In episode 129 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:
I want to discuss a recent research update about metabolic syndrome. There are five main clinical signs of metabolic syndrome, and you only have to have three of the five. It is the most important condition that most people don’t know about it. It is a condition that is a risk factor for cognitive issues, diabetes, certain types of cancer, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and other health concerns. And it is also not treated very comprehensively. So I have been trying to dive into the literature and apply it to clinical practice.
I found a study that validated what I have been trying to do clinically, which is really exciting! In the study, researchers evaluated people with metabolic syndrome and time-restricted eating. It has only been done on animal studies to date, and it has been called “time restricting feeding” and they have found numerous benefits. But, up until now, not in humans. We have tried to extrapolate what we have learned, but now this study has been done by the Salk Institute. It is slated to be published next month, but you can read about it now in Cell Metabolism. The Salk Institute is a highly accredited biological institute and they have already looked at time-restricted feeding on animals. The reason that this study is so significant is that it is the first time they took human subjects who had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
The symptoms of metabolic syndrome are high triglycerides, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low HDL and a waist circumference above 40 inches for men and above 35 inches for women. To be diagnosed, you only need three out of five markers. All of the subjects in this recent study were clinically diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
The researchers had a very simple design. They restricted participants eating window by extending their overnight fasting. The difference in this study from others is that all of the participants had metabolic syndrome. The researchers increased their overnight fast to 14 hours, giving them a ten-hour time-restricted eating window. But they made no other changes, and they could both choose the time window and what time it stopped and started. The researchers didn’t tell them what to eat or how many calories they were to eat. The participants were asked, however, to log their eating. But they didn’t change the quantity or quality of food they consumed.
DR. CHAD LARSON
The results were amazing. With just that intervention over a twelve-week period, the participants all had significant changes in multiple factors. They saw a decrease in blood pressure, lowered cholesterol levels, improvements in their BMI, but more importantly, their body fat went down, specifically, their visceral body fat went down, which is a major risk factor to all the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. In my experience, visceral body fat is the gatekeeper for all of those other markers. Everyone in the study had a significant change in just 12 weeks.
In my practice, some patients will try to be more aggressive and limit their eating to an eight-hour window. In some cases, they do once a week, or twice a week, a fasting period of 24 hours for more severe issues when we are trying to be more aggressive. The time restrictive window was very effective without any adverse effects. I am very hopeful that we are on the right road to trying to overcome this disorder. If you are concerned about your health status, you should see a naturopathic or functional medicine clinician for help. That way, you know that you are making the proper changes and that the correct treatments are being applied. Until next time, keep it real.