As a young boy, I was fascinated by the exploits of super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes. Holmes, a fictional detective who lived in the late 19th and early 20th century, was created in the imagination of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As a London detective, Holmes was famous for solving mysterious crimes which puzzled the renowned Scotland Yard police. He was always accompanied by his lifelong friend Dr. Watson, a physician by trade, and one who always saw the mystery through the eyes of science, while Holmes could look beyond the scientific facts to reveal the truth solving the mystery. Dr. Watson would question Holmes at the end of each mystery asking, “Holmes how did you know?” Sherlock’s response was always the same, “It was elementary my dear Watson.”
I share with you my passion for Sherlock Holmes to set the stage for unraveling the Mystery of Metabolism in true Holmes like fashion. To look beyond the scientific facts to reveal the truth about metabolism. Why is metabolism a mystery to so many? Answer, because of it’s many facets which effect all chemical processes in a living organism.
What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you hear the phase metabolism? If your like the thousands of clients I’ve interviewed you would probably say the rate in which my bodies burns calories. If this is true of you, this is your first clue in un-raveling the mystery of metabolism. Get your focus off of metabolic rate and switch to metabolic state. Your metabolism is much more metabolism than resting metabolic rate, food induce metabolic rate and exercise metabolic rate. Though these are the three standard measurements of calorie expenditure, they alone do not represent the state or condition of your metabolism.
The word metabolism comes from the Greek metabol, which means to change. This change refers to all chemical reactions by which complex molecules are broken down for energy, or simple molecules built up to create complex molecules. In general terms all metabolic reactions fall into two categories, catabolic and anabolic reactions. A catabolic response refers to the breaking down of a molecule or tissue, and anabolic provides the building up of a molecule or tissue.
Your metabolism is immense, and is regulated by network of glands called the endocrine system. These glands operate like a well managed ball team, each one a star at it’s position. The endocrine system includes the pancreas, pineal, thymus, thyroid, pituitary, hypothalamus, adrenal and testes or ovaries. These glands release an array of hormones that perform as chemical messengers to control every facet of metabolism. There are several endocrine glands that have non-endocrine regions. The pancreas for example has an endocrine region which produces the hormones insulin and glucagon to control blood sugar levels, and a exocrine region that produces digestive enzymes for digestion. No matter what the metabolic function, the endocrine system plays a direct or indirect role in performing it. These metabolic reactions includes a vast number of bodily functions like; energy expenditure, cellular repair, mineral regulation, inflammation, reproduction, digestion, immune system, and the functions of all organs like; heart, kidneys, liver, stomach and intestines.
This is your second clue in the mystery of metabolism. All human metabolic functions are either anabolic or catabolic, and they are influenced by a hormonal response. It is counterproductive to have anabolic and catabolic reactions occurring in the cells at the same time, so hormones signal the anabolic process on and the catabolic process off and vice visa.
The human body is magnificently designed to maintain a homeostasis or balance between catabolic and anabolic metabolism. If the balance becomes unstable metabolic disturbances can occur. Go back to our analogy about the endocrine system being an all-star ball team, and one of the players is performing poorly which effects the whole team.
There are numerous metabolic disturbances like hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, obesity and the list goes on. The question is, what causes this metabolic shift, and in which direction, anabolic or catabolic? In most metabolic disorders the answer is catabolic. This is the third clue to the mystery of metabolism, as we age our metabolism shift catabolic.
Now I know what your probably thinking, I can’t stop the aging process. That’s true if your talking about chronological aging, but there’s wide body of scientific evidence that prove we can slow down or reverse how we biologically age. I meet many clients who are chronologically 40 years old and biologically 60 years old and vice versa. Our bodies have astonishing abilities to repair and regenerate, to tap into this power the goal is to reduce the aging catabolic damage and restore the youthful anabolic repair.
If this sounds to good to be true, it gets better, not only can it be accomplished it can be measured. Oasmu Nishikaze a Japanese endocrinologist testing the urine of hospital patients, found as the patient recovered from illness or trauma a anabolic metabolite called 17 ketosteroid sulfate showed up in the urine. This discovery proved when the body shifts into anabolic metabolism or super repair mode the 17 ketosteroid sulfate shows up as a by-product in the urine.