I often see people that want more control over their health. This can take many forms. Perhaps they want to come off of prescription medication that is causing side effects or are not working as well as they had hoped. Maybe they are trying to avoid going on a prescription medication and want to try something to prevent that. Or maybe they realize the benefit of preventative medicine before they have any issues with their health at all.
For example, metabolic syndrome, which consists of central obesity or increased BMI, high blood pressure, insulin resistance or impaired fasting glucose, increased triglycerides and LDL cholesterol brings at least ½ of the patients into my pharmacy. Associated conditions are hyperuricemia (leading to gout), fatty liver, erectile dysfunction, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Acanthosis nigricans (a hyperpigmentation in the folds of the skin).
Treating mild to moderate blood pressure before prescription drugs is possible with a wide variety of natural substances. I generally don’t aggressively treat this in patients that are already on prescription blood pressure meds, but they are possible if the doctor is monitoring their pressure and able to drop the dose gradually.
Simple proven ways to lower blood pressure are using:
- Soy bean protein,
- Hydrolyzed whey protein.
- Bonito fish protein acts like an ACE inhibitor in amounts of 1.5 g daily as an extract.
- Coconut oil, olive oil (4 tbsp/ day), wakame and fiber (soluble or insoluble) have been shown to have this effect and are easily included in diet.
- Omega 3 (dha/epa) in doses of 4-5 g daily is helpful for a whole list of health issues including blood pressure.
- Garlic works like an ACE inhibitor and Calcium channel blocker and good for high BP.
- 4 stalks of celery per day are also a benefit. Celery contains high levels of 3-N-butylphthalide, which is a ‘phytochemical’ that helps you to control high blood pressure level.
Other commonly found nutraceuticals are:
- Vitamin C (lowers systolic more than diasolic and increases elasticity of the aorta),
- Vitamin D (2000 IU daily),
- Vitamin E (especially a high gamma/delta component – at least 4:1 to any alpha tocopherol),
- B6 is similar to the angiotensin II blocking agents and good for high renin hypertension; max dose of 200 mg/daily.
- Chelated magnesium
- Lycopene from tomatoes, are also safe and easily obtained.
- L-tyrosine is found in sardines and in supplements and has ACE properties in 3g daily.
- Hawthorn has many mechanisms of action and can lower bp as well.
- Carnitine in doses of 2 g dialy are also good and help in lipid levels too.
Insulin resistance can be and should be treated aggressively as diabetes is so prevalent in western society. Type 2 diabetes is generally regarded as a condition created by humans. Excess consumption of calories and accumulation of abdominal belly fat (a condition also brought on by stress and increased cortisol) and “love handle fat” (a condition that signifies insulin resistance has started) lead to inflammatory mediators to be released as the fat cells increase in size and number.
Several theories exist as to the exact mechanism that leads to fat accumulation and insulin resistance, but proper diet and exercise are key to avoiding both. Overlay comparisons of both Canadian and U.S. diabetes incidence vs Percent of population overweight closely resemble each other. Leptin sensitivity/resistance is one theory where appetite suppression and development of body fat result from general food cravings. Typically no specific food and you never really feel full, or full for very long. These people tend to graze all day, especially in the evening.
One natural supplement to help this is L-Carnosine (500 mg twice daily up to 1 g three times daily with food). This has low levels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. Supplementing can lower glucose in the blood although it might increase triglyceride levels slightly. It can also come as acetyl-L-Carnitine.
Alpha lipoic acid also increases insulin sensitivity at 600 mg/ day. It is also an antioxidant which is important to help prevent free radical damage. It’s also good for diabetic neuropathy.
Vitamin D plays a role in insulin secretion and studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin D improves insulin resistance compared to placebo. It has also been shown to help in pain relief from neuropathy.
Chromium 200-1000 mcg/day with or without Niacin 50-100 mg/day can potentiate the action of insulin and is great for both high and low blood sugar.
Biotin induces the enzyme glucokinase that helps metabolize glucose in the cell, preventing it from backing up and increasing in the blood 3-16 mg/day. Good for neuropathy as well.
Adrenal supplementation can be helpful in cases of cortisol induced insulin resistance. Insulin and cortisol work opposite of each other. Cortisol makes the body more insulin resistant, making the body release more insulin to do its job meaning the body is in a state of store fat and don’t burn fat. Phosphatidyl serine is a good agent to drop cortisol, but a total evaluation of adrenal health can improve insulin sensitivity by normalizing cortisol released from the adrenals.