Tag Archives: hormones

Digestion vs Metabolism

Written by Tamara Duker Freuman

One of the misperceptions I frequently encounter is a false assumption that the rate of one’s digestive processes implies something about the rate of one’s metabolism. In other words, we are inclined to assume that just because the corn we ate at lunch shows up in our poop before bed, we must have a “fast metabolism.”

In fact, however, digestion and metabolism are wholly separate processes, governed by multiple different—albeit sometimes overlapping—influences.

To start, some definitions: Digestion refers to how the body processes food in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and eliminates food waste via the intestines. Metabolism refers to how the cells utilize the energy we have absorbed from food during digestion.

The rate of one’s digestive process is generally measured in terms of “whole gut” transit time: how long it takes for food matter (or its residue) to make it from the mouth all the way to the end of the colon. There are some general ranges of what’s considered “normal” at each stage of the process. When food matter travels from the mouth to the colon faster than the norm—a phenomenon which tends to result in loose stools, diarrhea, or brightly-colored (green, yellow) poops—it can be said that one has “rapid transit.”

There are several factors that influence transit time: diet composition, exercise, functional disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and metabolic disorders like thyroid dysfunction or diabetes.

Diets high in insoluble fiber—found, for example, in bran, leafy veggies, seeds, and fruit and veggie skins—can speed up digestive transit. Diets that contain a relatively higher amount of soluble fiber—found in oats, barley, chia seeds, root veggies, and the flesh of pectin-rich fruits like apples—can slow down digestive transit.

The rate of one’s metabolism is measured in terms of calories (energy) expended over a specified period of time—usually a day—to conduct all of the body’s necessary functions while at rest. Your metabolic rate is similarly governed by a host of factors. Age, sex, height, weight, body composition (amount of fat mass vs. muscle mass), presence of fever, and levels of various hormone levels—including thyroid and stress hormones—are all factors in determining the resting metabolic rate.

Vigorous exercise can increase the resting metabolic rate for a window of time even after the physical activity has ceased. Starvation and malnutrition can dampen the metabolic rate. To date, very few dietary components have been shown to measurably speed up metabolism; among those that have been cited—like caffeine, green tea, and capsaicin—the effect has been miniscule and short-lived.

Fiber, a dietary component that speeds up transit time specifically in the colon, is often credited with speeding up the metabolism; in fact, it does no such thing. As described above, fiber only speeds up colonic transit time—it does not influence the rate at which our body’s cells utilize food energy. Similarly, taking laxatives to help you go to the bathroom does not speed up the metabolism such that you’d burn more calories than normal.

Why so much confusion between these two distinct bodily processes? There are at least two reasons:

First is the misunderstood phenomenon of the post-meal poop.

In response to the stimulus of your stomach stretching during a meal, an involuntary wave of motion (called peristalsis) happens in the colon to propel food waste forward, essentially to make room for whatever’s about to come down the pipeline. This normal phenomenon is called the “gastro-colic reflex,” and it can be particularly strong in the morning or after a large meal (or richer restaurant meal). It often results in a person having to go to the bathroom soon after a meal—and in some cases during the meal; this is particularly the case in the morning due to additional triggers like morning hormone levels and coffee intake. For some people, the resulting bowel movement can be loose or urgent, and this often leads them to believe that what they just ate “ran right through” them. In other words, the timing of the poop leads people to falsely conclude that the food they just ate was processed and metabolized within minutes—and expelled immediately. In reality, however, what’s coming out is not that same food that just went in! No one’s digestive process is that fast!

Second is the coincidence of certain metabolic disorders and GI symptoms.

One of the many symptoms of a metabolic disorder can be a change in transit time. For example, people with hyperthyroidism—an overactive thyroid gland—will have both an increased metabolic rate and be prone to hyper-motility of the gut. This is a fancy way of saying that they will poop a lot more often than normal, and the stool may be loose or watery as the result of too-speedy transit.

People with hypothyroidism—an underactive thyroid gland—may likewise be prone to constipation. People with diabetes—a metabolic condition that adversely affects how dietary sugar is absorbed by cells into usable energy—are prone to developing a sluggish rate of digestive transit as the result of damage to the nerves that control stomach emptying. In these cases, digestive transit time is indeed an indication of one’s metabolic state of affairs. But these cases are the exception, not the rule.

In the absence of such metabolic disorders, a healthy person with a so-called “fast metabolism”—who burns a lot of calories while at rest—could be constipated or have a slow digestive transit time. Conversely, someone with a so-called “slow metabolism”—who requires very few calories to maintain his or her body’s basic functioning at rest—can poop multiple times per day or suffer from chronic diarrhea as the result of poor diet or IBS.

Whether you’re grappling with your weight or struggling to normalize your bowel function (or both), it can be helpful to understand the different factors that influence each of these separate areas and avoid misinterpreting the clues your body offers.

If you’re concerned that a possible metabolic disorder could be causing you trouble in both departments, your doctor can evaluate that risk with simple blood tests and refer you to an endocrinologist if needed.

Tamara Duker Freuman, MS, RD, CDN, is a NYC-based registered dietitian whose clinical practice specializes in digestive disorders, Celiac Disease, and food intolerances. Her personal blog, www.tamaraduker.com, focuses on healthy eating and gluten-free living.

Be Metaphysical: The Pineal Guide

The Pineal Gland/ Third eye has been known to be the source of seeing visions beyond physical reality. A subject that has interested cultures throughout the test of time. Here I will try to provide information on how each part of the mind work in unison.

Pineal Gland —> Serotonin —-> Melatonin –> Inner-Lightment

By understanding this cycle it will help you know how to give your body what is required to increase pineal gland activity awareness. What’s fascinating is that the interior of the pineal gland actually has retinal tissue composed of rods and cones (photoreceptors) inside its interior lining just like the eye, and is even wired into the visual cortex in the brain. pineal-gland“The photoreceptors of the retina strongly resemble the cells of the pineal gland. Considered the most powerful and highest source of ethereal energy available to humans, the pineal gland has always been important in initiating supernatural powers. Development of psychic abilities has been closely associated with this organ of higher vision. The third eye controls the various bio-rhythms of the body. It works in harmony with the hypothalamus gland which directs the body’s thirst, hunger, sexual desire and the biological clock that determines our aging process. When it “awakens”, one feels a pressure at the base of the brain. This gland produces several hormones such as norepinepherine, serotonin and melatonin, which regulate mood and sleep patterns. The Pineal Gland has the highest level of blood flow over any other organ in the body. Several foods and herbs can contribute to the health and regulation of the pineal gland. The pineal gland is able to measure day length and adjust secretion of melatonin accordingly. The two hormones we will focus on is serotonin and melatonin.

Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter, a type of chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another.  Approximately 90% of the human body’s total serotonin is located in the enterochromaffin cells in the in the epithelia lining the lumen of the digestive tract and the respiratory tract. Serotonin secreted from the enterochromaffin cells eventually finds its way out of tissues into the blood. Screen shot 2014-03-10 at 7.11.17 AMThere, it is actively taken up by blood cells, which store it.  Functions include the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning. Serotonin is produced is through hydroxylation, introducing oxygen and hydrogen (OH)  into a organic compound. Hydroxylation converts lipophilic compounds into water soluble products that are more readily excreted. It involves the conversion of CH carbon hydrogen into COH carbon oxygen hydrogen.

Hydroxylase + Tryptophan(1 of 22 amino acids) = Serotonin

Melatonin a structurally simple hormone that communicates information about environmental lighting to various parts of the body. Ultimately, melatonin has the ability to entrain biological rhythms and has important effects on reproductive function of many animals. Within the pineal gland, serotonin is acetylated and then methylated to yield melatonin.melatonin

Synthesis and secretion of melatonin is dramatically affected by light exposure to the eyes. The fundamental pattern observed is that serum concentrations of melatonin are low during the daylight hours, and increase to a peak during the dark. Melatonin has important effects in integrating photoperiod and affecting circadian rhythms. Consequently, it has been reported to have significant effects on reproduction, sleep-wake cycles and other phenomena showing circadian rhythm. Administration of melatonin has been shown to decrease motor activity, induce fatigue and lower body temperature, particularly at high doses.

third-eye-chakra-5The pineal gland produces the serotonin and melatonin your body needs for everyday regulation and feeling good. The function as a receptor for visual images beyond physical reality is sometime overlooked. In order for your pineal gland to work as it should you must first provide the tools it needs to function at full potential. Serotonin levels are affected by diet. An increase in the ratio of tryptophan to phenylalanine and leucine will increase serotonin levels.

Foods with high levels of tryptophan: Chocolate, oats, dates,peanutes, seasame, bananas , chic peas, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.try 

Research also suggests eating a diet rich in carbohydrates and low in protein will increase serotonin by secreting insulin, which helps in amino acid competition. However, increasing insulin for a long period may trigger the onset of insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and lower serotonin levels.

Hydroxylase + Tryptophan(1 of 22 amino acids) = Serotonin

Muscles use 12 of the 13 amino acid groups (not using tryptophan), allowing more muscular individuals to produce more serotonin

Hydroxylation is just adding  oxygen to a CH (Carbon Hydrogen) bond.  Deep breathing will assist in bringing in more oxygen as well as blood circulation allowing more hormones to be released and absorbed.

That is the key,  eat foods that will increase amino acid competition. Exercise and build up the demand of muscle related amino acids to increase competition and serotonin/melatonin production which is pineal gland activity on a biological level.  Once you overstand the information  im sure moving forward to a more metaphysical perspective will be the next step.Screen shot 2014-03-10 at 7.36.36 AMThe best way I can describe  seeing with the third eye  is: Imagine a situation like ( jogging on a track) through first person perspective. You can see your surroundings mentally as if it were reality in the moment but it feels like your seeing based on a memory. So as it is happening it feels like your seeing based on the imprint of the memories being created instantaneously.    Be metaphysical

A helpful detailed video on the mechanics on the pineal gland.