In part one of this series, I discussed the underlying factors that are contributing to the epidemic of Diabesity, otherwise known as Metabolic Syndrome with obesity. In this post, I’d like to share some thoughts on a few solutions that can prevent and reverse these conditions.
Frequent Complaints and Problems Contributing to Obesity
- Lack of energy/fatigue
- Exercise intolerance due to mitchondrial dysfunction
- Muscle aches and joint pains
- Weight loss resistance
- Food cravings
- GI disturbances
- Difficulty sleeping
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling stressed
The standard recommendations most doctors hand their overweight, diabetic patients are “well, you just need to eat less and exercise more.” But it can be really difficult to eat well and exercise more when we are fighting carb cravings and fatigue due to mitochondrial dysfunction or when we are too anxious or depressed to eat the foods we know we should and get to the gym. We can improve metabolic health by improving the functioning of our mitochondria, which are the energy producing powerhouses of our cells. Some of the nutrients that are beneficial in regenerating our mitochondria and improving energy production include coenzyme Q10, carnitine, ribose, magnesium, omega 3, and alpha lipoid acid.
Common Prescriptions for the Complaints and Problems Associated with Obesity
More often than not, most conventional doctors jump to pharmaceuticals to palliate patient complaints rather than addressing the underlying issues. Some of the more common drugs used include
- Tylenol or COX 2 inhibitors
- H2 Blockers and proton pump inhibitors
- Sleeping pills
- Anti-anxiety meds
- Anti-psychotic meds
- Mood stabilizers
Unfortunately, none of these prescriptions really treat the underlying cause of diabesity, which is known to be a condition of improper diet and lifestyle. The reality is that sometimes its just easier to throw a med at a patient. Educating on the virtues of proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep is time consuming and truthfully, often falls on deaf ears. Many just want a quick fix to the predicament they are currently in, but the reality is that sometimes the answer is for them to do the exact opposite of what they have been currently doing that lead them to this place and do it consistently for the rest of their lives.
I recently saw a patient at our school clinic with uncontrolled Type II diabetes and centralized abdominal obesity. Her physical exam showed severe neuropathy of the hands and feet, chronic foot ulcers that would not heal, periodontal disease, several tooth abscesses and teeth that had fallen out, high blood pressure despite several medications, and fungal overgrowth in all of her toe nails. All of these findings can be related to uncontrolled blood sugar. Some of the medications she was on included a cholesterol lowering drug, several drugs to treat her hypertension, an anti-depressant, an anti-histamine, a sleeping medication, and a drug to help control her blood sugar. She had already had one heart attack in the past.
This poor woman is in a real mess with not just her health, but also her livelihood. She’s finding it very difficult to find work being as ill as she is, which makes her depression even worse. Her 18 year old daughter has had to step in to care for her and try to make sure she takes her medications at least once per day. When we asked why she wasn’t taking her medications as prescribed or following the diet that her doctors had recommended, her answer was “because I’m lazy”. Her husband is a medical doctor so she is well aware of the risks of not managing her conditions properly. For a person who knows that they are at very high risk for a second heart attack and a foot amputation to claim that they are too “lazy” to care for themselves makes me wonder what is keeping this woman stuck in her pattern of being sick.
I’m not sure how much progress we will make with her, since most of the treatments we use involve diet and lifestyle changes. I’ve found that sometimes no amount of advice can help until the person recognizes why they are experiencing their present unwanted state of illness.
Botanical Support for the Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome:
Adrenal Support: Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
Pancreatic Support: Black plum (Jambolana syzigium), Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridum)
Nervine Support: St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
A liquid blend can be formulated by a naturopathic doctor to quickly and efficiently restore proper functioning of the pancreas, liver, and adrenal glands to regulate blood sugar and restore nerve function
Nutritional Support for Metabolic Syndrome
- Treating inflammation with fish oil, curcumin, and resveratrol
- Normalizing immune function by restoring optimal levels of Vitamin D
- Treating oxidative stress with full spectrum antioxidants like tocotrienols and tocopherols from vitamin E, curcumin, garlic, ginkgo biloba, quercitin, grape seed extract and lycopene
- Treating hypercoagulation risk with proteolytic enzymes like nattokinases and serrazimes
- Treating elevated insulin with selenium, chromium, biotin, alpha lipoic acid, taurine, and green tea extract
- Treating inflammatory liver disease with nutrients such as milk thistle, ox bile, beet powder, Vitamin A, B6 and B12, N-acetyl cysteine, and sulphorophane
- Lowering hypertension with taurine, magnesium, NAC, hawthorne, lipoid acid, pomegranate extract, zinc and vanadium
- Lowering homocysteine with B6, folate, and B12
Diet – And of course a low glycemic, anti-inflammatory diet, which makes a paleo diet a perfect choice. A paleo diet provides all the key vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and anti-oxidants that are necessary for our bodies to function at their best. A 28 day detoxification program is also a great idea to ensure optimal functioning of the metabolic pathways.
Exercise – Exercising at a low to moderate intensity for at least an hour each day will dramatically improve insulin sensitivity and help to lower blood sugar, not to mention the benefits for weight loss. Once conditioning and fitness levels improves and body mass lowers, higher intensity exercises like weight lifting and interval training can be incorporated.
Sleep – Ensuring that we are getting proper sleep is also crucial to reversing these metabolic conditions, as our circadian rhythm is intimately involved in blood sugar metabolism and hormonal regulations. The research shows that sleeping in a completely pitch black room with no electronics, cell phones, WIFI or TV’s around is best. If you need an alarm clock, use a battery operated clock or use an outlet as far from your bed as possible.
I could go even deeper into the numerous possible solutions, like stress reduction and environmental toxicants, but if you made significant changes in just these four areas — diet, exercise, sleep, and smart supplementation with the nutrients I outlined above, you would be amazed at how far these recommendations will take you in the prevention and treatment of Metabolic Syndrome.
~ Health doesn’t happen in the Doctors office, it happens in our kitchens, in our homes, where we work, and where we play ~