By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
If you’re past your 20’s, you’ve probably noticed your weight has gone up with time. The truth is, most people are on a gradual course of gaining 1-2 pounds of weight with each passing year. In your teens and early 20s, it seems relatively easy to stay in good shape, and your metabolism is working at full capacity. However, as the years go by, good and bad habits start to catch up with us. Just as compound interest works in your favor when it comes to investing and saving, the compounding of bad health habits will affect your metabolism negatively over time as well.
The underlying cause of abnormal weight gain is a sluggish metabolism. As the years go by, most people’s metabolisms start to slow down. With a slowing metabolism, your body’s ability to metabolize fat for energy becomes impaired, and metabolically the body tends to start burning carbohydrates for fuel instead.
If a sluggish metabolism causes weight gain, then the best place to start to prevent or reverse this would be to address the underlying factors that caused your metabolism to slow over time.
Toxin exposure and its effect on our hormonal system has strong adverse effects on the metabolism, and is extremely common. It has been shown that the thyroid and adrenal glands work together to help regulate both metabolism and energy. When the body is exposed to high levels of toxins, the adrenal glands becomes stressed and an increase in adrenaline and cortisol is secreted to help buffer the inflammation and stress. A chronic surplus of cortisol will eventually result in fatigue, belly fat, and decreased muscle mass. You have probably noticed that most people who are overweight carry the bulk of it around the hips and tummy, with very little muscle.
There are many other interconnected causes of weight gain, as you can see in the graphic below, but today we will be focusing on the thyroid-adrenal-toxin connection.
The chart below demonstrates the connection between toxins and fat mass. You can see that the people with the highest body fat have the highest level of organochlorines.
Organochlorines are the chemicals used in pesticides and herbicides. These chemical are used in conventional and GMO produce. These organochlorine compounds are known to mimic estrogen; and excess estrogen actually causes you to gain and hold onto fat, and also promotes tumor growth and cancer.
It’s interesting to note that one of the proposed mechanisms for how these pesticides increase weight gain is through decreasing our active thyroid hormones. T3 helps our metabolism remain active. If you look at the graphic below, you’ll see that as T3 function reduces, the chance of weight gain increases.
Mycotoxins are toxins produced from fungus and commonly cause abnormal weight gain and infertility. They can be found in foods such as peanuts, grains, and coffee!
Mycotoxins such as zearalenone are compounded into pellets and placed into cattle’s ears to increase weight gain before going to slaughter. The interesting thing about zearalenone is that farmers can decrease the amount of food they feed the cows, yet the cows still gain weight. How many people do you know that keep cutting calories but still can’t lose weight? This is a common result of mycotoxin intake.
Did you know fungal overgrowth in our intestine can secrete mycotoxins as well? I personally lost 15 pounds by going on an anti-fungal protocol, including cutting peanuts out of my diet. The amazing thing with this weight loss story was there was no real fundamental change in the diet or the amount of calories either.
Avoiding common mycotoxins that was see in grains, organochlorines, peanuts, and conventional coffee can be a great way to supercharge your metabolism and help you lose weight effortlessly.
Easy swaps include ditching the peanut butter in favor of almond butter, and seeking out high-quality coffee that tests for mycotoxins. My favorite kind of coffee is Bulletproof coffee, it is mycotoxin-free and can be found here.