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Syndrome X (i.e. Metabolic Syndrome)
I am excited to be back and share more important information with you than I ever could have five years ago. I have been working recently as a nutrition trainer with one of the most well respected integrative medical practitioner's in the world, a gentleman by the name of Dr. Stephen Holt.
It wasn't until I began to read his literature and spend some time in his presence that I could fully understand the depth of his knowledge and immensity of his foresight. Dr. Holt is one of the preeminent researchers, authors, and educators on the Metabolic Syndrome X.
You may be asking yourself what is Syndrome X? I was also one of those people who had never heard of it, but I am sure many times in my life, especially during my long bulking phases I used to endure, I was bordering on it or was afflicted with it.
As bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts we often focus on the science of protein or the manipulation of carbohydrates, which is very important and specific to our goals. But often they are short or mid-range goals and rarely focus on our future, especially our longevity.
Metabolic Syndrome was first identified by Dr. Gerald Reaven in the 1980's, but even after all these years it still has not come to the forefront of American culture, and for that I am saddened.
| Metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medical disorders that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It affects a great number of people, and prevalence increases with age.
Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X affects about 75 million Americans, or 1 in 4 people; it is the combination of being overweight or obese, having high blood sugar, having high blood cholesterol, and being resistant to the hormone insulin.
You do not need all four of these characteristics to be considered having the metabolic syndrome but a combination of two or three and you are definitely at risk. Metabolic syndrome is basically a pre-diabetic state, the state that eventually almost always leads to type 2 diabetes or as commonly known as adult onset diabetes.
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The Dangers Of Excess Insulin
To understand the dangers of excess insulin we must first understand what happens from a metabolic standpoint. When we eat carbohydrates our body breaks down the food to smaller substances which are primarily glucose or more commonly known as blood sugar.
As blood sugar makes its way into the blood stream the pancreas is signaled to release the hormone called insulin to act as a transporter for the glucose to enter cells of our body. Some blood sugar is burned off immediately as fuel while the rest are driven by insulin into stored energy or fat cells.
When we become Type 2 diabetic our bodies become more resistant to insulin, thus you will often hear the term insulin resistance. This is when there is ample blood sugar present in the bloodstream and your body has much harder time utilizing insulin thus rendering its functions very ineffective.
In turn you will have much more insulin floating around your bloodstream, which causes type 2 diabetes, and then eventually untreated all the serious chronic diseases related to this affliction.
There is a growing concern because many young children are now, because of the typical Western diet and its reliance on fast and highly processed foods, shown to be in this pre-diabetic state or having syndrome X.
It is no mistake that the fast food industry has our young people as a target market for their advertising campaigns. They are the most influential population in our society and it is a shame that these ads bombard them on a routine basis.
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These concerns are real and Syndrome X ultimately can lead to coronary artery and heart disease, and despite what some may believe heart disease is still the number one killer amongst Americans today. So we need to put more emphasis on our health and lay the foundation for longevity before we succumb to the serious dangers of the typical Western diet that has besieged us.
It has puzzled me for years that we cannot have nutrition implemented in our schools as a primary subject. With so many overweight kids turning into overweight adults leading to chronic debilitating disease like heart disease and cancer when are we going to wake up?
We have higher incidences of heart disease and cancer than any other developed society yet we are the wealthiest nation in the world. Without ruffling any feathers it would seem too ignorant for us not to think that someone would only not educate us about sound nutritional principals which could save our lives, because of some kind of hidden agenda.
Adhere To A Sound Nutrition Plan
As fitness enthusiasts and especially bodybuilders we often try to make excuses while we are trying to add muscle to eat that juicy cheeseburger, or when we carb up eat large plates of nutrition devoid, insulin raising white pasta.
We scream health and fitness but at times it can seem to be furthest from the truth. A diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates also causes our ph levels to rise, thus making our bodies much more acidic. If our goal is to perform at our best we should be including many more fruits and vegetables to sway us to a more alkaline state, one that allows us less body inflammation which has been shown to lead to numerous health conditions.
The real key message I want to get across to the athlete and especially the competitive bodybuilder who most often have intense cravings, is after we are done competing and maintaining that low body-fat for a competition, make sure you adhere to sound nutritional principals.
There are 25 percent of people who have this metabolic problem which is an extremely high and quite alarming number. We need to rely more on healthy plant based foods high in fiber, because fiber has been shown to help decrease significantly, the harmful cholesterol or (LDL), and raise good cholesterol or (HDL).
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Also contrary to popular belief, and even to my own amazement and understanding there are many high quality, muscle-building protein based plant foods. Some may be combined with brown rice to give a great tasting cholesterol lowering, weight managing and very satisfying meal.
Hemp protein, not from the same plant species yielding marijuana but in the same family, is a great source of high quality complete protein. My goal is not to turn you into a vegetarian because then I would be a hypocrite because I am not one, it is to introduce you to a world of wholesome healthy food that will help you live a longer, happier, and healthier life.
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This is why most of us get into the fitness arena to begin with, we are serious about our health and the way we look and feel. We need to take care of our bodies because we only have this one body to take care of.
We cannot see what's going on inside our bodies and that is sometimes the problem. We are so concerned about our outward appearance, and judging ourselves by looks that we forget the importance of the inner working of our complex beings. We must be more conscience of our body chemistry and its importance in the maintenance of our health for years to come.
There is a positive spin to my message though, we can drastically reduce or even eliminate Syndrome X through a healthy diet as well as key nutraceuticals.
Click Image To Enlarge.
We Need To Take Care Of Our Bodies Because
We Only Have This One Body To Take Care Of.
According to Dr. Holt a fraction of oat soluble fiber called beta glucan's have been shown in peer reviewed clinical research to reduce cholesterol by about 20%. He goes on to say that nutrients like chromium and vanadium have been shown to be very positive in smoothing out of blood sugar, and an extract of white kidney bean could act as a starch blocker. This starch blocker would aid in reducing the amount of carbohydrates metabolized thus reducing the massive insulin spike that follows.
Lastly Dr. Holt speaks about antioxidants and there role in fighting Syndrome X. As we all know by now that free radicals are doing some serious damage to our bodies, and they are ever present and in most cases unavoidable. Air pollution, chemical by-products, food additives are all bombarding us on a daily basis and we should all take antioxidants, mostly through fruits and vegetables and in some cases supplement form as well.
I hope everyone can now take home some more awareness of exactly what Syndrome X is and its danger to our society. I am also sure everyone at least knows someone with Syndrome X, so please take great care of your body; not just for a contest or an athletic event, lets think long term.
We want to stay healthy for our children, and see their children. We want to age gracefully, not surrender to disease because we didn't give our bodies the proper nutrition, with longevity as our primary concern.
The next time you're in a crowd of people, say a sporting event or concert be aware and look around you, I bet now you can actually see what Syndrome X is and how unbelievable it is that you haven't noticed it before, it wasn't your fault, that's the way it was intended.