Optimal - The Blog

February 3, 2023

Metabolic Syndrome: Environmental, Dietary, and Lifestyle Risk Factors

Metabolic syndrome may as well be called pre- pre-diabetes...

Fortunately, many things can be done to reverse that headlong dive into type 2 diabetes.

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a collection of metabolic disorders—that is, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, central obesity, and hypertension—and a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by having 3 or more of the following 5 risk factors:

  • Elevated waist circumference (WC ≥80 cm in women and WC ≥ 90 cm in men)
  • Elevated triglycerides (TG ≥ 150 mg/dL or receipt of medication for elevated triglycerides)
  • Low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C < 50 mg/dL in women, HDL-C < 40 mg/dL in men or receipt of medication to increase HDL-C)
  • Elevated blood pressure (systolic blood pressure ≥ 130 mmHg and/or ≥85 mmHg diastolic blood pressure or on antihypertensive drug treatment and a history of hypertension)
  • Elevated fasting glucose (≥100 mg/dL or receipt of medical treatment for elevated glucose) 

In one study of 60,256 individuals, metabolic syndrome was also associated with

  • Higher consumption of high-saturated-fat and high-energy diets
  • Low intake of fruits and vegetables
  • Overuse of tobacco and alcohol
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Oxidative stress
  • Environmental pollutants 
  • Exposure to heavy metals, e.g., lead, mercury, and cadmium
  • Smoking, pollution
  • Inflammation, elevated hs-CRP

The risk of metabolic syndrome was decreased with

  • A healthy diet that includes fresh fruit and an abundance of vegetables, including green vegetables
  • Curcumin, high intake of curry
  • Balanced multivitamin and mineral intake including B complex (especially B1, B2, and B3), vitamin C, and vitamin A
  • Regular exercise

Reference: Duc, Hai Nguyen et al. “Effects of Antioxidant Vitamins, Curry Consumption, and Heavy Metal Levels on Metabolic Syndrome with Comorbidities: A Korean Community-Based Cross-Sectional Study.” Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 10,5 808. 19 May. 2021, doi:10.3390/antiox10050808 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmid/34069726/ This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


Naturopathic and Functional Medicine Insights

Decreasing the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease takes an "all hands on deck" approach that includes 

  • A healthy, balanced diet of whole, unprocessed foods and plenty of purified mineral-rich water
  • Supplementation to fill in the nutrient gaps
  • Reduce or eliminate processed foods and toxins
  • Daily physical activity and weekly structured moderate-intensity exercise
  • An effective stress management approach that may include deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and music therapy
  • Healthy social interaction and communication
  • Evaluation and monitoring of blood chemistry parameters accompanied by the early intervention of suboptimal biomarkers



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