What is Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X?

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that increase one’s chances of developing life-threatening illnesses in the future.  Metabolic syndrome doubles the chance of developing cardiovascular disease1 while increasing the risk of diabetes, stroke, fatty liver, and several types of cancers2.

It is diagnosed by having three or more of the following symptoms3 simultaneously:

  • High fasting blood glucose levels: ≥100 mg/dL (or receiving drug therapy for hyperglycemia)
  • High blood pressure: ≥130/85 mm Hg (or receiving drug therapy for hypertension)
  • High triglyceride levels: Triglycerides ≥150 mg/dL (or receiving drug therapy for hypertriglyceridemia)
  • Low high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels: < 40 mg/dL in men or < 50 mg/dL in women (or receiving drug therapy for reduced HDL-C)
  • Large waist circumference: ≥102 cm (40 in) in men or ≥88 cm (35 in) in women; if Asian American, ≥90 cm (35 in) in men or ≥80 cm (32 in) in women

When a patient presents with these risk factors simultaneously, the chances for future cardiovascular problems are greater than any one factor presenting alone.

What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?


Low-grade inflammation has been linked to the cause of many serious health conditions such as4:

As well as more common and pervasive conditions5:

There are many ways the body develops low-grade inflammation. The western lifestyle, characterized by lack of exercise and a diet rich in refined foods, is the most likely culprit6. These habits lead to obesity, high blood pressure, increased triglycerides, insulin resistance and high blood sugar; the collection of symptoms that make up Metabolic Syndrome.  Obesity promotes inflammation via chronic activation of the immune system7. To learn more about the health risks associated with obesity, click here.

Refined Foods to Avoid

Eating processed and refined foods leads to inflammation.

Here is a list of refined foods common to the Western Diet to avoid:

  1. Sugar – granulated sugar, white, brown, high fructose corn syrup
  2. Saturated Fats – cheese, red meat, full fat dairy
  3. Trans-Fats – fast food, fried products, processed snack foods: cookies, donuts, margarine
  4. Omega 6 Fatty Acids – corn oil safflower oil, canola oil, grape seed oil, soy, peanut, vegetable oils, mayonnaise, store bought salad dressing
  5. Refined Carbohydrates – white flour products, white rice, white potatoes, breakfast cereals
  6. Alcohol
  7. MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  8. Gluten – this is the protein found in many grains such as: wheat, barley and spelt.
  9. Casein – the protein found in whey.
  10. Aspartame
  11. GMO – genetically modified foods have had their organic structure modified for a production or profit purpose. They contain genetic structures our bodies haven’t seen before and aren’t equipped to metabolize properly. Non-metabolized food sits in our gut and gets fermented by bacteria leading to bacterial dysbiosis.

Eating these processed and toxic foods leads to chronic inflammation in the gut affecting the tight junctions between the cells causing them to separate. When this happens small food particles leak out into the tissues activating the immune system. Food particles in our tissues look like a foreign invader to our immune system that reacts to protect us. Unfortunately the immune system doesn’t forget, and unless we treat our “leaky gut”, our body develops an allergy to these common foods.

Although metabolic syndrome is a serious condition, you can reduce your risks significantly by decreasing your weight, eating heart healthy foods, managing blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure through diet, exercise and supplements.

Sedentary Lifestyle or Lack of Physical Activity

Urban Environment versus Natural Environment

A sedentary lifestyle is one of the largest precursors to metabolic syndrome as well as depression, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The majority of people today are living a sedentary lifestyle: waking up, getting in the car, driving to work, sitting in their job, driving home, eating dinner, watching TV and going to bed. Exercising on a lunch break and setting a timer on your phone to remind you to get up and stretch is becoming common place, but it’s not enough.

The Physiology of Our Body is Designed for Movement

Our body relies on muscle contractions to push blood through veins, and lymph through vessels. These fluids have no other driving force to move around the body.  The cells in our body are like factories. They take in nutrients and produce waste. Waste is constantly being pushed out of the cell into the lymph fluid surrounding them. Without muscle contractions, lymph fluid is stagnant and the waste accumulates around the cells creating a toxic environment.

Lack of Movement Create Stagnation at the Cellular Level

The cellular environment and how it affects gene expression, and ultimately health, is the subject of epigenetics. In a healthy environment our DNA produces healthy proteins that orchestrate every biochemical reaction in the body. In a toxic, acidic environment disease promoting genes are expressed and we see the development of chronic and serious conditions like cancer, autoimmune disease and the individual risk factors that make up metabolic syndrome.

Insulin Resistance

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to an elevation of blood sugar, aka glucose, after a meal.  Insulin facilitates the transport of glucose from the blood to the cell by binding to receptors on the cell membrane.  Insulin resistance is a state where the pancreas has to produces more and more insulin to maintain blood sugar in the normal range and get enough glucose inside the cell for energy production.

Why Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance develops when the blood sugar levels are too high, for too long. When there is an abundance of sugar, known as a “sugar spike”, the cells decrease their sugar receptors so that it can’t bind and be brought in. Sugar spikes happen when we eat food containing simple, processed sugar. Simple sugars breakdown fast, and easily in the gut. When the cells are constantly bombarded with too much sugar, they become less sensitive to its presence and reduce the receptors. This resistance leads to diabetes, low-grade inflammation and cancer. High blood sugar causes smooth muscle to contract causing high blood pressure. Too much sugar over a long period of time causes obesity, fatty liver and cardiovascular disease.

Cadmium Toxicity

Studies show that cadmium is associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.  Cadmium may distort the insulin receptors preventing insulin binding. Iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc supplementation modulate this effect.

Not All Sugars Are Created Equal

Our muscles, heart, brain and other organs use sugar, or glucose, as a fuel source. There are many types and sources of sugars. There are naturally occurring sugars such as fruit, berries, honey, yams and beets. All other sugars not found in natural sources are processed such as table sugar, brown sugar and high fructose corn syrup. They are called refined sugars. The problem with refined sugars is that they are considered “empty calories”. Empty calories contain none of the essential vitamin and minerals required to break down during digestion. In order to digest them, we have to liberate these vitamins and minerals from other sources including our muscles, tissues and bones. Refined sugars are considered toxins. Not only will refine sugars take or steal nutrients from us but they create disease: diabetes, heart disease, cancer, fatty liver and hypertension. How do refine sugars create disease? By generating low-grade inflammation and insulin resistance.

Metabolic Syndrome Treatment Program

Our Three Week Lifestyle Change and Nutritional, Medical Detoxification Program for Metabolic Syndrome

Detoxification and lifestyle changes can reverse metabolic syndrome with:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • High quality nutritional supplements
  • IV therapy
  • Psychotherapy and counseling to support changing eating habits and sedentary lifestyle or self-destructive attitudes.

Our treatment principles are:

  1. Stop low-grade inflammation
  2. Decrease weight
  3. Lower triglycerides
  4. Increase HDL
  5. Lower blood sugar/improve insulin sensitivity

Stop Low-Grade Inflammation

Removing all of the processed and refined foods listed above is the best first step you can take to reducing low-grade inflammation. Eating a diet of fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and healthy fats is the basis of an anti-inflammatory diet.

Bright colored foods contain flavonoids, which are highly effective antioxidants. They scavenge the free radicals that cause damage to tissues and blood vessels, and reduce inflammation. Antioxidants are in brightly colored foods such as berries, red grapes, apples, citrus fruits, kale, broccoli, pumpkin, parsley, thyme, oregano, celery, green tea, and peppers9.

Healing a leaky gut is an important step to decreasing low-grade inflammation.

Raw food diet

Our anti-inflammatory raw food diet eliminates the most common allergenic foods such as grains, diary, products, soy and meat

We restore the leaky gut damage with supplements complementing your nutrition while adding in probiotics, L-glutamine and fish oil to heal the gut. Resveratrol, found in the skin of grapes has been shown to lower low-grade inflammation as well as decrease the associated bone loss10,11.  Omega 3’s found in fish and flax oil have numerous studies showing their ability to reduce inflammation, cardiac events, improve ulcerative colitis, autoimmune arthritis and reduce tumors12, 13.

Water fasting and elimination of food allergies

In the course of your treatment we may introduce a few days of water fasting and a juice diet.   This is the best approach to heal the gut and identify your personal food allergies.   After the fast we reintroduce foods one at the time and we test your reactions to foods with a simple sublingual test “The Coco pulse test” Alternatively there are labs that do an IgG/IgE food allergy panel which measures your immune response to dozens of different foods.

Restoring the Intestinal Flora

A stool test is often conducted to assess digestion and gut immune function. Elevated blood sugar is often associated with fungal overgrowth.  Candida, pathogenic bacteria and lack of beneficial flora are the result of stress and improper nutrition.


Exercise, helps to reduce the inflammation in the body by increasing the metabolism in the tissues. Not to mention it lifts the mood!

Exercise increases skeletal muscle, which acts as an endocrine organ by increasing the metabolism in those tissues and modifying the immune system. Sedentary patients who engaged in a 20-week aerobic exercise regime saw a reduction in their C-reactive protein, a common marker of inflammation8.

Lowering Blood Pressure

Diet can often be enough to lower blood pressure. Eliminating salt intake is the first step to decreasing your blood pressure naturally.  Be mindful to eliminate processed foods, which have high sodium content.

Nutritional supplements such as CoQ10, phosphatidylcholine and arginine can help to lower blood pressure. Arginine is an amino acid that lowers blood pressure by increasing the production of nitric oxide.

Exercise lowers blood pressure by making your heart stronger and more efficient. Mild exercise of walking 30 minutes per day lowers systolic blood pressure by 4-9 points14. Exercise must be done on a regular basis for 1-3 months to see an effect. Exercise can lower stress, a predictor of high blood pressure, because it releases pent up energy from high intensity situations or emotional circumstances15.

Stress management begins by assessing your life and determining your stressors. Applying positive coping mechanisms for the individual stressors is key. Whether it is eliminating a thought process, circumstance or relationship from your life, stress management is an important factor in lowering blood pressure. Restructuring how you interpret situations and other people’s actions is a great way to take control of your thoughts which are, for the most part, our source of stress and suffering in the western world.

Losing weight starts with eliminating non-nutritious foods and incorporating healthy food choices listed above. When losing weight is combined with exercise, they are more effective at reducing blood pressure than exercise alone16. A raw food diet combined with nutritional education so weight is not put on after the treatment is a very effective way to lose weight. Many of the environmental toxins we store are fat-soluble.  When we break down this tissue, the toxins are mobilized and need to be excreted. Eating a diet high in fiber can help to bind toxins for elimination. Infrared saunas and dry skin brushing help to detox the body during toxin mobilization. Remember to wipe your skin off after a sauna to remove toxins from the surface of the skin.

Increasing HDL + Lowering Triglycerides

Omega 3 fatty acids

All fats are not created equal. The western diet is full of omega 6 oils found in processed and fried foods. Ideally our diet should be 1:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have shown anywhere from a 10:1 ratio existing in society to a 25:1 ratio17. Omega 3 fatty acids are an important nutrient for the body. They lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, prevent heart disease, improve autoimmune conditions and irritable bowel disease, and enhance cognition. Omega 3’s are in the highest concentration in fish oils. It is best to have a ratio of EPA to DHA 3:1. Studies have shown that 4 g of fish oil is required to lower cholesterols (triglycerides and LDL)18. Good dietary fats can be found in organic avocados, coconut meat, flax oil and nuts.

Niacin and B5

B vitamins lower cholesterol especially B3 also known as niacin.  Niacin has a flushing quality which is useful for lowering cholesterol. It has to be taken in a high dose beginning at 500 mg. It is titrated up to a maximum of 3 g. Niacin can lower triglycerides and increase HDL. Pantethine, vitamin B5, lowers total cholesterol and LDL levels when taken consistently for 16 weeks20.


Vitamin E is made up of 2 different groups: tocopherols, and tocotrienols. Tocotrienols have been shown to reduce blood pressure, plasma glucose levels, and obesity and improve lipid profiles and therefore protect the heart and liver21.  Because they increase insulin sensitivity as well as glucose uptake, they are useful to lower the blood glucose found in metabolic syndrome22.


Carnitine is an amino acid derivative that has been shown to lower triglyceride levels and increase HDL.

Decreasing Blood sugar, improving insulin resistance

Raw food and carrot / green juice diet

Blood sugar can be well regulated by a raw food diet, which is high in fiber and low in simple or refined carbohydrates and refined sugar.  Without the spikes in blood sugar from processed foods and refined sugars, with the added benefit of fiber from raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, the body metabolizes and absorbs carbohydrates properly. An inconsistent rising and falling of blood sugar from processed foods burn out the cells of the pancreas responsible for secreting insulin. As the blood sugar becomes more regulated, the insulin sensitivity returns to the cells and the pancreas heals.  Carrot Juice fasting is a tool we use to help regulate and heal blood sugar dysregulation issues such as Type ll Diabetes.

Maca is the root of a Peruvian plant that significantly decreases the levels of LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triacylglycerol in both the blood and liver and increase glucose tolerance factor. It also acts as a free radical scavenger that protect against the oxidative stress caused by the pro-oxidation process of diabetes.

Chia seed is a powerhouse of nutrients, protein, omega 3 fatty acids and fiber. The fiber + protein in chia helps to slow the absorption of carbohydrates and regulate blood sugar. It has been shown to lower blood pressure in diabetics and regulates cholesterol leading to improved cardiovascular health.

Minerals such as chromium, zinc and vanadium are essential in the treatment of blood sugar issues.  Chromium is a mineral that improves blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity by supporting Glucose Tolerance Factor in cells. Vanadium is an insulin mimic, helping to remove glucose from the blood and into the tissues where it is used to power the reactions in the cells. Zinc is used in all insulin reactions.

Herbal medicine is used to control blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.  Cinnamon Cassia and Zeylenicum work to lower blood sugar, triglyceride and LDL cholesterol.  They are a good addition to any dessert or morning smoothie. Fenugreek acts on the adrenal glands to lower blood glucose. Gymnema can help stimulate insulin secretion and improve blood glucose control.


A urine DMSA challenge test may reveal heavy metal toxicity often associated with high blood pressure, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

IV chelation

EDTA chelation has shown to be successful at lowering cadmium toxic burden as well as lead.

Oral chelation with DMSA for mercury toxicity

Now is the Time to Mind Your Body & Mend Your Mind

HAWAII DETOXIFICATION &                                                    LIFESTYLE CHANGE SPECIALISTS

Holistic Natural Lifestyle Change Program for medical conditions. The Fibromyalgia Recovery program is a Lifestyle Change program. The Lifestyle Change program draws from Naturopathic and Detoxification medicine, Behavioral and Psychodynamic Therapy approaches, Stress Reduction Techniques, Meditation, Yoga and Spiritual Practices. We take only a small amount of clients, and our programs are individually designed. Our use of the ocean, the recreational activities & natural approaches facilitate recovery.

Get pricing and program info and get started with assessment 



  1. Gami AS, Witt BJ, Howard DE, et al. Metabolic syndrome and risk of incident cardiovascular events and death: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2007 Jan 30. 49(4):403-14.[Medline].
  2. Giovannucci E. Metabolic syndrome, hyperinsulinemia, and colon cancer: a review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Sep. 86(3):s836-42. [Medline].
  3. Grundy SM, Cleeman JI, Daniels SR, et al. Diagnosis and management of the metabolic syndrome: an American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Scientific Statement. Circulation. 2005 Oct 25. 112(17):2735-52. [Medline].
  4. Moutsopoulos, NM, Madianos, PN. Result Filters. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17192571. Accessed October 24, 2015.
  5. Lasselin, J, Capuron, L. Result Filters. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24557041. Accessed October 24, 2015.
  6. Low-grade Inflammation – Causes. Low-grade Inflammation – Causes. Available at: http://www.wwu.edu/depts/healthyliving/pe511info/infection/causes.html. Accessed October 24, 2015.
  7. Ghanim H, Aljada A, Hofmeyer D, Syed T, Mohanty P, Dandona P. Circulating mononuclear cells in the obese are in a proinflammatory state. Circulation 2004; 110: 1564-71. [Link]
  8. Lakka TA, Lakka H-M, Rankinen T, Leon AS, Rao DC, Skinner JS, et al. Effect of exercise training on plasma levels of C-reactive protein in healthy adults: the HERITAGE Family Study. European heart journal 2005; 26: 2018-25.[Link]
  9. Micronutrient Information Center. Flavonoids. Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/flavonoids. Accessed October 24, 2015.
  10. McCall B. Resveratrol Boosts Bone Formation in Obese Men. Medscape Medical News. Available athttp://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/833807. Accessed: October 25, 2014.
  11. Ornstrup MJ, Harsløf T, Kjær TN, Langdahl BL, Pedersen SB. Resveratrol Increases Bone Mineral Density and Bone Alkaline Phosphatase in Obese Men: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Oct 16. jc20142799. [Medline].
  12. Simopoulos, AP. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease and in growth and development. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/54/3/438.short. Accessed October 24, 2015
  13. Mori, TA, Beilin, LJ. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammation. – Springer. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11883-004-0087-5#/page-1. Accessed October 24, 2015.
  14. Georgiades, A, Sherwood, A, Gullette, ECD, et al. Effects of Exercise and Weight Loss on Mental Stress-induced Cardiovascular Responses in Individuals With High Blood Pressure. American Heart Association. Available at: https://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/36/2/171.full. Accessed October 21, 2015
  15. High blood pressure (hypertension). Exercise: A drug-free approach to lowering high blood pressure. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045206. Accessed October 24, 2015
  16. Simopoulos, AP. Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Inflammation and Autoimmune Diseases. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2002;21(6):495–505. doi:10.1080/07315724.2002.10719248.
  17. Conner, WE, Conner, SL. The Importance of N-3 Fatty Acids in Health and Disease. Available at: https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/35490/159.pdf?sequence=1.
  18. Shobha H. Ganj, Vaijinath S. Kamanna, Moti L. Kashyapa. Niacin and cholesterol: role in cardiovascular disease (review). 2003. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s095528630200284x.
  19. Rumberger JA1, Napolitano J, Azumano I, Kamiya T, Evans M. Result Filters. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2011. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21925346. Accessed November 19, 2015.
  20. Weng-Yew Wong, Hemant Poudyal, Leigh C. Ward, and Lindsay Brown. Tocotrienols Reverse Cardiovascular, Metabolic and Liver Changes in High Carbohydrate, High Fat Diet-Fed Rats. MDPI. 2012. Available at: http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/4/10/1527/htm. Accessed November 19, 2015.
  21. Fang Fang, Zhanfang Kang andChiwai Wong. Vitamin E tocotrienols improve insulin sensitivity through activating peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors. 2010. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.200900119/abstract?userisauthenticated=false&deniedaccesscustomisedmessage=. Accessed November 19, 2015.
  22. Mariano Malaguarnera, Marco Vacante, Teresio Avitabile, Marcella Malaguarnera, Lisa Cammalleri, and Massimo Motta. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. l-Carnitine supplementation reduces oxidized LDL cholesterol in patients with diabetes. 2008. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/1/71.short. Accessed November 19, 2015.
  23. Rossi CS, Siliprandi N. Effect of carnitine on serum HDL-cholesterol: report of two cases. Available at: http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/7057619. Accessed November 19, 2015.
  24. Rostislav Vecera, Jan Orolin, Nina Skottova, Ludmila Kazdova, Olena Oliyarnik, Jitka Ulrichova, Vilim Simanek.The Influence of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on Antioxidant Status, Lipid. and Glucose Metabolism in Rat. 2007. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11130-007-0042-z. Accessed November 19, 2015.25)
  25. V Vuksan, A L Jenkins, A G Dias, A S Lee, E Jovanovski, A L Rogovik, and A Hanna. Reduction in postprandial glucose excursion and prolongation of satiety: possible explanation of the long-term effects of whole grain Salba. 2010. Available at: http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v64/n4/abs/ejcn2009159a.html. Accessed November 19, 2015.
  26. Vladimir Vuksan, PhD, Dana Whitham, MSC, RD, John L. Sievenpiper, PhD, Alexandra L. Jenkins, RD, PhD, Alexander L. Rogovik, MD, PhD, Richard P. Bazinet, PhD, Edward Vidgen, BSc and Amir Hanna, MD, FRCPC. Diabetes Care. Supplementation of Conventional Therapy With the Novel Grain Salba (Salvia hispanica L) Improves Major and Emerging Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Type 2 Diabetes. 2007. Available at: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/11/2804.full.pdf&sa=u&ei=ee5eu_c8diba2gwg-ig4dq&ved=0cdyqfjah&usg=afqjcnhzrpfs9kzisndpj1yr3bb4r2lslw. Accessed November 19, 2015.
  27. A. Anderson. Chromium in the prevention and control of diabetes. 2000. Available at: http://www.em-consulte.com/en/article/79857. Accessed November 19, 2015.