Doctors get mailers every day- so many that most of us just throw them away. I'm not sure why I opened one about 15, maybe 20 years ago now. But when I did what it said blew my "Conventional Medicine" mind away. It said that high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, obesity (especially around the middle) and heart disease really weren't separate problems at all- they were all really the same disease. I remember thinking then, "Well, if they are all the same disease how come we have different pills for each of those problems?"
That was a long time ago. This combination is known as "Metabolic Syndrome", and there is no longer any debate that all these problems are really the same metabolic process- the same "disease". And yet medicine still treats each of the "features" of the syndrome with different pills.
Metabolic syndrome is the epidemic of the modern world. Millions upon millions of us are obese and we know we have it (actually- not all obesity is the same and a few with obesity don't have it). But most cases remain undiagnosed, largely because conventional medicine continues to set definitions of the disease based on when you have to go onto a pill, rather then when you health starts deteriorating from it.
I have always emphasized correcting 3 factors in healthy weight loss:
1. Toxicity: People who detox lose weight. We are all loaded with toxic chemicals, and these chemicals are a big part of why we are all sick and tired and fat.
2. Inflammation: Inflammation causes weight gain. And fat causes inflammation. A vicious circle if ever there was one. People who go on Functional Medicine programs to lower body inflammation lose weight, even without caloric restriction. Eliminating inflammation in the body at it's source is a key part of healthy weight loss.
3. Hormones: There are many hormones in the body, and getting hormone balance of all of them is important. But only 3 hormones are considered in physiology to be "Major Hormones"- meaning without them you will die. Controlling 2 of these hormones- cortisol (the stress hormone) and insulin are critical first steps in healthy weight control.
Dr. Mark Hyman, in his must read book (hint) The Blood Sugar Solution, tells us the seven myths about obesity and diabetes that are killing hundreds of millions of people:
Myth 1: Diabetes is Genetic.
Dr Hyman: "From 1983 o 2008 the number of people in the world with diabetes increased sevenfold, from 35 million to 240 million (and I believe this is actually a serious underestimate)... In truth, diabetes is almost entirely induced by environmental and lifestyle factors... How we eat, how much we exercise, how we manage stress, our exposure to environmental and food based toxins, and the structural violence or "obesogenic environment" that influences these factors are what is truly driving our diabesity epidemic... FOOD IS NOT JUST CALORIES. IT IS INFORMATION..."
Myth 2: Diabetes is Not Reversible.
Dr. Hyman: "A groundbreaking study showed unequivocally that even people with advanced type 2 diabetes, when the pancreas has pooped out and the insulin- producing (beta) cells are damaged, can recover and diabetes can be reversed in just one week through dramatic changes in diet... In just one week, they were taken off their medication... A recent study showed that anyone with a fasting blood sugar of over 87 mg/dl was at increased risk of diabetes..."
Myth 3: Pre-Diabetes Isn't A Problem Until It Turns Into Full-Blown Diabetes
Dr. Hyman: The most important idea in this book is that pre-diabetes is not "pre" anything. It is a deadly disease driving our biggest killers-heart attacks, strokes, cancer, dementia and more... Pre-diabetes can even cause "pre-dementia" or mild cognitive impairment- think of it as early Alzheimer's... pre-diabetes can cause impotence in men and infertility in women... So if your doctor has diagnosed you with pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome, don't think that you are only at risk for something "in the future"... the problems are happening right now."
Myth 4: Once You Start Insulin, There is No Going Back
Dr. Hyman: "Insulin is a fat storage hormone that also drives appetite and inflammation... insulin should be the last resort in managing blood sugar and diabetes. "
Myth 5: Lowering Blood Sugar with Medication Prevents Death and Heart Attacks
Dr. Hyman: "Large drug trials have attempted to prove that targeting risk factors such as cholesterol or blood sugar levels with drugs reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes and death. Despite hundreds of millions of research dollars spent over many decades, aggressive risk factor treatment of the two most important targets- cholesterol and blood sugar- has consistently failed to show benefit in preventing disease (although treatment may be helpful if you have already had a heart attack... The independent Cochrane Collaboration performed a comprehensive review of the research using statins to prevent heart disease by examining fourteen major studies involving 34,000 patients at low risk for a heart attack. They found little or no benefit. If you haven't already had a heart attack, these drugs won't help you prevent one... many other studies point out the frequent side effects that come with taking these drugs... A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examinedfive major clinical trials on statins including 32,752 nondiabetics of 4.9 years... Those on the highest doses of statins were at the highest risk of developing diabetes... It is the elevated levels of insulin that cause high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and inflammation, not the high blood sugars."
Myth 6: Heart Surgery and Angioplasty are Good Treatments for Diabetics with Heart Disease
Dr. Hyman: "A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that surgery and angioplasty for diabetics with heart disease work no better than medication in reducing heart attacks and death, and have higher risks."
Myth 7: Weight Loss is Necessary for the Reversal of Diabetes
Dr. Hyman: "Nutrigenomics- the way food talks to your genes. While weight loss is important, what's more important is the quality of the food you put in your body- food is information that quickly changes your metabolism and genes...The quality of the food we put in our bodies drives gene function, metabolism, and health. The Blood Sugar Solution is like getting gastric bypass without the pain of surgery, vomiting, and malnutrition."
I urge all my patient to read The Blood Sugar Solution. It's the core of the program I use to return people to optimum health.
So what are you waiting for? With our Functional Medicine Concierge Program, restoring health through Functional Medicine is affordable for everyone today!