People love linking their change in shape to the physiological reason of a slow metabolism. But what does this actually mean? Do people really have a fast or slow metabolism? Is it hereditary or can we change our rate of thermoregulation?
The Endocrine organ responsible for our metabolic rate is a little butterfly shaped gland that sits around our oesophagus called the thyroid gland. This innocent little gland may be small in size but determines the rate at which we metabolise all physical and chemical processes including transforming food into energy, whether we store or burn fat, weather we have loads of energy or we feel sluggish.
This next bit might get a bit scientific but I want to outline to you how complex and miraculous our bodies are and the functioning of one hormone relies on so many other intricate processes and if one isn’t functioning properly then the wonderful effects of our thyroid are not received.
All hormones initiate from the hypothalamus (the lobe that sits at your hat line). In the case of T3 and T4 (which are the thyroid hormones) the hypothalamus produces Thyroid-Releasing Hormone (TRH) which is carried to the anterior pituitary gland, which produces Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). TSH is excreted into the blood and moves to its target cells in the thyroid gland. TSH signals thyroglobulin to act on thyroid follicular cells in the thyroid gland to produce its hormones Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine(T3). T4 is found in the blood in two forms, Free T4(FT4) and T4. They are the same but it is FT4 which is “free” to enter tissues while T4 is bound up and unable to enter tissues. However these are inactive hormones and need to be converted into T3. It is T3 which drives your metabolic rate.
How bloody mind blowing is that!!
For healthy thyroid function there are a number of nutrients which are essential.
Iodine, selenium and iron are critical minerals for optimal thyroid function due to their chemical abilities to produce thyroid hormones and convert T4 into T3 for metabolic use.
If we lack these nutrients then either the thyroid gland is not able to produce its hormones or in the case of iron, T4 isn’t able to turn into T3 for metabolic use and turns into reverse T3 which can have many toxic implications.
So if you have always claimed that your best friend has the best metabolism in the world, she just might have the best functioning thyroid gland going around and you might be lacking the precious thyroid nutrients.
Eat a few Brazil nuts a day to gain adequate selenium intake. Preferably soak these overnight and rinse for a better absorption. Consume seaweeds such as nori(sushi sheets) or wakame, iodised salt for iodine as our soils now lack iodine content. Finally be sure to eat foods high in iron such as kangaroo, beef, pork, dates, and green leafy vegetables. Many foods contain small amounts of iron so it is more important than ever to eat a wide variety of whole foods from locally grown producers.
So it is possible to change your metabolic rate! The answer is in your garden, in our ocean and is available to all of us. Eat to live, get your metabolism functioning like a beach bonfire and thrive.