Metabolism is what happens when your body breaks down the things you eat and drink and converts them into energy. The better you metabolize nutrients, the more likely you are to be at a healthy weight.
Many factors contribute to your best metabolism, including what you eat, how you exercise, how your brain and hormones function, and how well your body manages blood sugar levels. There is a reason that those who are overweight, often with high blood pressure and high blood sugar, are said to have metabolic syndrome.
Since many of us have likely resolved to lose weight with the new year, here is the latest information on several nutrients that may help improve metabolic performance.
A natural soluble fiber, beta-glucan, helped overweight people safely lose weight and body fat. In this study, 100 mostly overweight adults took a daily dose of 4.4 grams of high-beta-glucan barley with rice, or rice and barley without beta-glucan. After 12 weeks, both groups had lower body-mass index scores, and smaller waist size, but the high-beta-glucan group had lost 1.5 square inches more abdominal—belly—fat area than placebo. Excess belly fat has a link to type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Beta-glucan fiber forms a gel in the small intestine that delays the absorption of nutrients and slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream, reducing the need for insulin.
Reference: Nutrition Journal; October, 2017, Published Online
People with metabolic syndrome can have excess fat around the waist, high blood pressure and sugar. In this study, doctors measured the diets and lifestyles of 1,265 adults, aged 19 to 74. After adjusting for differences in smoking, exercise, and family history, those who got at least five servings per week of walnuts—a serving is about an ounce—were 32 percent less likely to have metabolic syndrome compared to those who got one or fewer weekly servings of walnuts. Doctors also found that chances for metabolic syndrome declined 3 percent for each additional weekly serving of walnuts.
Reference: Nutrients; 2017, Vol. 9, No. 10, 1056, Published Online
At rest, the body burns about 60 percent of total calories per day. Doctors thought if they could increase the resting metabolic rate, participants would lose more weight.
In this study, 40 men and women took a placebo or 2 mg of capsaicinoids per day while doctors remotely measured energy expenditure and heart rate at rest through a tracking device at one, two, and three hours.
After five months, while the placebo group had not changed, those taking capsaicin had an increased metabolic rate equal to burning an extra 116 calories per day, and losing one pound of fat over 30 days. There were no differences in heart rate in either group.
Reference: Advances in Nutrition; 2017, Vol. 8, No. 5, Published Online
In this study, doctors measured vitamin C levels in 369 adults age 50 and found most fell below the adequate level of 50 micromoles of vitamin C per liter of blood.
Those with higher vitamin C levels tended to have lower weight, body mass index scores, triglycerides, long-term average blood sugar levels, and smaller waist size. Doctors also found a direct link: as vitamin C levels increased, signs of mild cognitive impairment decreased.
Even though participants got an average of 110 mg of vitamin C per day—which should have provided adequate vitamin C levels—many participants had inadequate levels, possibly due to factors such as chronic health conditions.
Commenting on the findings, doctors said that consuming more fruits, vegetables, and vitamin C supplements in particular is important for people in this age group.
Reference: Nutrients; 2017, Vol. 9, No. 8, 831
Make improved metabolism part of your weight-loss strategy, and let us help you choose the best supplements to support your New Year’s resolutions this year.
Article Copyright 2017 by Natural Insights for Well-Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. The information and the nutrients discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before taking a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition or take prescription or OTC medications. For example, capsaicin and C vitamins also thin blood.