What is Metabolic Syndrome?
The term “metabolic syndrome” (MetS) does not yet have an agreed-upon definition by the medical establishment.
Some doctors will say it is simply insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance (IR) happens as a result of blood insulin levels that remain consistently high (hyperinsulinemia). This constant exposure to insulin causes a decrease in cell and tissue sensitivity to the circulating insulin.
Hyperinsulinemia is the result of the foods we choose to eat. It is NOT largely genetic but is a lifestyle disease.
Hyperinsulinemia and IR result in a set of symptoms that indicate that there is dysfunction in the biochemical reactions of our cells and tissues.
These signs and symptoms include:
- High blood pressure
- High fasting insulin (even before we see high blood glucose levels)
- High blood glucose
- High triglycerides
- Low HDL (good cholesterol)
- An accumulation of abdominal fat
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver and fatty pancreas
- Increase in inflammatory markers including:
- Complement component 3 (C3)
- High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)
- Leukocyte count
- Neutrophil count
- Lymphocyte count
- Increased neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio
Metabolic Syndrome and Breast Cancer Risk
Research published in J. of Med. Paediatr. Onc. Oct-Dec: 38(4): 434-439, found that MetS was a positive and independent risk factor for breast cancer. So, after accounting for other possible causes, MetS clearly increasing the risk of breast cancer.
A review article in Obes Rev. 2015 Jan;16(1):1-12. doi: 10.1111/obr.12229. Epub 2014 Nov 18 found that
… of particular interest is the relationship between metabolic syndrome and cancer. Metabolic syndrome has been associated with a plethora of cancers including breast, pancreatic, colon and liver cancer.
This review also found that MetS plays a role in the aetiology, progression and prognosis of associated cancers.
Looking at obesity alone, there was an increased incidence of breast, ovarian, endometrial, renal, pancreatic and eosophageal cancers.
Notice the first 3 in this list are also cancers that are often estrogen sensitive cancers which brings up another point.
Consistently high blood levels of sugar and the resulting insulin will cause an increase in estrogen production–another unwanted source of estrogen exposure for anyone concerned with breast cancer.
Remember, hormones all affect one another and an imbalance in one will cause an imbalance in others.
The Bottom Line
In Part 1 of this breast cancer series, we looked at the things in our lives that increase our risk of breast cancer: both the things that we can’t change and the things that we can.
Of the risks that we DO have control over, having a BMI over 40 (clinically obese) carries the greatest impact to our health.
Losing weight will dramatically decrease our risk of breast cancer.
Losing weight in a way that reverses consistently high blood sugar and hyperinsulinemia (high levels of blood insulin), not only decreases our risk of breast cancer, but also of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, other cancers, and much more.
The Power of Ketosis
The power of a ketogenic diet is not just in its ability to cause weight loss, although that is obviously a nice side-effect.
A ketogenic diet reverses the metabolic dysfunction that is the CAUSE of our lifestyle diseases.
Only 5 to 10% of breast cancers have a genetic component. The rest (90%) are the result of our lifestyle choices–what we put into our mouths, how we move our bodies, and even with what we choose to fill our minds and think about.
A whole food ketogenic diet will address what we put into our mouths, which will heal the underlying cause of metabolic dysfunction.
And that’s really what we’re going for: treating causes, not symptoms.
Fatty liver disease, Type II diabetes, hyperinsulinemia, over-weight and obesity, Alzheimer’s and other dementias, high blood pressure, low HDL and high triglycerides, and yes, cancer.
These are all symptoms of an underlying metabolic dysfunction at a cellular and biochemical level that indicate an imbalance in the hormonal systems of the body.
Treating symptoms works for acute and emergency care situations but will never be the answer for chronic conditions such as lifestyle diseases.
We must learn how to treat the cause. Ketosis gives us the powerful tool that we need to do this quickly and efficiently.
A Whole Food Approach to the Ketogenic Diet
I encourage a ketogenic diet that is different than many others.
The type of keto diet I promote is high in vegetables, high in good fats, and low to moderate in protein. These macronutrients will come from whole food sources, both plant and animal, not processed or packaged foods.
Eating a whole food diet that takes out the causes hyperinsulinemia while putting in the healing nutrients of a diet high in fiber and high in keto-friendly vegetables will address most of the causes of lifestyle disease.
If you would like to begin learning how ketosis reverses MetS and insulin resistance, you can read this post Ketogenic Diet: Harmful or Healthy?
If you understand how a ketogenic diet works but need a little more help with the day-to-day and week-to-week, you can get started with my 30-Day Whole Food Keto Challenge.
In just 30 days you can lose weight, decrease inflammation, lower high blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and decrease your risk of all lifestyle diseases including many cancers like breast cancer.
From what to put into your pantry (and what to take out), to how to monitor your macronutrients, this 30-Day Challenge downloadable PDF and unlimited email support from me will get you started on a path to better health.
Got questions? Need a little encouragement? Let me know—I’m your personal pharmacist.
Join us on our Facebook group for more information on a ketogenic diet: https://www.facebook.com/DecreaseYourRisk
And our private Facebook group for women only! All about keto, hormone balance and weight loss: https://www.facebook.com/groups/149282939016633/