Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome can be caused by many factors included diet, lifestyle, stress, and trauma. While fast food can be a contributing factor to metabolic syndrome it isn’t the only factor. Surprising to some, many vegetarians, vegans, and “healthy eaters" also tend to have metabolic syndrome.

In addition, while lack of exercise can be a contributing factor, it too isn’t the only factor. Many athletes that perform long distance sports such as triathlons, marathons, biking, hiking, etc.. are at risk due to the high intake of carbohydrates while training and during events. I recently heard a story of a long distance biker in his late 50’s or early 60’s that had a heart attack. It was discovered that the cause of his heart attack was more than likely due to metabolic syndrome. He has since recovered from his heart attack, has changed his diet and is now back on the training and competing circuit.

Up next... so you know or suspect you have Metabolic Syndrome. Find out how this condition is actually impacting your body. And, if not treated what risk factors are you up against.

Debi Farley is a Licensed Acupuncturist and leading authority on Metabolic Syndrome. Find out more at or call 804.288.3927.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How Do I Know if I Have Metabolic Syndrome?

In 2009 the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI, World Heart Federation, American Heart Association, and International Atherosclerosis Society agreed on the following criteria as a way to determine metabolic syndrome.
  1. Elevated waist circumference in men greater than 40”, in women greater than 34”. Also, the ration of the waist and hip measurement is a consideration in men the waist should be equal to or greater than .9% of the waist and in women it should be .
  2. Triglycerides that are greater than or equal to 150mg/dl
  3. HDL Cholesterol that is less than 40 mg/dl for men and less than 50 mg/dl for women.
  4. Blood pressure that is greater than or equal to 130 hg systolic and/or greater than or equal to 85mm hg diastolic.
  5. Fasting glucose that is greater than or above 100 mg/dl

If you have at least 3 out of the 5 listed above then you're at high risk for having metabolic syndrome.

AIC is a measurement of how much sugar has been in the blood. A1C is also a factor that can be considered in determining your risk of developing or if you are on the road to either metabolic syndrome or diabetes. AIC at 5.2 or 5.3 can be an indication, you are definitely starting to develop metabolic syndrome, if you reach 5.6 or higher then you already have metabolic syndrome and may be headed for diabetes.

Find out about the causes and natural treatment options associated with Metabolic Syndrome in my next article in this series...
Debi Farley is a licensed acupuncturists, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and the owner of Acupuncture Clinic of Richmond, Virginia. Find out more about Debi Farley at

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Metabolic Syndrome: What's Happening in our Bodies?

I want to talk about a couple of the organs that are involved in metabolic syndrome and diabetes so that you can better understand treatment options and prevention.   I'll start with the liver...

The liver has a lot of functions in the body and is involved in nearly every process that is occurring.  The first thing that the liver does it that it filters the blood coming from the digestive tract before it gets passed through to the rest of the body.  This means that everything that you put into your mouth and everything that you breathe and absorb through your skin passes through the liver. 

The liver takes the nutrients from the food that we eat and turns it into nutrients the body can use.  Part of this process involves turning all the sugars into glycogen to be used when we need energy.  Other uses for our food is building the foundation for endocrine and hormone protection through the use of cholesterol, the liver is also responsible in the making and processing of this pre-cursor to hormones.  Cholesterol is also produced as protection in the body.  When triglycerides are increased and can not be used they get stored in the body as fat. The liver produces cholesterol to help contain the triglycerides in the blood stream this is the very low density (vldl) cholesterol. 

Filters out the Toxins

The liver is also filtering out any metabolic toxins as well as toxins in our body that our bodies either do not know how to process or have become so overburdened that they can not process it any more.  These other toxins can come from:
  • soap
  • shampoo
  • preservatives
  • chemicals in food
  • outgases from new cars
  • furniture
  • cleaning products
  • cosmetic products
  • gas fumes....
And this is the short list!! A build up of these toxins can cause inflammation, obesity, and disease in the body.  Finally, the liver is involved in assisting our immune systems to handle the daily environmental assaults. 
Another critical organ involved in metabolic syndrome is the pancreas... 

The pancreas secretes insulin when ever our blood sugar levels get to high.  This secretion of insulin helps lower the blood sugar to levels that are not dangerous to the body.  When the pancreas can no longer efficiently secrete insulin to control blood sugar in the body then you have diabetes. 

Some symptoms that you may be having blood sugar problems are cravings for sugar and carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, and cereal; fatigue, especially if it is relieved by eating; poor concentration, poor memory, trouble losing weight, gas and bloating, tired in the afternoon, blurred vision, sleepy after meals, waking up at night, and if you get shaky or irritable without food. 

For more information on the relationship between carbohydrates, blood sugar, insulin and the impacts on the body, check out 
Tune in to my next article to find out more about symptoms and the criteria to determine if you or a loved one has Metabolic Syndrome. 
Debi Farley is a licensed acupuncturists, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and the owner of Acupuncture Clinic of Richmond, Virginia. Find out more about Debi Farley at

Friday, March 2, 2012

Do You Have Metabolic Syndrome?

Research shows that 1 out of 3 Americans are living with Metabolic Syndrome today.  And if you're like most people with the condition, you had the condition between 3 – 5 years when you were diagnosed.  If you're age 65, it's estimated that 77% of your age group is either diabetic or pre-diabetic.  And 35% of adults aged 20 or older have metabolic syndrome.  

Now, after reading these statistics you may be wondering how our society is collectively caring for its health - including our prevailing food choices and lifestyle habits. 
For those of you not familiar with the term, Metabolic Syndrome is also known as Insulin Resistance, Pre-Diabetes, or Syndrome X. It's basically a group of inter-related symptoms and disorders that can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hormonal imbalances such as polycystic ovary disease.  When you have insulin resistance, normal amounts of insulin are not able to produce a normal insulin response from fat, muscles, and the liver cells. And if it occurs for an extended period of time it leads to diabetes.

So what's happening in your body?
When you don't have a normal insulin response in your body, your entire metabolic system goes into a fasting- state.  What this means is that the body doesn’t think it's getting and/or utilizing the nutrients that it needs in order to function properly - so it goes into fasting mode.  When it's in fasting mode, your body actually reserves energy output by LOWERING some of your metabolic functions.  This mechanism was set into our bodies as far back as pre-historic times when we were hunters and gatherers and didn’t know where our next meal was coming from.  So what you now have is a body that's in an over-fed state and can not function the way it should be.  The body can’t recognize that it's being over-fed because it's simply not able to recognize and process the nutrients.

To better give you a clear picture of what's happening to your body, I want to talk about a couple of the organs that are involved.  I'm going to continue this new series on Metabolic Syndrome over the next month and my next post will cover the liver, its function, and how it is involved in metabolic syndrome.   I hope you'll stay tuned.

Now, before I sign off today, let me share with you a video on Youtube by an endocrinologist named Dr. Robert Lustig. It’s received over two million hits.  You might be surprised so many people would be interested, but he explains very well why the overload of fructose is so damaging to our bodies.  Consider this video some background information for you as we continue this series... 
Debi Farley is a licensed acupuncturists, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and the owner of Acupuncture Clinic of Richmond, Virginia.  Find out more about Debi Farley at