The increase in caloric intake and consumption of refined sugars and physical inactivity have led to a radical increase in the worldwide incidence of cases of abdominal obesity and the emerging epidemic of insulin resistance. According to data from the ISS cardiovascular epidemiological observatory, in Italy the metabolic syndrome affects almost a quarter of the population.
Metabolic syndrome: what is it?
The term “Metabolic Syndrome” is a term that was coined at the end of the 90s, even if already around the 60s the correlation between:
- cardiovascular disease
- some clinical conditions: high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, increased blood pressure and waist circumference.
Metabolic syndrome is a combined risk factor for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes reflecting the combination of individual risk factors resulting from abdominal obesity and insulin resistance. This combined risk factor is currently believed to include the following interrelated metabolic risk conditions:
- atherogenic dyslipidemia (this in turn represents a combined condition characterized by high levels of fasting and postprandial triglycerides, high VLDL values, reduced HDL levels and an atherogenic phenomenon with small and dense LDL particles);
- glucose intolerance;
- blood hypertension;
- proinflammatory state;
- prothrombotic state.
These conditions place affected patients at risk of the following clinical conditions:
- coronary heart disease
- cerebrovascular disease
- atrial fibrillation
- type 2 diabetes (has links to eating habits, unlike type 1 diabetes)
- hepatic steatosis
- obstructive sleep apnea
- sexual dysfunctions
- cognitive decline
In late 2009, organizations interested in metabolic syndrome, including the American Heart Association and the international diabetes federation, came together to come up with a harmonized preliminary definition of metabolic syndrome. They opted for the notion that metabolic syndrome is present when at least 3 of the 5 criteria set out below occur in a single individual:
- abdominal obesity (waist circumference> 102 cm for men, 88 for women)
- hypertension (> 130/85 mmHg)
- abnormal blood glucose: hyperglycemia / diabetes (fasting glucose> 110 mg / dl);
- alteration of the lipid profile, or better of the HDL / LDL balance (HDL <40 mg / dl man, <50 mg / dl woman and LDL> 100)
- hypertriglyceridemia (> 150 mg / dl).
Hyperglycemia and diabetes
We talk about pre-diabetes or borderline blood glucose whenever we find a fasting blood glucose, confirmed at least twice, between 110 and 125 mg / dl or a blood sugar 2 hours after oral glucose load between 140 and 199 mg / dl or, finally, a glycated hemoglobin A1c value between 5.7 and 6.4%.
Diabetes is spoken of if fasting blood glucose values are> 126 mg / dl. There are 2 types of diabetes:
- type 1 diabetes: the causes are exclusively hereditary, due to insufficient or absent insulin production due to the suffering and destruction of the pancreatic cells of Langherans responsible for producing insulin;
- type 2 diabetes: the causes can be genetic, diet-related, hormonal factors. The main problem of the type 2 diabetic is that of insulin resistance, that is the inability of the cells to use insulin and therefore to absorb glucose. In subjects with type 2 diabetes, in fact, a reduction in the number of insulin receptors or their alteration is observed: due to this reduced sensitivity of peripheral tissues, and in particular of muscles and adipose tissue, to the action of insulin , glucose finds it difficult to enter cells and begins to accumulate in the blood (this is the reason for high blood sugar). At this point, to compensate for the reduced effectiveness of insulin, the pancreas is forced to overproduce insulin, which explains the high levels of insulin in the blood. This compensatory mechanism initially guarantees blood glucose control, however in the long run it depletes the functional capacity of the pancreas to maintain consistently high levels of insulin. When this happens, the insulin produced is no longer able to maintain normal blood sugar, which begins to rise until it can lead to type 2 diabetes. Obesity is the first risk factor for type 2 diabetes, while the decline weight with proper nutrition associated with physical activity is the first therapy.
Phytotherapy: lowering high blood sugar with natural remedies
Type 2 diabetes is currently treated with low-fat diets, oral antidiabetic diets and in rare cases with insulin. Over the years there have been many attempts to use natural remedies based on medicinal herbs for the treatment of diabetes. According to a study published in PubMed in 2018: “Phytotherapy in the management of diabetes: a review”, by Paolo Governa et al., It was shown that different medicinal plants and their preparations act in the key points of glucose metabolism and in this study an overview of the medicinal plants used so far in the management of diabetes supported by authoritative monographs and of some species currently subject to increasing clinical investigation is provided. These include:
- fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum L.): but the active dosages are very high;
- cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum J. Presl. C. cassa): thanks to cinnamaldehyde, it increases tissue sensitivity to insulin and the release of insulin by the pancreas;
- ginseng (Panax ginseng C: A: Meyer): thanks to ginsenosides, it has good hypoglycemic activity confirmed by clinical studies, but prolonged use is not recommended;
- berberine: currently it is one of the most investigated hypoglycemic substances, also for the treatment of hyperlipidemia (for which many take statins at high doses, not tolerated by all)
According to a study published in 2011 by Han J. et al. and in particular by Arrigo F G Cicero et al., 2012 Antidiabetic properties of berberine: from cellular pharmacology to clinical effects, the mechanisms of berberine as a hypoglycemic agent would be multiple:
- It affects glucose metabolism, increasing insulin secretion, stimulating glycolysis, suppressing adipogenesis, inhibiting mitochondrial function, activating the 5′ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway, and increasing glycokinase activity.
- Berberine also increases glucose transporter-4 (GLUT-4) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) levels. On GLP-1 receptor activation, adenylyl cyclase is activated, and cyclic adenosine monophosphate is generated, leading to activation of second messenger pathways and closure of adenosine triphosphate-dependent potassium channels. Increased intracellular potassium causes depolarization, and calcium influx through the voltage-dependent calcium channels occurs. This intracellular calcium increase stimulates the migration and exocytosis of the insulin granules.
- In glucose-consuming tissues, such as adipose, or liver or muscle cells, berberine affects both GLUT-4 and retinol-binding protein-4 in favor of glucose uptake into cells; stimulates glycolysis by AMPK activation; and has effects on the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ molecular targets and on the phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1, finally resulting in decreased insulin resistance.
- Moreover, recent studies suggest that berberine could have a direct action on carbohydrate metabolism in the intestine. : Lichao Zang et al, 2021, Effects of Berberine on the Gastrointestinal Microbiota.
Hyperglycemia natural remedies
Erboristeriacomo.it has selected for you our glycemia supplement in tablets, to be taken on a full stomach, based on berberine in liposomal form (berberine bio-sol), curcumin and white mulberry:
- Berberis is useful for the regular function of the cardiovascular system. Berberine in Glycemarmony has been titrated in berberine hydrochloride and developed in liposomal form to have, compared to classic berberine, these advantages, less degradation during digestion, faster absorption, a significantly higher plasma concentration after 60 minutes and less gastrintestinal irritability.
- Curcumin has been included in the formulation of GlicemArmony as it is one of the best known and studied substances as an inhibitor of P-glycoprotein.
- And the white mulberry?
The white mulberry (Morus alba, in English Mulberry) is a species of Asian origin well known for the breeding of silkworms (well known to us Como), for its fruits and for the use of its rich leaves in herbal medicine of polysaccharides and alkaloids, such as derivatives of nojirimycin. The phytocomplex of mulberry leaves would seem to have an interesting hypoglycemic activity and would be useful for the metabolism of carbohydrates (sugars) and the regularity of blood pressure. In particular:
- 1-deoxinojirimycin (with which the white mulberry has been titrated in Glicemarmony) would seem, according to Nakagawa (2013), to have inhibitory activity against alpha-glucosidase,
- thanks to other studies carried out in 2018, it would seem that the polysaccharides of the mulberry leaves have protective activity at the level of pancreatic beta cells (which produce insulin), while the aqueous extracts of the leaves would modulate the PPARγ receptors.
Glicemarmony is a supplement that we recommend for at least 12 weeks in case of borderline blood sugar (i.e. between 100 and 125 mg / dl), metabolic syndrome with overweight, altered LDL levels (over 100 mg / dl), and in case of dyslipidemia (LDL over 100 mg / dl and triglycerides over 150 mg / dl) in statin intolerant patients. In case of hypercholesterolemia we recommend our cholesterol supplement with berberine and monacolin k.
Visit our herbal department for any clarification or for more information.
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