Metabolic health

The statistics show that only one out of eight Americans is metabolically healthy. Though, it is easy to predict and prevent the degradation of metabolic health!

Metabolic health revolves around five main axes: body composition, blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.

While genetics may predispose anyone to the degradation of one component or the other, lifestyle habits are quite often the main driver of undesired changes in these parameters. Lack of physical activity and the easy access to foods rich in sugar facilitate, from the young age, an increase in waist size, overloading of the glycemic management processes and a gradual increase in blood lipids.

In Canada, 17% of young adults aged 18-39 already do not meet the ideal targets for three components of metabolic health. This prevalence increases to about 40% in people aged 60 and up.

Insulin metabolism is one of the pillars of metabolic health. Insulin has a direct action on muscles to allow them to uptake and use circulating glucose, for energy production or storage as glycogen. After meals, insulin also acts on fat cells to allow fat storage by inhibiting lipase. When the action of insulin is impaired, the continued action of lipase leads to an increase in circulating triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.

The action of insulin also extends to other mechanisms allowing the effective control over blood pressure and systemic inflammation. Maintenance of optimal insulin signaling is thus vital to the preservation of metabolic health as a whole.

Fortunately, it has been heavily demonstrated that changes in diet and lifestyle may bring significant improvements to metabolic health. Adopting the Mediterranean diet, providing high amounts of monounsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates, dietary fibers and fish while being low in refined sugars, processed foods and red meat, may help in restoring blood lipid balance, insulin function and reduce body weight. Physical exercise also plays a predominant role by restoring insulin metabolism and supporting optimal blood pressure.

From a natural intervention point of view, brown seaweeds may contribute to the maintenance of metabolic health. Brown seaweed polyphenols have shown their capacity to improve blood glucose response by inhibiting digestive enzymes amylase and glucosidase. These seaweeds also contain fucoidan, known for its action on blood lipids and for the maintenance of healthy blood pressure.

Finally, iodine and alginates, naturally present in brown seaweeds, may provide support for optimal body composition, by their effect on resting metabolic rate and by delaying gastric emptying.

Watch our videos about metabolic health to learn more!

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