Also known as Metabolic Syndrome, Syndrome X is a generalized disorder with four defining symptoms: hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), hypertension (high blood pressure) and central obesity (a big gut!).
The common factor in these four symptoms is insulin resistance caused by a diet high in simple carbohydrates. With insulin resistance, sufficient or even excess insulin is produced by the pancreas but it is unable to move the glucose into the muscle cells. This leaves high glucose blood levels which triggers the pancreas to produce even more insulin in an attempt to lower the blood sugar. And it is the high insulin levels remaining in the blood which leads to the other symptoms.
Excess insulin in the blood, called hyperinsulinism (HI), stimulates the kidneys to retain sodium and excrete potassium and magnesium, and increases growth of smooth muscle cells, all of which contribute to hypertension. HI, through many different biochemical pathways, stimulates the production of triglycerides, excess cholesterol and LDL (the “bad” lipoprotein), while limiting production of HDL (the “good” lipoprotein). Other “symptoms” of HI include coronary artery disease (heart attacks and strokes), inflammation (arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc.), and acid reflux (“heartburn”). In future columns I will explore each of these in more detail. Source: “The relationship between insulin and glucagon in the pathogenesis of Syndrome X” by Michael P. Ciell, R.Ph.
It makes sense that health problems caused by diet are best treated with diet. Correct the underlying cause (hyperinsulinism) and the symptoms (hyperglycemia, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and obesity) should clear up with no undesirable side effects. The safest way I know to accomplish this is with a ketogenic diet designed to preserve muscle mass.
This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.