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Over 100 Diseases are Traced to Metabolic Syndrome

by Dr. Karen Clickner


In the last year a number of clinical studies have emerged linking many of our most common diseases to years of unregulated blood sugar. Metabolic Syndrome (previously Metabolic Syndrome X) is the first step towards diabetes, but not the first step in blood sugar dysregulation. Studies are telling us that prediabetic conditions including insulin resistance are preceded by microcirculation problems. This tells us that changes in skin, the eyes, thought and filtration organs like the liver and kidneys can be warning signs of blood sugar dysregulation long before our blood tests tell us. Hypertension that will not regulate is another key indicator.

Microvascular dysfunction is a chronic restriction of blood flow to the smaller blood vessels of the body. These trail out from larger vessels into the tissues and cells of the body. Curious as to whether you might have a microvascular problem? Try this: stand on one foot in bare feet with your arms crossed against your chest and see how long you can hold it without falling over. Now a bit of shakiness is fine, but no falling over for at least 40 seconds. The longer you can do it, the healthier your microvascular circulation is!

Now why is Metabolic Syndrome becoming an epidemic? The biggest reason is food. Microcirculation is where nutrients are taken to cells and the smaller the vessels, the smaller the particles need to be to transport. Many of the foods we eat do not break down completely, many inspire inflammation, many clog the vessels of the liver or seep out inappropriately to the bloodstream. We are overeaters. We eat too often which forces our bodies to create constant insulin to manage carbohydrates, even the healthiest of carbs. We have created a world of unregulated substances that permeate even gluten-free foods and “natural” foods.

Unregulated nutrients are generally not insulin-regulated and they lack an appropriate “turn-off” mechanism when storage is at capacity. These unregulated substances are the largest dietary factors in burdening our microcirculation and promoting the storage of fat in the liver and surrounding tissue. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a silent conspirator in many illnesses as we age, making management of fat accumulation in the liver a key to long-term health. These four unregulated substances are trans-unsaturated fatty acids (trans-fats), branched-chain amino acids (found in many animal proteins), ethanol (alcohol) and fructose (found in fruits, vegetables and many prepared foods).

The importance of recognizing the long-term consequences of these unregulated substances is to regulate them – limit them in the diet so that they are not a high percentage of our nutrient intake. High fructose is also the largest dietary factor in gout and hyperuricemia. Another study showed that persistent organic pollutants are linked to the rise in Type II Diabetes. This is because a range of environmental chemicals can act as endocrine disruptors and obesogens. Organochlorines was one important chemical studied in this category.

The solution is to limit these unregulated substances and shift our diet natural fibers of flax seed, nigella seeds and slippery along with proteins low in BCAAs and avoiding trans fats. Avoiding juices and alcohol in favor of water and green tea can make a difference. Then beginning with a medicinal program including nigella, cinnamon (verum), fenugreek and Bitter Melon (karela) daily along with herbs to balance current health challenges, can reduce the burden on the liver and microcirculation. The most important thing is to not get distracted by individual symptoms or illnesses and focus on the driving force: blood sugar.

Dr. Karen Clickner is the owner of Conscious Body Natural Medicine with locations in Holden and Brookline. She is a Nationally Registered Naturopathic Physician with more than 30 years of experience specializing in Mood Disorders, Infertility and Immunological Illness.


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