You may have been directed to this page because you have conditions or health markers that are suggestive of metabolic syndrome (described below) or perhaps you just want to learn more about it. 


Metabolic health describes factors of your lifestyle that can have both a positive and negative impact on your physical and mental health.  We are all on a scale between good and bad metabolic health.  


Metabolic Syndrome is when a cluster of these negative risk factors come together, with the underlying problems being related to insulin resistance.  It can lead to a number of medical conditions. Genetics and family history can play a role in your starting point on the scale, but insulin resistance increases the likelihood and progression of these diseases. 


The great news is, that no matter your genetic make up, or where you are starting from, addressing lifestyle factors of metabolic health can improve your physical health, mental health, general wellbeing and in some cases reverse the condition you have been diagnosed with!


Improving your metabolic health can also help improve your immune system (making you less susceptible to complications of any infection, including Covid-19), as well as improving some perhaps unexpected areas such as mental health, joint pains and fatigue.

 

Metabolic Syndrome includes:

  1. Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke
  2. Type 2 Diabetes
  3. Obesity
  4. Non alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
  5. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  6. Gout
  7. Vascular conditions including vascular dementia
  8. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)


This flow chart shows how high blood glucose causes more insulin release, storing glucose in the body as fat, including in the liver and pancreas ( a normal physiological process).  In some people this system is overloaded, which can lead to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.  

This video is by two GPs.  Although it is for a different clinic, your NHS GP Team can help with all these different aspects of your metabolic health.  Just ask... 

Starchy foods e.g. potatoes and bread are glucose molecules 'holding hands'!

Insulin drives glucose into liver and muscles cells, and coverts the remaining

glucose to be stored as fat.  Both images from Kelly, Unwin and Finucane 2020

So where is the good news? 

What can I do about it?

 We can each optimise our own metabolic health, reverse the conditions caused by insulin resistance and feel better, by addressing the following lifestyle factors. 


    • Nutrition: Eat ‘real food’, avoid processed foods, lower sugary foods and starchy carbohydrates.   Include essential 'healthy' natural fats.  Our lower carbohydrate page gives some helpful information on different aspects of healthy eating and drinking.  There are links to some alternative switches too.     
    • Physical Activity: Move more, be less sedentary 
    • StressReduce stressors on mental and physical health
    • Sleep:  Optimise sleep.  Check out our Resource resource.

    Markers of Metabolic Health

    Markers of metabolic health used by your GP Practice Team:

    1. Blood glucose
    2. Blood lipids including Triglycerides, HDL and LDL
    3. Liver function tests
    4. Increase waist circumference and BMI > 30
    5. Raised blood pressure


    Specific numbers suggestive of metabolic syndrome can be found here


    You can ask your GP for a copy of your own results.

    In this video Dr Campbell Murdoch (GP) explains metabolic health 

    What Has Glucose Got To Do With It?

    The average total blood in the human body is about 5L.  Within that blood at any one time should be around just one teaspoon of glucose. 

    1. Glucose is found in food and drinks. Starchy foods are also glucose: starch is made glucose molecules “holding hands!”   When digested, starch is broken down to GLUCOSE. Click here to see some ‘sugar’ equivalents in every day foods.  You might be surprised. 
    2. Insulin (the hormone) is released to push energy from the glucose and carbs that we eat, into cells to fuel our body. It reduces the amount of glucose circulating in the blood stream, as too much circulating glucose can be toxic. It is released in response to eating sugars and cabs. Insulin is the MASTER HORMONE. We cannot burn fat when Insulin is circulating. 
    3. Insulin:                                                                                      a) Shuts off burning fat reserves                                         b) Stores excess glucose that isn’t used in your liver as glucose stores (glycogen) and                                             c) Converts the reamining glucose to fat in your body (increasing obesity) and in your liverInsulin also makes you feel more hungry e.g. a biscuit causes a spike in insulin, which dramatically shoots up and pushes the glucose into cells, overshoots, and you feel hungry again.  Other foods with lower glucose, cause a slower, lower rise in insulin so you feel fuller for longer e.g. less starchy veg, proteins, healthy fats (See the Lower Carb Section).
    4. Increased fat in your liver, causes Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease’ - which increases insulin resistance.  It also increases fat in your pancreas, reducing insulin release (Type 2 Diabetes).  Both of these led to increased glucose in your blood (return to point 2).  
    5. Physical activity will also ‘utilise’ some of the glucose (muscles).  Being more sedentary reduces the uptake into muscles.  
    6. Cortisol (stress hormone) increases glucose availability for energy use in the short term, but prolonged stress and poor sleep leads to prolonged high glucose levels

    Dr Dan Maggs (GP) explains 5 ways you can lower your insulin levels

    Dr Rangan Chaterjee (GP) discusses 4 simple tips to reverse Type 2 Diabetes.  Guess what  - it's the same things that can help metabolic syndrome!

    Want more information?


    TEDX TALK: Reverse Insulin Resistance By Ignoring the Guidelines: Here 

    Dr Dan Maggs on weight management and why diets often don't help: Here  

    COVID19, YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM AND METABOLIC HEALTH: Here 

    Fat Is Your Friend...!  Here

    Metabolic health from Patient.co.uk: Here 

    Freshwell Low Carb Site: Here 

    How much sugar is in what you eat? Here

    This website does not provide personal medical advice.

    New Forest PCN take no responsibility for the content of external links.