Many of those who are actively engaged in fitness and eat properly, seek to accelerate the metabolism to maintain or improve their shape. But what is a “slow” or “fast” metabolism and what does its level depend on? James T  Kolton  answers the main questions.

Basic or basic exchange refers to the amount of energy that is needed to maintain vital functions at rest and in a neutral temperature environment (20°C). This is the most voluminous “item of expenditure” in energy exchange: the task is to maintain the life support of the body, taking into account biological processes and the rate of physical growth, lack of growth or involution (aging) – depending on age.

Also, energy costs include, first, the specific dynamic effect of food (this is the energy consumption that falls on the digestion and assimilation of food, and then — on the removal of its metabolic products), and secondly, the energy supply of physical and mental activity.

The level of basic metabolism with optimal health indicators (anthropometric, such as the absence of excess fat mass, abundance of active cell mass, and laboratory) will be a variant of the personal norm. With certain complaints about the state of health or aesthetic data, the OU (level of basic metabolism) can be an indicator of a violation of the adequate functioning of the hormonal system to regulate metabolic processes.

What does the main exchange depend on?

Uoo is a fairly stable indicator, since it is “programmed” genetically. The control of genetic factors regulates the OU, taking into account that the preservation of life depends on it. Genetically determined OO is our “raw data” that we have to accept. Thus, if a person is genetically predisposed to excess weight, then they will need more discipline to maintain a healthy body composition.

However, genes in the structure of DNA are always under the regulatory influence of epigenetic factors, namely environmental and lifestyle factors. They can be “turned off” and “turned on” when the body needs it — for example, when it is destabilized by strong external influences with a violation of the hormonal system. Negative impact on the OU can have:

  • strong prolonged stress;
  • long-term overtraining;
  • extremely low-calorie food;
  • prolonged fasting;
  • eating disorder;
  • long-term problems with sleep quality;
  • severe physical dependence (alcoholism).

we, for Our part, can influence the amount of stress, the quality of food, we can control our physical activity and, in part, the quality of sleep. With disorders in the hormonal system, doctors work, these are reversible or compensated changes.

There can also be a positive effect on the OU, and this is especially important in cases where the OU is genetically low enough — a person with such indicators is more predisposed to excess weight. Among the factors with a positive effect are a healthy pregnancy relative to a healthy mother, rational feeding in infancy and early childhood, a sufficient level of physical activity during life, partial and interval fasting, and in General everything that is opposite to the factors in the first group.

If we are talking about a healthy person, it is impossible to intentionally correct the OU without pharmacological interventions. If the OO was slowed down in the course of life, then it is possible to speed it up. The degree of acceleration and stability of the result depend on the reasons why the violations occurred.

It is necessary to deal with the issue of activation of the basic metabolism for such problems as excess fat mass, a subjective feeling of energy deficit for household and work activities, recovery from hunger, severe injuries and diseases.

Pay attention to the fact that it is dangerous to activate the main metabolism in the elderly (50-65 years) and if there is a history of cancer.

How to calculate the basic exchange rate?

it is important to give preference to accurate methods of measuring this indicator in order to calculate the DOE. In terms of decreasing accuracy, this is:

  1. calorimetry (a method using analysis of the composition of inhaled and exhaled air and known energy output data for catabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates to final products — they can be measured in a gas mixture exhaled by a person);
  2. bioimpedance measurement (the method is based on conducting a low-intensity and high-frequency current through two contours of the upper and lower extremities of the human body and heart, based on the difference in resistivity, the percentage of different tissues in the body is calculated and the approximate OU, based on the body composition);
  3. mathematical calculation using unified formulas in which the variables are age, height, and gender (this method is the least reliable).

Knowing the approximate value of UO (note that no method for determining it gives absolutely accurate data), you can modify your lifestyle for specific goals, maintaining optimal health and active longevity. This will avoid the effects of extreme changes in nutrition and physical activity on energy metabolism.
Basal metabolic rate and the calorie deficit: what to consider?

When calculating the healthy caloric content of the diet, you should not fall below the level calculated or calculated by instrumental methods of OU. You need to understand that calories are a very relative quantity, and we can’t tell how much energy the same food is converted into in different people. It is necessary to create a shortage of food energy with such a need empirically, working on the basis of the principles of rational nutrition and with the addition of dosed “correct” physical activity — that is, it is not necessary to clearly rely on numbers. It is also important to understand that even with a goal such as weight loss, a person should not suffer from physical hunger that violates the quality of life.

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