Metabolic Health: Understanding and Improving It by Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson

You may have heard the term “metabolic health” before, but what does it really mean? Metabolic health refers to the state of your body’s metabolic functions, such as how efficiently your body processes food and maintains a stable blood sugar level. It’s so much more than simply how many calories you burn in a day!

Poor metabolic health can have serious consequences on your overall health. For example, if your body is not able to regulate blood sugar effectively, you may be at risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, migraine headaches, erectile dysfunction, and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). In addition, poor metabolic health can also impact your mental and cognitive health, with links being found between metabolic disorders and conditions like depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. Emerging research is even showing a metabolic link with serious mental health disorders like Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder.

So, how do you know if you have poor metabolic health? One key indicator is high blood sugar levels, which can be detected through a blood test. Other symptoms can include feeling fatigued, struggling with weight gain or difficulty losing weight, experiencing skin issues like acne, eczema, or skin tags.

Blood sugar levels are an important aspect of metabolic health. When you eat, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is then transported through your bloodstream to provide energy to your cells. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps regulate this process by signaling cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. However, if your body becomes resistant to insulin’s effects due to chronically elevated blood sugars, insulin can no longer do it’s job effectively. This causes your blood sugar levels to rise even further and stay high, leading to metabolic disorders directly related to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance contributes to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, brain and cognition changes, oxidative damage, weight gain, and other hormone imbalances.

Improving your metabolic health can involve a variety of lifestyle changes, including eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing stress. For example, consuming a diet that is low in processed foods and added sugars can help regulate blood sugar levels, while regular exercise can improve insulin sensitivity, lower circulating blood sugar, and reduce inflammation.

Working with a holistic health practitioner can also be beneficial for improving your metabolic health by looking at the underlying causes of your metabolic dysfunction. They can run specific tests to assess your current metabolic health that can then help create personalized recommendations for diet and lifestyle changes that can help improve your metabolic health and reduce your risk of chronic disease.

In summary, metabolic health refers to the state of your body’s metabolic functions, and poor metabolic health can have serious consequences on your overall health. High blood sugar levels and symptoms like fatigue and weight issues can be indicators of poor metabolic health. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress can help improve metabolic health, and working with a holistic health practitioner can offer personalized advice and support to help you manage your metabolic health. Taking steps to improve your metabolic health can have long-term benefits for your physical and mental well-being.


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