Are You “Metabolically Healthy”? - Part 1

Written by Anil Bajnath, MD
Posted June 21, 2022

Dear Longevity Insider,

There is a lot of buzz around the term "metabolic health" and for good reason. Metabolic health is critical for overall good health. But what does it mean to be metabolically healthy and how can you achieve it? This week, we'll explore the definition of metabolic health and discuss some of the key aspects of achieving it. By understanding metabolic health, you can make better choices for your own well-being.

How Your Metabolism Works

In order to understand what it means to be metabolically healthy, it's important to understand how your metabolism works. Your metabolism is the process by which your body converts food into energy. This energy is used to power all of the vital functions of your body, from breathing and digesting food to growing new cells and repairing damaged ones.

There are two main types of metabolism: anabolic and catabolic. Anabolic metabolism is the process of building new tissue, such as muscle. Catabolic metabolism is the process of breaking down tissue, such as when you exercise and your muscles use stored energy (known as glycogen) for fuel.

Your body is constantly alternating between these two states, depending on your activity level and the energy needs of your body. When you eat, your body is in anabolic mode and uses the energy from food to build new tissue. When you exercise, your body shifts into catabolic mode and breaks down glycogen for fuel.

The key to good metabolic health is maintaining a balance between these two states. When your metabolism is working properly, your body is able to efficiently convert food into energy and use that energy for all of the vital functions of your body.

However, when your metabolism is out of balance, it can lead to a variety of health problems. For example, if you eat more calories than your body needs,  the excess energy will be stored as fat. Over time, this can lead to obesity and other health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

On the other hand, if you don't eat enough calories, your body will break down muscle for fuel. This can lead to muscle wasting and weakness.

Metabolic Health

So, what is metabolic health?  Metabolic health is a state of equilibrium in which your metabolism is working properly to convert food into energy and support all of the vital functions of your body. When you are metabolically healthy, your weight is stable, you have plenty of energy, and you don't experience any chronic health problems.

When you hear the term "metabolically healthy," it simply means having ideal levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference, without using medications. 

  • Blood Sugar: Your blood sugar should be in the normal range (less than 100 mg/dL fasting, less than 140 mg/dL two hours after eating). This ensures that your body is able to properly metabolize sugar and use it for energy.

  • Triglycerides: Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. They should be less than 150 mg/dL. A high level of triglycerides can increase your risk for heart disease.

  • HDL Cholesterol: HDL cholesterol is the "good" cholesterol that helps remove bad cholesterol from your arteries. It should be greater than 60 mg/dL.

  • Blood Pressure: Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the walls of your arteries. It should be less than 120/80 mmHg.

  • Waist Circumference: Waist circumference is a measure of abdominal obesity. It should be less than 35 inches for women and less than 40 inches for men.

It's important to remember that these are just general guidelines and that your ideal numbers may be different based on your age, health history, and other factors.

More on Thursday!

To your longevity,

anil bajnath signature

Anil Bajnath MD
CEO/Founder, Institute for Human Optimization
Chief Medical Officer, Longevity Insider HQ

P.S. Looking to supercharge your metabolism? Go here.

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