It is estimated that over a third of Americans over the age of 20 have metabolic syndrome, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Metabolic syndrome is known by several names, including syndrome X, metabolic syndrome X and insulin resistance syndrome. It refers to a cluster of conditions that increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Typically more common as you age, there appears to be an increasing incidence of metabolic syndrome in children and adolescents.
Diagnosing Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed if at least three of these conditions are present. They include abdominal obesity with a waist measurement greater than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women, triglyceride levels higher than 150 mg/dL, low HDL, or good cholesterol, blood pressure higher than 130/85 mmHg, and insulin resistance with a fasting blood sugar greater than 100 mg/dL. Insulin resistance causes your body to maintain a body weight higher than normal, decreases your metabolic rate and causes increased hunger.
Metformin is a prescribed medication normally used for type 2 diabetes. This anti-diabetic drug decreases the production of glucose by the liver and lowers the absorption of glucose in the intestines. It also increases the cells' sensitivity to insulin by improving the utilization of glucose for energy and keeping the amount of insulin secreted unchanged. By doing so, metformin helps diminish insulin resistance and the increased appetite and cravings associated with it. Normal dosage is 500 mg twice per day.
A study in the research journal "Obesity" notes that medication, caloric restriction and exercise have been the rule of thumb for addressing insulin resistance, with marginal success. It states that a dietary deficiency in mineral chromium, which plays a key role in the metabolising of carbohydrates, may be a risk factor for diabetes. The study shows that insulin resistant mice, subjected to chromium supplementation, had significant decreases in blood glucose, leading it to conclude that ongoing chromium supplements may improve glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.
Phentermine and Sibutramine
Phentermine and sibutramine are prescription appetite suppressants that are mentioned for use with metabolic syndrome in the American Heart Association journal "Circulation." These drugs do not directly affect insulin resistance and glucose tolerance. Phentermine is noradrenergic in nature, releasing norepinephrine to suppress the appetite control systems of the central nervous system. Sibutramine, also known as Meridia, effects neurotransmitters responsible for feeling full. Both drugs require careful monitoring by a physician, as they may be addictive.