Syndrome X: Protecting Yourself from the Silent Killer

by Gloria Gilbere, N.D., D.A.HOM., PH.D.

Western society is in the throes of an epidemic. News to you? You're not alone. Seventy million Americans are suffering from the health crisis of insulin resistance and its accompanying disorders known as Syndrome X…and don't even know it.

According to the American Heart Association, Syndrome X (also known as Metabolic Syndrome or Insulin Resistance) is characterized by the existence of a group of metabolic risk factors in a single individual. They include:

Central obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen)

Atherogenic dyslipidemia (blood fat disorders—mainly high triglycerides and low beneficial HDL cholesterol—that foster plaque build-up in the artery wall)

Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (the body can't properly use insulin or blood sugar)

Prothrombotic state (increased frequency of blood clotting)

Raised blood pressure (130/85 mmHg or higher)

Pro-inflammatory state (elevated systemic inflammation)


Syndrome X, coined by Gerry Reaven of Stanford University in the late 1980s, refers to a serious and life-threatening metabolic dysfunction. Because the early stages go unnoticed, it has the potential of being a "silent killer." Its common denominators include high blood pressure, raised levels of triglycerides (fats in the blood), and insulin resistance (an acquired resistance to glucose handling hormones). Thus, the above-described conditions, as well as diabetes and heart disease, are usually the end result.


Many victims of "invisible" disorders, such as Multiple Allergic Response Syndrome (MARS), like myself, successfully heal their digestive systems, strengthen their immune systems, eliminate serious allergic reactions, and ultimately regain quality of life once lost to food sensitivities and malabsorption, only to find themselves smack in the middle of the Syndrome X metabolic nightmare.

When recovering from invisible disorders, sufferers are usually malnourished and, in many cases, functioning at dramatically reduced body weight. Initially pleased to regain some of the weight, they are grateful not to look and feel so emaciated. Then, little by little, weight gain continues until they slowly move past what was their normal weight into overweight. In addition, they find themselves with high cortisol levels, insulin resistance, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Most disturbing is that many physicians are treating the symptoms of these metabolic disorders with more drugs, rather than investigating their root cause. Researchers are hopeful that by designating the symptoms as a "syndrome," it may help to raise awareness that there is an increased risk of heart disease among people with this syndrome, and that this awareness will, in turn, show that there are metabolic solutions available that will lead to positive health changes.


The best place to start this change is with the liver. Because research has proven that liver and digestive health hold the keys to overcoming the invisible disorders, which include multiple chemical sensitivities, leaky gut syndrome, and fibromyalgia, researchers know the liver can do the same for Syndrome X. When detoxified and supported in its function of protecting us by neutralizing toxic substances, the liver can also protect us against the consequences of Syndrome X.

Though liver detoxification and support alone can be challenging, it's important to remember that because of the intimate connection between the liver and the large intestine, the toxic load must be reduced in both. Doing one without the other is like changing the oil in your automobile without changing the oil filter. It's best to start "slow," with milk thistle and reduced glutathione supplements, working to reduce the liver's toxic load significantly over time, then increase in small amounts as can be tolerated comfortably.


We generally think of insulin as a substance only diabetics produce deficiently. What is not commonly known is that insulin is a vital hormone secreted by special cells in the pancreas. Insulin is then "soaked-up" by the tissues, especially our muscles, through our bloodstream, providing energy when done so in healthy amounts. If you have Syndrome X, however, your metabolism isn't using the insulin effectively, thus the cells are starving.


The following summarizes the steps I have found are the most important in preventing, and ultimately reversing, Syndrome X:

If you can begin by infusing even just one of these tips, and add one a week or month, over time, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to Syndrome X, and becoming one of the 70 million Americans unaware of why they feel so sick and tired.

1. Exercise daily, even if only for 15 minutes.

2. Stimulate lymphatic flow by either dry skin-brushing or non-impact exercise, such as a rebounder or mini trampoline five minutes twice a day.

3. Reduce the toxic load in the large intestine by daily consumption of plenty of organic raw vegetables and supplementing with a colon fiber product. If fiber products cause constipation, supplement with a non-habit-forming herbal stool softener.

4. Perform periodic colon irrigation via professional colon hydrotherapy, both to promote healing and to prevent disease.

5. Consume plenty of quality protein without excessive fat. Protein shakes are an excellent way to keep fat and calories low while maintaining healthy glucose levels.

6. Limit simple carb intake (white flour and processed foods); avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, food preservatives/ additives; and increase complex carbs (whole grains, fruits and vegetables).

7. Take a daily supplement to first detoxify the liver, then one for long-term support.

8. Supplement with quality, readily absorbable minerals/ electrolytes—they are the "spark-plugs" of life.

9. Consume at least two tablespoons daily of omega 3, 6, and 9 essential fatty acids to support hormone functions.

10. Supplement daily with minerals, such as chromium, to assist in balancing glucose levels.

11. Reduce excessive stress to avoid imbalances in cortisol levels.

If you can begin by infusing even just one of these tips, and add one a week or month, over time, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to Syndrome X, and becoming one of the 70 million Americans unaware of why they feel so sick and tired