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Metabolic syndrome

Learn about metabolic syndrome. Discover how dietary and lifestyle changes can help prevent metabolic syndrome and improve overall health and wellbeing. Therapy Approved by our Nutritional Therapists in Wilmslow, Cheshire.

What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome can be challenging as it is not a specific diagnosis but a group of risk factors that can contribute to cardiovascular disease. This health issue is becoming increasingly prevalent, particularly among people who live sedentary lifestyles and are overweight.

Although metabolic syndrome is not a disease in itself, it is a serious condition that may result in diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The good news is that making positive changes to our daily habits, such as increasing physical activity and consuming a balanced, nutritious diet, not only helps prevent metabolic syndrome but also promotes overall health and wellbeing. So, by adopting a proactive approach to our health, we can improve our quality of life and enjoy the benefits of a healthier, happier lifestyle. Read on to find out more.

Metabolic syndrome is when someone has a group of health problems that can increase their risk of heart disease.

Metabolic syndrome is identified by the following:

Difficulty processing glucose (insulin resistance)

High blood pressure

Abnormal cholesterol levels

Increased risk of blood clots

High levels of fats in the blood

Unhealthy weight, particularly around the belly

Abnormal body composition

What is insulin resistance?

To maintain proper function and health, the body must keep a consistent blood sugar level. Insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, becomes less effective when cells develop insulin resistance. Consequently, higher insulin levels are required to regulate blood sugar levels, which can eventually result in consistently high blood sugar levels. This can lead to negative long-term health effects, making insulin resistance a significant factor in metabolic syndrome.

How to deal with metabolic syndrome

If you think you may be at risk of developing metabolic syndrome, your GP can help identify potential symptoms. It's important to take action early to prevent further health issues. Health experts recommend managing each symptom separately as the most effective way to address metabolic syndrome.

Find out what is causing metabolic syndrome with the help of a nutritional therapist


The most effective way to achieve healthy weight loss is through a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes. Options include stress management, regular exercise, a low-glycaemic food plan, and nutritional intervention aimed at promoting healthy weight loss and improving body composition.

Overall, a nutritional therapist can provide you with the knowledge, tools, and support you need to achieve healthy weight loss and improve your overall health and wellbeing in a sustainable way.

Insulin resistance and dyslipidaemia

Along with adopting a personalised, low-glycaemic food plan and taking steps to achieve a healthy weight, certain nutrients and supplements can aid in managing symptoms of insulin resistance and dyslipidaemia.

(Please also see hypertension article)

Recommended supplements for metabolic syndrome

Omega-3 fatty acids:

Omega-3s have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and lower triglyceride levels in people with metabolic syndrome[i].

Try: Bare Biology Life & Soul Omega 3 Fish Oil or Cytoplan Omega 3 Vegan (60 Caps)

Vitamin D:

Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome. Taking a vitamin D supplement may help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation[ii].

Try: Pure Encapsulations Liquid Vitamin D3 (1000IU per drop)


Magnesium plays a crucial role in insulin signalling and glucose metabolism. Supplementing with magnesium may help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome[iii].

Try: Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Powder


Chromium is a mineral that plays a role in insulin sensitivity. Supplementing with chromium may help improve glucose metabolism and reduce insulin resistance[iv].

Try: Viridian Chromium & Cinnamon Complex


Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and can help improve gut health. Some studies have suggested that probiotics may help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome[v].

Try: Viridian Synerbio Daily Probiotic or Pure Encapsulations ProFlora 50B

Plant sterols:

Also known as phytosterols, are naturally occurring compounds found in plants. They have a similar structure to cholesterol, a type of fat present in our bodies. When consumed as part of a healthy diet, plant sterols have been shown to be beneficial for people with dyslipidaemia[vi].

Try: Pure Encapsulations Phytosterol Complex

Diet and metabolic syndrome

Foods To Avoid:

Sugary foods:

Foods that are high in sugar typically contain simple, refined carbohydrates. If you're looking to lose weight and improve your blood sugar control, lowering the amount of refined carbohydrates in your diet may be beneficial[vii].

Artificial sweeteners:

According to a small study, the consumption of significant amounts of diet drinks and artificially sweetened foods may raise blood sugar levels and potentially increase the risk of developing diabetes. Try to avoid sweeteners, especially types such as aspartame and saccharin. A small study suggests consuming large amounts of artificial sweeteners may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes[viii].

Trans fats:

Partially hydrogenated oils, which are frequently used in processed foods to extend their shelf life, often contain trans fats. These fats can increase levels of unhealthy cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and stroke[ix].

Which diet has been shown to be effective for metabolic syndrome?

Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can help reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels in individuals with Metabolic Syndrome. Additionally, the diet is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Overall, the Mediterranean diet is said to be a healthy and effective dietary approach for managing Metabolic Syndrome[x].

The Mediterranean diet emphasises whole, minimally processed foods and includes a variety of flavours and textures, making it a satisfying and enjoyable way to eat.

Functional testing

The adrenal stress index (ASI) is a test that measures cortisol and other hormones in the body to evaluate adrenal gland function and stress response. While the ASI is not specifically used to diagnose metabolic syndrome, it may be useful in assessing the impact of stress on the body, which can be a contributing factor to the development of metabolic syndrome.

Chronic stress can lead to increased cortisol levels, which can disrupt insulin production and glucose metabolism, contributing to the development of metabolic syndrome. The ASI test can measure cortisol levels throughout the day to assess the body's stress response and identify any imbalances that may be contributing to metabolic dysfunction.

Lifestyle suggestions for metabolic syndrome

Regular exercise is an essential component of managing Metabolic Syndrome. Physical activity can help regulate blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week[xi].

Managing stress levels, monitoring blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels regularly, getting enough sleep and rest, and considering medication or other treatments as recommended by a healthcare professional are other important lifestyle suggestions with regard to Metabolic Syndrome.

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Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.