By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
You may be familiar with the word “metabolism” in the sense of someone having a fast/slow metabolism, leading them to easily lose/gain weight. But what exactly is your metabolism? While your metabolism and body fat do correlate, perhaps more important is the role your metabolism plays in providing you with energy!
Essentially, your metabolism is in charge of converting what you eat and drink into energy. The more energy you have, the better you look, feel and perform. When clients want to boost their metabolism, generally they mean they want to shed weight. Ideally, we want to improve our metabolism in a sustainable way, rather than looking for a quick (unsustainable) fix in the form of redbulls and heaps of sugar!
Let’s review a couple of body systems that help create energy:
The Hormonal system includes the adrenals, thyroid, and genitals. These play a very important role in maintaining blood sugar, dealing with inflammation/stress, and produce specific compounds that rebuild every cell in our body on a daily basis.
Step 1: Eat high quality protein and fat every 3-5 hours; this helps take the stress off of your adrenals to keep your blood sugar stable and keep your metabolism up.
Step 2: Getting to bed before 11pm gives you a nice bump in growth hormone. Growth hormone eats up fat and keeps lean muscle on your body.
Step 3: Keep foods like grains (gluten) and gut irritating foods out of your diet. Sugar and grains increase cortisol, and cortisol increases belly fat (the spare tire effect).
The Gastrointestinal system is the next system that plays an important role on our metabolism and how we look, feel and perform. The nutrients that go into your body are the raw materials needed to be a healthy human. Without quality nutrients, symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and mood imbalances tend to arise. The great thing is all of this is preventable!
Step 1: Make sure you are eating a high quality (organic, hormone/antibiotic free) diet based on your nutritional needs.
Step 2: Make sure you are able to break down and assimilate the food and supplements you are putting into your body. If you have any stomach burning (GERD) or experience consistent gas, bloating and/or consume gluten, chances are you aren’t able to optimally absorb nutrients. Some digestive support, like HCl and enzymes, would more than likely make a big difference in how you feel after eating, and in how your body absorbs nutrients.
Step 3: Research shows that 70% of the population has some sort of G.I. infection, such as a parasite, bacterial, or fungal infection. These bugs compete for nutrition and actually excrete toxins (endotoxin or mycotoxin to name a few) in the process. Get checked to see if you have one these infections, it’s easy via a take-home stool test.
Your body is constantly taking in toxins from our environment. We are exposed to toxins in the air, in our food. Your body is constantly breaking them down and pushing them out via the skin, kidneys, breath, and stool. When our body has increased exposure to toxins, we tend to store a lot of these toxins in our fat cells. So, when you have stubborn weight that just won’t come off with the correct dietary, lifestyle and exercise habits, a well-rounded detox program can usually do the trick. Simple steps to start are:
Step 1: Do your best to avoid toxic exposure coming in from pesticides, chemicals, and hormones in food by buying organic produce and antibiotic/hormone-free meat.
Step 2: Avoid chemicals in skincare products that can be adding to your chemical load. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has a database of virtually all cosmetics, skincare, cleaning products, and more which reports any health concerns and gives them a numerical safety rating. This database, Skin Deep, is a great resource to ensure the products you’re using on and around your body aren’t causing you harm!
Step 3: “The solution to pollution is dilution.” The more water you drink, the easier it is for your body to flush some of these toxins out. 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight is a great starting point (e.g. 200 pound man = 100 ounces of water).
I am a big fan of detoxification programs that focus on herbs, nutrients and sulfur-based amino acids to help optimize your body’s natural detoxification mechanisms. By employing the methods above to improve your hormones, gastrointestinal system, and detoxification pathways, you are more than likely to naturally notice a great improvement in your metabolism!