of early diabetes.
Unfortunately, metabolic syndrome is pretty common in the United States. Reportedly, more than a third of American adults have metabolic syndrome. And many may be unaware that they even have this condition.
The good news is that by adopting the right lifestyle habits, like physical activity and eating healthily, we can prevent, control and, in some cases, even reverse metabolic syndrome.
It is also important to note that people with metabolic syndrome need to be especially aware of their nutrient levels. Sometimes they may need to take more than the recommended amounts of certain nutrients.
One recent study produced findings suggesting that those with metabolic syndrome may need more vitamin C to “break cycle of antioxidant depletion.”
Antioxidants “are man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage,” (NIH). Fruits and vegetables are very nutrient-dense and rich in antioxidants. Vitamins A, C and E are examples of antioxidants as well as minerals such as selenium and manganese.
(You can find antioxidants in supplement form, but it’s always best to get nutrients and antioxidants from the foods that you eat).
A report discussing the recent study findings says, “...the type of eating [consuming high-calorie, nutrient-void processed foods] that leads to metabolic syndrome can prompt imbalances in the gut microbiome, with impaired gut function contributing to toxins in the bloodstream, resulting in vitamin C depletion, which subsequently impairs the trafficking of vitamin E.”
"If you don't have the vitamin C, the vitamin E gets lost and then you lose both of those antioxidants and end up in this vicious cycle of depleting your antioxidant protection," said a professor of public health and human sciences, referenced in the report.
"People with metabolic syndrome can eat the same amount of vitamin C as people without metabolic syndrome but have lower plasma concentrations of vitamin C.”
In healthy individuals, the recommended daily amount of vitamin C is between 65 to 90 milligrams. A medium-sized orange has about 70 milligrams of vitamin C. But if you have metabolic syndrome, you may need much more vitamin C than 65 to 90 milligrams per day.
There is not an exact number of how much vitamin C a person with metabolic syndrome needs, but some reports say that a person can have as much as 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C without entering dangerous territory. Remember, having too much of a certain nutrient can be just as bad as having too little of a certain nutrient.
The best approach is to talk to your doctor about what your specific vitamin C needs are. Your doctor or a competent healthcare professional can administer a nutrient test, which will detect any nutrient deficiencies or imbalances. From there, this medical professional can help you make the necessary dietary changes and/or suggest relevant and quality supplements including intravenous supplementation.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from all of this is that metabolic syndrome is preventable. So if you already have metabolic syndrome, don’t be discouraged. You can improve or maybe even reverse your condition if you really get on a good path of eating right, making sure you have enough nutrients and antioxidants and getting enough physical activity.
Enjoy your healthy life!