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Syndrome X:Insulin Resistance and Hyperinsulinemia
Syndrome X, arguably the “epidemic of the century”, is the name given to a general disorder characterized by four hallmark symptoms:
The kidney is a good example. Insulin stimulates sodium retention by the kidney, thus contributing to water retention and hypertension. Dr. Reaven cites polycystic ovary syndrome (a condition characterized by hypersecretion of androgens by the ovary) as another example of insulin sensitive organs being affected. Basically the ovary, being constantly exposed to higher than normal levels of insulin, increases its testosterone production accordingly. Thus the insulin resistance of one tissue (muscle cells) with the compensatory hyperinsulinemia that ensues, will lead to many other insulin sensitive tissues being affected and so complicating the entire physiological picture of that individual.
Another example is the body’s production of cholesterol (de novo synthesis). Insulin great stimulates the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme involved in cholesterol synthesis. Simply put, “high levels of insulin is like putting gasoline on the enzyme” and the patient’s cholesterol levels increase accordingly. Of course a statin then is usually prescribed. Glucagon has the opposite effect: it inhibits this enzyme and forces the cell to produce LDL receptors so the cell can pull cholesterol from the blood stream (1983 Nobel Prize in Medicine). The result is the patient’s lipid profile improves tremendously – usually within 4 to 6 weeks.
At Peak Physical Medicine, we believe that Syndrome X is a problem caused by food (too many carbohydrates, i.e. sugar) and the treatment is food. When we put patients of a ketogenic diet we immediately decrease insulin levels and many symptoms quickly improve. Moreover, by keeping insulin levels low, we now allow the cells to regain their sensitivity to insulin and the pancreas’ production of insulin returns to normal. This has been confirmed by hundreds of before and after fasting insulin levels in patients seen in clinics that have adopted our protocol.
We provide a clinical guide to practices that employ our protocol that explains the pathophysiology of Syndrome X (well referenced) along with training as to what tests should be ordered to monitor the patients’ progress. In addition there is ongoing support from our corporate medical staff.
There are many misconceptions about protein-based diets and “ketosis”. Ketosis is a normal metabolic function like
glycogenolysis, gluconeogenesis, or glycolosis and is totally safe as opposed to the pathological condition of ketoacidosis.