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Canine Health


AKA Metabolic Syndrome, Syndrome X is a combination of risk factors that can lead to diabetes, heart disease or other health problems in both humans and pets, especially dogs.





by Robert Allison


This metabolic condition afflicts over 60 million Americans and is currently reported in pet dogs. Syndrome X is associated with hypoglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and glucose intolerance followed by diminished insulin sensitivity.  It has been implicated as a causal factor in a host of debilitating conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and various forms of cancer in both humans and dogs.


Symptoms of Syndrome X

  • Abdominal obesity 

  • Fasting triglycerides of 150 mg/ml or higher

  • Low HDL and high LDL cholesterol levels

  • High blood pressure

  • Diminished glucose tolerance

The presence of any three of the above point to a probability of Syndrome X or the likelihood of it developing. Some common warning signs include feeling sluggish after meals, a craving for sweets, constant fatigue and stubborn weight gain.


Syndrome X and Aging

This metabolic condition can significantly accelerate the aging process. High levels of glucose and insulin create a virtual firestorm of metabolic distress, free radicals, causing massive oxidative stress which has been identified as a key factor in the aging process. That applies to animals as well.


And according to Dr. Michael Lam, an anti-aging expert, high glucose levels can result in advanced glycosylation end products {AGEs), which are associated with age-related diseases. Chronically high blood glucose levels are the main trigger in the chemical process that creates AGEs. In a process known as carmelization, AGEs form by cross-linking sugar and protein molecules. AGEs cause extensive damage to the body, reducing the flexibility and permeability of tissues and cells, stiffening connective tissue and hardening of arteries. The cross-linking also impairs metabolic balance, cellular communication and repair.


Syndrome X and Conventional Medicine

Syndrome X appeared on the nation's health radar during the late 90's. While there is no specific prescription for Syndrome X, pharmaceutical companies pushed a host of other drugs, including weight control products, statins (cholesterol) and high blood pressure medications as solutions to Syndrome x. Addressing Syndrome X with a host of expensive prescription drugs is hardly surprising but there is significant research showing that Syndrome X is most effectively controlled by a combination of diet and exercise both of which are good for the heart. In fact, Dr. Lam and many other researchers believe that Metabolic Syndrome is usually totally reversible without drugs.


Syndrome X and Diet

Syndrome X is often associated with over-consumption of refined carbohydrates. To reverse Syndrome X or prevent it from occurring, most researchers recommend a diet rich in fibrous vegetables, quality proteins and healthy fats. And while small amounts of whole grains are acceptable, processed grain products and starchy vegetables should be avoided. Read the label on your dog food...


According to science journalist Gail Vines, when and how often you eat may be as important as what you eat. A "grazing" eating pattern, involving frequent snacking, can increase the likelihood and severity of Syndrome X by continually flooding the bloodstream with insulin. Vines refers to recommendations by Victor Zammit, M.D., to allow a good 4-5 hours between meals and cutting out snacks.


When applied to your dog, that includes training treats! Canines are not nibblers like grazing animals.  In nature wild canines may go days without a meal.


Syndrome X and Exercise

Exercise is vital in combating Syndrome X. Studies prove regular exercise reduced abdominal obesity, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and increased lean body mass. Duke University showed that exercising 3-4 times per week for at least 30 minutes will improve insulin sensitivity, lower triglycerides and raise HDL Cholesterol - all factors associated with Syndrome X.  The message here is get out and play ball, fetch, or just jog with your dog.


Nutritional Supplements for Syndrome X

Along with alphalipoic acid and chromium, there are many natural remedies and nutritional supplements that reduce the impact of Syndrome X risk factors. For example, cinnamon is revered for its ability to regulate sugar metabolism and promote the healthy functioning of insulin. A study by researchers at the University of Chicago found that green tea catechins, particularly epigallocatechin (EGCG), reduce body weight, lower insulin and glucose levels, and reduce cholesterol and triglycerides.


Other popular herbs for promoting healthy blood sugar metabolism include: Bitter Melon -a plant commonly used medicinally in tropical regions throughout the world. Fenugreek promotes healthy glucose levels by encouraging insulin secretion by the pancreas.


 HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) is an inexpensive sweetener manufactured by adding enzymes to corn syrup to convert glucose into fructose, a sweeter form of sugar. Because it is cheaper than cane sugar, the use of HFCS increased ten fold from 1975 to 1990. Although often associated with soft drinks, HFCS is found in many processed foods, including juices, jams and condiments like ketchup.


Not-so Sweet Conclusion

Over-consumption of refined carbohydrates, including sweet potatoes (a mainstay dog food ingredient in 2021), along with corn and rice is felt by most canine nutrition experts to lead to an epidemic of Syndrome X related illnesses. High fructose corn syrup is currently found in most foods and plays a major role in our burgeoning Syndrome X epidemic according to nutrition researchers at the University of California, Davis.


The good news is that Syndrome X can usually be prevented or reversed through a combination of diet, exercise and natural supplementation. Canines eat meat and occasionally, herbs and grasses. When we mess with mother nature, we can expect problems.

Copyright ? 20091591942104


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