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Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X), Weight Gain and Prostate Cancer


The American Heart Association recommends that health care professionals “routinely monitor body weight (especially the index for central obesity), blood glucose, lipoproteins and blood pressure; treat individuals' risk factors ... and carefully choose anti-hypertensive drugs because different agents have different effects on insulin sensitivity."
American Heart Association - Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome and Prostate CancerDamage caused by Metabolic Syndrome in men may extend beyond the risks of cardiovascular disease like heart attack and stroke and lead to prostate cancer.

The Research Institute of Public Health at the University of Kuopio, Finland, recently published study results on the increased risk of prostate cancer in middle-aged men suffering from Metabolic Syndrome. (1) The participants were 1,880 men from Eastern Finland who did not have a history of cancer or Type 2 Diabetes. Metabolic Syndrome, also called Syndrome X, was diagnosed in 357 of the men at the start of the study.

Over a period of 13 years, a total of 183 cancers occurred in the group as a whole, of which 56 were cancer of the prostate. Almost twice as many men with Metabolic Syndrome developed prostate cancer as men without the syndrome, after adjustment for age, alcohol consumption and physical fitness.

The study showed that overweight and obese men with Metabolic Syndrome ran a more than 70% greater risk of developing prostate cancer. Researchers concluded that the incidence of prostate cancer may be reduced by curbing the current worldwide epidemic of excess weight and obesity among middle-aged men who have developed Metabolic Syndrome because of sedentary lifestyles.

The prostate, itself, is about the size of a walnut and is located just below the bladder. It surrounds the tube called the urethra that carries urine from the bladder and out through the penis.

Normally, cells grow and multiply only when the body needs them to. Cancer develops as a result of a breakdown in this process, leading to cells growing in an uncontrolled way. The mass of excess cells forms a tumor, which may be benign or malignant. The tumor is described as malignant if it is able to invade other healthy tissue. The peripheral (outer) zone of the prostate is the area most susceptible to developing cancer.

Prostate cancer is rare in men under 50 years old. However, the risk increases steadily with age and by the time they are 80, more than half of all men will have some cancerous growth, though in most cases it goes unnoticed. Prostate cancer is usually slow-growing and, in men who have it, it is often not a cause of death.

Metabolic Syndrome and Cancer InformationIt is clear that the chances of developing prostate cancer increase in men over 50. Close relatives of men who have had prostate cancer are also more likely to be affected. Ethnic origin appears to play a part. Black men seem to be at highest risk and men of East Asian descent the lowest.

It may be possible to reduce the risk by avoiding a high fat diet and, for example, cutting down on or avoiding dairy foods and red meat.

Prostate cancer often has no symptoms. Sometimes, even when symptoms are present, men do not seek medical advice. However, if prostate cancer is found early, it can often be cured.

The symptoms are similar to those produced by a common disease of the prostate, benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), and include:

  • a difficulty in starting to pass urine
  • a weak, sometimes intermittent flow of urine
  • dribbling of urine before and after urinating
  • a frequent or urgent need to pass urine
  • a need to get up several times in the night to urinate

Overweight Men Face Double Threat From Prostate Cancer

According to another new study, a man's weight may "mask" the accuracy of a common test to detect prostate cancer called PSA. Researchers warn that doctors could be missing this dangerous cancer in obese men.

Between the years 2001-04, a team at San Antonio's University studied 2,799 men who were obese but free of prostate cancer according to PSA tests. The Texas researchers wanted to discover whether the detection of cancer was somehow being delayed in obese men.

A man's PSA of 4.0 or lower usually means no cancer. The study results of low PSA rates among the participants were surprising because prostate cancer has been shown in previous studies to be more aggressive in obese men than males of average weight.

It did not explain why obese men have lower PSA levels. But doctors believe obese men produce more estrogen, which drives down testosterone levels and could affect the antigen used in the PSA test.

The research may spur many doctors to take a closer look at the test results of obese male patients. "For sure, I will be more vigilant in my patients, who are obese, in evaluating their PSA," said Dr. Nelson Stone of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, who was not involved in the study.

Dr Stone added that colleagues might be losing some of the PSA test's sensitivity, reducing its ability to detect prostate cancer in obese patients. "We may have to set our sights lower," he said.

The antigen used in the PSA test is made by normal prostate cells and is measured in blood. The higher the antigen level, the more likely the chance of prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. But having a high PSA level is not a definitive diagnosis of cancer, which is why the Atlanta-based Society recommends that men with high PSA levels should have a biopsy.

The Texas study builds on previous research released in May last year in the New England Journal of Medicine which found that 15% of men with a "normal" PSA actually had prostate cancer and that two-thirds of those men had aggressive cases.

Many people are unaware that they are suffering from prostate cancer-linked Metabolic Syndrome, even though the American Heart Association estimates that 20-25% of the adult population of the U.S. have this disorder - between 58 and 73 million men and women.

Metabolic Syndrome is characterized by having at least three of the following symptoms:

  • Insulin Resistance (when the body can't absorb blood sugar or insulin properly)
  • Abdominal fat - in men this means a 40 inch waist or larger, in women 35 inches or larger
  • High blood sugar levels - at least 110 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) after fasting
  • High triglycerides - at least 150 mg/dL in the blood stream
  • High LDL "bad" cholesterol
  • Low HDL "good" cholesterol – less than 40 mg/dL
  • Prothrombotic state (a precursor of Cardiovascular Disease)
  • Blood pressure of 130/85 mmHg or higher
Heart Disease "Eating fast food more than twice a week may double the risk of developing Insulin Resistance."
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Insulin Resistance desensitizes the cell walls to insulin. As a result, glucose is prevented from passing through the cell walls via insulin to be converted to energy. The "rejected" glucose free floats in the blood stream and is carried to the liver. Once there, it is processed into fat and distributed around the body, often causing weight gain.

Another side effect of Insulin Resistance is elevated levels of insulin in the blood stream, which can lead to a series of biochemical reactions with wide-ranging consequences. These can include a variety of other serious health conditions, such as Cardiovascular Disease, hypertension (high blood pressure) and Type 2 Diabetes.

The interactions of Insulin Resistance, obesity and Metabolic Syndrome are complex and still under medical review. Many scientists believe that this is a case of "which came first?: the chicken or the egg?" Insulin Resistance contributes to obesity and is an underlying cause of Metabolic Syndrome, while obesity worsens Insulin Resistance, which then accelerates the development of Metabolic Syndrome. It is likely that each disorder exacerbates the other in a vicious cycle.

Because there is no single solution that addresses all the symptoms of Insulin Resistance or Metabolic Syndrome, we feel you must rely on a multi-faceted approach to reversing these conditions. A complete system is required to address the issues presented by these syndromes - one that includes nutraceuticals (vitamins, herbs and minerals that are disease specific), a realistic exercise program combined with nutritional guidance, advice on combating addiction to carbohydrates and a support network that will help you change unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Click here to read about the scientifically-designed Insulite MetaX System, which can help reverse Insulin Resistance, a condition linked to prostate cancer. The system features numerous formulations, including InsulX, with ingredients like the powerful antioxidant alpha lipoic acid, which scavenges cell-damaging free radicals that have been associated with the onset of tumors.

You may be interested in some of our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Metabolic Syndrome and the Insulite MetaX System.

(1) Metabolic syndrome and the risk of prostate cancer in Finnish men: a population-based study.
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention Vol. 13, 1646-1650, October 2004

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A. MAUREEN ROUHI, Chemical and Engineering News. November 22, 2004.Vol. 82, No.47  
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"Simply losing 5-7% of your body fat (typically 10-15 pounds) and increasing your physical activity by taking a brisk walk 4-5 times a week can reduce your risk of developing Type II Diabetes by almost 60%."
Diabetes Prevention Program study 2001, study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, et al.
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"A non-pharmacologic treatment for these patients is needed, since drugs prescribed to lower blood pressure have been shown to actually worsen carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in Syndrome X patients, negating the beneficial effects of those drugs."
Duke University Study, results published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, September 2003.
Article by Dr. Sheri Colberg, Phd, FACSM
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"...approximately 90% of overweight Hispanic children with a family history for type 2 diabetes have at least one feature of the metabolic syndrome and 30% possess the metabolic syndrome.

Our results support the view that improving insulin resistance may be crucial in the prevention of both type 2 diabetes and premature cardiovascular disease in this at-risk subpopulation of Hispanic youth."
Cruz ML, Weigensberg MJ, Huang TT, Ball G, Shaibi GQ, Goran MI.,J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Jan;89(1):108-13.
"To gain the most benefit from modifying multiple metabolic risk factors, the underlying insulin-resistant state must become a target of therapy."
Bogdanovic, Streten and Langlans, Beata, "Metabolic Syndrome: New Opportunities in Diagnostics and Therapeutics", DMD Publications, 2004.  
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