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Metabolism And Its Influence On Weight Control

metabolismBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Metabolism can be described as life sustaining biochemical processes, including growth, reproduction and maintenance, that occur within the cells of living organisms.  The term metabolism actually includes two categories.  These are catabolism, the breakdown of food molecules into smaller components to obtain energy, and anabolism, the synthesis of energy to construct components of the cells.  Our body weight is the result of catabolism minus anabolism, or the amount of energy our bodies produce minus the amount of energy we expend.  Energy formation is a vital component of metabolism and nutrition is the key.  In other words, we are what we eat, how much we move, how much we rest and how well our bodies function. 

The number of calories your body needs to carry out basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR).  Your BMR contributes to 50 – 80% of your total energy use.  Total lean mass, especially muscle mass, helps to regulate the BMR, which is why it’s important to maintain muscle mass when trying to lose weight.  At rest, the energy expenditure of your muscles is about 20%  and this increases exponentially during physical activity depending on how long and how hard you exercise.  Energy burned during exercise is the only form of energy expenditure you can control, so take advantage and start moving more if you want to lose or maintain your weight. 

To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories, creating an energy deficit, and increase the number of calories you burn through physical activity.  Although it may be tempting to blame weight gain or failed weight loss on a slow metabolism, excessive weight gain from a medical problem, such as Cushing’s syndrome or hypothyroidism, is rare.  Weight gain is most commonly associated with eating more calories than are burned.  Excess energy is stored either as fat or as glycogen.  Because metabolism is a natural process, it slows when you don’t eat enough and conserves energy for survival.  Eating too little can slow your metabolism by as much as 20%, so it’s important to eat enough of the right kinds of foods each day to keep your metabolism humming. 

You can give your metabolism a boost in the following ways:

Take your work out to the next level.  If it stands to reason that a sedentary lifestyle can sabotage your weight loss efforts, exercise can activate your muscles, increasing your average daily metabolic rate.  Simply put, muscle maintenance takes energy and burns calories.  High-intensity aerobic exercise can rev up your metabolism and increase your resting BMR.  Ramping up your intensity for 30 second intervals while exercising helps you consume more oxygen and makes your cells work harder to burn energy. 

Stay hydrated by drinking a glass of water an hour before or after every meal or snack.  The body needs water to process calories.  Dehydration can cause a drop in body temperature and can contribute to an ineffective metabolism, causing your body to store fat as a way to maintain the ideal temperature.  Water helps to mobilize fat stores and dehydration signals fat storage. 

Use energy drinks wisely.  Some ingredients, such as caffeine, can speed up the amount of energy your body uses and give you an endurance boost while you exercise.  Drinks that contain amino acids, such as taurine, may help boost the metabolism and burn fat.  Limit how much you consume as overconsumption can cause high blood pressure, anxiety or sleep disruption. 

Eat to maximize metabolism.  Small frequent meals help to keep your metabolism steadily burning calories.  Studies show that eating a small meal or snack every 3 – 4 hours burns more calories than eating large meals with many hours in between.  Eating more frequently can give you increased, longer-lasting energy and may keep you from overeating at meal times.  Your diet influences both mood and metabolism, giving you increased energy or making you feel sluggish and tired.  Foods high in sugar and saturated fats and low in fiber and water content can slow digestion and lead to weight gain-promoting insulin spikes. A diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, legumes, and healthy fats promotes longer-lasting, stable energy levels, aids digestion and muscle building, and supports healthy weight. 

Lights out.  Too little sleep may cause you to lose significantly more lean tissue and less fat.  Chronic sleep deprivation is linked with weight gain, reduced activity and lack of energy.  Lost sleep can affect the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that regulates appetite and can lead to impaired glucose tolerance, a risk for diabetes. 

Be patient.  Raising your metabolic rate takes time and patience.  Three months is a reasonable time frame to expect to see real changes.  The impact of foods on the metabolism is relatively small compared to what you need for sustained weight loss but remember it’s a matter of input verses output.  To create a lean, mean, calorie-burning machine, get and stay active and build muscle.  Turn off the TV and get off the couch.  You can’t build muscle and burn calories by watching others play sports.  You need to be active too or your metabolic rate will take the hit.  Move as much as possible during the day to increase calorie burn and eat enough healthy calories to keep your metabolic rate at optimal levels. 

Meta-28 ProteinMeta-28 Protein by Metabolic Maintenance –  With diet and exercise, Meta-28 provides support to a healthy weight management program by helping to control appetite, boost metabolism and promote metabolic balance.  This is a vegetable and grain sourced, high-protein supplement fortified with over 20 essential vitamins and minerals.
 
Glucose Metabolism Support
 
Glucose Metabolism Support by PhysioLogics –  This product supports a holistic approach to overall energy metabolism with a scientifically based formula that contains natural herbs and herbal extracts, essential vitamins, and minerals.
 
Metabolic Xtra
 
Metabolic Xtra by Pure Encapsulations – This product provides a powerful combination of nutrients to support healthy glucose metabolism and insulin-receptor functioning and signaling.

Vitamins and Minerals 101

VitaminsAndMinerals101By Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients because, by acting in concert, they perform hundreds of roles in the body every day.  The human body requires these vital nutrients in order to function properly, grow and develop normally and prevent disease.  There are 13 essential vitamins and each play a role in crucial body functions.  Deficiencies in these vitamins can and do lead to health problems.  Just as insufficient amounts of key micronutrients can cause significant harm to your health, sufficient quantities can provide a substantial benefit. 

The essential 13 and their optimum daily intake:

  • Vitamin A – Also known as retinol, vitamin A strengthens immunity, supports healthy vision and assists in formation and maintenance of healthy teeth, bones, skin, soft tissues and mucous membranes.  5,000-10,000 IU
  • Vitamin C –  Also called ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an important antioxidant that supports the immune system, promotes wound healing, assists in iron absorption and promotes healthy teeth and gums.  1,000-3,000 mg
  • Vitamin D –  Known as the “sunshine vitamin” because the body needs sunshine to produce it, vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption and aids in maintaining proper blood levels of phosphorus, both of which are needed for normal development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones.  400 IU
  • Vitamin E –  An antioxidant, known as tocopherol, that plays a role in the formation of red blood cells and assists in the use of vitamin K.  Although vitamin K is not listed as one of the essential 13, it aids in the formation of red blood cells and promotes bone health.  200 IU
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) –  Essential to heart function and healthy nerve cells, vitamin B1 helps in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy.  50-100 mg
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)  –  While working in tandem with other B vitamins, vitamin B2 supports production of red blood cells and is essential for growth.  15-50 mg
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) –  Considered to have cholesterol-lowing effects, vitamin B3 helps maintain healthy skin and nerves.  15-50 mg
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) –  Essential for food metabolism, pantothenic acid supports the production of hormones and cholesterol.  50-100 mg
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin) –  Necessary for the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates, biotin also aids in the production of hormones and cholesterol.  400-800 mcg
  • Vitamin B6 –  Also called pyridoxine, vitamin B5 helps form red blood cells and maintain brain function.  50-100 mg
  • Vitamin B12 –  Needed for metabolism, vitamin B12 helps maintain the central nervous system and helps form red blood cells.  200-400 mcg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate or Folic Acid) –  Working in conjunction with vitamin B12, folic acid is needed for the production of DNA, which controls tissue growth and cell function.  400-800 mcg

There are basic differences between vitamins and minerals.  Vitamins are organic and can be broken down by heat, light, air or acid.  Minerals are inorganic and hold onto their chemical structure.  Minerals found in soil and water have an easy route to your body through plants, fish, animals and fluids that you eat and drink.  Vitamins, on the other hand, are more fragile and can become inactive through cooking, storage and exposure to light and air.  Many vitamins and minerals work cooperatively to help your body absorb and use their nutrients.  Vitamin C, for example, aids in iron absorption and vitamin D enables your body to use the calcium you ingest, rather than extracting it from your bones. 

Vitamins are typed as either water-soluble or fat-soluble.  Water-soluble vitamins are found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, B complex and folic acid, are easily absorbed by the body and are not stored in large amounts.  Because water-soluble vitamins are not stored, more consistent intake is important.  Any excess of these vitamins is removed by the kidneys and excreted.  Fat-soluble vitamins are found in animal fats, vegetable oils, dairy foods, and oily fish.  Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin K, are absorbed though the intestinal tract with the help of bile acids and are stored in the liver and fatty tissues for use as needed.   

Essential roles of water soluble vitamins:

  • Produce energy
  • Release energy from food
  • Build proteins and help cells reproduce
  • Make collagen for wound healing, support vessel walls and form a base for teeth and bones

Essential roles of fat soluble vitamins:

  • Aid in keeping eyes, skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and nervous system in good repair
  • Build bones
  • Aid in absorption of other nutrients
  • Antioxidant protection

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, many of us consume more calories than we need yet without taking in the recommended amounts of numerous nutrients.  Low dietary intake of these nutrients can become a cause for concern.  These nutrients include deficiencies in:

  • For adults – Calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E.
  • For children and adolescents –  Calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamin E.
  • For specific population groups, such as women of childbearing age, adults with darker skin and those with insufficient exposure to sunlight  – Vitamin B12, iron, folic acid, and vitamin D.

Minerals, which are necessary for building strong bones and teeth, controlling body fluids inside and outside cells and turning foods into energy, include but are not limited to:

  • Calcium Calcium, which has several important functions, is the most abundant mineral in the body.  Functions include helping to build strong bones and teeth, regulating muscle contractions, including heartbeat, and assisting in blood clotting.  1,500-2,000 mg
  • Iron –  Iron helps make the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Excess iron cannot be excreted by the body.  Consult your healthcare provider before taking supplements containing iron.  Supplementation with iron is not recommended for children under 18 years of age.   18-30 mg
  • Magnesium –  Magnesium supports the parathyroid glands, which produce hormones for bone health, and helps turn food into energy.  750-1,000 mg
  • Potassium –  Potassium has many important functions including controlling fluid balances in the body and maintaining healthy blood pressure.  99-500 mg
  • Beta- carotene –  The body turns beta-carotene into vitamin A and, as such, performs the same function in the body as vitamin A.  5,000-25,000 IU
  • Zinc –  Zinc aids in processing carbohydrates, protein and fat, helps make new cells and enzymes and assists in wound healing.  30-50 mg

Dietary supplements ensure that adequate amounts of nutrients are obtained on a daily basis especially when optimal amounts are not obtained through a healthy, varied diet.  Whether you are a youngster or a senior, male or female, there is a multivitamin and mineral supplement that is right for you.  If you are on medication or have a health condition, please check with your health provider to determine the best supplement to meet your individual needs. 

Basic Maintenance Multi-Vitamin/Mineral Supplement Without Iron by Metabolic Maintenance –  A daily multi-vitamin/mineral supplement which includes all the essential nutrients for organ function and protection. It contains the finest hypo-allergenic ingredients to guarantee optimal absorption and utilization.

Bio-Multi Plus Iron Free by Biotics Research –  Versatile, balanced multiple vitamin and mineral supplement supplying unique forms of important micro-nutrients available exclusively from Biotics Research Corporation. 

Complete Nutritional System Multivitamin by Rainbow Light Nutrition –  A special blend of essential vitamins and minerals plus superfoods and botanicals to promote increased natural energy production, immune support and healthy stress levels.  Contains iron. 

PhytoMulti without Iron by Metagenics –  A proprietary blend of 13 concentrated plant extracts and phytonutrients with scientifically tested biological activity for complete wellness support. 

Daily Best by DaVinci Laboratories of Vermont –  A balanced blend of high potency, daily multiple vitamins and minerals with antioxidants.  Provides support for bone health, cardiovascular health, metabolic function and fat metabolism.  Contains iron.

Multi-Nutrients 3 Citrate/Malate Formula (without Copper and Iron) by Vital Nutrients A comprehensive multivitamin/mineral formula with potent antioxidants in a gentle bioavailable formula.