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If you suffer with any type of ailment, one of the best things you can do is look into the science behind ketogenesis, or a fat adapted diet. This intentional approach to altering your metabolism can prove beneficial in a multitude of ways.
For most of us, our bodies utilize the carbohydrate as the primary source of fuel. For the most part, no matter how it’s consumed (candy bar, bread, pasta, etc.), carbs are essentially broken down into glucose molecules which trigger insulin release and subsequent glucose delivery to individual cells, to be utilized as fuel for the metabolic processes that keep us going.
The problems arise when the carbohydrates are delivered in abundance; any time, any where. This leads to our bodies being full as far as immediate fuel needs go, and thus the excess carbohydrates broken down in the form of glucose, is stored as fat. This flooding of glucose also leads to the already full cells reluctance or outright refusal to accept the glucose from the insulin delivering it, and thus we have the development of type II diabetes and the cascade of detrimental health effects.
Investigating and potentially implementing the ketogenic or fat adapted diet can prove advantageous to reverse the above trends. Despite the metabolic majority, our bodies are actually able to, and some would say prefer to burn fat as fuel instead of carbohydrates. (When fat is broken down into energy a ketone body is the molecule created, and thus explains the “ketogenic” label.)
Once the flooding of carbohydrates is mostly replaced with high quality, healthy fats (avocados, coconut oil, raw nuts and seeds, olives, etc.) the body will start to shift towards burning fat as fuel. Another key piece to this puzzle is implementing some form of fasting.
WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! Please hear me out and don’t run for the doors due to the mention of fasting. Fasting comes in many ways, shapes and forms and the key is to find the one that works for you.
(Always consult with your healthcare provider before potentially implementing any strategy on this site, especially the diet and lifestyle alterations included in this article).
Different combinations can be done for varying duration and frequency. The key is to get to a point when the glucose abundance is no longer present, and your body naturally begins to switch over to burning fat for fuel, in the form of those healthy fats we mentioned, but also any excess body fat you would like to send packing.
Naturally at this point, body fat begins to be shed and blood sugar/insulin levels begin to normalize due to the break in reliance and abuse of the glucose-insulin process. The potential benefits extend way beyond this, and can even be utilized as a way to prevent and combat cancer as it has been long documented that cancer cells thrive on glucose. When you eliminate it’s fuel source (the carb, sugar, etc.) you essentially starve the cancer cell.
A ketogenic diet by way of intermittent fasting and macronutrient modification can also have neuro-protective effects as it encourages the proliferation of something called Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor or BDNF. This chemical has been found to strengthen existing neuronal pathways as well as grow no ones. Did you hear that? The potential to grow new brain cells by intelligently modifying the diet and lifestyle. Think of the treatment and prevention possibilities for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s, MS, etc.).
How about naturally enhancing HGH and testosterone for quicker muscle recovery and better performance? Well, this is yet another way in which the ketogenic diet, when properly implemented, has been shown to be beneficial.
The list can go on as far as the benefits of switching your body’s capacity over to the optimal, preferred fuel source. The research and results are pouring in and it is time to put to rest so many of the antiquated theories having to do with nutrition and diet.
If any of this appeals to your malleable appetite, please feel free to reach out. We would love to discuss if this could be an advantageous idea for your unique situation and how we can successfully implement an approach based on a better understanding of the latest science when it comes to nutrition and beyond.
Be well my friends and keep your eyes and ears open. The information and opportunity is there. It is time to seize it.
The weight loss industry is now and forever will be alive and strong as individuals struggle to keep the pounds off. The majority of motivation may be aesthetics, but the need to shed the excess body weight goes well beyond simply feeling good about your counterpart staring back at you in the mirror.
I become discouraged with loud and large celebrities who look to spearhead the movement of embracing obesity as being comfortable in their own skin. Being comfortable and happy with yourself is no doubt a justifiable desire, but pushing personal acceptance of obesity is reckless to say the least.
This is not about looks or appearance either, although the message of “accepting you for you” will incorrectly cite this. This is about an outright unhealthy state for the body to be in, and the cascade of consequences that follow. Body fat is not a static or silent tissue; rather quite the contrary. Adipose tissue or body fat is actually a highly active metabolic tissue that when in excess disrupts hormonal signaling (including those responsible for appetite, blood sugar and sleep regulation).
It is also a pro-inflammatory tissue, meaning the more you have the more inflamed you will be throughout the body. This lends it’s hand not only to elevated pain levels, but it increases the common denominator behind virtually every condition known (from plantar fasciitis to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s); inflammation.
The bottom-line here is that it’s not about the looks from a quantity and quality of life standpoint. We are talking about a truly taxing state to ask a body to operate in, especially over time, with a list of concomitant issues that far exceeds the few listed above.
This brings us to today’s topic, which is not meant as a standalone solution to the issue, but rather another piece of the intelligently assembled, holistic puzzle.
If you’ve read any articles on this site before, you know we rightfully place an abundance of emphasis on intestinal health or “the gut.” The major player in this system and thus our overall health is our intestinal flora, or the “probiotic” good bacteria that populate our digestive tract.
Researchers have discovered that there is a certain type of bacterial organism (firmicutes) that is more prevalent in obese individuals as opposed to the majority of bacteroidetes found in their lean counterparts. This makes sense as firmicutes are notorious as “fat loving” bacteria with a higher propensity to digest complex carbs, extracting the energy from food and ultimately storing it as fat.
These bacteria communicate directly and indirectly with our brains, and if we are dominated with a strain of flora that thrives off of carbohydrates, the message is sent to our brains to crave and potentially overconsume these fat generating foods. What’s more, we’ve just learned that higher levels of these firmicutes actually turn on genes (epigenetics) that not only increase the risk for obesity, but diabetes, dementia, and cardiovascular disease.
In an individual’s personal war on obesity this serves as a powerful foundational weapon. As previously stated, obviously a variety of lifestyle strategies must be implemented to successfully attain and maintain a healthy weight. However, this piece of information should be universally utilized in order to better control cravings from within, optimize metabolism for the goal at hand, and further substantiate a quality probiotic (and a healthy intestinal tract for it to flourish within) as one of the cornerstones to optimal health and longevity.
As of the spring of 2014 one in four Americans over 45 were taking a cholesterol lowering drug known as a statin. Over 43 million Americans between the ages of 40-75, along with an increasing number of younger customers are now including a Lipitor or Crestor as part of their daily regimen.
As the lab values that serve as the criteria for prescribing a statin continue to change, the umbrella for those deemed in need of statin therapy continues to widen. Leaning on the outdated and now uneducated vilification of fats and cholesterol, the multibillion dollar statin industry continues to thrive. Sad thing is, cardiovascular disease and overall health have not improved despite the low fat, statin fueled culture we know find ourselves in.
So is this widening spread use of statins necessary? Is it safe? Here are some facts about statins and cholesterol that should at the very least provoke some individual concern and subsequent investigation.
In 2012 the FDA issued a statement declaring statin drugs can cause cognitive side effects such as memory lapses and confusion.
An AMA (American Medical Association) study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine demonstrated a 48% increased risk of diabetes (a powerful risk factor for type III diabetes aka Alzheimer’s) among women taken statins.
It is well known that statins paralyze cells’ ability to make coenzyme Q10, a vitamin like substance found throughout the body, where it serves as an antioxidant and energy producer. Depletion of CoQ10 leads to fatigue, shortness of breath, mobility & balance problems, muscular pain & weakness. CoQ10 deficiency has also been linked to heart failure, hypertension & Parkinson’s. CoQ10 has actually been proposed as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. At the absolute very least, individuals currently undergoing statin therapy should consult with their physician about adding CoQ10 to their regimen.
How about Vitamin D deficiency? Vitamin D is derived from cholesterol in the skin. When statins lower cholesterol, the ability to generate Vitamin D is hampered leading to (amongst other things) a heightened risk for diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease and ultimately dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Consider the fact that our sex hormones are also derived from cholesterol. Lowering cholesterol through use of statins and diet can lead to lower testosterone levels and subsequent decreased libido and ED (erectile dysfunction) which are common complaints amongst statin users.
LOWER levels of cholesterol have been linked to depression, dementia and even earlier death.
This type of information and suffering will hopefully continue to provoke reconsideration and remodeling of the current paradigm. As we learn more through research and prior failures, the appropriate response is to act on this newfound knowledge and improve. Unfortunately pride and profits appear to be standing in the way, so it is on us as individuals to educate and investigate when it comes to our health.
When it comes to evaluating cholesterol levels, they are usually included in a lipid panel. This entire process should be reevaluated as well, but there are ways to alter and more accurately measure your triglyceride and small LDL. Before resorting to a statin, why not attempt to uncover the reason for the unfavorable levels, and attempt to remedy it?
How about starting with rethinking the dietary approach?
No not the seemingly logical, oversimplified and outdated, disproven theory that dietary fats and cholesterol are the main culprits behind “bad” cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.
You must once again look to carbohydrates and the subsequent release of insulin, which triggers fatty acid synthesis in the liver. This starts the chain that eventually leads to the rise of triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol. It is no coincidence that diabetes (a disease which features erratic blood sugar and insulin levels) is associated with the lipid triad of low HDL or “good” cholesterol, and high triglycerides and small LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
(Calling HDL and LDL cholesterol is actually incorrect as the “L” actually stands for Lipoprotein, and the “HD” and “LD” stand for High or Low Density. These are carrier proteins that transport cholesterol throughout the body.)
The majority of type II diabetes can be reversed by reducing carb consumption, and the same holds true for naturally improving your lipid panel.
Another area to look at is thyroid function.
Patients with hypothyroid symptoms often display a lipid panel that includes high triglycerides and high LDL due to the body making fat much quicker than it can burn it. The slower metabolism seen with hypothyroidism leads to:
…a sluggish liver and gall bladder making fat less likely to be metabolized and cleared from the body.
…it causes cells to be less receptive to LDL circulating which sets the stage for the LDL to accumulate and be oxidized. This is actually when LDL becomes harmful, not merely its presence alone as it is actually necessary to deliver vital cholesterol to our body’s tissues.
…leaves an individual less able to burn fat as fuel as a healthy person would. This creates a reliance on glucose (carbs/sugar) for fuel and the subsequent insulin release, fat storage and higher triglycerides and small LDL.
Diet and hampered thyroid function are just two possible reasons for an unfavorable lipid profile, and in many cases can be improved with lifestyle changes and the application of functional medicine. Depending on the individual, cleaning up the menu, fortifying the digestive system, balancing the immune system, supporting the adrenal and thyroid glands and detoxification pathways can all be used to improve underlying function, which in turn creates a healthier human who can hopefully steer clear of statins and the accompanying baggage.
As always, consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes. If you are interested in a unique, knowledgable approach based on the most current research, experience and understanding of the underlying function of the body and would like to learn more, call us today.