Metabolic health is at the very foundation of our overall well-being. It is what allows us to feel energized, maintain a healthy weight, and prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cognitive decline. When our metabolism is functioning optimally, we feel strong, focused, and ready to take on the world. On the other hand, when our metabolism is out of balance, we can experience a whole range of negative effects, from brain fog and fatigue to more serious health complications. So, how do we support our metabolic health? While there are many factors at play, one of the most important is lifestyle. Eating a nutritious diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and prioritizing restful sleep are all key components of a healthy metabolism. Additionally, exposure to natural light and keeping a consistent sleep-wake cycle can help regulate circadian rhythms, which play a crucial role in metabolic health. By prioritizing our metabolic health, we can unlock the full potential of our bodies and minds. We can feel our best, think our clearest, and experience life to the fullest. Let’s make our metabolic health a priority and enjoy all the benefits of a vibrant, energized life!
This article will discuss the roles of some of these very important aspects of optimal metabolic health. There is an effort made to ensure you learn more about the same aspects of Metabolic Health with references of science based studies added after each topic.
Insulin: It is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels by facilitating the uptake and utilization of glucose by the body's cells (Shanik et al., 2008). Insulin resistance, a condition where cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, is a significant risk factor for metabolic disorders. Functional and holistic health approaches such as dietary changes, exercise, and stress reduction can improve insulin sensitivity and prevent the development of metabolic disorders.
1. Shanik, M. H., Xu, Y., Skrha, J., Dankner, R., & Zick, Y. (2008). Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. Diabetes care, 31(Supplement 2), S262-S268. doi: 10.2337/dc08-s264
Glucose: Glucose is a type of sugar that is essential for energy production in the body. However, excess glucose in the bloodstream can lead to insulin resistance and other metabolic disorders (Shanik et al., 2008). Functional and holistic health approaches such as reducing sugar intake, practicing intermittent fasting, and consuming whole, unprocessed foods, can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent metabolic disorders (Haas & Staels, 2017).
1. Shanik, M. H., Xu, Y., Skrha, J., Dankner, R., & Zick, Y. (2008). Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. Diabetes care, 31(Supplement 2), S262-S268. doi: 10.2337/dc08-s264 2.
2. Haas, J. T., & Staels, B. (2017). Fasting the microbiota to improve metabolism?. Cell metabolism, 26(4), 584-585. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.09.013
Movement, Sleep-Wake Cycle, and Sunlight: Movement and circadian rhythm are important factors in maintaining optimal metabolic health. Recent research has shown that regular physical activity can influence circadian rhythm and improve metabolic health. A study published in the journal PLOS Biology by Dyar et al. (2018) found that exercise can entrain the circadian clock and improve glucose metabolism in mice. Another study by Maury et al. (2020) found that regular exercise can improve circadian rhythm and reduce the risk of metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes. Additionally, a study published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews by McHill et al. (2019) found that disruptions in the circadian rhythm, such as those caused by shift work or jet lag, can negatively impact metabolic health. Therefore, it is important to maintain regular physical activity and a consistent sleep-wake cycle to support healthy circadian rhythm and metabolic health. In addition to movement and circadian rhythm, exposure to sunlight is also important for maintaining optimal metabolic health. Recent research has shown that exposure to natural light can help regulate circadian rhythm and improve metabolic health. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care by Kaye et al. (2020) found that exposure to natural light in the morning can improve glucose regulation in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Another study by Gupta et al. (2021) found that exposure to bright light in the morning can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce body fat in overweight and obese adults. Additionally, a study published in the journal Nutrients by Azqueta-Gavaldon et al. (2019) found that vitamin D, which is synthesized in the skin upon exposure to sunlight, is involved in glucose metabolism and can help prevent metabolic disorders. Therefore, getting adequate exposure to natural sunlight is important for maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm and supporting optimal metabolic health.
1. Dyar et al. (2018) "Transcriptional programming of lipid and amino acid metabolism by the skeletal muscle circadian clock." PLOS Biology, 16(8): e2005886.
2. Maury et al. (2020) "Circadian rhythms and metabolic syndrome: from experimental genetics to human disease." The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 8(3): 202-11.
3. McHill et al. (2019) "Circadian misalignment and health consequences: shifts beyond the clock." Sleep Medicine Reviews, 44: 139-49
4. Kaye et al. (2020) "Exposure to morning compared with evening sunlight and the risk of developing diabetes." Diabetes Care, 43(4): 938-45.
5. Gupta et al. (2021) "Morning bright light exposure leads to weight loss in obese adults: a randomized controlled trial." PLOS One, 16(2): e0245646.
6. Azqueta-Gavaldon et al. (2019) "Vitamin D and metabolic syndrome: a review of epidemiological evidence." Nutrients, 11(9): 2067.
Energy: Metabolism of energy is a very complex process when food is converted into usable energy. Dysregulated energy metabolism is a significant risk factor for metabolic disorders (Haas & Staels, 2017). Functional and holistic health approaches such as exercise, sleep hygiene, and stress reduction can improve energy metabolism and promote metabolic health (Tsujimoto et al., 2018).
1. Haas, J. T., & Staels, B. (2017). Fasting the microbiota to improve metabolism?. Cell metabolism, 26(4), 584-585. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.09.013
2. Tsujimoto, T., Kajio, H., & Sugiyama, T. (2018). Association between time in bed and metabolic syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine, 97(47). doi: 10.1097/ md.0000000000013244
Sleep: Sleep is an important factor in maintaining optimal metabolic health. A recent study published in the journal Science Advances by Xia et al. (2021) found that sleep plays a crucial role in regulating glucose metabolism. The study found that sleep disruption can lead to impaired glucose tolerance and a disruption in the balance between insulin sensitivity and secretion, which can contribute to the development of metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes. Additionally, a study published in the journal Diabetologia by Stamatakis et al. (2018) found that short sleep duration and poor sleep quality are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. It is important to prioritize good sleep hygiene and aim for a consistent sleep-wake cycle to support optimal metabolic health.
1. Xia et al. (2021) "Sleep drives metabolite clearance from the adult brain." Science Advances, 7(11): eabf0444.
2. Stamatakis et al. (2018) "Short sleep duration is associated with increased risk of future diabetes by impaired glycemic control in Japanese men." Diabetologia, 61(10): 1070-9.
Stress: Chronic stress can lead to dysregulated glucose and insulin levels, contributing to the development of metabolic disorders (Shanik et al., 2008). Research has shown that there is a significant relationship between stress and dietary patterns. When individuals are stressed, they often turn to comfort foods that are high in sugar, fat, and calories, which can lead to weight gain and metabolic disorders. Additionally, stress can disrupt the regulation of various hormones involved in metabolism, such as cortisol and insulin, which can contribute to insulin resistance, fat accumulation, and inflammation. However, recent studies have also shown that consuming a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help reduce the negative impact of stress on the body. This is due to the presence of nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can modulate the body's response to stress. For instance, a randomized controlled trial involving 68 healthy women found that a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats significantly reduced anxiety levels compared to a control diet that was high in refined carbohydrates and processed foods. A study published in the journal Nutrients in 2021 examined the relationship between dietary patterns and stress in a sample of 1,122 adults in China (Yao Y et al., 2021). The study found that individuals who followed a healthy dietary pattern that included a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains had lower levels of perceived stress compared to those who consumed a less healthy diet. The study also found that individuals who consumed a diet high in processed and fried foods had higher levels of perceived stress. These findings suggest that a healthy diet may play a protective role in reducing the impact of stress on the body.
1. Yao Y, Hu F, Li J, et al. Dietary Patterns Are Associated with Perceived Stress in Chinese Adults: Results from a Cross-Sectional Study Nutrients. 2021;13(1):68. doi:10.3390/ nu13010068.
It is critical to have the right relationship with your own stress triggers and Functional and holistic health approaches such as mindfulness practices, breathing exercises, and stress reduction techniques can alleviate stress and improve metabolic health.
Human connection: Research has shown that having strong social connections is not only good for our mental health but can also positively impact our metabolic health. A study published by Jaremka et al. in the journal Health Psychology found that social support can improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, which are key components of metabolic health. The study found that participants who reported higher levels of social support had significantly better glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity than those who reported lower levels of social support. Another study conducted by Hawkley et al. and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that loneliness and social isolation can have negative effects on metabolic health. The study found that individuals who reported feeling lonelier had higher levels of fasting glucose and insulin resistance, indicating a greater risk for developing metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes. These studies demonstrate the important connection between human connection and metabolic health. By prioritizing our social connections and nurturing supportive relationships, we can not only improve our mental health but also support our metabolic health.
1. Jaremka, L. M., Fagundes, C. P., Peng, J., Bennett, J. M., Glaser, R., Malarkey, W. B., & Kiecolt Glaser, J. K. (2013). Loneliness promotes inflammation during acute stress. Psychological Science, 24(7), 1089-1097.
2. Hawkley, L. C., Thisted, R. A., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2009). Loneliness predicts reduced physical activity: Cross-sectional & longitu
Habit changes: Lifestyle habits such as diet, exercise, sleep, stress management and meaningful human connection play a significant role in overall health. Functional and holistic health approaches and interventions promote lifestyle changes that are sustainable.
1. Justo N, González-Gross M. The influence of nutrition on mental health. Public Health Nutr. 2018 Aug;21(12):2779-2781. doi: 10.1017/S136898001800182X. Epub 2018 Aug 7. PMID: 30084618.
2. Mammen G, Faulkner G. Physical activity and the prevention of depression: a systematic review of prospective studies. Am J Prev Med. 2013 Oct;45(4):649-657. doi: 10.1016/ j.amepre.2013.08.001. PMID: 24050427.
3. Uchino BN. Social support and health: a review of physiological processes potentially underlying links to disease outcomes. J Behav Med. 2006 Aug;29(4):377-387. doi: 10.1007/ s10865-006-9056-5. Epub 2006 May 12. PMID: 16691498.
4. Social and Emotional Support and its Implication for Health, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ articles/PMC2729718/
Health Coaching is designed to support you with interventions for habit changes. Please read through the other article (Coaching, Health and Wellbeing) to get a glimps of Health Coaching concept and a few studies around it. You are of course welcome to speak to me through CoachBase for a free session.
Alright, I laid out quite a bit of information for you to digest and relate them with your own health journey. In my ongoing attempt to inform you with science based health and behavioural concepts, I intend to dig deeper in all of the above aspects and elaborate them for you, please share your views if you want a specific topic that you want to learn more about.
how these information and facts relate to you?
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