Reversing Metabolic Syndrome

One of the new buzz phrases in the medical community is “metabolic syndrome."  Metabolic syndrome stands for an individual having a combination of 3 or more of the following:

  • Waist circumference > 35 inches (88 centimeters) for women or > 40 inches (102 centimeters) for men
  • Blood pressure greater than 130/85 mm/Hg
  • HDL (good) cholesterol less than 50 for women or below 40 for men
  • Fasting blood glucose greater than 100 mg/dL, 
  • Triglycerides greater than 150 mg/dL

Metabolic syndrome has good reason to be gaining attention, as an estimated 1 in 4 Americans currently has it, placing them at a 3-fold risk of getting cardiovascular disease. Not surprisingly, it also puts them at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The frightening diagnosis of metabolic syndrome causes patients a great deal of anxiety, from not knowing what to do next, to a collection of costly medications.

The good news is that there’s a catch:

In most cases, metabolic syndrome is completely reversible, even without the use of any medications! The secret is a sensible nutrition plan along with cardiovascular and resistance exercise. By losing weight this way, each of the 5 risk factors for metabolic syndrome can improve. In fact, the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Journal published a study by Case et al. that included a group of 125 people with metabolic syndrome who had dramatic results in less than 16 weeks using a low calorie nutrition plan and exercise. By the end of the study, the group, who averaged having 3 out of the 5 risk factors, went from levels well above the cutoff point for metabolic syndrome to levels well below the cutoff point. In addition, many of the subjects no longer had metabolic syndrome at the end of the study and this all occurred in less than 4 months!

The costs of joining a specialized program designed to treat metabolic syndrome may be significant, but in reality, we should consider how much money is be saved by not having to buy insulin, cholesterol medications or hypertension medications for a lifetime. Even more importantly, incur the cost of heart or kidney surgery. 

The key is to look at being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome less like a disease and more like a second chance. 

I urge you to take your second chance at health and make the most of it!

In good health,


Case, C. C., Jones, P. H., Nelson, K., O’Brian Smith, E., & Ballantyne, M. J. (2002). Impact of weight loss on the metabolic syndrome. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 4, 407-414. 

(Case, Jones, Nelson, O’Brian Smith & Ballantyne, 2002)

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