The metabolic syndrome is a disease known as a sign of the development of type 2 diabetes. It is actually a syndrome consisting of abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and abnormal blood lipids composition.

As it is a fast-growing disease, US state agencies and researchers at the University of Thufts have been looking for a nutrient that would protect against it. It has been found that high levels of vitamin C and vitamin E in the body protect against the development of metabolic syndrome.

Jean Mayer and his team examined 353 men and women. They were all over the age of 65, and they all were from poor neighborhoods of Quito's suburbs. In 40% of this randomly selected group, metabolic syndrome was detectable, mainly due to incomplete meals. By the way, this ratio is the same as the European and American average. The ratio of refined carbohydrates and refined salt in their diet was high.

However, the authors found that those with higher levels of vitamin E and vitamin C had a lower incidence of disease.

"There is a spectacular relationship between the blood level of these two micronutrients and the metabolic syndrome"

"After correcting the measurements by age and gender, we have found that there is a spectacular relationship between the blood levels of these two micronutrients and the metabolic syndrome," said Dr. Simin Nikbin Meydani, USDA Director. “The result shows that higher levels of vitamin E in the blood can protect against metabolic syndrome”.

Most of the participants had low levels of vitamin C, due to the fact that they consumed few fresh vegetables and fruits according to the authors. Their diet consisted mainly of sugary foods, pastries, rice and potatoes.

Researchers have observed that there is a relationship between the amount of metabolic syndrome and a C-reactive protein (CRP). This protein appears in the blood in any inflammatory process. It is almost immeasurable in the blood for healthy people. CRP is used to detect inflammatory diseases in diagnostics. The appearance of it in the blood is the first sign of infarction. According to this, the presence of the above two antioxidants in the blood may also be protective against other diseases.

There is diagnosis, but no therapy

I attended a nutrition conference where a senior professional from the National Institute of Nutrition said in a lecture that "many raw vegetables" should be eaten by everyone, and then to my question, "What means many?" said at least 60 dkg. If the minimum is 60 dkg, then the optimum will be somewhere between 80 dkg and 1 kg, although I have failed to ask this question as we ran out of time.

I wondered how many times this dear expert could eat 1 kg of vegetables a day in recent years. Not every day, it's certain, because it didn't look like that. He was fatigued and apparently showed all the symptoms of the metabolic syndrome.

In practice, I usually try to convince my patients that they eat a large bowl of vegetables every day. This is typically 20-30 dkg. For most of them, this is a serious effort. Especially after we clarify what the vegetable is. Many people find out at that time that potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes or corn are not vegetables, and even the “thousands-island-dressings” do not count.

In the US research described above, values appearing to be protective factors in the blood can actually be achieved in two ways: either by consuming 1 kg of vegetables per day or by dietary supplements. In my humble opinion, one in a thousand people can eat 1kg of vegetables a day.

However, 3 grams of vitamin C and 800IU of vitamin E can easily be taken into the diet of anybody and it would be desirable whether one is sick or healthy.

István Demecs