Monthly Archives: September 2013

What is Metabolism?


CHAPTER 1

What Is Metabolism?

“I’ve searched the web but found nothing that tells me how to

distinguish if my metabolism is healthy. I’ve found plenty of

ways to tell me how to improve my metabolism but nothing

that explains what is normal. Are there outward signs that

will tell you if your metabolism is healthy?”

Metabolism.com member

      According to Webster’s Dictionary, metabolism is “the chemical and  physical processes continuously going on in living organisms.” But when most people think about metabolism they focus on one specific process—the process that releases and stores energy from the food we eat. This is because this type of metabolism not only affects how efficiently your body burns fuel but also influences how easily our bodies gain or lose weight.

 Turning Food into Energy

In simple terms, your metabolism is the rate at which your body breaks down nutrients from the foods you eat and converts them into a form the body can use. After you’ve eaten a bowl of cereal or a sandwich, chemicals produced in the digestive tract, known as enzymes, break down all of the complex molecules that make up the food into smaller, more usable nutrients. Proteins are broken down into amino acids, fats into fatty acids, and carbohydrates into simple sugars like glucose. These nutrients are then absorbed into the blood where they are transported all over the body.

 At this point the nutrients can be used in different processes. Amino acids are usually used to build and repair tissues, while glucose enters cells and is metabolized for energy. Any extra nutrients left over after these processes are generally stored in body tissues, especially the liver, muscles and body fat, and used for energy at a later date if the body needs it. (Think of it like a squirrel stocking up nuts for the winter.)

In this way, the process of metabolism really is a balancing act between two very different types of activities: (1) building up body tissues and energy stores, and (2) breaking down energy-rich nutrients, body tissues and energy stores to produce fuel that will power the body. Continue reading

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Layla hits a plateau in her treatment of hypothyroidism


Layla inquires about how to approach this common situation in the treatment of hypothyroidism:

Hello, I am a 23-year-old girl, and at the beginning of 2013 I started rapidly putting on weight, where I ballooned from 128 lbs to 155 within a few months, despite extremely healthy eating and exercise. I had my TSH tested and it was 4.71. I was put on 25 mcg of levothyroxine, which was eventually increased to 50 mcg (I am still currently taking this). It decreased my TSH to 0.69 and increased my free T4 t0 1.2, but recently my weight loss has slowed and I put on a little fat despite an extremely low carb diet. I retested and it showed that my TSH had gone up to 2.1, and my free T4 had gone down to 1.0. My endo was not tested T3, but she finally gave in when I asked, though she refused to test free T3. My total T3 came in at 40 (range 50 – 180, though I’ve seen 80 as the lowest amount for health), which is extremely low. I have always had incredibly slow metabolism, and even when I was at 128 lbs, I had a lot of body fat. I keep asking for Cytomel, and the endo is almost there in giving it to me, but she insists that my low T3 is due to some mystery illness that she thinks is temporary, and wants me to retest. My question is this: how much T3 should I end up taking, to get rid of my excess weight and body/belly fat, and improve my symptoms (dizziness, extreme fatigue, depression, PCOS)? I want to be around 115 – 120 lbs. I figure the starting dose will be around 5 mcg, but do I need more than this for optimal functioning and metabolism? Should I split the dose? Any advice is appreciated.

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