Syndrome X

Do you have Syndrome X? Try Dr Cabot’s Checklist

  • Do you find it impossible to lose weight?
  • Do you find low-fat diets don’t work?
  • Are you a yo-yo dieter?
  • Are you hungry all the time, even shortly after eating?
  • Do you crave carbohydrates and sugary foods?
  • Do you suffer with cholesterol problems?
  • Do you have high blood pressure?
  • Do you put on weight around your upper abdomen?
  • Do you have problems with blood sugar levels?
  • Do you have high levels of insulin?
  • Do you have a family history of diabetes?

If you answer YES to 3 or more of these questions, you have Syndrome X, which can be confirmed by measuring your fasting blood levels of insulin. They will be higher than normal and that’s the main reason you cannot lose weight. High insulin levels are usually accompanied by excessively high leptin levels. These hormones control hunger and fat storing. See my book “I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why!”

What is Syndrome X?

Syndrome X is the most common cause of inability to lose weight. Syndrome X occurs in those with excess fat inside the abdominal cavity and in the abdominal wall. Syndrome X is also known as the Metabolic Syndrome and common associated problems include insulin resistance, unstable blood sugar levels, leptin resistance, high blood pressure and high triglyceride fats in the blood.

What is insulin?

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas gland. Its action is to put blood sugar (glucose) into the cells where it is used to make energy in the mitochondria (little furnaces inside the cells).

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance means that your body is resistant to the effects of insulin and this leads to the high levels of insulin which cause Syndrome X. Many people today are resistant to the action of the insulin – that is, it is unable to carry the blood sugar inside the cells as it should – the cell is said to be ‘resistant’ to the action of the insulin. This means that the pancreas is forced to pump out higher and higher amounts of insulin to compensate for this resistance.

Insulin resistance is often hereditary and is triggered by a high carbohydrate diet and/or lack of exercise. Nutritional deficiencies of certain minerals (magnesium, zinc, manganese, chromium) can worsen insulin resistance. Liver dysfunction and/or fatty liver can worsen insulin resistance and like a catch 22, the high insulin worsens the fatty liver. No wonder it is so hard to lose weight!

What is the effect of IR on the female reproductive system?

In many females, high levels of insulin stimulate the ovaries to produce androgens (male hormones) which worsen Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (See PCOS for information on this condition). This interaction of excessive insulin and excess male hormones may cause a lack of ovulation in susceptible women. Absent menstrual periods and reduced fertility can be a result. The high male hormones may cause excess facial and body hair, acne, hair loss from the temples and the crown of the scalp (male pattern baldness).

Other effects of high levels of insulin

High insulin levels are often associated with high and/or unstable blood sugar levels. Indeed, a patient may be pre-diabetic or have type 2 diabetes. Even though the insulin levels are higher than normal, the insulin does not work efficiently because the body cells are resistant to its effect. The insulin does not work effectively to bring down the high blood sugar levels.

Those with Syndrome X usually have abnormalities in blood fat levels (cholesterol and triglycerides) and may have elevated blood levels of uric acid. Syndrome X significantly increases your risk of heart disease.  Excessive insulin levels induce ravenous hunger and those who suffer with this condition often find they are consistently hungry. This makes sticking to conventional weight loss plans very difficult.

Is it common?

Professor Gerald Reaven, from Stanford University was an original researcher on Syndrome X and found Syndrome X present in 80% of overweight people. He found that Syndrome X is more common in men than women. Many overweight children have Syndrome X.

Why can’t people with Syndrome X lose weight?

They are often battling with a fatty liver and a ravenous hunger, which must be addressed, or long-term chances of success are slim; unless you have the 2 missing parts to the jig-saw puzzle: they will need to have –

  1. A healthy liver
  2. Normal insulin levels and normal leptin levels

Victims of Syndrome X cannot lose weight because of 2 reasons:

  1. Their liver is storing fat, when it should be burning fat. In other words they suffer with a dysfunctional liver. A healthy liver is able to burn fat and pump excess fat out of the body through the bile. In those with a fatty liver the reverse happens so they just keep on getting fatter, especially around the abdomen.
  2. Hormonal imbalances – the high levels of insulin and leptin make them very hungry.

High insulin levels give you a ravenous appetite with cravings for carbohydrates such as sweets, savoury biscuits, chips, and sometimes sweet drinks and alcohol. This high intake of carbohydrates stimulates the insulin levels to become higher, which makes you even hungrier. Furthermore, insulin preferentially converts sugar into fat storage deposits, instead of muscle and liver glycogen stores. This insulin encourages the deposition of fat in your body.

Both of the above factors keep you locked into a vicious circle of ever increasing weight.

After 30 years of clinical research I have discovered the key to break this destructive cycle and get the weight off permanently. This involves 3 vital strategies – achieved via correct eating principles and supplementation:

  1. Improve the liver function so that the liver starts to burn fat again.
  2. Reduce the high levels of insulin and leptin, so that excess hunger is prevented
  3. Do some regular exercise such as walking, swimming, sports or aerobics; even a small amount of exercise helps a lot.


You must eat a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrate foods. The eating plans in my books “Fatty Liver – You can reverse it” and “I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why” provide suitable diet plans and delicious recipes to overcome Syndrome X.

Include protein at every meal and good sources of protein are legumes, seeds, raw nuts, fresh red meat, all seafood, eggs and natural unprocessed cheeses, and full fat Greek yogurt. A fruit breakfast for example would not be recommended for an overweight person with Syndrome X – this is too much simple carbohydrate without protein.

Healthy low carbohydrate sweetener guide

Sweeteners to avoid:

  • Aspartame
  • Neotame
  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Acesulfame-K (Sunette, Sweet & Safe, Sweet One)
  • Cyclamates
  • Saccharin

Sweeteners to use:

  • Stevia
  • Xylitol
  • Nature Sweet Sugar Substitute

How long does it take to lose weight?

This varies depending upon the degree of fatty change and inflammation in the liver. If you have only a mild degree of fatty liver, weight loss is quicker. If you have a very fatty liver and moderate to severe insulin and leptin resistance, the weight loss will be slower and you may have weight loss plateaus when you find that weight loss stops for 2 to 3 weeks. After the plateau, your weight loss will resume.

Remember it takes time to remove the excess fat from the liver, and if you do not do this, long-term weight loss is impossible. Some patients with advanced degrees of fatty liver take up to one year to completely remove all the excess fat from the liver. My liver formulas will speed up weight loss. The key to success is to focus on your health and not on how quickly you lose weight. Just be consistent and you will be successful – never give up!

Recommended books

Recommended supplements for Syndrome X

  • Glicemic Balance
    Take 1 to 2 capsules twice daily – These capsules contain gymnema sylvestre, bitter melon, chromium picolinate, lipoic acid, carnitine fumarate, selenium, magnesium, manganese and zinc – this is an excellent formula to help balance blood sugar levels and lower insulin and leptin levels, thus reducing hunger and increasing fat burning.
  • Livatone Plus Powder or Capsules
    Take 1 teaspoon twice daily in water or raw juice, or 1 to 2 capsules twice daily to assist with fat burning and support of liver function and detoxification.
  • Berberine
    Take 1 capsule twice daily with meals. Berberine helps to improve insulin sensitivity, thereby helping to reduce elevated insulin levels. In studies, berberine has proven to be equally effective as the drug metformin.
  • Synd X Protein Powder
    Use as a meal or snack. Slimming Protein powder for Syndrome X is an ideal smoothie or can be sprinkled over cereals or desserts to increase their protein content. It has no carbohydrate and is extremely high in bio-available protein. It is all natural and is GMO free.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.


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