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What is Metabolism?

Let’s start with the basics. The term metabolism comes from the Greek word for “change.” Your metabolism transforms the food you eat into energy via a kaleidoscope of life sustaining chemical reactions that mostly occur at the level of the cell. But metabolism affects much more than how many calories you can consume each day without gaining weight—it influences the health of your entire body. We need to broaden our concept of metabolism because it literally controls everything, every biological activity down to each and every cell membrane. Your body has about 37 trillion cells, and not one of them can function well if its membranes are compromised. Even though you’re not aware of it, metabolic processes are going on in your body around the clock.

Everything is controlled at the cellular level—appetite, fat burning and fat storage, energy producti on, hormones, tissue repair, recovery from illness or injury, resistance to disease, and even aging itself. Your metabolism controls digestion, getting nutrients into the cell and waste products out. You can thank your metabolism for your body’s ability to detoxify itself.

Your diet matters because metabolic processes depend upon the nutrients you eat. These nutrients can be broken down to produce energy and critical proteins, such as DNA. With the assistance of enzymes, metabolic reactions are organized into metabolic pathways that allow basic nutritional components to be transformed into other compounds. A similar process exists for detox pathways.

If you have a weight problem, the difference between you and your friend who seems able to eat anything and never gain an ounce is that she has a more optimized metabolism. Many people have developed what I call a toxic metabolism—which occurs when those critical chemical reactions go awry. Your body depends on certain nutrients to perform those basic functions, and if you can’t get them, or for some reason your body can’t use them, then systems begin to break down.

It’s important to realize that excessive weight gain is just a symptom of a deeper problem—your body’s way of clueing you in that something is wrong. And weight gain isn’t the only red flag. Maybe your last blood test showed an elevation in your blood glucose or a suboptimal lipid profile. Perhaps your thyroid function was sub clinically low. These and many other symptoms are ways your metabolism sends out an SOS—but it’s up to you to decipher the signs!

Toxic metabolism means your cells are not getting all the nutrients they need, or your body has a problem with toxicity—and unfortunately most people have both. If detox fails, toxins progressively accumulate. Having a toxic body is a bit like swimming in a pool that’s never had its water changed.

Toxic metabolism places great stress on the body from increased toxic burden, disrupted hormone signaling, and increased inflammation, which paves the way for obesity and a number of devastating illnesses. One in three seniors now dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and we have recently learned that this horrible disease may stem directly from a defect in the brain’s detoxification system. Heart disease remains the number-one killer of men and women in the United States today, claiming more than 600,000 lives every year—that’s one in every four deaths. One in three adults has prediabetes or full-blown type 2 diabetes. Sadly, our children and pets are even showing these trends.

That’s the bad news, but here’s the good: Because these diseases share a similar cause, they also share a similar solution. By correcting toxic metabolism, you can reverse those conditions while at the same time melting off those extra pounds so you’ll feel younger, more vibrant and alive than you have in years. The boomerang bulge around your middle will stay away this time because you’ll have removed the cause and created what we all desire and deserve—a radical metabolism!

Extracted from Radical Metabolism by Ann Louise Gittleman (out in paperback 27th December 2018)