Reducing Metabolic Syndrome

Although the syndrome is more common with age, new studies show that eating quality fats
and nutrients slowed and reversed the disorder.

Healthway Organic Food Store Bulletin May/June 2009
Reference: European Journal of Nutrition: 2008, Vol. 47, No. 4, 210-6.

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Metabolic syndrome or Syndrome X includes an oversize waist, high blood sugar and pressure, and more bad fats and fewer good fats in the die and blood.  When these factors combine, risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes increases.  Here are a few of the latest finding:


Magnesium:  In a study of over 500 adults, aged 60 or older, those who got more magnesium from diet were much less likely to have metabolic syndrome, had better blood sugar levels on an empty stomach, and had healthier body mass index compared to those who got less magnesium.


Selenium:  In a study of 100 healthy, normal-weight young adults, average age 21, doctors found that those with higher levels of selenium had less risk for metabolic syndrome.  Doctors thought an immune system protein, complement component 3 or C3, is an early inflammatory sign of metabolic syndrome, and found that those with high selenium levels had low C3 levels.  However, extremely high levels of selenium are fatal.


Cactus fiber:  About 60 oversight or obese women with metabolic syndrome, aged 20 to 35, took 1.6 grams of cactus fiber (NeOpuntia) per meal, or a placebo, eating a balanced diet with limited fats.  After six weeks, 39 percent of those who took NeOpuntia no longer had metabolic syndrome, compared to 8 percent for placebo.  In women over 45 who took NeOpuntia, HDL, the “good” cholesterol, increased, while HDL, fell in the placebo group overall.


Omega-3 fatty acids:  In a study of metabolic syndrome factors, researchers evaluated the diets of about 700 Inupiat Eskimos, aged 34 to 75, and found that, compared to those who are fewer omega3s, those who consumed higher levels of omega-3s from fish and sea mammals had lower blood pressure and blood fats, better blood sugar, and higher levels of “good” HDL.  Doctors noted that higher HDL levels lower heart disease risk.


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