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Sydrome X and Its Effect Upon Women’s Health
Syndrome X is also known as insulin resistance, or hyperinsulinemia. It has become quite common as a result of the North American diet. We know that every food, whether it be proteins, carbohydrates, or fats, is eventually broken down to the basic glucose molecule, which is the fuel of choice for every cell in the body. Fats are broken down the quickest into glucose, then carbohydrates, and then proteins.
As the glucose from the digested food is released into the bloodstream, the pancreas releases insulin. Normally, one molecule of insulin [I] attaches to one molecule of glucose [G] and carries it through the cell wall into the cell where it is used to help the cell to work or to make a storable form of energy called ATP. This is shown in the following illustration.
Throughout the day, a person's blood sugar level will usually fluctuate within a set range as the glucose from food is released into the bloodstream and insulin is released to carry the glucose into the cells. This is shown in the following illustration.
However, many North American’s person have a continental breakfast to start the day. This might consist of a cup of coffee with cream and sugar and with a donut, Danish or croissant. This “meal” is made up of refined white flour, refined white sugar, and saturated fat. These are digested very quickly, and result in glucose being released very quickly into the bloodstream. The pancreas then releases insulin, in order to carry the glucose into the cells. This then results in the blood sugar level, dropping down and the person craving sweets, another coffee with cream and sugar, or a soft drink. For lunch, many North American's will have a sandwich, a submarine sandwich, or a hamburger with French fries and a soft drink. These meal choices, are often made up of white bread or white buns, mayonnaise, butter, processed cheese, or processed meats. Therefore, the meals are mainly made up of refined white flour, saturated fats, and refined white sugar.
The resulting fluctuations are changes in the blood sugar levels during the day looks more like a roller coaster ride than a gentle fluctuation in the blood sugar level. This is shown in the following illustration.
Over time, the demand on the pancreas to continue to produce high levels of insulin can lead to the pancreas failing and the person developing diabetes.
The body and the pancreas can respond quite easily to the normal changes in blood sugar levels that occur with a healthy balanced diet, and more so when it consists of three smaller meals and three snacks a day. On the other hand, with a typical North American diet, the body and the pancreas are working very hard throughout the day. Unfortunately, there is no way that the body can communicate directly with the person that the body is distressed about what the person is eating. The only thing that the body can do, is adapt to this type of diet. The way in which the body does this is by making the cell walls, more resistant to insulin. That means, that it is much more difficult to get enough glucose into the cells. This is shown in the following illustration.
As the cells are not getting glucose as efficiently, a person can show up with decreased energy and other symptoms of low blood sugar. However, when a doctor tests the person’s blood sugar, the blood sugar level will often appear to be within the normal range.
Unfortunately, as the glucose in the blood cannot move efficiently into the cells, it is often deposited as fatty stores in the belly area of the abdomen.
With the help of the enzyme aromatase, this fat is the main source of estrone and can help to cause an imbalance between a woman’s estrogens and progesterone. Also, the extra insulin being produced can trigger the adrenal glands into the fight or flight response, even though there is no danger to the body. The danger of this happening over a period of time, is that an individual can end up with high blood pressure caused by Syndrome X [hyperinsulinemia / insulin resistance].
Apparently approximately 40% of the North American population over the age of 35 now develop Syndrome X. These individuals can have symptoms such as abdominal weight gain, decreased physical energy, decreased ability to lose weight, decreased mental ability, increased blood fats [cholesterol, triglycerides], and increased blood pressure. These symptoms are often just accepted as part of the normal aging process but if the underlying cause if not found out [Syndrome X], these individuals are at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, eye/vision problems and problems with their nervous system.