Are you too thin or underweight? … If so it might be good to consider a Naturopathic or Nutritional approach that helps you maintain healthy weight.
The BodyMindLink series by Dr Ray Pataracchia ND provides insight on Nutritional and Naturopathic approaches that matter most and have the potential to benefit both your physical and mental health. In this series we look at the treatment approaches and body-mind-links of aging, tiredness, mental performance, work performance, digestive problems, food intolerances, stress, cardiovascular health, insomnia, weight problems, and chronic disease. Winter 2014 blog themes rotate between the topics of longevity, immunity, and weight problems. Clinical approaches discussed are implemented by the Naturopathic Medical Research Clinic in Toronto, Ontario.
Healthy Weight (Part 2): Underweight Health – A Nutrient & Naturopathic Perspective
Healthy Weight – A Three-Part Blog Series
We divided ‘Healthy Weight’ blogs into three subtopics: i) Weight Loss Nutrition & Naturopathic Considerations, ii) Underweight Health – Nutrient & Naturopathic Perspectives (current blog), and iii) Healthy Weight Lifestyle Perspectives.
Good nutrition can help in cases with low body weight. Underweight issues affect kids and adults. The health benefits of gaining weight in such cases are well documented. If you are underweight you are at risk for heart disease, diabetes, poor immune functioning, cancer, anemia, headache, dizziness, infertility, irregular menses, fatigue, and low estrogen syndromes such as bone loss (females and males).
Due to the individuality of everyone’s metabolism, weight management often includes a crossover of common primary and secondary nutrient and naturopathic imbalances. Here we focus on that approximate 20% of the population that has a fast metabolism with its associated metabolic imbalances including protein deficiency, calcium deficiency, copper deficiency and oxidative stress.
Fast Metabolic Subtypes
A fast metabolism sounds great but there is balance to everything. When we are young we have a faster metabolism and good energy reserves and as we age things typically reverse. If we are young and our metabolism is too fast (fast oxidizers) this is a problem. About 20% of the population (kids and adults) has a varying degree of this fast oxidizer state.
It is here in this fast metabolic subtype where we commonly see people who are underweight – in kids, this is called ‘failure to thrive’. When cellular functioning is too fast there is thyroid or adrenal dominance and protein breakdown.
The fast oxidation metabolic state in most cases ultimately cannot be sustained and leads to thyroid or adrenal burnout as the body shifts to a slow metabolic state.
Underweight Health: The Fast Oxidation Connection
In a fast oxidizer metabolic system the thyroid and adrenal gland work overtime and accelerate metabolism. Heat at a cellular level can occur and aid in thermal ‘burning’ of calories and weight loss.
At the adrenal level there is an overstimulation and excess production of the stress hormone cortisol which causes proteins to breakdown to sugar to maintain high energy.
This common underweight scenario explains why some people can eat high fat and high protein foods and not gain weight.
The naturopathic approach aims to calm the fast oxidizer metabolism by taming cortisol levels while the nutritional approach aims to balance calcium (sedative mineral) and copper which are often deficient in the fast subtype.
Protein breakdown, copper deficiency, calcium deficiency, and thyroid and adrenal balancing are part of the 15 common syndromes associated with optimal physical and mental health.
Fast Oxidizers: The BodyMindLink
Fast oxidizers have particular physical and mental health symptoms. Physical health issues of fast oxidizers include being underweight, ‘failure to thrive’ (kids), abdominal weight gain (cortisol excess), high blood sugar, high (or high normal) blood pressure, warm body temperature, oily skin, easily sweating, and loose or frequent bowel movements. Mental health issues of fast oxidizers include mind-running, anxiety, irritability, aggressiveness, and select cases of ADD and bipolar disorder. ‘Mind-Running’ is a classic fast metabolic mental health issue seen commonly in ADD kids and adults.
Disclaimer: Information provided is not to be used for self-assessment, diagnosis or treatment. We advise the public to discuss these topics with their health care provider or book an appointment with our Toronto clinic.