Thursday, March 3, 2011

Medical Food vs. Diet Alone for Metabolic Syndrome

The current statistics on Metabolic Syndrome indicate that 1 in 3 Americans now suffer from this modern day scourge. A condition that predisposes a person to diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome occurs when the insulin receptors do not respond to the action of insulin and the cells are not able to carry out the sequence of events that allows for proper blood sugar metabolism and energy production.

The Metabolic Syndrome patient is usually burdened by a number of maladies: fatigue, weight gain around the middle, hyperinsulinemia, and corresponding inflammation and cardiovascular risk factors.

Of course, a change in lifestyle in the first order of the day for these patients, and perhaps no other diet is as effective at the Mediterranean Diet in bringing about changes in the various risk factors from which Metabolic Syndrome patients suffer. Even as effective as this diet is, however, there is clinical data emerging indicating that adding therapeutic nutrients targeted at kinase modulation can make an even more dramatic impact.

In a study conducted at the Functional Medicine Research Center, the clinical arm of Metagenics, and published in Nutrition and Metabolism, 49 subjects with Metabolic Syndrome and hypercholesterolemia were observed in a randomized, 2-arm, 12-week intervention trial. One group observed a strict Mediterranean diet, while the other also observed the diet but added a medical food (Ultra Meal 360) featuring targeted nutrients (Reduced Iso-Alpha Acid from Hops, and the herb acacia) that support the expression various kinases (intracellular messengers).

At the end of the trial, 22% of the subjects in the control group no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome, whereas 43% of the subjects in the treatment arm no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome. The sub group of patients with elevated risk factors had a more profound effect from the medical food plan.

In another study involving 89 women with Metabolic Syndrome, 44 observed a Mediterranean diet while the other 45 added the medical food. Changes in total weight loss, triglycerides, LDL, total cholesterol, and the apoB/apoA-1 ratios were profoundly better in the group using the medical foods, and both groups outperformed the most common drugs utilized for these markers.