Case Study: Syndrome X Can Prevent You From Losing Weight
I recently saw a 32 year old lady at my clinic who wanted help with losing weight. She had two young children and had a part time job in sales. Justine weighed 187 pounds (85 kilos) and was only 5.4 feet tall (166cm). Justine was extremely upset about her weight as she had always been effortlessly slim. She never had to pay much attention to her weight and could get away with eating anything. She even lost weight easily and quickly after giving birth to her children.
Justine went to her local doctor looking for some answers to her weight problem. Her doctor did comprehensive blood tests and did detect some metabolic abnormalities. Justine had a very high fasting insulin level; it was 23.8 and should be below 10. High blood insulin promotes abdominal weight gain, fluid retention and makes people very hungry. Justine had raised liver enzymes and an ultrasound confirmed that she had a fatty liver.
Justine’s thyroid hormones were normal; however her doctor ordered an ultrasound of her thyroid gland which revealed thyroid nodules. At this stage her doctor didn’t want to do anything about the nodules; he asked Justine to have another ultrasound in six months time. An ultrasound also showed that Justine has cysts on her ovaries, and her doctor diagnosed her with a mild case of polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Despite all of these findings, Justine’s doctor was not able to tell her how to lose weight effectively. Justine didn’t have a terribly bad diet; she just had a typical diet; she did not overeat. However, her diet was high in bread, pasta, rice, crackers and cookies. Justine had always exercised regularly, because it is something she enjoys and it improves her energy and quality of sleep. However, this case illustrates that you can do plenty of exercise yet still not lose much weight if you have high blood insulin levels.
I found it interesting to note that both of Justine’s parents have type 2 diabetes. This means she has inherited the tendency to develop insulin resistance (syndrome X) and excess weight. In fact it is quite rare to see a person with diabetic parents who is not overweight. People with syndrome X and thus elevated insulin levels cannot tolerate common levels of carbohydrate in their diet. Insulin doesn’t work properly in their body; therefore glucose cannot get inside their cells properly and be burned for energy. Instead, the glucose gets converted into fat and is stored in the liver and other areas of the body. Justine told me she always felt tired and never got energy after a meal. No wonder!
My recommendations to help Justine lose weight
I explained to Justine that she needed to follow a lower carbohydrate and higher protein eating plan long term. She had followed low carb diets in the past but they were either too extreme (where she was eating next to no vegetables) or not low enough in carbohydrate (still eating toast for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch). I put Justine on the lower carbohydrate higher protein eating plan in my book. All the recipes in that book are suitable for people with syndrome X and people wanting to lose weight.
I recommended the following supplements for Justine
- I suggested Justine make a smoothie for breakfast using Synd-X Slimming Protein Powder. The high protein content would help to keep her feeling full and keep her blood sugar stable throughout the day.
- Glicemic Balance. This is a herbal and mineral formula that helps to lower insulin levels and keep blood sugar stable. Justine often had overwhelming sugar cravings and found it impossible to stick to a healthy diet because of this. Glicemic Balance helped her greatly; I asked her to take 1 capsule with each meal.
- Vitamin D. A blood test done two years ago showed Justine to be vitamin D deficient. She took one bottle of vitamin D and then forgot about it. Justine would still be deficient as she spends most of her time indoors. Overweight people are more likely to be vitamin D deficient. Deficiency of this vitamin makes weight loss more difficult. I ordered another blood test, which confirmed the low level and gave her a supplement.
- Selenium and iodine. Both of these minerals are essential for a healthy immune system and a healthy thyroid gland. Long term deficiency of selenium and iodine increases the risk of thyroid nodules. Supplementing with these minerals in proper doses can reduce the risk of thyroid nodules getting worse and in many cases can make them disappear altogether. Iodine is also beneficial for ovarian cysts. Iodine, selenium and vitamin D are all found combined in Thyroid Health capsules and I asked Justine to take 2 capsules each day.
- Livatone Plus. Justine has a fatty liver and this needs to be reversed. It is very difficult to lose weight if you have a fatty liver because your liver can’t possibly burn fat if it is clogged with fat itself. I asked Justine to take 2 capsules twice daily of Livatone Plus.
I saw Justine for a short consultation every four weeks. She felt she needed regular contact and reinforcement in order to stick to her plan. Justine first saw me three months ago and she has lost 22 pounds so far. She has had stressful weeks when she went off the diet but, on the whole, she is managing to stick to it.
Justine feels a lot more energetic, her skin is clearer and she is sleeping better. She wasn’t expecting these benefits but is thrilled with them. It is too early to check on the health of her liver, thyroid and ovaries. I will order repeat ultrasounds in 12 months. I am confident that Justine will continue to improve.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.