To understand how to achieve good metabolic health, it’s important to understand the hormones that influence your metabolism.
There three primary hormones that play a key role in your metabolism…
- and leptin.
Insulin is made in your pancreas and allows your cells to use glucose from your bloodstream for energy Ghrelin is made primarily from stomach cells and makes you feel hungry. And leptin, which is made in stored fat tissues, sends the message that you’re full to stop you from overeating.
All three of these vital hormones work synergistically to create either a balanced or chaotic metabolism.
Your hormones role in your metabolism
I’ve done extensive research on these three key hormones and their effects on the body’s systems, and have specifically looked at what happens to their levels and activities before, during and after a meal.
When your sugar levels rise after you eat, your pancreas secretes insulin in order to capture the sugar. Sometimes the normal amount of insulin isn’t any longer enough to move the glucose into the cells, because they become “resistant” to the insulin. Your pancreas must then produce more insulin in order to stabilize your sugar levels.
Ghrelin is the primary hunger hormone that signals when you need food in order to meet your caloric requirements. However, when you see or smell food, you may want to eat even though you’re not hungry.
This instinct served us well in our past as as a survival skill to keep us going until our next meal. But these days, when food is so plentiful it can backfire, causing us to load up on needless calories and raising our blood sugar. Insulin then works to regulate and balance the amount of glucose in your body, causing it to spike and then drop.
An insufficiency of leptin in your system could also cause you to overeat and gain weight as well, which along with high glucose levels, is a major factor in developing metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes.
Understanding metabolic syndrome
So your hormones are directly linked to your metabolism and how they function can lead to metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by
- elevated glucose levels
- and insulin resistance.
Sometimes called pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome is a group of several risk factors that mark the development of type-2 diabetes, which is the most prevalent and preventable form of the disease.
Some of the symptoms include…
- excessive fat around the abdomen,
- low HDL or “good” cholesterol and
- high LDL or “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides,
- a tendency toward excessive clotting,
- high blood pressure,
- and insulin resistance.
Quite a few of these risk factors point toward heart disease, meaning that most patients diagnosed with metabolic syndrome will develop type-2 diabetes within a decade, with a 50 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. But the most dominant factors in a diagnosis of this kind are obesity and accompanying insulin resistance.
Properly modifying your diet, in addition to reducing your body weight, lowering your total intake of fat and saturated fat, increasing your intake of fiber, and boosting your physical activity can all help to reduce your risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
Master these 3 factors to beat metabolic syndrome
The key to beating metabolic syndrome is understanding… and correcting… some of the lifestyle-related causes that can increase insulin secretion—eventually leading to insulin resistance, and ultimately, full-blown type 2 diabetes.
The first of these factors is stress. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol as a response. Cortisol is a hyperglycemic hormone, which means it naturally increases glucose levels and suppresses inflammation.
At the same time, your body will increase insulin excretion, creating a dangerous pattern of endocrine imbalance. For these reasons, I recommend daily stress-reducing activities such as moderate exercise, yoga and meditation in order to maintain optimum health.
Exercise is another vital part of any diabetes prevention program, as it helps glucose metabolism without the need for insulin.
Simple daily exercise such as walking helps the body maintain proper glucose levels and will help you avoid metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
One of the most important elements in the fight against metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, is maintaining a low-glycemic index diet. The glycemic index is essentially a scale that measures different foods according to the length of time they take to break down into glucose during digestion, as well as the rapidity with which they affect blood sugar levels.
Balance is the key factor to any healthy diet, so foods that are low on the glycemic index scale—meaning they do not cause an immediate spike and consequent fall in blood sugar levels—are healthy choices for glucose maintenance.
Certain carbohydrate foods with a low glycemic index, such as vegetables, certain fruits and beans, are generally healthier, nutrient-rich, less refined, and higher in fiber. In contrast, high glycemic index foods cause a spike in blood sugar, followed by various hormonal changes that often contribute to the feeling hungry sooner since they’re metabolized quicker than low-glycemic index foods.
Along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, a fundamental understanding of the way your hormones function can play an important role in promoting metabolic health.
Dr. Isaac Eliaz, a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine since the early 1980's, is a respected author, lecturer, researcher, product formulator and clinical practitioner.
Since 1991 Dr. Eliaz has maintained a busy private practice in northern California that focuses primarily on integrative, holistic protocols for cancer patients. He leads an integrative medical team at Amitabha Clinic in Sebastopol, California with focus on cancer and other chronic ailments.
To learn more, please visit www.dreliaz.org.
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