The Metabolic Makeover: It’s All About Energy by Stephen Cherniske, Natalie Kather
Monthly updates are available at http://www.TheMetabolicMakeover.com
That year, I wrote The Metabolic Plan,
This structure changes (evolves) very slowly over enormous spans of time. Painstaking genomic research tells us that the human genome has not changed much at all in the last 20,000 years. This is important, because during most of that time, we were Paleolithic hunters and gatherers. Which means that we are designed for: A highly varied natural foods diet Eating a number of small meals instead of the relatively massive intake of modern humans Periods of famine/hunger An extremely active lifestyle including a wide range of movements Episodic stress, as opposed to the chronic stress of the 21st century Sleep patterns that followed circadian rhythms
Summary In a very real sense, we are all out of synch with our genes. Technology changes rapidly, thus transforming every aspect of our lives. But the genes that control our cells haven’t changed much at all in the last 20,000 years. While genes don’t change, their activity is constantly adjusting to the conditions of your life. These adjustments are called epigenetic changes. Your genome runs on the principle of efficiency. Since creating energy from fat is slow compared to sugars/starches, your genome will reduce fat burning when your diet contains a lot of sugars and starches. We should graze, not gorge. The gastrointestinal tract is designed for frequent, small meals.
This astounding process which—as you can understand—moves towards ever-increasing complexity, ultimately produced plants. Plants in the Middle East faced severe environmental challenges. In order to survive, they had to withstand harsh heat and dry summers. So how did this region become known as the “fertile crescent?” In time, some plants survived by creating a seed that contained a large amount of starch encased in a hard shell. This seed was protected from the sun, yet could germinate at the first soaking rain. Even more important, the sprouting plant had enough fuel (starch) to survive while it sent roots deep enough to get more water. This was a monumental success for plants. Then, about 12,000 years ago, humans migrating from the plains of Africa discovered this bonanza and it changed everything. Grains could be stored, and the hard shell could be ground with stone tools to release the starch for easy and fast digestion. Suddenly, there was no need to forage. Humans could survive on GRAIN.
Agriculture resulted in a dramatic reduction in food variety, leading to malnutrition and disease. Moreover, the dependence on one staple crop that was vulnerable to insects and drought (wheat, rice, corn), led to periodic famine, which in only a few generations, led to reduced lifespan. In the ensuing centuries, average adult height decreased by four inches. Evidence from skeletal remains suggests that these remarkable drawbacks persisted until about 5,000 years ago, meaning that agriculture dramatically reduced quality of life for over 7,000 years.
2. Food Processing: disappearing nutrients Refining and processing food removes critically important nutrients. Processing wheat into white flour, for example, eliminates 85% of the CoQ10, 90% of the vitamin E, and virtually all of the fiber. In all, 19 nutrients are reduced or destroyed. The fact that manufacturers then add thiamine, riboflavin and niacin back in and call the product “enriched,” is a joke.
The hunting-and-gathering diet was made up primarily of foods with a high-water content. The removal of water during processing improved shelf life and transportation, but also increased the number of calories in a bite of food. This is important because people generally regulate food intake by volume more than calories, so that over time, a processed food diet contributes directly to obesity.3
Glucose is so important (especially for the brain) that we evolved four ways to store and generate this critical molecule. Glucose is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen Glucose is stored in the blood as triglyceride Glucose is stored in adipose tissue as fat In a pinch, we can even convert protein into glucose
Today, the average American consumes about 24 teaspoons of sugar (e.g., table sugar, dextrose, corn syrup, etc.) per day, amounting to nearly 150 pounds of sugar per person each year.8 We’re creating problems that evolution cannot possibly solve.
Summary The “agricultural revolution” was a mixed blessing. Humans have been collecting and cultivating grain for only about 12,000 years. In evolutionary terms, that is the blink of an eye. Devolution occurs when conditions are created which reduce a species’ survivability. Three devolutionary forces have been agriculture, food processing and the refining of sugar.
O.K. an updated international GI list is available at: http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm. What’s more, this excellent resource also provides data on glycemic load (GL) which I find more useful. Glycemic load takes into account the serving size and the available carbohydrate. Available carbohydrate (also known as net carbs) includes the starch and sugar, minus the fiber. Glycemic load data corrects a number of errors found in the GI tables, such as the listing of watermelon and carrots as high GI foods, when both have low glycemic load values.
The Metabolic Makeover Bottom-Line Carb Guidelines Avoid refined sugar products like the plague that they, in fact, are. Avoid soft drinks, including the biggest health scam ever launched: “diet” soft drinks. Re-tune your taste buds. It is important to enjoy your food, but food chemists have invented compounds that trick you into eating more than you need. They’re not kidding when they say, “Bet you can’t eat just one.”
Never eat “unopposed carbs.” Try to consume a high-fiber protein before or with carbohydrates. Our motto: never be more than an arm’s distance from a handful of almonds (120 calories, 5g protein, 3g fiber and 2 (that’s right, TWO!)g net carbs).
Then and Now To obtain a day’s worth of carbohydrate— about 80 grams— from roots, tubers and berries, your ancestors had to forage about 4 hours. At the same time, they used up a large number of calories foraging, which resulted in the fact that there were no overweight hunters and gatherers. Calculation # 1 Calories burned to acquire 80 grams carbohydrate by a hunter/gatherer = about 250. With constant access to high-GI foods like potatoes and pasta, along with baked goods, candies, soft drinks, breakfast cereals, granola bars, sweets and desserts, it is not unusual for North Americans to consume 500 grams of carbohydrates every day. Calories burned to obtain 500 grams carbohydrates – 40 (opening the refrigerator or the pantry, driving to the cupcake shop). Calculation # 2 One gram of carbohydrate provides 4 calories of energy. So the hunting/gathering diet provided about 320 calories from carbs. The modern diet, by contrast, provides almost 2,000 carb calories. And to complete the picture + add roughly 90 grams of protein x 4 calories per gram = 360 + a whopping 100 grams of fat x 9 calories per gram = 900 calories. For a total of …. DRUM ROLL. . . 3,260 calories per day! Try staying fit on that!
Burning fat is difficult and metabolically “expensive.” Burning sugar is fast and easy. Thus, when faced with an abundance of sugar, the human genome adjusts to down-regulate fat-burning machinery. This is the story of the 20th century, and the reason why 65% of adults in North America are overweight and tired.
Summary Through the process of digestion, all carbohydrates are converted to the simple sugar known as glucose. Whole, natural foods contain a mixture of carbohydrate, fat, protein and fiber. This combination slows delivery of glucose into the bloodstream. Food processing (destroying the balance of carb, fat, protein and fiber) speeds delivery of glucose into the bloodstream. The glycemic index is a measure of the speed by which a food raises blood glucose levels. It is useful as a general guideline, but cannot accurately determine the metabolic effect of a complex meal. Carbohydrates are not the enemy. Processed, sweetened, chemicalized, low-fiber carbs are. Think like a hunter/gatherer. There are no bagel trees or spaghetti bushes.
But here’s another Paleolithic rub: the amount of glycogen the muscles can hold depends on how much those muscles have been used.
As you might guess, exercise produces incredibly beneficial changes in the glycogen storage cycle. Exercise activates genes which stimulate glycogen storage capacity, which gives you more available energy and greater stamina. This is called the Training Effect, making exercise easier and more enjoyable.
An active person will have up to 20 times the amount of stored glycogen as a sedentary person of equal weight … and a trained athlete can more than double that!
Since excess glucose is toxic, the pancreas furiously pumps out more insulin, which only makes the cells more resistant. Eventually, the liver (yes, the liver again) manages to convert excess glucose to two types of fat. The first is called triglyceride, a combination of glucose (glycerol) and fat that gets stored in the bloodstream. As blood levels rise, these triglycerides are dispatched to the thighs, abdomen, arms, legs and buttocks, where they add to adipose tissue.
Triglycerides are a waxy substance floating in the blood. High levels of triglycerides greatly increase the viscosity (thickness) of the blood and are thus a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
an active person, muscle burns fat. In a sedentary person, fat damages muscle. That’s because adipose (fat) tissue doesn’t just sit there. It secretes inflammatory proteins called adipokines, which damage nearby muscle.
Excess glucose, meanwhile, causes inflammation wherever it goes. In the blood stream, inflammation begins the process of atherosclerosis. In the brain, inflammation creates the damage leading to dementia. Inflammation in the internal organs compromises kidney and liver function, and inflammation is involved in all three stages of cancer: initiation, progression and metastasis.
Summary The three “whammies,” insulin resistance, elevated glucose (blood sugar) and Inflammation, create a vicious cycle leading to Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer. In other words, the cause of death for 8 out of 10 people. The body creates triglycerides (combination of glucose and fat) as a storage form of energy. This is great if you’re active. If you’re sedentary, high levels of triglycerides in the blood contributes directly to heart and blood vessel disease. Another vicious cycle is created as adipose cells off-load fat into adjacent muscle. This damages the muscle so it is less able to use fat as fuel. Most people achieve excellent results (maintaining ideal weight, high metabolic efficiency, energy and stamina) by keeping total carbs under 100g per day. Ideal is 70-80g per day. Obviously, athletes and people who are very physically active can consume more than 100 grams of carbohydrate. In fact, many endurance athletes prepare for events by “car-bo-loading” with 500 grams or more of starch, which they subsequently burn up in competition.
We focused on the most relevant metabolic “switches,” or compounds, Adiponectin and AMPK. Adiponectin: A protein secreted by fat cells, which tells the body to: Burn more fat Make less fat Improve insulin sensitivity AMPK: Considered to be the “master switch,” AMPK is an enzyme secreted mainly in the liver and muscles that tells the body to: Burn more fat Make less fat Make more glycogen Increase energy production in muscle cells. Can you say mitochondrial biogenesis?
That’s a common belief, but listen to this: A major portion of every metabolic process in your body depends on the perfect timing of more than 50 thousand proteins. Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions in every cell and tissue. Glycated enzymes don’t work. Proteins turn genes off and on, carry nutrients and other essential biochemicals throughout the body, help balance blood chemistry, play an integral role in the immune system, and direct the entire process of cell repair. When these proteins are glycated, they become less soluble and tend to clump. In fact, glycated proteins appear to be a major component of the plaque that causes Alzheimer’s disease.2 Cataracts are another example, where cross-linked proteins in the lens of the eye cause vision loss.
1. Since AGE’s are formed when a sugar binds a protein, it only makes sense to reduce your intake of all refined sugars. NOTE: Fructose glycates proteins faster than any other type of sugar.3
Since heat accelerates the formation of AGE’s, it only makes sense to limit high-heat cooking. * Limit browned or charred foods. This includes grilled or barbecued meat, poultry and fish, as well as well-done broiled meats. Evidence is mounting that consumption of well-cooked (not even charred) meat is associated with increased risk for breast cancer.4
takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message (via the hormone Cholecystokinin) that hunger has been satisfied. So, when you eat quickly, it is very easy to overeat.
Tip to get the MOST out of your almond experience: Buy ORGANIC unflavored almonds Soak overnight Drain water and place soaked almonds in a food dehydrator for 5-8 hours or until crunchy Better than roasting. Easier to digest. Don’t have a dehydrator? Place the soaked almonds on a cookie sheet and bake at 2000 F for 2 hours.
1. Keys to optimal health can be gained from research on hunters and gatherers: Eat a wide variety of foods Eat uncooked, or barely cooked foods as often as possible Eat smaller, more frequent meals (grazing) 2. We all have limitations on the amount of food we can digest and metabolize. So it only makes sense to focus on what is most valuable, by reducing or eliminating junk calories and incorporating as many superfoods as possible into your diet. 3. High-heat cooking produces toxins related to accelerated aging, vision loss, Alzheimer’s Disease, and cancer. Limit char-broiling and eliminate deep frying.
Soy phytoestrogens have very weak activity in humans. But because they bind to estrogen receptors in a woman’s breasts and reproductive organs, it is believed that they block the binding of more powerful estrogens that she may be producing or getting from the environment. Strong estrogens can promote cancer. So there is a good chance that the lower cancer rates in Asian women relate to the blocking effect of phytoestrogens. In men, a similar benefit from soy may be achieved in the reduction of prostate cancer where estrogen plays a contributing role.
Second, scientists found a group of protease inhibitors in soy and other beans. These biochemicals inhibit the digestion of protein by interfering with the activity of two important enzymes, trypsin and chymotrypsin. Protease inhibitors interfere with cell communication, protein metabolism, and cell growth.1 This may contribute to anti-cancer defense in humans by interfering with the growth and spread (metastasis) of tumors.
It was determined that the amount of phytoestrogens in a day’s worth of soy infant formula had the same estrogenic effect as five birth-control pills to an adult.6 A study published in the British medical journal Lancet found that infants who were fed soy formula had levels of phytoestrogens that were 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than natural estrogen concentrations in early life.7
Different soy foods provide different isoflavones. In fermented soy products like natto or tempeh, aglycones are the principal form of isoflavone, whereas in unfermented soy products, like tofu, soy milk or soy supplements, isoflavones are primarily present as glucosides. These different forms are absorbed and metabolized differently.
On the allergy side, you have “fixed” allergies, mediated by Immunoglobulin E (IgE) which can be serious. These are the rush-the-patient-to-the-hospital reactions (called anaphylaxis) where the lips and throat swell. Wheat is NOT a common IgE allergy. More often, it is mediated by IgG, and this produces less severe symptoms like gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, and constipation/diarrhea. Importantly, IgG reactions can usually be “cleared” either by avoiding wheat or in many cases by including wheat infrequently (the rotation diet strategy). IgG reactions are also dose related. If your doctor has diagnosed an IgG mediated wheat allergy, he or she will probably advise you to avoid wheat or use a rotation diet plan.
The startling increase in fatty-liver disease that physicians are seeing today has set off an alarm in the research community. Fingers are pointing to the increased consumption of fructose and other sugars, as well as alcohol and the highly processed fats found in junk food. I am sure those contribute to the epidemic. But I also know from diet surveys that most people are deficient in choline, which is essential for removing fat from the liver. Egg-yolk-phobia, and the admonition against eating organ meats may be contributing to fatty-liver disease, since these are by far the best dietary sources of choline. If you are not eating eggs or liver, be sure to take a choline supplement. I recommend at least 500 mg per day.
Dealing with Mercury Consuming 6 to 10 servings of fish per week, doctors and researchers have wondered why my mercury levels are extremely low. I attribute this to high consumption of detox nutrients like selenium and zinc, as well as ingestion of glutathione-stimulating compounds like N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and whey protein.46 The glutathione detox pathway is probably the most capable of removing mercury from the body. In addition, I have been drinking aloe vera for more than 20 years. The terminal end of the aloe polysaccharide is man-nose, which appears to bind nicely with mercury, facilitating its removal through the urine and GI tract.
Summary 1. Erroneous or bizarre information posted on the internet is called webaloney. Help stamp out webaloney (and save the internet): A. Check the validity of any information before forwarding or posting. B. Challenge those who post health information to provide references, preferably to published biomedical literature. 2. If there is one principle that stands out from the study of human nutrition, it is the need for variety. 3. Soy foods are healthful when used as part of a highly varied natural foods diet. They should not be the predominant or sole source of protein. 4. While it is true that humans have only been consuming grain for 12,000 years, that’s more than 600 generations; certainly enough time for most people to benefit from these important foods. 5. When you think of the word, “grain,” put the word “whole” in front of it. Whole grains, especially the ancient species such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, wild rice and long-grain brown rice, are gluten free, and provide a wide range of health benefits, including reduced risk for diabetes. 6. There are three distinct problems associated with wheat and other gluten grains. A. Celiac disease B. Allergy, characterized by high levels of antibodies to gluten C. Intolerance, due to poor digestion, GI disease or aging 7. Cultured/fermented dairy products are much easier to digest compared to whole milk and are a good source of protein, probiotics, vitamins and minerals. These include yogurt, kefir, buttermilk and cultured cottage cheese. 8. A Vegetarian diet can be extremely healthful, but there is no scientific consensus regarding claims for reduced morbidity and mortality compared to what can be termed a “conscious omnivore” diet.
When you deplete stored glycogen, your body will turn to fat for energy. This produces a by-product called ketones. Your body (including your brain and heart) runs quite well on ketones. In fact, your body was designed to run on ketones whenever glucose levels are low.
Turns out, it does. A rise in ketone production helps lower blood glucose and insulin. Ketones also raise cellular energy levels while reducing the production of harmful free radicals, meaning that burning fat is highly efficient.1 What’s more, ketones signal the muscles to generate more mitochondria, which are the energy factories within each cell.
Enjoy a KickStart Super Shake (ingredient details in Chapter 8). In a shaker bottle, combine: 10-12 oz. water 1 tablespoon (15 mL) MCT oil (Medium Chain Triglycerides) 1 tablespoon liquid L-Carnitine 1 tablespoon powdered maca 1 tablespoon D-Ribose 1 rounded tablespoon of whey-protein isolate, rice, soy, pea or hemp protein 1 tablespoon acacia fiber Optional: 300 mg powdered Cissus quadrangularis
Human history is filled with periods of scarcity and famine. Thus, we developed effective biochemical strategies for storing energy. Beyond the accumulation of fat, the liver and muscles store glycogen. Hardly anyone today utilizes these survival strategies. In modern industrialized nations, people generally eat more calories than they need, 365 days a year. But what if activating energy storage pathways produced remarkable metabolic benefits? What if this is an essential component of human physiology? Until now, no one was asking these questions. The answer is a resounding YES. We now know that activating energy storage pathways (glycogen and fat-burning): A. Improves energy production at the cell level B. Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress C. Improves insulin sensitivity D. Restores glucose balance E. Reduces risk for cardiovascular disease F. Supports the immune system G. Protects beta cells of the pancreas, helping to maintain optimal pancreatic function H. Reduces stress on the brain and central nervous system I. May reduce risk for neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease 5 5. Energy storage pathways can be activated by calorie restriction (CR), which is arduous, possibly dangerous and nearly impossible to follow. 6. KickStart is a simple strategy aimed at achieving many of the same benefits, that can be easily be incorporated into one’s life. Endnotes
Suggested use: 500-1,000mg/day. A must for vegetarians and others who don’t eat red meat.
ALA is a spectacular antioxidant. While some antioxidants like vitamin C work only in water, and others like vitamin E work only in fatty tissues, ALA is both water and fat soluble, meaning that it can work throughout the body. What’s more, it can rejuvenate other antioxidants and potentiates the benefits of alpha ketoglutaricacid(AKG).6 And that’s just for starters. Alpha lipoic acid enhances energy production by stimulating AMPK, and as you would guess, also improves glucose disposal, making it a remarkably effective nutrient for anyone with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes or Metabolic Syndrome.
“Lipoic acid supplementation improved body composition, glucose tolerance, and energy expenditure. Lipoic acid increased skeletal muscle mitochondrial biogenesis with increased phosphorylation of AMPK and messenger RNA expression of PGC-1alpha and glucose transporter-4.” WANG Y, LI X, GUO Y, CHAN L, GUANX. ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID INCREASES ENERGY EXPENDITURE BY ENHANCING AMPK-PEROXI-SOME PROLIFERATOR-ACTIVATED RECEPTOR-GAMMA COACTIVA-TOR-1ALPHA SIGNALING IN THE SKELETAL MUSCLE OF AGED MICE. METABOLISM. 2010 JUL;59(7):967-76. Translation: Alpha lipoic acid has been shown in animals and humans to be a potent and multi-faceted Metabolic Modifier.
Suggested use: 100mg to 500mg of alpha lipoic acid per day best taken in divided doses. If using r-lipoic acid, you can use less.
alpha -Ketoglutaric acid (AKG) is an essential nutrient found in every cell of the human body. In fact, AKG is the rate-limiting step in the Krebs cycle, meaning that an insufficient level can dramatically reduce cellular energy production.
“This study has shown that nutritional supplementation with α-keto acids in healthy, untrained subjects significantly improved exercise tolerance, training effects, and [post-exercise] recovery.”
Suggested use: Natalie recommends 200 to 500mg per day for general energy support, and to double that on strenuous exercise days.
Suggested use: I use 1 to 6g per day of D-Ribose with sports/fitness professionals. Natalie recommends up to 5g per day for her patients with heart disease.
Suggested use: MCT oil is available in health food stores, and because of its neutral taste, can be added to a smoothie, shake, or mixed with your salad dressing. We include a tbsp. in our KickStart Super-Shake (see Chapter Seven).
Green tea and bitter orange (citrus aurantium) stimulate thermogenesis via the central nervous system.
1. Fucoxanthin (derived from brown seaweed) Research shows that by stimulating AMPK, fucoxanthin can help people lose weight and also maintain ideal weight.17 Importantly, fucoxanthin works directly in fat cells. By targeting energy distribution at the mitochondrial level, this non-stimulating activity provides an important new tool to achieve successful long-term weight management. Suggested use: And you don’t need much. Effective products available today include anywhere from 5 to 15mg per day. 2. Green (Unroasted) Coffee Bean This is another Metabolic Modifier that raises AMPK. This occurs via a compound known as chlorogenic acid, found in green coffee bean but destroyed during roasting.18 In true Metabolic Makeover fashion, chlorogenic acid has also been shown to improve glucose balance and exercise tolerance.19 Suggested use: 100 to 500mg per day We’ve talked a lot about how natural products can activate metabolic signals in tissues throughout the body. These signaling molecules can be genes (like ANGPTL4), hormones (like adiponectin) or an enzyme like AMPK. 3. Omega-3 Fatty acids from fish oil, krill or algae These have been shown to stimulate all three of the above pathways, producing benefits for people who want to lose weight, build muscle, and reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease at the same time.20,21 The most important omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA. My patients are often surprised by my advice to supplement with fat (fish oil) in order to lose weight. But EPA and DHA are an essential component of any comprehensive fat-loss program. Suggested use: 1 to 4g per day.
1. Aloe There is no longer any doubt that aloe is a true Metabolic Modifier. In a placebo-controlled human clinical trial with 72 diabetic patients, the treatment group consumed 15 milliliters (a little over 3 teaspoons) of aloe gel twice per day. After 42 days, blood sugar in the treatment group was reduced 43 percent and triglycerides were reduced by 44 percent.23
Suggested use: 2 to 6 oz. of aloe-vera juice per day or the equivalent in dried concentrate capsules.
2. Chromium Chromium’s metabolic importance stems primarily from the co-factor role it plays with insulin. Since insulin is required for the delivery of fuel to brain and muscles, insufficient chromium can contribute to fatigue and low metabolic efficiency.
One excellent research-proven, biologically-active compound is Chromium polynicotinate; that is, chromium bound to the essential vitamin, niacin. This compound is consistent with the highest standards of purity, potency and effectiveness. “Nicotinate” refers to niacin (vitamin B-3) not nicotine. Suggested use: 50 to 200 mcg per day.
3. Vanadium This is another trace mineral with the ability to improve insulin sensitivity. Recent research shows that it works independently of chromium but the best results can be achieved when used together.29 Suggested use: 50 to 200 mcg per day. “One out of every five Americans has metabolic syndrome. It affects 40% of people in their 60s and 70s. Insulin resistance, with or without the presence of metabolic syndrome, significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.” A SCIENTIFIC REVIEW: THE ROLE OF CHROMIUMIN INSULIN RESISTANCE. DIABETES EDUC. 2004;SUPPL:2-14.
4. Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa) Banaba is an herb that supports metabolic fitness in two ways: Human clinical trials show that it helps to normalize blood sugar30 and cell culture analysis demonstrates that it can inhibit the formation of new fat cells. Because of these benefits, a study in the Journal of Nutrition concluded that “Banaba may be useful for prevention and treatment of hyperglycemia and obesity in type 2 diabetics.”31 Suggested use: Natalie recommends a leaf extract standardized for corosolic acid at 50 to 200 mg per day.
New research shows that Berberine is very genoactive. It stimulates AMPK in liver and muscle, increases expression of genes involved in fat burning, and down-regulates genes involved in fat storage. It doesn’t get much better than that.33 Suggested use: Natalie recommends 200 to 500 mg 20 minutes before meals for her patients with blood-sugar issues.
6. GABA Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a non protein-forming amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. It is generally considered to have an inhibitory function, producing a calming effect. When GABA receptors were found in the gut as well as the brain, researchers started to look for additional effects. In animal experiments, an oral dose of GABA produces profound metabolic benefits including: reduced inflammation, improved insulin sensitivity, normalization of blood sugar and a reduction of fat storage. As a result, mice fed a high-fat diet supplemented with GABA simply do not gain weight.34 Suggested use: Natalie recommends 200 to 500mg per day for her patients with poor glucose metabolism; double that for those with stress or anxiety eating behavior.
So what makes Panax ginseng a Metabolic Modifier? Clear anti-fatigue benefits have been found in a placebo-controlled human clinical trial. Researchers documented performance improvements in physical and mental tasks.36 Panax ginseng can also improve glucose metabolism via improvements in insulin sensitivity.37 Panax ginseng stimulates production of AMPK, thus providing a third bioenergetic mode of action that enhances exercise tolerance.38 Panax ginseng is an amazing antioxidant that protects cells and their mitochondria. At the same time, Panax restores the activity of other antioxidant enzymes.39 In animal experiments, these antioxidant effects have been shown to protect the brain from altered blood flow and oxygen delivery associated with aging.40 Panax has been a treatment for type 2 diabetes for centuries, and we now know that it effectively protects pancreatic beta cells under high-glucose conditions.41 And yes, while it may not be an aphrodisiac, Panax ginseng has been shown to be an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction in placebo-controlled human clinical trials.42,43
Suggested use: Look for a minimum of 3% ginsenosides. At this concentration, capsules containing 200 to 600 mg are available. Leading suppliers also offer a variety of concentrates, ranging from 3 to 1 (labeled 3:1) to 5:1. At these higher potency concentrations, capsules containing 100 to 300 mg are available. Follow label instructions for suggested use. Some people prefer to chew on the actual root, available dried or sliced and flavored. Follow the same guidelines regarding purity and potency (e.g., does the manufacturer test for chemical residue, and how old are the roots?). 8.
Suggested use: Include deep blue and red fruits and vegetables in your daily diet and/or supplement with concentrates that retain these valuable anthocyanins.
I’ve been asked why I recommend a leucine supplement instead of the addition of whole protein. The answer is twofold. First, you get more muscle-protein-synthesis bang for your buck with leucine, and more important, animal studies demonstrate that eating grain and bean proteins fail to increase MPS. Only egg and whey sources of leucine stimulated MPS in a recent study published in Nutrition and Metabolism.49 Suggested use: 500 to 1,000 mg per day. Vegans may need more, especially after age 40.
Is there anything that will maximize the benefits of creatine supplementation? Yes. Research shows that better results can be obtained by taking alpha lipoic acid (100 to 500 mg) at the same time.50 Suggested use: When starting creatine supplementation, research suggests a larger dose (5g twice per day) for the first 5 to 7 days, produces better results. After that, a single 5g dose will maintain the increased muscle power.
Chapter 5, we advised you to reduce glycation by avoiding refined sugars and high-heat cooking. Here’s another tip: carnosine, a nutrient found primarily in meat, fish and dairy foods, can prevent glycation. In fact, it also protects blood vessels and the heart, increases stamina and endurance, protects the brain and acts as a powerful antioxidant.51,52,53
Carnosine is a dipeptide, meaning that it is composed of two amino acids, beta alanine and histidine. Beta alanine is the rate-limiting component, meaning that carnosine synthesis is limited by the amount of available beta alanine. Thus supplementing with beta alanine is actually a better strategy than taking carnosine pills.54,55 Beta alanine will increase the concentration of carnosine in your muscles, resulting in greater strength and endurance.56,57
Suggested use: women should generally start with a single dose of 500 mg of beta alanine. This can be repeated two or even three times per day for optimal results. Men can usually start with 750 to 1500 mg two to three times per day. Doses should be at least two hours apart to avoid paresthesia.
4. Cissus quadrangularis Cissus quadrangularis (CQ) is an herb native to Africa and Southeast Asia. It has a thousand-year history in ancient medical traditions, and was used primarily to strengthen bones and accelerate the healing of fractures. In the last decade, researchers have confirmed that benefit, and intrigued by this anabolic (build and repair) activity, looked for a mode of action. Turns out CQ stimulates repair at the DNA level, and would be expected to strengthen other connective tissue including tendons, ligaments and muscles.58 This is important for anyone involved in strenuous resistance exercise with machines or free weights. Another benefit has recently been discovered for CQ. Placebo-controlled human trials found that cissus is a reliable and safe weight-loss aid.59 The mode of action? Improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing appetite. 60,61 Suggested use: 200 to 300 mg per day.
HMB has not been banned and is widely available in health-food stores, even though it has been shown to enhance strength, stamina and muscle mass.62, It’s not banned because it’s a metabolite of leucine, my favorite amino acid (see “I Love Leucine”, above). Best of all, HMB has been shown to be of value for non-athletes, and appears to be one of the best Metabolic Modifiers for men and women over 50. That’s because in addition to its anabolic (build, repair) activity, HMB also reduces catabolic damage.63,64 We must remember that to tip the damage/repair seesaw in our favor, it is best to improve both sides. Suggested use: 2 to 3 g of HMB per day, in divided doses with food.
This is not the only study to show the value of Maca supplements. Animal studies demonstrate that the endurance and energy benefits derive from Maca’s antioxidant activity and improved glucose metabolism.66,67 Good news is that Maca is widely available as whole powdered root, as well as a variety of concentrates. Suggested use: Natalie and I use a comprehensive energy stick that contains 750 mg of a potent 4:1 extract, and on weekends, add a spoonful of standard powder to our morning KickStart Super-Shake.
One mechanism of action (MOA) appears to be an improvement in glucose metabolism in muscle cells, leading to improved ATP production. This is accomplished by up-regulating our good friend, the much-appreciated enzyme known as AMPK.68 * Rhodiola also acts as an adaptogen, with human clinical trials showing not only improved stamina, but reduced perception of effort. This is a critical benefit for anyone starting an exercise program.69 * Rhodiola also has something to offer elite athletes; faster recovery and reduced muscle damage after strenuous training.70,71 Suggested use: Like Maca, rhodiola is available as powdered dried root and in a variety of standardized extracts and concentrates. I recommend 200 to 500 mg per day of rhodiola powder, and up to a gram (1,000 mg) per day for men and women starting an exercise program or engaged in strenuous fitness training.
“Low magnesium intakes and blood levels have been associated with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, elevated C-reactive protein, hypertension, atherosclerotic vascular disease, sudden cardiac death, osteoporosis, migraine headache, asthma, and colon cancer.” ROSANOFF A, WEAVER CM, RUDE RK. SUBOPTIMAL MAGNESIUM STATUS IN THE UNITED STATES: ARE THE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES UNDERESTIMATED? NUTR REV. 2O12 MAR;70(3):153-64. Suggested use: Natalie recommends a highly varied natural foods diet that includes magnesium-rich foods like almonds, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, buckwheat, kale and spinach. In addition, she suggests supplementing with 200 to 500 mg of magnesium, and notes that 500 mg at bedtime can improve sleep quality.
We’ve mentioned about a dozen key genes or signaling molecules that have a profound effect on metabolism. These include: NOS: plays a key metabolic role in muscle, heart, blood vessels and adipose tissue PGC-1alpha: regulates production of mitochondria (the energy factories within your cells) NRF-2: activates antioxidant enzymes PPAR alpha: regulates the transport and utilization of fat to create energy UCP-1: plays a critical role in thermogenesis; converting calories to heat instead of fat AMPK: key energy sensor facilitating the use of fat to create energy instead of storage in adipose tissue L-Arginine favorably affects the expression and activity of each of these.74 Suggested use: 1 to 3 g per day. If you are on a weight loss diet, 2-4 g per day.
CoQ10 is normally obtained from a group of nutrients known as ubiquinones, which are reduced or destroyed in a highly-processed diet. What’s more, CoQ10 levels tend to decrease rapidly with age. 65-year-olds have only about 20% of the CoQ10 they had in their prime.75 Suggested use: 30 to 100 mg per day for healthy men and women up to age 50. For those over 50, 200 mg per day. And for people with any type of heart condition: 300 to 400 mg per day.
Translation: Excess insulin causes weight gain and makes weight loss nearly impossible. DHEA reduces insulin levels and stimulates fat burning. Research has also revealed a powerful synergistic effect of DHEA and resveratrol. By different but complimentary pathways, both compounds have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and improve energy metabolism.88 DHEA and alpha lipoic acid work together to protect the brain.89 DHEA and Maca work together to improve libido and sexual function.90,91 CoQ10 and DHEA synergize to improve energy levels in people with chronic fatigue.92 Considerable research is now aimed at the synergy of DHEA, carnosine and beta alanine in life extension. Maybe some good old fashioned math equations will help drive this point home?
Some people should not take DHEA, like: A. People under age 30 (unless following the advice of their physician). In general, young people are already producing adequate DHEA. Since the hormone can be converted to testosterone and estrogen, taking DHEA can produce symptoms associated with excess sex hormones such as acne and (in women) facial hair growth from elevated testosterone. B. Men being treated for prostate cancer. A common medical treatment for prostate cancer is testosterone blockade, in which all sources of testosterone are suppressed. Taking DHEA in this case would be counterproductive. C. Women being treated for breast cancer. A common medical treatment for breast cancer is estrogen blockade, with drugs like Tamoxifen™. Thus DHEA would also be counterproductive.
Suggested use: First get a lab test to check status. We are confident in saying that the optimum DHEAS range for women is 200 to 350 mcg/dL and for men is 350 to 500 mcg/dL. In Canada, that converts to: 12.07 umol/L to 14.49 umol/L for women, and 16.50 umol/L to 24.15 umol/L for men. Conversion tables at: http://www.endmemo.com/medical/unitconvert/Lead.php
Resveratrol improved insulin sensitivity Resveratrol stimulated fat burning, especially in low-nutrient conditions (e.g., after a short fast or strenuous exercise) Resveratrol reduced inflammation, leading to more efficient energy transport and utilization The compound up-regulated energy production in mitochondria Similar to alpha-Ketoglutaric acid, resveratrol increased Krebs cycle (energy) efficiency Resveratrol caused the removal of fat from the liver and stimulated the transport of that fat to skeletal muscles for energy production Resveratrol reduced blood pressure and triglycerides New research just published: If these seven benefits are not enough, here’s one more: in-vitro (test tube) research shows that resveratrol can prevent fat from accumulating in preadipocytes (immature fat cells).96 This new anti-obesity effect may turn out to be the best yet, because it could effectively prevent the formation of new fat cells.
To help you START The Metabolic Makeover DHEA Alpha lipoic acid Acetyl-L-carnitine Resveratrol Alpha-Ketoglutaric acid Rhodiola Aloe Green tea To help you STAY with the program and gaindeeper and more significant benefits: Creatine D-Ribose Maca MCTs CoQ10 Panax ginseng To get you STRONG: Beta alanine HMB Cissus quadrangularis Leucine
OK, so what is this new Metabolic Modifier that up-regulates AMPK? Drum roll… A LOW-CARBOHYDRATE DIET
They conclude: “a relative deficiency in carbohydrate intake…even in the absence of caloric deprivation is sufficient to activate the AMPK-SIRT1 energy-sensing cellular network in human skeletal muscle.”
Summary 1. Metabolic Modifiers are natural compounds that work by: Improving energy production at the cell level Increasing the body’s (especially liver and muscles) ability to use fat as fuel Improving glucose balance Increasing exercise tolerance Supporting the maintenance of high muscle mass 2. There are two modifiers (DHEA and Resveratrol) that contribute to virtually all of these pathways. 3. A low-carbohydrate diet activates many of the pathways listed above, and optimizes the benefits derived from all 30 Metabolic Modifiers.
Deep sleep is triggered primarily by tired muscles.
Where did you get the 40X figure? That’s an estimate, based on increased glycogen and mitochondrial density. In Chapter 3, you learned that glycogen is an energy storage compound in the muscles and liver. You might remember that an active person will have about 20 times the glycogen storage as a sedentary person, and an elite athlete could double that. In other words, 40 times the glycogen storage compared to a sedentary person of the same size.
The Bottom Line It’s all about energy More muscle = more energy More energy = more repair More repair = greater quality of life …AND MOST LIKELY, A LONGER LIFE.
Recently, researchers discovered an entire class of repair-and-rebuild signaling molecules derived from muscle. These myokines, according to one study, “modulate systemic physiology” meaning that they control repair functions throughout the body.1
Researchers gave DHEA to a group of men in their late fifties. After only 30 days, they documented a remarkable 90% increase in IGF-1.3 This translates into greater muscle growth and maintenance for anyone over 35. Furthermore, Natalie reports that this benefit is even more pronounced in her female patients.
Another benefit of DHEA supplementation is a marked improvement in muscle definition soon after beginning a strength-training program. An excellent study reported in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences concluded: DHEA in appropriate replacement doses appears to have remedial effects with respect to its ability to induce an anabolic growth factor, increase muscle strength and lean body mass, activate immune function, and enhance quality of life in aging men and women, with no significant adverse effects. YEN SS, MORALES AJ, KHORRAM O. REPLACEMENT OF DHEA IN AGING MEN AND WOMEN. POTENTIAL REMEDIAL EFFECTS. ANN NY ACAD SCI, 1995 DEC 29, 774:128-42.. Clearly, if you’re over 35, DHEA
“DHEA modulates endothelial function, reduces inflammation, improves insulin sensitivity, blood flow, cellular immunity, body composition, bone metabolism, sexual function, and physical strength in frailty and provides neuroprotection, improves cognitive function, and memory enhancement. DHEA possesses pleiotropic effects and reduced levels of DHEA and DHEA-S may be associated with a host of pathologies.” TRAISH AM, KANG HP, SAAD F, GUAY AT DEHYDROEPIANDROSTE-RONE (DHEA)-A PRECURSOR STEROID OR AN ACTIVE HORMONE IN HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY (CME). J
If you cannot hold your breath for at least 60 seconds, it is likely that there is a significant amount of residual carbon dioxide in your body. This affects the acid/alkaline balance of the body, and increased acid levels contribute to illness and disease.
There is also evidence that collagen synthesis can be increased with nutritional supplements that provide either a high concentration of aloe polysaccharides, or Type-II collagen derived from chicken cartilage.
When you take NSAIDS, research shows that it prevents the normal hormetic response in tendons and ligaments. Think about that. One of the main reasons for exercise is to strengthen connective tissue. When tendons are stressed during exercise, they initiate a repair process that includes increased collagen synthesis. We now know that NSAIDS prevent this from happening.20 But here’s some good news. Exercise stimulates collagen synthesis through a number of signaling molecules, mainly IGF-1.21 IGF-1 declines with advancing age, but there is a reliable way to increase IGF-1 at any age—and thereby strengthen all connective tissue, including tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones. TIP #1: Forgo the anti-inflammatory drugs and go with a Metabolic Modifier that increases IGF-1. What is that marvelous and critically important Metabolic Modifier to increase IGF-1? A. Creatine B. Fish oil. C. DHEA Answer: C. DHEA. Tip # 2: There are a number of medicinal plants that naturally reduce inflammation, enabling many people to avoid taking NSAIDS. These include scutellaria Repair, acacia, compounds from hops (botanical name humulus), quercetin, boswellia serata, and curcumin (derived from the turmeric root).
Looking at how energy is created, stored and used, it is estimated that a fit person produces and experiences about 40 times the energy of an unfit person. The key here is muscle mass, because the quantity and quality of muscle determines, more than any other factor, how much energy is available to you on a daily basis. And there is only one way to increase muscle quality (the number of mitochondria per cell)… regular exercise. Most people lose muscle as they age. This condition, known as sarcopenia, is not inevitable. The Metabolic Makeover can prevent and even reverse sarcopenia. Since the #1 excuse that people have for not exercising is “I don’t have time,” it is important to design a program that produces the greatest benefit in the shortest amount of time. High intensity interval training (HUT) provides both cardiorespiratory and resistance benefits in 5 to 10 minutes a day.