Metabolism is a life-sustaining process. Every reaction in the human body forms an integral part of an organism. From breaking down food to transportation of oxygen- all form a part of metabolism. Metabolic health or fitness is an essential part of overall health. Metabolic health decides how your body reacts to food and exercise.
A metabolically healthy body ensures that the body can effectively process food without causing abnormalities in blood sugar, cholesterol, and insulin levels. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) technology helps to inform clients if their blood sugar levels surge beyond the expected range. In addition, a glucose monitor device called BIOS can help you understand the unique relationship one’s body has with various foods.
It becomes the doorway to the prevention of metabolic diseases. As a result, the HealthifyMe coaches can help you create better, more individualised diet programs to control and stabilise your glucose spikes and learn what foods are best for your body.
While individuals may put in the same effort, the results might vary due to their different metabolic rates. Improving your metabolic health might be the easiest way to see the desired results. Being metabolically fit also reduces the risk of chronic diseases and obesity. This article explores the concepts of metabolism and how to achieve good metabolic health.
Metabolism: An Introduction
According to research, metabolism refers to the total of all reactions in the body of living organisms. These are life-sustaining reactions. The three primary purposes of metabolism are:
- Conversion of food into energy available to run cellular processes
- Transformation of food into building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and some carbohydrates
- The elimination of metabolic wastes
Organisms can develop and procreate thanks to these enzyme-catalysed processes. It also allows us to maintain their structures and respond to their environments.
The two primary forms of metabolism are catabolism and anabolism. Anabolic reactions are positive or building reactions that use energy to make complex compounds from simple compounds. On the other hand, catabolic reactions are adverse or breakdown reactions. Catabolic reactions involve breaking down complex compounds into simple compounds with energy production. For example, the formation of ketone bodies from fats is a catabolic reaction.
The basal metabolic rate, also known as the rate at which your body produces energy, is influenced by gender, race, exercise, food, age, and illnesses. Thyroid hormones also control Basal Metabolic Rate. Harris-Benedict Equation is the most commonly used equation to calculate the Basal Metabolic Rate. This equation considers the person’s age, height and mass.
According to research, age is one of the most critical factors that affect metabolism. The basal metabolic rate decreases almost linearly with age: the greater the age, the less the metabolism. Metabolism also decreases with an increase in body weight, and obese individuals burn fewer calories than ideal-weight individuals. Genetics also plays a massive role in metabolism. For example, some individuals are predisposed to insulin resistance, leading to metabolic derangement.
Understanding Metabolic Fitness
According to research, the mitochondrial capacity for substrate utilisation defines metabolic fitness. Therefore, people with high metabolic fitness utilise fat more frequently during rest and exercise.
Being metabolically fit translates to putting in minimum effort for maximum gains. A metabolically fit body efficiently ensures that catabolic reactions yield maximum energy from less food. In addition, it means that a good metabolism helps you function optimally both physically and mentally.
The primary consequence of metabolic derangement is insulin resistance, which is the inability of insulin to optimise effective glucose uptake by tissues. It is the primary cause of type 2 diabetes. In addition, insulin resistance contributes to hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes. It also plays a role in improper excess fat storage in the liver and adipose tissue.
This improper storage of fat in the liver creates a negative feedback loop and further aggravates insulin resistance. Insulin Resistance also minimises metabolic flexibility, i.e. the ability of the body to switch between metabolic substrates. This switching depends on which substrate is most readily available. The body loses its ability to switch from using glucose when it is readily available to using fat during starvation periods. This hinders the overall metabolism of the body.
Our body also tries to produce insulin to compensate for the insulin dysfunction leading to a state known as hyperinsulinemia. Hyperinsulinemia leads to metabolic dysfunction resulting in obesity. This change is highly appreciated in individuals switching from a very active to an inactive lifestyle, which shows a rapid elevation in insulin levels and subsequent gain of weight.
Metabolic disarrangement can lead to metabolic syndrome. It is an accumulation of several disorders, which raise the risk of individuals developing chronic diseases like diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular ailments. According to research, metabolic syndrome can be diagnosed based on the following criteria:
- The waist measurement is more than 35 inches for women and more than 40 inches for men.
- Raised triglycerides in the blood of at least 150 mg/dL or more
- Reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) less than 40 mg/dL in men or less than 50 mg/dL in women
- Elevated fasting glucose of l00 mg/dL or greater
- Blood pressure values of systolic 130 mmHg or higher or diastolic 85 mmHg or higher
The HealthifyMe Note
Being metabolically fit helps you lead a healthy life. It is the point where your body operates at its highest without causing any abnormalities. A good metabolism prevents unwanted weight gain and other chronic metabolic conditions. As body weight rises, metabolism generally declines. Obese people consume less energy than people of a healthy weight.
Ways to Improve Metabolic Fitness
The rate of metabolism is different for every individual. Some individuals have an excellent metabolic rate, while others have a slower metabolism. Individuals with slower metabolism can boost their metabolism by following these essential tips:
Regular exercise can boost metabolism while reducing metabolic complications like obesity and type-2 diabetes. According to research, skeletal muscle is an extraordinarily elastic tissue and metabolic fitness changes quickly when the level of physical activity gets altered. In addition, the capacity for glucose metabolism improves in trained muscles.
You can always start with mild exercise and build up if you are a beginner. The intensity of the workout is less important than consistency. Vigorous activities are also not recommended to beginners as they might lead to micro-tears and cause muscle spasms.
The best exercise to start with is walking. Walking is one of the most basic yet effective strategies to lose weight. It improves cardiovascular and metabolic fitness. It has also been influential in preventing and treating metabolic syndrome. In addition, research has proven that walking helps boost levels of a hormone known as adiponectin which helps improve insulin sensitivity and lower inflammation.
Aerobic workouts are the ones that increase the heart rate and the consumption of oxygen by tissues. They are known natural drugs against metabolic disorders. According to studies, aerobic workouts boost metabolism and are suitable for cardiovascular health. Aerobic exercises include swimming, dancing, jogging, cycling and jumping. You can choose the workout of your choice and improve your stamina and metabolism.
According to research, high-intensity workouts are a powerful way to increase the capacity and metabolism of the whole body. In addition, the muscles trained by high-intensity workouts have an increased ability to oxidise fat and carbohydrates. However, as mentioned previously, starting with low-intensity exercise is better and progressing to high-intensity workouts.
Get Proper Sleep
Research shows that sleep and metabolic health are very closely connected. Getting adequate sleep helps maintain metabolic homeostasis, while sleep deprivation and alteration of circadian rhythms cause metabolic derangement. Sleep deprivation also affects hormones involved in metabolisms like growth hormones and cortisol. These hormones regulate glucose, and any changes in them can lead to a decrease in metabolism and cause the storage of fat.
Growth hormones and cortisol get released during sleep. Leptin, a hormone primarily affecting appetite, is generally suppressed during sleep and prevents hunger at night. However, sleep deprivation leads to increased leptin levels which cause hunger surges, and it causes dysregulation in circadian rhythm leading to metabolic disturbances. Hence, it is essential to sleep appropriately to maintain your metabolism.
Since people like things to be straightforward, there is a desire to identify the one diet that will make everything better. Unfortunately, things are rarely that easy. As there is no one size that fits all, there isn’t a diet suitable for everyone. However, there are a few specific dietary interventions that have worked for a larger number of people:
The Mediterranean diet typically encourages fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy fats consumption. Packaged foods, added sugar, and refined grains are restricted. The primary source of fats is olive oil in a Mediterranean diet. According to research, adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the change of unhealthy lifestyle significantly impact factors affected by metabolic syndrome. Therefore, the Mediterranean diet can be the first step in treating this disease.
High Protein Diet
According to research, a high protein diet helps increase satiety and thereby helps in weight loss. Studies also show that protein creates a higher thermogenic effect, the heat produced due to energy expenditure. As a result, it leads to an overall increase in metabolism compared to carbohydrates or fats.
Intermittent fasting is also called Intermittent Energy Restriction. It is a pattern which involves the restriction of calories during a particular period. Intermittent fasting boosts the metabolism by correcting the circadian rhythm and changing gut microbiota composition. It mobilises the fat stores, which subsequently leads to loss of weight. It reduces insulin levels, which are mainly responsible for converting glucose into glycogen and fat. Intermittent fasting also increases the levels of cortisol in our bodies which counteract the effects of insulin.
Here’s an article for you to understand the relationship between metabolic health and intermittent fasting in depth.
According to research, chronic exposure to environmental stress causes hyperactivation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis. As a result, it may cause metabolic derangement and ultimately leads to chronic disorders. Therefore, it is essential to allow yourself some time to de-stress to allow your body to function better.
You can do this by adopting self-care activities or can pick up a hobby that helps you relax. Gardening, colouring or painting are some of the most popular options. You can also invest time learning an instrument, or you can dance to your favourite tunes. However, it is important not to indulge in screen time with the excuse of me-time. Research has proven that higher screen time negatively correlates with mental health.
In case you wish to exercise in order to de-stress yourself, we’ve got you covered. Read this article to know more.
The HealthifyMe Note
Metabolism depends on factors like age, diet, disease, height, weight and genetics. Three things are of utmost importance to building a metabolically fit body: Diet, exercise and sleep. When subjected to physical activity, it increases the metabolism of muscle tissue. Keeping your sleep and circadian rhythms in check will help you be metabolically fit. Therefore get in those recommended sleep hours to keep yourself healthy. Having a proper diet and de-stressing may also help in boosting your metabolism and your metabolic fitness.
Metabolism is the total of all the reactions in the body of living organisms. The two primary forms of metabolism are catabolism and anabolism. Anabolic reactions are positive reactions that help form complex compounds from simpler ones. In contrast, catabolic reactions do the exact opposite.
The primary consequence of metabolic derangement is insulin resistance. In addition, it leads to abnormal fat storage in the liver. It also leads to the inability of the body to switch metabolic substrates. Being metabolically fit is essential as your overall health depends on your metabolism. It is a simple way to be maximally efficient while putting minimal effort. Being metabolically healthy also means your body is not prone to chronic disorders like hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, obesity and type-2 diabetes mellitus.
Three factors, diet, exercise, and sleep, are crucial to developing a body that is metabolically fit. For beginners, walking and aerobic exercise are suitable. To keep your health intact, acquire the recommended amount of sleep and be stress-free.
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