Metabolic Age

Metabolic Age is a comparison between a person’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) against the average BMR for an age. The calculation uses a benchmark, your age, to determine your body’s efficiency by comparing that benchmark against the average metabolic rate of different ages. Therefore, the suggestion is if you have the same metabolism as someone  younger, you would be in better shape. However, the calculation doesn’t consider conditioning or body composition, but instead looks only at height, weight and age.

So, back to the question, can you lower your metabolic age. Yes. Within the context of the calculation the only variable you can affect is weight, so a lower weight will bring down the metabolic age based on the calculation. The real question though is, “is that really important?” If you are 50 years old and have the metabolic age of a 30 year old, but you’re fueling your body poorly and you’re not moving enough, it won’t make a difference. if your metabolic age is a concern I’d be willing to bet that you’re not really worried about that number as much as you are trying to manage your weight.

The most important thing to know about metabolic age is that you’re really trying to measure metabolism, or specifically increase metabolism. So, what’s the best way to increase metabolism?

  • Add more lean muscle by lifting weigh: Your body has to work harder to maintain lean muscle and that work means more calories are used. The more calories you use the better.
  • Shed body fat: You can accomplish this once again by lifting weight combined with the right type of cardiovascular exercise.
  • Eat better: Food is fuel and better fuel makes the engine run hotter and more efficiently. Ultimately, having a faster metabolism then someone else doesn’t matter if you’re taking in more calories than your metabolism is burning. Keep the calories in check and keep the right mix of macro-nutrients along with muscle building exercises and you’re on the right track.

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Triglycerides and lowering triglyceride levels

Good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, saturated fat, and unsaturated fat – sometimes it seems like you need a program to keep track of all the fatty players in the story of heart disease.

In some ways, the molecules called triglycerides are the easiest to understand. Simply put, triglycerides are fat in the blood, and a high triglyceride level can increase the risk of heart disease. Just what your triglyceride levels mean and how much lowering triglycerides reduces heart disease risk is less clear.

What are triglycerides?

Triglycerides are the main form of fat in the body. When you think of fat developing and being stored in your hips or belly, you’re thinking of triglycerides. Consider these things:

  • The fat we eat exists in relatively huge molecules inside food. Triglycerides are the end product of digesting and breaking down these bulky fats.
  • Any extra food we eat that’s not used for activity right away – carbohydrates, fat, or protein – is also chemically converted into triglycerides.
  • Triglycerides are then bundled together into globules. These are transported through the blood. Proteins (called lipoproteins) help transport these triglyceride blobs.
  • The triglycerides are taken up by adipose (fat) cells, to be used for energy if food isn’t available later- or during your next diet.

Triglycerides are measured using a common test called a lipid profile. It’s the same blood test that checks “good” and “bad” cholesterol levels. Within the UK the NHS has now suggested people aged 40-74 have a vascular health check which will include a lipid profile.

Triglyceride levels are checked after an overnight fast. Fat from a meal or other parts of the meal that get converted into triglycerides can artificially raise the triglyceride levels on the test.

What are normal and high triglyceride levels?

The American Heart Association defines the following:

  • Normal triglycerides means there are less than 1.69 mmol/l (millimoles per litre).
  • Borderline high triglycerides = 1.7-2.25 mmol/l
  • High triglycerides = 2.26-5.65 mmol/l.
  • Very high triglycerides = higher than 5.65 mmol/l.

High triglyceride levels are a risk factor for heart disease. Experts disagree, though, on just how bad of an effect high triglyceride levels by themselves have on the heart.

Part of the dispute stems from the fact that high triglycerides have a tendency to “run with” other risk factors. High triglyceride levels often coexist with high total cholesterol and LDL (“bad cholesterol”), low HDL (“good cholesterol”), and diabetes.

Triglycerides may be an “enabler” of other heart disease risk factors. That is, high triglyceride levels could multiply the bad effects of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking.

Some research also suggests that high triglycerides are a more important risk factor for women than for men, although this is also disputed.

One point is clear, though: A healthy diet and plan can lower triglyceride levels, improve cholesterol levels, and lower the risk of heart.

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Testosterone and PCOS

We know that Polycycstic Ovarian Syndrome is characterized by high androgen (testosterone) levels. Testosterone is also responsible for a lot of our pesky and often embarrassing symptom:
• Hair loss
• Acne
• Hirsutism and excess hair growth
• Irregular menstrual cycle
Another complication in the testosterone equation is that research has shown that insulin triggers testosterone to be released in women with PCOS. This means that if blood sugars spike, this causes a release of a lot of insulin, testosterone levels are also going to rise, making PCOS symptoms worse. This is another reason that a PCOS diet is crucial in managing our symptoms.
Okay, so let’s have a look at the top 5 foods that you can include in your PCOS diet to lower your testosterone levels.

Flaxseeds come in two varieties: brown and golden (also known as linseed). They are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, manganese, Vitamin B1, amongst others.
There was a recent case study done on one 31 year old woman with PCOS. She was prescribed 30g of flaxseeds per day for a period of 4 months. The study reports a 70 – 80% decrease in free and serum testosterone, as well as an improvement in hirsutism. Obviously this study should be taken with a pinch of salt: the results are based on one woman’s response to flaxseed. It may well be worth a try though.

Linseeds and ground flaxseed can be added to smoothies, gluten free muffins, sprinkled over porridge or salads.

Foods Rich In Omega 3’s
It’s well-known that Omega 3’s lower testosterone levels in women with PCOS and that is why I have always recommended supplementing with Omega 3 to help manage PCOS.
Foods that are rich in Omega 3 include:

I would just be weary of the soybeans and tofu as soy can delay ovulation in women and if you are trying to conceive, you probably want to avoid that.

Spearmint Tea
A study was conducted in Turkey where women with PCOS were advised to drink 2 cups of spearmint tea per day for a month. Androgen levels were significantly lower after a month and women reported improved hirsutism.

Whole unprocessed Foods with Low Glycemic Loads

Any processed foods tend to have a higher glycemic index and will cause a spike in your sugars. This spike will lead to increase in insulin and therefore an increase in your testosterone.

So, make sure that you are eating foods that are unprocessed, high in fibre and low glycemic loads to help lower your testosterone levels.

These are technically not a food but I feel like any discussion on PCOS and diet is incomplete without looking at supplements.

I think this is one of the most important supplements for PCOS. It has been shown to lower testosterone as well as improve egg quality and spontaneous ovulation in women with PCOS. All of the research has been done on 4g of Inositol per day, taken with 400mcg of Folic Acid per day.

Omega 3
We have spoken about foods rich in Omega 3 but you can also supplement with Omega 3. Make sure that you get 180mg EPA and 120mg DHA daily.

Vitamin D
Many of us are deficient in Vitamin D and it has an implication for insulin sensitivity and testosterone levels.. The Vitamin D council suggests that you have at least 1000IU per day.

Summing it Up:
We know that diet is crucial in the management of PCOS and research has shown that dietary changes can improve all of the markers of PCOS, including testosterone levels. So, make sure that you get loads of spearmint tea, flaxseeds, Omega 3-rich foods, low GL foods and supplements. I have no doubt that these will go a long way in helping you to manage your PCOS

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Healthy Tips

Go Green for 5 days

  • At least two litres of water
  • At least a pint of Green water (water mixed with a powder containing Spirulina, Wheatgrass, Chlorella and Barley grass & Aloe Vera)
  • At least one green juice
  • at least one massive fruity juice or smoothie
  • At least one raw main meal using superfoods – some soaked nuts, seeds and sprouts as well as oodles of vegetables and greens
  • At least two pieces of fruit (on top of any juices)
  • At least one portion of sea vegetables (whether in powder or solid form in Salads)

Your typical day

  • 7am – Ginger Tea plus lemon and honey
  • 8am- Green Juice: 2 apples, 1 cucumber, 1 peeled lemon, 1peeled lime blended with 2 or 3 large fistful of green (Spinach or Kale etc) or Chia Pudding (Chia seeds soaked in homemade Almond Milk served with Honey & Fruit
  • 10am- Green water – with a teaspoon of “green powder blend” wheatgrass, spirulina, chlorella & barley grass
  • 12pm- 10oz Kale, Juice 1 lime, 1tsp Pink Salt, 1tsp Virgin Olive Oil, 1tsp Linseeds, 1tsp Sesame Seeds & I Pinch of Pine Nuts
  • 3pm – Fruit & Vegetables: carrots, cucumbers, apples & bananas

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Leptin, a hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure, may be one of the most important hormones in your body that will determine your health and lifespan. Insulin is another, and the two work in tandem.

Both insulin and leptin resistance are associated with obesity, and impairment of their ability to transfer the information to receptors is the true foundational core of most all chronic degenerative diseases.

Metabolism can roughly be defined as the chemistry that turns food into life, and therefore insulin and leptin are both critical to health and disease. Insulin and leptin work together to control the quality of your metabolism, and, to a significant extent, your rate of metabolism.

By acquiring a better understanding of how leptin and its receptor interact, researchers now believe they will be able to find new treatments for obesity and other metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, as well as inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

According to recent research published in the journal Molecular Cell,1 the leptin receptor has two hinged legs that swivel until they come in contact with leptin.

Once leptin attaches to the receptor, these legs stop swiveling and become rigid, thereby sending a signal to an enzyme called Janus kinase,2 which has the ability to bind inflammatory cytokines. It is believed that inhibiting the Janus kinases might help improve inflammatory and metabolic disorders.

Alan Saltiel, Director of the Life Sciences Institute, told Medical News Today:3

“This study may help solve an important issue we’ve been struggling with for some time… Since leptin is a master regulator of appetite, understanding why resistance to its effects develops in obesity has been a major obstacle to discovering new drugs for obesity and diabetes. Developing a clear picture of how leptin can bind to its receptor may be the first step in overcoming leptin resistance.”

What Exactly is Leptin?

Leptin is a very powerful and influential hormone produced by your fat cells. Your fat, by way of leptin, tells your brain whether you should be hungry, eat and make more fat, whether you should reproduce, or (partly by controlling insulin) whether to engage in maintenance and repair. In short, leptin is the way that your fat stores speak to your brain to let your brain know how much energy is available and, very importantly, what to do with it.

Therefore, leptin may be on top of the food chain in metabolic importance and relevance to disease.

If your leptin signaling is working properly, when your fat stores are “full,” this extra fat will cause a surge in your leptin level, which signals your brain to stop feeling hungry, to stop eating, to stop storing fat and to start burning some extra fat off.

Controlling hunger is a major (though not the only) way that leptin controls energy storage. Hunger is a very powerful, ancient, and deep-seated drive that, if stimulated long enough, will make you eat and store more energy. The only way to eat less in the long-term is to not be hungry, and the only way to do this is to control the hormones that regulate hunger, the primary one being leptin.

How Do You Become Leptin Resistant?

You become leptin-resistant by the same general mechanism that you become insulin-resistant – by continuous overexposure to high levels of the hormone. If you eat a diet that is high in sugar (particularly fructose), grains, and processed foods – the same type of diet that will also increase inflammation in your body – as the sugar gets metabolized in your fat cells, the fat releases surges in leptin.

Over time, if your body is exposed to too much leptin, it will become resistant, just as your body can become resistant to insulin.

The only known way to re-establish proper leptin (and insulin) signaling is to prevent those surges, and the only known way to do that is via diet. As such, diet can have a more profound effect on your health than any other known modality of medical treatment.

A strategic whole food diet, that emphasizes good fats and avoids blood sugar spikes coupled with targeted supplements will enhance insulin and leptin sensitivity so that your brain can once again hear the feedback signals from these hormones.

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This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Exercise

One of the key health benefits of exercise is that it helps normalize your glucose, insulin, and leptin levels by optimizing insulin/leptin receptor sensitivity. This is perhaps the most important factor for optimizing your overall health and preventing chronic disease.

But exercise affects your body in countless other ways as well—both directly and indirectly. Here, however, even the most unexpected side effects are almost universally beneficial. For example, as illustrated in the featured article,1 side effects of exercise include but are not limited to:

  • Improved sexual function
  • Changes in gene expression
  • Clearer skin
  • Improved mood
  • Improved sleep

What Happens in Your Body When You Exercise?

The featured article in Huffington Post2 highlights a number of biological effects that occur, from head to toe, when you exercise. This includes changes in your:

    • Muscles, which use glucose and ATP for contraction and movement. To create more ATP, your body needs extra oxygen, so breathing increases and your heart starts pumping more blood to your muscles.

Without sufficient oxygen, lactic acid will form instead. Tiny tears in your muscles make them grow bigger and stronger as they heal.

    • Lungs. As your muscles call for more oxygen (as much as 15 times more oxygen than when you’re at rest), your breathing rate increases. Once the muscles surrounding your lungs cannot move any faster, you’ve reached what’s called your VO2 max—your maximum capacity of oxygen use. The higher your VO2 max, the fitter you are.
    • Heart. As mentioned, your heart rate increases with physical activity to supply more oxygenated blood to your muscles. The fitter you are, the more efficiently your heart can do this, allowing you to work out longer and harder. As a side effect, this increased efficiency will also reduce your resting heart rate. Your blood pressure will also decrease as a result of new blood vessels forming.
    • Brain. The increased blood flow also benefits your brain, allowing it to almost immediately function better. As a result, you tend to feel more focused after a workout. Furthermore, exercising regularly will promote the growth of new brain cells. In your hippocampus, these new brain cells help boost memory and learning. As stated in the featured article:

“When you work out regularly, your brain gets used to this frequent surge of blood and adapts by turning certain genes on or off. Many of these changes boost brain cell function and protect from diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or even stroke, and ward off age-related decline.”

A number of neurotransmitters are also triggered, such as endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, and GABA. Some of these are well-known for their role in mood control. Exercise, in fact, is one of the most effective prevention and treatment strategies for depression.

    • Joints and bones, as exercise can place as much as five or six times more than your body weight on them. Peak bone mass is achieved in adulthood and then begins a slow decline, but exercise can help you to maintain healthy bone mass as you get older.

Weight-bearing exercise is actually one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis, as your bones are very porous and soft, and as you get older your bones can easily become less dense and hence, more brittle — especially if you are inactive.

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