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Metabolic Syndrome - A Naturopathic Approach

Metabolic Syndrome - a Naturopathic Approach

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of biochemical and physiological abnormalities associated with the development of hormonal issues, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Metabolic disorders are more likely to occur when the pancreas and the liver become over- burdened. Women can be more at risk of developing metabolic conditions during times of hormonal shifts such as puberty, pregnancy and peri-menopause. Thyroid conditions can also play a background role as the thyroid is the master gland of metabolism, Again, more common amongst women with current Australian statistics suggesting up to 1 in 10 women have a thyroid condition (and likely more who remain undiagnosed). Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is also caused through similar metabolic mechanisms and also affects 1 in 10 Australian women.

When investigating someone at risk of metabolic syndrome, we commonly see symptoms such as increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and insulin, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.  


Tragically, Metabolic syndrome is increasingly common, with up to one-third of adults developing it, and currently in Australia 60 000 people are diagnosed with diabetes each year. However!! The Good news - the causes which include stress, increased sitting, poor diet choices, irregular exercise and inflammation can all be remedied. Emerging research is also looking closer at the role of inflammation in developing metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Exploring a person’s inflammatory markers, cortisol and leptin levels can offer key insights into the potential role of inflammatory mechanisms and help to target and personalise a better way forward through diet, lifestyle and exercise choices. 


 Some easy reminders that can improve metabolic markers;

  • Don’t skip breakfast and be sure to include protein.

  • Avoid artificial sweeteners as they can contribute to insulin resistance.

  • Check for food sensitivities as they will contribute to inflammation and weight gain.

  • Increase fibre - research confirms it can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

  • Ensure each meal contains protein as higher protein intake will improve glycaemic control.



Remember, metabolic dysfunction contributes to hormonal conditions such as PCOS, gestational diabetes, peri-menopausal risks, thyroid and adrenal dysfunction. Equally, hormonal change can be a driver for metabolic dysfunction, pancreatic issues and fatty liver. During times of increased metabolic demand such as puberty, pregnancy, breast-feeding and menopause, our thyroid will often struggle to step up resulting in fatigue and a sluggish metabolism.


And we can’t forget the adrenal hormone, cortisol, and its influence on our metabolism, our stress responses as well as being the body’s internal anti- inflammatory hormone. When we are experiencing chronic stress, cortisol may cause weight gain and central adiposity, cholesterol issues, depression, inflammation and autoimmunity. Elevated cortisol will also dampen testosterone and impact our energy, libido and our ability to build muscle. Luckily, we rebuild cortisol each night which is why sleep is also a powerful remedy for our metabolism and food cravings.


Our habits around exercise are also key to turning metabolic syndrome around! Sadly, movement has increasingly been engineered out of our everyday with increased sitting and spending the majority of our day indoors. Our metabolism will be stimulated by changes in temperature – sweating from a good workout, a walk upstairs or hills, a swim, sauna’s, and hot and cold showers.


Since Easter, I have had many patients telling me, they are struggling with craving’s and finding their way back to eating well. This is because food is powerful, it can make us feel nourished and balanced or it can cause us to feel cloudy, craving and crazed. At Darling Health, we aim to be very thorough with appropriate investigations, to exhaust all potential causes and inform supplemental, nutritional and lifestyle suggestions that will pull you back off the metabolic see saw. If this blog has spoken to you, please reach out to our friendly reception today at

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