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How To Heal Your Adrenals To Avoid Metabolic Syndrome

I want to talk to you today about how you can heal your adrenals and avoid metabolic syndrome. Do you know about metabolic syndrome? The majority of adults in the modern world actually have it and it’s important to know about it. Let me share with you some information about this condition and help you learn how your adrenals may just hold the key.

Understand Metabolic Syndrome

It might have been known as the more mysterious “Syndrome X” before, but we now know this condition as metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is actually comprised of three to five factors (1), which cluster together to form the overarching syndrome. In general, that’s what a syndrome is – it’s a pattern of factors which form the overall group. These are:

  1. Waist circumference (defined differently for men and women)
  2. Triglyceride levels
  3. HDL cholesterol levels
  4. Blood pressure
  5. Fasting glucose

In Conclusion: If you have a larger waist circumference, higher triglyceride levels, lower HDL cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure and higher fasting glucose, a combination of three to five of these means you are dealing with metabolic syndrome.

Why is metabolic syndrome dangerous?

Metabolic syndrome basically acts as a “gateway condition,” leading us to diabetes. It is actually an early sign of the body moving towards a diabetic state. That’s a big deal, because being diabetic essentially means 7 years immediately off your lifespan (2).

Key Insight: Right now, the majority of American adults are suffering from diabetes or pre-diabetes (3). Arguably, 60 – 70% of American adults actually have metabolic syndrome happening in some way, shape or form. That’s a big number and it’s a big deal.  

Daily Reset Shake - Dr. Alan Christianson

The good news? It is actually reversible. The numbers are high, and that is important because of how relevant it is in our lives, but reversing metabolic syndrome is actually possible.

Your Adrenals and Metabolic Syndrome

At this point, you might be wondering how metabolic syndrome starts and where it can come from. For quite some time, researchers have had this “cortisol hypothesis” when it comes to metabolic syndrome. While it turned out that it was not just about the cortisol our adrenals were making (4), but the “whole body cortisol” which was explaining the rise in metabolic syndrome.

Excess cortisol results in muscle loss and fat gain, which then results in basically each and every factor we can see comprising metabolic syndrome. This all ties back to how our adrenal glands influence our overall weight.

Those with high amounts of cortisol, whether from disease or medications, gain lots of belly fat regardless of diet or activity level. Testing was initially vague, so the conversation fell out of medical circles, but in the last few years we have learned a lot about the role of adrenal hormones.

What we have learned is that that adrenal hormones are not just made by the adrenal glands, but also by visceral fat, the liver, and the brain. This means that we have more of that “whole body cortisol” that I had mentioned earlier and those who are heavier have more of this overall.

Key Insight: C-jun-n terminal kinase, insulin protease, and 11-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase – I call this group of enzymes Adrenal Fat Switch (AFS). You can think of these as a stress amplifier – we cannot have weight loss occur if this switch is turned on.

It used to be believed that the timing of the AFS enzymes was impossible to change. However, we know now that both the amount of cortisol made by the adrenals, as well as the acidity of the AFS are changeable – with food!

Food, Your Adrenals, and Metabolic Syndrome

Higher amounts of protein and fat cause more cortisol to be released, which turns off this “fat switch.” This is good for the morning rhythm. Higher carbohydrate meals decrease cortisol release and they turn on the fat switch. When you are thriving, the fat switch is set on “off.” This helps you burn calories and use the food to make energy for the following day.

By reducing the number of calories or carbohydrates consumed, typical dieting actually increases the activity of the AFS, making regaining weight happen more easily. This is the same mechanism that occurs under stress. The more stressors you face, the more your adrenal system becomes disrupted and the more apt you are to have your switch flipped into survival mode.

Given the role the adrenal glands play in regulating stress response and the number of things that disrupt their action, it is easy to see how dysfunctional weight gain can become a vicious cycle. Here is how it works:

  • We encounter stress in our lives
  • This stress leads to dysfunction in our adrenal glands – raising overall cortisol levels
  • Your adrenals cause you to store more abdominal fat
  • This type of fat makes you crave sugar, fat and salt
  • The additional abdominal fat makes its own cortisol (“whole body cortisol”)
  • Because you are storing your fuel, your energy starts to wane  – there’s no burn!
  • Overall fatigue and poor health creates depression
  • Depression turns into more and more stress

In Conclusion: Understanding your adrenals and the changes that they undergo when you are in a state of stress is important when it comes to metabolic syndrome. The cycle itself suggests this, because the vicious cycle of weight gain leads us right into the conditions comprising metabolic syndrome.

Heal Your Adrenals, Reverse Metabolic Syndrome

There are definitely some steps we can take to heal your adrenals, which will go a long way in reversing the factors which cause metabolic syndrome. There are four key steps I want to focus on, they are something I really believe we should all be doing. If you are at all worried about the state of your adrenals, here is where you can get started today.

1. Resistant Starch

I have mentioned it before, and I will mention it again, resistant starch is going to go a long way in helping to heal your adrenals (5). 10,000 milligrams daily is a great way to start and there are so many different ways we can get it into our diet. Think about how easy it would be to get more of these into your diet:

  • Potatoes 
  • Beans and Legumes 
  • Unripe Bananas (skins and all)

Resistant starch is so great, and it is so easy to access and include into our diets. If you want to get started on reversing metabolic syndrome today, this is a great first step.

Seems simple enough, right? You can use these ingredients in stir frys, salads or protein shakes – as long you’re getting them into your diet somehow, your body is really going to enjoy the benefits.

2. Sunlight

Light can really help your body, especially your adrenals. Being low in vitamin D is a real problem for so many people (6), that having a little bit of light therapy is going to go a long way in your overall health. Let’s think about this, within the first hour of being awake you should have at least 30 minutes of sunlight or a LUX light box (7).

3. Adaptogens

It is important to know that adaptogens like American ginseng, ashwagandha and rhodiola can play a pivotal role in improving HSD. They are just some of the right herbs for your adrenals that you need to bring into your life right away (8).

Stressed Reset Packs - Dr. Alan Christianson

4. Carb Cycling

Last, but not least, we cannot forget about the importance of carb cycling throughout the day. The value of carb cycling is priceless, and it is something we can do so easily (9). Cutting down your carbs and allowing your body to burn off excess fat, while replenishing with more carbs, can help keep your body in a steady rhythm (10).

Reversing Metabolic Syndrome Today

When it comes to reversing the effects of metabolic syndrome, we need to focus on the things that we can change. This means really focusing on our relationships, work situations and the other big factors in our lives. These are “big picture” factors, which really have a direct influence on how we lead our lives. They can bring us a lot of happiness, but sometimes they can also leave us feeling stressed out or frazzled.

I like to think about it like this, as we get older our social circle is continuously expanding. At first, we are only really around our parents. As we get older, though, we start including more and more people into our lives. Friends, classmates, coworkers and more, it only gets bigger and bigger. Each and every one of these people can play a factor in our lives, whether or not we are even conscious of it. Sometimes for the better, but sometimes for the worse.

It might not always be perfect, but you definitely should be considering and thinking about the people that you put around yourself. It is not just about ditching some people and cutting them out of your life, or quitting your job and living in the woods, but it is about communicating with people, letting them know how you feel and putting your health first – which is where it always belongs.

In Conclusion: There are definitely times where you need to “vote with your feet” and move on from negative experiences, but most of the time it will come down to how we are expressing our needs and how those needs are being met. How we are heard, and how we listen, are just so important.

Learn About Your Adrenals

Are you worried about metabolic syndrome? Do you know the importance of your adrenals? If you do, you are going to want to learn more about how they are currently performing. Take the Adrenal Quiz (11) today, and learn more about how you are feeling. Do what is best for your health, and learn more about what your body needs today.

Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet.

Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.