Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms that have been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. About 35% of the US adult population has metabolic syndrome. For those aged 60 or more, the rate is close to 50%.
Women are more likely to suffer with metabolic syndrome than men, and Hispanics have a higher rate than non-Hispanics.
Just What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a group of 5 symptoms. If you have 3 or more of these symptoms you are said to have metabolic syndrome. These symptoms are:
Elevated blood pressure of 130/85 or more.
High triglycerides of 150 mg/dl or more
Low HDL cholesterol, less than or equal to 40mg/dl for men and 50mg/dl in women
Elevated fasting blood glucose levels of 100 mg/dl or more
Central obesity generally associated with a BMI of 30 or more
A study reported in the the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that metabolic syndrome is increasing long term in the United States. In 2003-2004 the rate was 32.9% but increased to 34.7% in 2011-2012, a 5% increase. Some short term studies indicate that in recent years the rate have leveled out.
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome means that many people are suffering from increased risks for a number of diseases including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. And often the symptoms and diseases result in limitations of lifestyle options. In addition, a study of members of 3 health care plans indicated that those with 3 symptoms had 60% higher costs for health care than those without symptoms. And, the costs increased by a further 24% when a fourth or or fifth symptom was added.
These individual symptoms are pretty common among Americans. About a third of Americans have high blood pressure. About a third of American have high triglycerides. A fifth of American adults have low HDL cholesterol. Slightly under 10% of the population has elevated fasting blood glucose levels. And, a third of the population is obese.
It’s been said that we are what we eat. But, more accurately, we are what we absorb. The difference is digestion. And, a major factor in digestion are digestive enzymes.
Digestive enzymes are protein catalysts that speed up the break down (digestion) of raw material (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals) into smaller components (like amino acids, fatty acids, fiber and glucose) that can be absorbed (or not absorbed in the case of fiber) by your intestines.
While enzymes are not changed or destroyed after digestion, the enzymes speed the process of digestion. Enzymes also help build tissue from the absorbed particles. For enzymes to work effectively, they require enough vitamins and minerals.
Many enzymes are produced by the body for digestion. Enzymes also play a part in the running of your body and in the manufacturing of new tissue. There are also enzymes in raw foods that help start the digestion process. Scientists have identified over 75,000 different enzymes in humans and are still finding more.
The process of breaking down cell membranes begins in the mouth where food is chewed. This is why it is important to chew your food until it becomes mushy. This releases the nutrients within the cells and allows chemical digestion to begin.
Enzymes work in the mouth, stomach and small intestines to break apart proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Stomach acid breaks down cell membranes, and further digestion occurs in the small intestine.
The gallbladder introduces bile in the duodenum (first part of the small intestine) which breaks down or emulsifies fats that may be coating other food particles. Bile also helps neutralize stomach acid. This allows enzymes from the pancreas to continue digestion. Your pancreas releases enzymes throughout the digestive tract to digest the foods you eat.
Enzymes start working in your mouth where the breakdown of carbohydrates begins. Carbohydrates continue to be digested in the stomach and small intestine.
Proteins are primarily digested in your stomach.
Fats begin the digestion process in the small intestine.
Got Poor Digestion?
Bloating is probably the most common symptom of poor digestion. Undigested food in the digestive tract will ferment creating gas and bloating.
And, poor digestion can cause more serious conditions. Starches ferment in the small intestine to produce alcohol which can product non-alcholic fatty liver disease.
Many people have one or more of the following symptoms, but often do not identify the cause a poor digestion.
Among the common causes or risk factors of poor digestion include:
Improper pH along the digestive tract
If you have the symptoms of poor digestion or have any of the common risk factors for poor digestion, you may want to consider taking digestive enzymes before meals to help ensure more complete digestion.
Great Overview of Digestive Enzymes
This video outlines the role enzymes play in digestion, and how taking an enzyme supplement may improve your overall digestive health.
Produced by Pendulum Swing Media
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