Metabolic Flexibility - Restore Natural Body Ability and Achieve Your Health Potential!
In this article I will talk about something which for many of us can be a simple and powerful solution to cure many health problems and also how to feel amazing in your own body. The concept of Metabolic Flexibility I have first heard of thanks to great people like Dave Asprey and Mark Sisson. Something I was immediately intrigued about and tapped into a few years back and ever since I have been experiencing higher and steadier levels of energy throughout the day and without thinking about food too much!
And I assure you, it feels so good!
What if Food is the Cause of our Health Problems - the Pandemic of Eating?
Majority of today's health problems are due to the fact that we have lost our natural ability to be metabolically flexible due to high dependency on carbohydrates. It has become the main fuel source, in every frequent meal we consume which together with a sedentary lifestyle creates the disastrous combo for our health! The point to start from is to understand that we are hybrid organisms - designed by nature to operate both on fat and glucose. After the agricultural revolution and today's caloric dense processed food we lost that ability - literally.
This situation in many cases leads to the point where the body is ‘craving’ mainly this source of energy and signaling in the brain in the exact same way whenever sugar in the body is being used - ‘give me more sugar’! This way we developed sugar spikes and drops which force us to eat every 2, 3 hours. This leads to the condition of the body where we are under constant pressure to be around food all the time.
The point to mention is that high carb dependency without proper utilization of stored energy - due to physical inactivity, can develop insulin resistance (body cannot keep up with the amount of sugar anymore), high inflammation, type 2 diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer, cancer to name a few.
The list unfortunately is much longer…
Metabolic Flexibility as a Potent Tool for Daily Stress Management
The ability to efficiently adapt metabolism depending on demand or supply is known as metabolic flexibility.
For many of you it can be something you have never heard of. But for our genes it is something that is written in their blueprint. Hence it's very natural and something we should be easily wired to on a day to day basis for optimal body management. It is the ability to use by the body different sources of fuel regardless whether there is food available or not. Metabolic flexibility is achieved through developing resilience in the body to not be driven by hunger. The flexibility here means that the body is able to shifts seamlessly and utilize energy from different fuel sources available to it in any moment, i.e. from fat on the plate and stored fat in the body, carbs on plate, glucose and glycogen in the liver and muscles, glucose from protein (through gluconeogenesis), and ketones.
Every excess of any macronutrient is being converted into triglycerides and stored as fat in the body (hence moderation is a key unless your goal is to gain more fat tissue). Point to remember when it comes to carbohydrates is that it's being converted in the liver into glucose which can't stay in the bloodstream in such from for too long (on average there can be only 5g of glucose present in the body at the time). When cells become full, then the liver converts remaining glucose further to glycogen and stores it in muscles. If they are full then some amount can be stored in the liver itself. If that sugar storage reservoir becomes full then the excess of glucose is converted into triglycerides and transferred via LDL cholesterol to white adipose tissue to be stored as fat (i.e. future energy source for the time when food is not present). So to utilize that stored fat - the opposite process must happen. We need to deplete the body from glucose in the bloodstream first and the glycogen too!
How? The movement - hence the importance of exercising!
In the time of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, these conditions were very easy to achieve