oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - The metabolic syndrome - what is the value of its identification?



The identification of the metabolic syndrome (MS) has been under discussion and intense investigation since 1998. Only recently does it appear that consensus is being reached between different organisations regarding its identification. Nonetheless, the true value in identifying the MS remains under question, as does the debate around its existence. The real value in identifying the MS may simply be the ability to identify individuals at increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes. Further identification of abnormalities associated with the MS should encourage practitioners to investigate and search for other risk factors associated with CVD and diabetes. Part of the problem in identifying and treating the MS is that the cause of associated abnormalities remains unclear. However current research seems to indicate that oxidative stress and inflammation may play a pivotal role in the development of insulin resistance (IR) and the MS. Regardless of the usefulness of indentifying the MS and its contributing causes, certain take home messages for practitioners remain the same, including emphasis on the importance of weight loss in overweight patients, the role of regular exercise and diet quality, with a new emphasis on the role of an adequate micronutrient intake and specifically nutrients with antioxidant properties.


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