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                The Health Advisory Service Newsletter       Vol 1 #2 April-May 2000
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Boosting metabolism

the relationship between metabolism and body weight

What is Metabolism and Metabolic Rate?

Metabolism refers to the processes, which break food down into utilisable energy.

Metabolism occurs in every cell of the body, every minute of the day. Each cell produces its own energy by breaking down food (eg. glucose) into energy packages called ATP, which is utilisable cellular energy.

The rate at which cellular energy is produced from food is known as the metabolic rate. A high metabolic rate efficiently converts food into cellular energy quickly, and weight remains constant. In people with a high metabolic rate it is often difficult to gain weight. Conversely, a low metabolic rate inefficiently converts food into cellular energy, and weight problems are much more likely to arise. Much of the food is converted into fat, rather than cellular energy (ATP). The fat is deposited in adipose tissue in particular sites of the body, depending on the Body Shape of the person, which will be discussed later.

A slow metabolic rate is more likely to lead to weight gain, commonly accompanied by cellulite. Fat cells in areas of cellulite have a very low metabolic rate and it is this finding which explains why cellulite is difficult to remove.

The Metabolic rate is largely controlled by the Liver & Thyroid Gland

The liver is the major calorie-burning organ in the body and regulates fat metabolism in a sophisticated way. When operating efficiently, the liver burns body fat and provides an exit route for fat from the body, via the bile. Excess fat can leave the body via the bile, which flows into the small intestine, and ultimately into the faeces.

With the many modern day challenges the liver faces, it may not operate efficiently, and fat may accumulate, leading to a "fatty liver" condition. This is characterised by extra fat around the waistline. This extra fat, or extra tyre around the waistline, will be familiar to many people.

A fatty liver often accompanies cellulite. It is important to improve the liver function so that it is working optimally, for cellulite reversal and easy weight control.

The Thyroid gland produces the hormone (messenger) called thryoxine, or T4. Thyroxine is converted to triiodothyronine or T3 inside cells, and this is the most active form of the hormone. Triiodothyronine (T3) exerts its effects inside cells, at the mitochondrial level. The mitochondria are the 'energy factories' of the cell, which respond to T3 by increasing the rate at which food is converted into energy. As T3 increases the rate of energy production, or rate of metabolism, it is important to maintain an optimally functioning thyroid gland. A healthy thyroid gland accelerates the metabolic rate and improves weight control, whereas a sluggish thyroid gland is associated with easy weight gain, a tendency to puffy cellulite, fluid retention, and dryness of the skin and hair. The conversion of T4 to T3 can slow as we age, but the very best way to gain a sluggish thyroid is by eating a diet deficient in micronutrients. The best way to improve thyroid function is by consuming a diet rich in micronutrients. Selenium is an important micronutrient to help the conversion of T4 to T3. A slow conversion of T4 to T3 is known as 'thyroid resistance' and can lead to easy weight gain. It is wise to have The thyroid gland your level of T4 & T3 hormones checked with a blood test from your local doctor, and a nutritionist can check your selenium level.


Cellulite is an unsightly and undesirable problem for many people. It is a build up of lumpy, irregular fat deposits with an 'orange peel' appearance due to dimpling of the overlying skin. Cellulite is not always associated with obesity, but it may be. It has a higher incidence amongst women than men, and is more common in Western societies than in the East. Doesn't this make us wonder what contributing factors may be leading to cellulite?

Commonly cellulite is found around the buttocks, hips and thighs. Women often feel it detracts from their feminine figure and it often leads to poor self-image problems. However it can be gradually eliminated by easy and proven techniques to improve metabolism and detoxification. The key to eliminating cellulite forever, is the restoration of a healthy metabolism, even in cellulite cells, which have been found to have a low metabolic rate. The efficient functioning of the liver promotes both calorie burning and detoxification.

Factors which Promote Cellulite

  • A dysfunctional or sluggish liver which is fatty or overburdened with toxins.

  • Toxin accumulation can over burden the mitochondria in the fat cells, so that these energy factories operate inefficiently. A healthy liver can convert these fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble toxins for elimination, however they will remain in the fat cells, promoting cellulite, if the liver is not functioning optimally.

  • A sluggish metabolic rate.

  • Hormonal changes prior to menstruation or during pregnancy, in many women lead to weight gain and increased cellulite.

  • Unhealthy fats in the diet impair the liver, and tend to accumulate in all cells of the body causing them to harden and swell. These hard, swollen fat cells become trapped by connective tissue, giving an irregular and lumpy appearance, characteristic of cellulite. --- see diagram above.

  • Lack of exercise reduces the blood supply to fatty areas and promotes fluid retention in cellulite areas.

Fat Cells

The fats to avoid are:

  • Saturated fats found in animal products such as fatty meats, chicken skin and pork crackling.

  • Hydrogenated fats found in processed oils that are not cold pressed, processed foods, snack foods and margarine.

  • Transfatty acids and oxidized fats found in deep fried foods eg. chips & battered fish, and many fast foods.

  • Smoked meats.

  • Preserved meats eg. Delicatessen meats such as sausage, ham, bacon, pizza meats etc.

  • Dairy products eg. milk, butter, cheeses, cream, chocolate, ice cream, yoghurt.

Foods containing good fats are:

  • Cold pressed seed and vegetable oils eg. flaxseed oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil

  • Raw nuts and seeds.

  • Legumes eg. lentils, beans, peas.

  • Seafood eg. salmon, tuna, trout, mullet, blue mussels, calamari, tailor, blue eye cod, gem fish, sardines, mackerel, herring etc.

  • Fresh seafood contains oils which have not been subjected to high temperatures of food processing, which damage the good fats.

  • Spirulina, evening primrose, flaxseed and borage (starflower) oils & lecithin.

  • Many fruits and vegetables, especially egg plant, bananas and green leafy vegetables.

  • Nut and seed spreads eg. tahini, humus, almond, brazil, cashew, macadamia, almond nut pastes.

Note that eggs in moderation are safe, so eat approximately 4-6 eggs per week. Eggs contain sulphur bearing amino acids plus lecithin, which help the liver to detoxify and burn fat. Cholesterol is found in eggs but this does not increase the cholesterol level in the body provided the eggs are boiled or poached and not fried.

To eradicate cellulite, displace the saturated, hydrogenated and other unhealthy fats in your diet by eating the good fats, and observe your body's response. The good oils are essential for life, meaning that life cannot proceed without them, so why replace them with oils which are known to promote disease including obesity and cellulite. Clear your cupboards out and stock them with essential oils to keep your fat cells flexible. Flexible cells with healthy membranes behave optimally, with nutrients correctly transported into cells to promote a high metabolic rate, and waste products easily transported out of the cells to be sent to the liver for detoxification.

Healthy Liver and Bowel BookLook at old photographs from the turn of the last century and ask was cellulite or obesity as prevalent as it is in 1999? The answer is no, and nor were the wrong fats as prevalent in the diet in the late 1800s. Man has gradually introduced many food processing techniques into his food chain this century, which it appears, may not be serving us as well as we had hoped.

Avoid pesticides, additives, colourings and artificial sweeteners as the liver is already burdened with breaking down pollutants and excess oestrogens from the environment. Be pro-active where possible by reducing the toxic load on the liver. Information is available about this from many organic produce organisations. See the details in Dr Sandra Cabot's book called the "Healthy Liver & Bowel book". 

Natural supplements to Help Metabolism

Specific natural substances can stimulate metabolism to produce energy rather than adipose deposits. They promote fat burning and reduce cellulite.

A    Improve Liver Function

An optimally functioning liver will burn fat and excrete fat & toxins out of the body via the bile. Fat soluble toxins contribute to cellulite formation. To rejuvenate the liver, liver tonic powders or capsules containing a combination of B-group vitamins, anti-oxidants, green tea, zinc, lecithin, cruciferous vegetable powder, and the amino acids taurine, cysteine, glutamine, and glycine, plus the powerful liver herb called St.Mary's Thistle are vital.  Eat a raw salad every day dressed with cold pressed flaxseed or olive oil, apple cider vinegar and herbs to help provide essential oils. Sip eight glasses of purified water everyday and if funds permit, juice organic carrots and greens for the most energising drink in the world.

B    Improve Thyroid Function

The thyroid gland has a high requirement for micronutrients such as iodine, which with the aid of zinc, manganese and selenium help to produce T4 and T3. What are the food sources of iodine? If your diet consists of seafood, kelp and seaweed products, it is likely that your supply is sufficient. Iodised salt may contribute to fluid retention.

The best sources of iodine are kelp and seaweed products. Add Nori flakes to soup and stews and drink kelp tea or take kelp tablets. Selenium Designer Yeast Powder contains kelp. People with cellulite have a tremendous need for micronutrients, so do eat legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds to provide much needed zinc, manganese and selenium.

An excellent way to boost the micronutrient status of the body and feed the thyroid gland, is with Designer Yeast Powders enriched with these minerals. They are a food supplement containing an easily absorbed form of organic minerals. A good Designer Yeast Powder should containselenium, chromium, molybdenum, zinc, manganese, magnesium, calcium, vegetable powders and the herb kelp. Some yeast powders also contain malic acid, usually extracted from apples, for boosting energy levels.

C     Stimulate Your Fat Cells to Burn Fat

Natural substances can help to burn fat safely without the side effects commonly encountered with drug medications. Effective weight loss supplements should contain:

  • Tyrosine - 100mg three times daily before meals.

  • Brindleberry - (Garcinia quaesita) in extra strength of 5500mg to provide a rich source of Hydroxy Citric Acid (HCA), three times daily before meals.

  • Kelp - 25mg three times daily before meals.

  • Vitamin B6 - 10mg three times daily before meals.

  • Zinc amino acid chelate, chromium picolinate and capsicum extract are able to enhance the effects of tyrosine and brindleberry.

Actions: Natural substances for the elimination of cellulite and weight control must:-

  • Stimulate thyroid function.

  • Boost energy to encourage exercise.

  • Reduce sugar and fat cravings.

  • Stabilise blood sugar levels.

  • Stimulate brown fat metabolism.

Tyrosine is an amino acid, which is the precursor to the thyroid hormones T4 and T3 and the hormone adrenaline. Tyrosine promotes thyroid gland function and metabolism, which facilitates weight loss.

Kelp is a seaweed or sea herb, which is an excellent source of micronutrients, especially organic iodine for thyroid hormones. Organic iodine does not cause the allergic problems that inorganic iodine may cause, and is beneficial for glandular health, especially the thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands.

Brindleberry, a food enhancer used in Asia for flavour and meal satisfaction, is the rind of a fruit. It is rich in Hydroxy Citric Acid (HCA). The most effective dose of brindleberry is 5,500mg three times daily before meals. Brindleberry is enhanced by synergistic nutrients including tyrosine, kelp, vitamin B6, zinc, chromium and capsicum.

HCA helps to satiate the body so that appetite is normalised with fewer cravings, plus it stops the production of new fat cells by inhibiting the enzyme, which promotes fat storage. HCA facilitates the use of food for energy rather than for fat storage.

Brindleberry, tyrosine, kelp, vitamin B6, zinc, chromium and capsicum are all combined in one tablet and are available from your local pharmacy or health food store. If you would like more information about natural fat burning nutrients, call the Health Advisory Service on (02) 4653 1445. You may speak to our nutritionist Susie Clift who runs a dietary and weight control clinic in the Edgecliff Medical Centre.

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