Tis the season, as they say, and many people have in mind a more efficient metabolism or weight loss goals attached to the upcoming bathing suit season. The common sense advice to improve body composition, of course, would still hold firm. That is exercise and better eating habits. Basic tips can be very helpful in terms of getting adequate rest, which has been shown in clinical studies to dramatically improve metabolism. Also, avoid the consumption of alcoholic drinks, particularly mixed drinks, which can pack a lot of calories but add nothing nutritionally. Your diet should focus on higher protein, fruits, vegetables, and diminishing processed carbohydrates in the form of breads, pastas, and cereals. Simple carbohydrates can up regulate insulin levels and contribute to weight gain. Unfortunately for many people, following these basic ideas only lends partial or minimal results. That experience can be frustrating, especially given the amount of dedication and energy one must put in to achieving an optimal body composition. Some areas to think about for an enhanced benefit are as follows:
Metabolism and thyroid efficiency: For many people, thyroid levels can begin to run low from about age 30 and onward. Very often, the levels of the thyroid hormones on blood testing are not low enough to be deficient by usual textbook ranges, but are low enough to have negative impacts on an individual’s metabolism efficiency. Typical symptoms of low thyroid would include weight gain and difficulty with weight loss, dry skin, brittle nails, fatigue, constipation, moodiness, and sleep that is not restorative. If those symptoms are present, it is worthwhile to check laboratory panels to measure a detailed thyroid analysis: including a TSH, reverse T3, free T3, and free T4.
Hormone Balance: Overall hormone balance, metabolically speaking, is important to consider. For many people, anabolic hormone levels decrease over time. These include DHEA, testosterone, and growth hormone. Testing these levels on blood chemistries can be very helpful in determining other contributors associated with weight gain. For example, deficiencies of growth hormone, associated with the human aging process, can be responsible for an approximate 18% gain in body fat. Also, low testosterone for men and women can lead to weight gain around the mid-section and hips and changes in insulin sensitivity. Additionally, low testosterone can cause a decrease in overall physical strength, endurance, mood, motivation, and libido.
Food Allergies: Many people have unrecognized food allergies that may be contributing to their metabolic inefficiencies. I see many instances clinically where individuals may be unknowingly sensitive to foods such as wheat. When those are measured and identified, and the diet is modified, weight loss ensues naturally.
Weight Loss Medications: Some people, at least temporarily, may benefit from specific weight loss medications. Most commonly stimulant medications, such as phentermine, are utilized. They can improve appetite control and enhance metabolism to lead to better calorie burning. They can have negative side effects due to having stimulant properties. Although when used conservatively this is generally is not common. They can be helpful for short-term goals of catalyzing weight loss. A novel therapeutic option is human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This is not a new weight loss therapy. It is a natural hormone occurring in both men and women. Several decades ago, it gained popularity as an adjunct weight loss aid as it seemed to help improve a person’s metabolic rate and allow them to burn stored fat as fuel more easily, thus reducing calorie intake. The theoretic advantage of HCG is that it also seems to continue to be of benefit even after stopping the weight loss therapy. It can be administered by injection, sublingual drops, or as a transdermal cream, although in my experience the injections tend to be most potent.
In all, there are several components of health and metabolism that can hinder weight loss and body composition. The above are a few areas beyond the more common sense approaches of diet and exercise that an experienced health professional can help you address. Allow the experts at the Guyer Institute to provide a comprehensive overview of the many factors that can impact metabolism and weight management.
– Dr. Guyer