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Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors. They raise a person’s chances of having heart disease, stroke, or type 2 diabetes. People who have this health problem have three or more of these risks: high blood pressure, high blood fat levels, high fasting blood glucose, and weighing too much.
Medicine and healthy habits can help a person who has metabolic syndrome. Natural therapies have also been used to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. They may also help with weight loss. They should not be used in place of standard care.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

These herbs and supplements are likely to improve markers of metabolic syndrome:
  • Berberine is a yellow compound that can be taken as a supplement. It is most effective when taken with silymarin. (Note: Berberine is not safe for children. It may also not be safe for women who are breastfeeding or pregnant.) B19
  • Curcumin is a bright yellow compound from turmeric. B20
  • Inositol is a compound that is taken as a supplement. (Note: Nausea and headache may happen.) B13
  • Lipoic acid is a compound that the body uses as an antioxidant to help slow damage to cells. (Note: People who have diabetes should talk to their doctor before taking lipoic acid. It may interact with their medicines.) B17
  • Melatonin is a hormone made by the body that helps regulate sleep. B18
  • Magnesium is an essential nutrient in bran, nuts, and beans. B4, B5, B6, B7
  • Selenium is a compound found in grains, meat, and nuts. (Note: It should not be taken by people who have diabetes.) B10
  • Soy is a protein that comes from soybeans, soy yogurt, and tofu. B8
  • Tree nuts C1
  • Wen dan decoction is a traditional Chinese herbal formula. B6
Yoga is likely to improve markers of metabolic syndrome. D1, D2

May Be Effective

These herbs and supplements may improve markers of metabolic syndrome:
  • Artichoke is a vegetable. (Note: It should not be taken by people who have gallstones.) B16
  • Astragalus is a flowering plant. (Note: It should not be taken by people who have problems with their immune system.) B12
  • Chromium is a metal that occurs naturally in the body and food products in small amounts. (Note: It may cause diarrhea, hives, or headache.) B15
  • Cinnamon is a spice that is thought to help treat health problems. B9
  • Dietary polyphenols are micronutrients found in plant-based foods. C2
  • French maritime pine bark is taken as a supplement. (Note: It should not be taken by people who have problems with their immune system.) B2
  • Glycine is an amino acid. B3
  • Hibiscus is a bright flower that can be made into a drink. It can also be taken as a supplement. B1
Acupuncture may improve blood glucose and fat levels. It may also lower body mass. A1, A2

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some may get in the way of treatment. They can also make illness worse or cause new problems. Examples include:
  • Artichoke should not be taken by people who have gallstones.
  • Astragalus may make the immune system more active. Talk to your doctor before taking it if you have problems with your immune system.
  • Berberine is not safe for children. It may also not be safe for women who are breastfeeding or pregnant.
  • Chromium may cause diarrhea, hives, or headache.
  • French maritime pine bark may make the immune system more active. Talk to your doctor before taking it if you have problems with your immune system.
  • Inositol may cause nausea and headache.
  • Lipoic acid may interact with medicine used to treat diabetes. Talk to your doctor before taking it.
  • Selenium should not be taken by people who have diabetes. It may worsen symptoms.

References

A
Acupuncture
A1
Li Q, Li L, et al. [Effect of electroacupuncture in lipid metabolism in metabolic syndrome]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2010;30(9):713-716.
A2
Chen J, Xing H, et al. [Regulative effects of the acupuncture on glucose and lipid metabolism disorder in the patients of metabolic syndrome]. Xhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2017;37(4):361-365.
B
Herbs and Supplements
B1
Gurrola-Díaz CM, García-López PM, et al. Effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa extract powder and preventative treatment on the lipid profiles of patients with metabolic syndrome. Phytomed. 2010;17:500-505.
B2
Belcaro G, Cornelli U, et al. Pycnogenol® supplementation improves health risk factors in subjects with metabolic syndrome. Phytother Res. 2013;27(10):1572-1578.
B3
Díaz-Flores M, Cruz M, et al. Oral supplementation with glycine reduces oxidative stress in patients with metabolic syndrome, improving their systolic blood pressure. Can J Physiool Pharmacol. 2013;91(10):855-860.
B4
Qu X, Jin F, et al. Magnesium and the risk of cardiovascular events: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e57720.
B5
Ju SY, Choi WS, et al. Dietary magnesium intake and metabolic syndrome in the adult population: dose-response meta-analysis and meta-regression. Nutrients. 2014 Dec 22;6(12):6005-6019.
B6
Huang YM, Xu JH, et al. Efficacy of the wen dan decoction, a Chinese herbal formula, for metabolic syndrome. Altern Ther Health Med. 2015 Jul-Aug;21(4):54-67.
B7
Fang X, Wang K, et al. Dietary magnesium intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMC Med. 2016;14(1):210.
B8
Zhang XM, Zhang YB, et al. Soy Protein Supplementation Reduces Clinical Indices in Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. Yonsei Med J. 2016 May;57(3):681-689.
B9
Gupta Jain S, Puri S, et al. Effect of oral cinnamon intervention on metabolic profile and body composition of Asian Indians with metabolic syndrome a randomized double-blind control trial. Lipids Health Dis. 2017;16(1):113.
B10
Tabrizi R, Akbari M, et al. The Effects of Selenium Supplementation on Glucose Metabolism and Lipid Profiles Among Patients with Metabolic Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Horn Metab Res. 2017;49(11):826-830.
B11
Akbari M, Tabrizi R, et al. The Effects of Folate Supplementation on Diabetes Biomarkers Among Patients with Metabolic Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Horm Metab Res. 2018;50(2):93-105.
B12
Li NY, Yu H, et al. Astragalus Membranaceus Improving Asymptomatic Left Ventricular Diastolic Dysfunction in Postmenopausal Hypertensive Women with Metabolic Syndrome: A Prospective, Open-Labeled, Randomized Controlled Trial. Chin Med J (Engl). 2018;131(5):516-526.
B13
Tabrizi R, Ostadmohammadi V, et al. The effects of inositol supplementation on lipid profiles among patients with metabolic diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Lipids Health Dis. 2018;17(1):123.
B14
Tabrizi R, Lankarani KB, et al. The effects of folate supplementation on lipid profiles among patients with metabolic diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2018;12(3):423-430.
B15
Nussbaumerova B, Rosolova H, et al. Chromium Supplementation Reduces Resting Heart Rate in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome and Impaired Glucose Tolerance. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2018;183(2):192-199.
B16
Ebrahimi-Mameghani M, Asghari-Jafarabadi M, et al. TCF7L2-rs7903146 polymorphism modulates the effect of artichoke leaf extract supplementation on insulin resistance in metabolic syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Integr Med. 2018;16(5):329-334.
B17
Akbari M, Ostadmohammadi V, et al. The effects of alpha-lipoic acid supplementation on glucose control and lipid profiles among patients with metabolic diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Metabolism. 2018;87:56-69.
B18
Doosti-Irani A, Ostadohammadi V, et al. The Effects of Melatonin Supplementation on Glycemic Control: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Horm Metab Res. 2018;50(11):783-790.
B19
Fogacci F, Grassi D, et al. Metabolic effects of berberine-silymarin association: A meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Phytother Res. 2019;33(4):862-870.
B20
Azhdari M, Karandish M, et al. Metabolic benefits of curcumin supplementation in patients with metabolic syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytother Res. 2019 May;33(5):1289-1301.
B21
Zhang XM, Zhang YB, et al. Soy Protein Supplementation Reduces Clinical Indices in Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. Yonsei Med J. 2016;57(3):681-689.
B22
Simental-Mendía, Sahebkar A, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on the effects of magnesium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and glucose control. Pharmacol Res. 2016;111:272-282.
C
Other Therapies
C1
Blanco Mejia S, Kendall CW, et al. Effect of tree nuts on metabolic syndrome criteria: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ Open. 2014 Jul 29;4(7):e004660.
C2
Amiot MJ, Riva C, et al. Effects of dietary polyphenols on metabolic syndrome features in humans: a systematic review. Obes Rev. 2016 Jul;17(7):573-86.
D
Yoga
D1
Chu P, Gotnik RA, et al. Th effectiveness of yoga in modifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2016;23(3):291-307.
D2
Cramer H, Langhorst J, et al. Yoga for metabolic syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2016 Dec;23(18):1982-1993.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 02/2020
  • Update Date: 05/26/2020
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