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Metabolic health

Every week I am posting about  everything you need to know about hormones. This weeks topic is about metabolic health

Did you know …

  • There is no official definition of the term metabolic health
  • But it is the opposite of Metabolic Dysfunction or Metabolic Syndrome
  • Metabolic refers to the word metabolism which I talked more about in this blog.
  • Metabolism is the set of cellular mechanisms that produce energy from our food and or internal ‘stored’ nutrients like fat, to power every process in the human body.
  • So metabolic health describes how well we generate and process energy.
  • And looking after metabolic health is important for overall health, especially as we age.
  • Metabolic dysfunction is a natural part of aging, but lifestyle choices can increase and speed up the development of the dysfunction
  • It is estimated that approx. 25% of the world population – ie. over 1 billion people in the world have metabolic syndrome.
  • It is estimated that 1 – 3 UK adults have metabolic syndrome
  • Approx. 88% of the American population are displaying some level of metabolic dysfunction.
  • Metabolic dysfunction plays an important role in the risk of disease states like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, liver disease and obesity.
  • A number of factors influence your metabolic health, some you can change, like diet, sleep and activity level and some you can’t, like your age, sex, or genes.
  • The 2 major influencers are nutrition and exercise
  • Basically when glucose regulation becomes impaired metabolic health is at risk
  • The drop in Estrogen and Testosterone play a crucial role in the development of Metabolic Syndrome
  • Consider this – what worked for your body at one age will most probably not work for you at a later stage in life.

Meet Sally and get to know all about metabolic health

Intro

Risk factors for poor metabolic health

Eliminate these for optimal metabolic health

Did you know – metabolic health

  • There is no official definition of the term metabolic health
  • But it is the opposite of Metabolic Dysfunction or Metabolic Syndrome
  • Metabolic refers to the word metabolism which I talked more about in this blog 
  • Metabolism is the set of cellular mechanisms that produce energy from our food and or internal ‘stored’ nutrients like fat, to power every process in the human body.
  • So metabolic health describes how well we generate and process energy.
  • And looking after metabolic health is important for overall health, especially as we age.
  • Metabolic dysfunction is a natural part of aging, but lifestyle choices can increase and speed up the development of the dysfunction
  • It is estimated that approx. 25% of the world population – ie. over 1 billion people in the world have metabolic syndrome.
  • It is estimated that 1 – 3 UK adults have metabolic syndrome
  • Approx. 88% of the American population are displaying some level of metabolic dysfunction.
  • Metabolic dysfunction plays an important role in the risk of disease states like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, liver disease and obesity.
  • A number of factors influence your metabolic health, some you can change, like diet, sleep and activity level and some you can’t, like your age, sex, or genes.
  • The 2 major influencers are nutrition and exercise
  • Basically when glucose regulation becomes impaired metabolic health is at risk
  • The drop in Estrogen and Testosterone play a crucial role in the development of Metabolic Syndrome
  • Consider this – what worked for your body at one age will most probably not work for you at a later stage in life.

When Metabolic Health is Good

  • Stable and sustained energy throughout the day
  • Sharp memory and recall
  • Sustained exercise endurance
  • Ability to burn fat
  • Healthy weight
  • Stable mood
  • No anxiety and or depression
  • Radiant and clean skin
  • Fertile
  • Good sexual appetite and function
  • Tip top immune function
  • Low risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, fatty liver disease, heart disease, and stroke.

Risk Factors for Poor Metabolic Health / Metabolic Syndrome

  • Age –  risk increases with age.
  • Genetics – family history of metabolic syndrome
  • Ethnicity – Hispanic women appear to be at greater risk
  • Lack of exercise – exercise increases muscle mass which increases insulin sensitivity
  • Obesity – carrying too much weight, especially in your abdomen, increases risk.
  • Diabetes – risk increases after gestational diabetes (during pregnancy) or a family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • Other disease states that increase risk:

– Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

– PCOS-polycystic ovary syndrome

– Sleep apnea

– Chronic kidney disease.

Metabolic Syndrome 101

  • Also called MetS, Syndrome X or Metabolic Insulin Resistance Syndrome or Metabolic Dysfunction
  • Is a state where the body’s metabolic processes are not functioning optimally.
  • Is becoming increasingly common
  • MetS as defined by the WHO (World Health Organization) is a pathologic condition characterized by abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia.
  • In other words it is a collection of 5 measurable ‘health’ markers

– High blood pressure

– High blood sugar

– Excessive waist circumference

– High Triglycerides

Low HDL Cholesterol

  • If these markers occur together they increase the risk of disease states, like heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes
  • Just having one of these markers doesn’t mean you have metS
  • If you have 2 to 3 or more you have MetS
  • Some might argue even 1 marker can compromise overall health.
  • If you have metS or any of its components, aggressive lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems.

Measuring Metabolic Health

The following measurements can draw a picture of the level of metabolic health

– fasting < 5.5 mmol/L or

– HbA1c < 42mmol/mol

  • Insulin

– fasting < 10 mIU/L or 60 pmol/L

– challenge to glucose – 1 and 2 hours after glucose intake < 60 mIU/L or 410 pmol/L.

  • Blood fats aka triglycerides
    <150mg/dl or 1.7 mmol/L
  • Cholesterol
    – specifically HDL > 60mg/dl or 1.6 mmol/L
  • Liver enzyme ALT
    between 7 – 56 U/L
  • Inflammation
    – CRP – < 10 mg/L

Eliminate these for Better Metabolic Health

  • Excess Linoleic acid, the primary fatty acid found in vegetable/seed oils in most processed and restaurant foods, also known as omega 6 fatty acids – chose SCFH and MCT fats, such as beef tallow, butter, coconut oil
  • Excess glucose in the diet, aka starches and sugars – chose more proteins and fats
  • Eating after dinner – fasting is the new black for metabolic health
  • Artificial sweeteners – chose natural sweeteners like honey
  • Plastic food containers and bottles – chose glass
  • Non-stick cookware – chose ceramic and enamelled cast iron cookware
  • Antibacterial soaps and detergents – chose organic essential oils, such as lavender and tea tree oil, which have antibacterial qualities
  • Endocrine disruptors in personal care products – make your own personal care products using safe ingredients like coconut oil and essential oils.
  • Commercial cleaning products – chose things like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, liquid castile soap, etc
  • EMFs from your mobile-phone – keep your phone at a distance
  • Your chair – chose a stand-up desk.

Tips to Preventing Metabolic Syndrome

  • Stay physical – minimum 30 minutes every day
  • Increase or maintain muscle
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking

Hormones and Metabolic Health

Estrogen

  • Regulate glucose and lipid metabolism in women
  • Estrogen decline causes a decline in metabolism
  • Increased fat storage – especially tummy fat

Testosterone

  • Regulate glucose and lipid metabolism in men
  • Testosterone decline causes a decline in metabolism
  • Increased central fat storage

Insulin

  • Regulates blood glucose
  • Increases and maintains fat storage
  • Insulin resistance decreases metabolic health

Cortisol

  • Lifts and maintains blood glucose levels
  • Increased production due to stress increases central fat storage and metabolic syndrome

Thyroid

  • Regulates mitochondrial activity
  • Low thyroid decreases glucose and fat oxidation
  • Increased risk for insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome

Oxytocin

  • Induces fat oxidation and triglyceride breakdown
  • Induces insulin secretion
  • Regenerates pancreatic β-cells, which produce Insulin.
  • Enhances glucose uptake in liver and muscle cells.

Insulin Resistance 101

To understand insulin resistance you must first understand insulin sensitivity

 Insulin sensitivity

  • Glucose is a water soluble molecule
  • Cell walls are made of fat – a double layer
  • This means water soluble glucose needs help to get into the cells
  • Muscle, fat and liver cells use the hormone Insulin to make this happen
  • Insulin locks on to a receptor or keyhole on the cell wall and informs that glucose is available
  • IF the cell needs glucose it sends glucose transporters out to the cell wall, which make an entrance or pathway through the cell wall into the cell
  • IF the cell doesn’t need more glucose the glucose transporters don’t come out to the cell wall
  • IF this continues the cell is said to be resistant to the calls of insulin aka insulin resistant

Insulin resistance

  • Muscle, liver and eventually fat cells don’t respond to insulin
  • They resist or don’t respond the message from insulin and therefore don’t take up glucose from the blood
  • Blood glucose remains high
  • The brain tells the pancreas to make more insulin thinking this will help
  • It might for a period of time but in time this also fails
  • NB! the problem is initially not enough insulin, the problem is too much glucose
  • NB! – an important question to ask is WHY – why don’t the cells want more glucose?
  • Because its toxic, causes mitochondrial dysfunction, creates sticky fluids and decreases pH levels
  • So insulin resistance is the natural way cells protect themselves

The Quick Fix

  1. Increase the cells need for glucose – exercise those muscle cells
  2. Decrease the intake of glucose through the diet – go low carb
  3. Decrease the internal production of blood glucose – decrease Cortisol production aka stress
  4. Decrease the intake of linoleic acid / omega 6 fatty acids from seed oils – stop eating processed foods.

 

See more information in the article ‘Reversing Insulin Resistance Expanded’ in this blog.

Measuring Insulin Sensitivity

Fasting insulin

  • < 10 mIU/L / 60 pmol/L.

Glucose challenge

  • 1 and 2 hours after glucose intake < 60 mIU/L / 410 pmol/L.

HOMA-IR

  • Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance
  • Was developed in the 80s
  • Tells how much insulin the pancreas needs to make to control blood sugar levels
  • Tells how much insulin the body needs to keep your blood sugar levels in check.
  • Designed to measure insulin resistance, to hopefully prevent the development of type 2 diabetes
  • Blood glucose levels may be normal, but if insulin levels are high, this indicates the body is struggling to maintain blood glucose levels.
  • Calculated from fasting glucose and fasting insulin levels.
  • Is the most widely used model in clinical research
  • The higher the HOMA-IR gets, the more insulin resistance there is.
  • In general
  • optimal insulin sensitivity HOMA-IR is <1
  • > 1.9 signal early insulin resistance
  • > 2.9 signal significant insulin resistance.

HOMA2

  • an updated version of HOMA-IR

QUICKI

  • Quantitative Insulin sensitivity Check Index is derived using the inverse of the sum of the logarithms of the fasting insulin and fasting glucose, where lower numbers reflect greater insulin resistance.

Triglyceride/HDL ratio

  • self-explanatory – should be under 2

Hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic glucose clamp

  • gold standard in studies but not in general practise.

Reversing Insulin Resistance Expanded

  • Build muscle
  • Eating enough protein
  • Avoiding ultra-processed food
  • Fix the gut
  • Maintain a healthy circadian rhythm – 6am – 6pm activity, food and light / 6pm – 6am more rest, fasting and more dusk and darkness
  • Regular meal times.
  • Getting enough, regular sleep
  • Reduce cortisol aka stress
  • Boosting oxytocin – get a pet or a massage or spend time with friends or doing things that make you feel loved
  • Women – maintaining good levels of estrogen and progesterone, but careful with too much testosterone, or a progestin with a high androgen index
  • Men – maintain good levels of testosterone.
  • Intermittent fasting or TRE time-restricted eating.
  • Periods of low-carb or keto diets for more severe insulin resistance.
  • Avoid high doses of fructose from products containing high fructose corn syrup or from juices – a piece of fresh fruit is fine
  • High fructose cause mitochondrial damage, fatty liver, and insulin resistance.
  • Avoid excess linolenic fatty acids / omega 6 from seeds and seed oils especially.

Good Supplements for Insulin Resistance

Magnesium – BUY HERE

Taurine – BUY HERE

Myo-inositol BUY HERE 
May increases insulins sensitivity

Berberine – BUY HERE

Insulin Terminology 101

Insulin resistance

  • Muscle, fat and liver cells don’t respond to insulin’s message which is to call glucose transporters to make an entrance for glucose to get into the cells

Pre-diabetes

  • Blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
  • Occurs when too much glucose is ingested for too long
  • Also occurs in people who already have some insulin resistance or whose beta cells in the pancreas aren’t making enough insulin to keep blood glucose in the normal range.
  • Beta cells are negatively effected by the high levels of glucose, which disrupts mitochondria function and creates oxidative stress, both decrease beta cells ability to produce insulin
  • Beta cells are also affected by aging
  • Over time type 2 diabetes can develop.

Diabetes

  • Exceedingly high blood sugar levels
  • Beta cells not producing enough insulin – type 2 Diabetes
  • Beta cells not producing any insulin – type 1 Diabetes.

Questions? Please don't hesitate to contact me

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