The Nature of Metabolic Syndrome and Associated Risks
Overweight and obese individuals are at risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Its symptoms include hypertension and diabetes, which can lead to potentially fatal complications. Additional indicators that may point to a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome include elevated levels of serum triglycerides and reduced levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein), often referred to as “good cholesterol”. HDL plays a crucial role in absorbing the so-called “bad cholesterol”, and transporting it to the liver, facilitating its safe removal from the body.
While each of the individual conditions – high blood pressure, diabetes and hypercholesterolaemia – can elevate the risk of heart disease and stroke, the presence of all three significantly amplifies these risks.
The Primary Cause of Metabolic Syndrome
Diet plays a pivotal role in the development of the pathologies associated with metabolic syndrome. For example, excessive salt consumption can lead to increased blood pressure over time. Similarly, a diet rich in fatty foods can contribute to increased blood cholesterol levels. Surprisingly, it is mainly dietary fats, rather than sugars and starches, that contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes.
When fat buildup occurs in muscle and liver cells, its toxic breakdown products and free radicals interfere with the process that would normally signal the need to release more insulin. When insulin resistance occurs, glucose levels in the bloodstream can rise uncontrollably, resulting in symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, fatigue, blurred vision and increased infection risk.
The chief culprits behind these dietary challenges are highly-processed foods which tend to disrupt the action of the hormones that regulate our appetite, often leaving individuals feeling hungry even after a meal. Unfortunately, the actual cost of cheap convenience foods has led to a significant increase in obesity rates, affecting more than fifty percent of Europe’s population.
The Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome
Given the known correlation between obesity and the syndrome’s main symptoms, healthcare providers often prescribe appropriate medications. These may include statins to lower cholesterol, diuretics or beta blockers to manage blood pressure and insulin injections or oral hypoglycaemic agents to control diabetes. Patients are generally also advised to adopt a healthier diet and increase their exercise activities, which can help prevent excessive weight gain and its associated risks.
However, maintaining consistent dietary and exercise habits can be challenging for many individuals. Fortunately, there is now a less demanding alternative for the treatment and prevention of this pervasive syndrome.
Weight Management and Glucose Control in Metabolic Syndrome
The human gut hosts trillions of microorganisms that play a crucial role not only in aiding digestion but also in various aspects of physical and mental health. A poor diet can deplete these beneficial microorganisms, leading to health issues, including diabetes.
In 2004, a Dutch professor identified a new species of bacterium, subsequently named Akkermansia muciniphila. Later studies have revealed that gut levels of this bacterium are significantly lower in obese individuals compared to those at a healthy weight. Moreover, it has been associated with improved insulin sensitivity.
The Akkermansia Company has developed an EFSA-approved food supplement designed to support weight management and glucose control. If you or a family member is concerned about metabolic syndrome, we encourage you to follow this link for more detailed information.