Episode 23: Questions About Your Metabolism?


Metabolism goes beyond helping us to lose weight. To better understand the body’s way of regulating the metabolism, wellness consultant Haylie Pomroy talks through the metabolism essentials and explains each one of their function in the body. She also clarifies that while these essentials are not the only ones that help regulate metabolism, they are the most important and can easily impact and make a change in our current metabolic rate. Educate yourself to know more about what regulates metabolism to understand further the different factors that affect metabolism in our body.


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Questions About Your Metabolism?


There are thousands of things that regulate the metabolism. What I want to do is break down the most important ones. To me, they’re the most important because they’re the ones that we can fairly easily impact and make a significant change in your current metabolic rate. It's all about igniting that burn, how we can burn through food to produce energy and how we can take that energy to build healthy structure, healthy muscle, collagen and elastin. Let's get this party started. Let's talk about enzymes. Without enzymes, nothing can happen. It is how we take food and convert it into nutrients. Whenever somebody says, “I take digestive enzymes. My enzymes are off.” I want you to think about the fact that they're not realizing the vitamins, the minerals, the amino acids that come from whatever they've consumed. They are a catalyst, they evoke change. One of the things that happens with enzymes is that they power the metabolic pathways. Let's say you have this amazing home with this beautiful lamp, if you don't plug it in, you can't power the lamp. That is what enzymes do. A lot of people think of them like a lock and key. There's some new theories on that. That was a little while ago that they first came up with that theory, but if we stick with the thought of maybe plugging something into a light socket, thinking of the enzymes being the plug so that you can power that beautiful lamp that you have.

What happens sometimes is the hormones can block the receptor sites, the light socket, imagine putting gum in your light socket, therefore the enzymes can't realize the electrical surge to power that lamp. They're responsible for a lot of adaptation like how you adapt to stress, to cold weather and maybe a fracture in the body. Enzymes regulate that rate of healing, that rate of efficiently repairing broken down tissue and also dictating what tissues get broken down. We want to have good, healthy enzymatic secretion so that you can determine that you want to break down fat tissue for fuel. There's not a lot of great lab tests for enzymes. We use a DIY digestive reserve test. I teach a whole class on the pH and digestive reserves, but you might want to go ahead and peek at that because it's available to you and see about testing your own digestive reserves. I also added a little video that shows you, in action, what an enzyme can do to break down complex carbohydrates. It's pretty profound.

Enzymes are probably the number one thing that regulates your rate or metabolic rate. Remember, they are what speed up and slow down biochemical processes. They're also secreted by the body, you can supplement with them, but they are found in nutrient rich organic foods. Let's use the Twinkie as an example. A Twinkie can stay around for years, if not decades, without breaking down. If you have an organic loaf of bread on the cabinet or a fresh beautiful tomato on the cabinet, you'll notice that over time, that will break down, it will mold, it will soften, it will rot, the Twinkie will not. The reason that is, is because the natural foods possess enzymes that break down complex carbohydrates, that breakdown that food, those macromolecules into micro molecules, the nutrients that regulate everything about the metabolism.

PYP 26 | Regulating The Metabolism


Many times, when the enzymes are off with individuals, you'll notice that you have cravings or you're hungry even when you've eaten, that is because you're not realizing the food that you've consumed—because it's not being broken down efficiently so that your body can accept the micronutrients, or perhaps like we talked about the plug going into the light socket—you might not have the ability to plug in because your receptor sites are blocked. We’re going to talk about that in hormones. The thing that's also unique is that enzymes and their activities reliant on vitamins. Remember, the closer you can get to patting the farmer on the back or growing foods yourself, the more vitamin rich foods are, the longer they stay on the vine, the less travel that they have to make and the more they're raised in organic rich soils. If we recognize that enzymes have this huge impact on your metabolism, you can supplement with them, but it's important that you have a good reserve within your body and that we increase and entice that by the foods that we choose, that they're enzyme promoting, you can see that this is the cornerstone of getting your metabolism unstuck.


It is incredibly difficult to get a body healthy, to rebalance the immune system or the blood sugar or the cholesterol or the rate of burn without addressing hormones. With all of my students, and now that you're my student, I'm going to tell you that unless we work on this, it is going to be hard to realize and achieve the success that you deserve, that your family deserves, that maybe your own clients deserve. Let's distill this down a little bit and talk about hormones happen in pathways, but remember, enzymes are what speed up and slow down those pathways. They work in feedback loops. Positive impact begets positive hormones. Negative impact begets negative hormones. Negative impact can even create a slowing of production of the hormones. We’re going to talk about organs and glands. The hormones regulate all of behavior, what you think and how you feel about everything. They regulate adaptation to things in a feedback loop.

For example, you think a particular comedian is funny, they tell you that you're afraid of scary movies, or you love scary movies, it's those hormones that are little messengers or signals that travel all over the body to tell your story to cells, whether they're telling your story to lung cells and maybe you're asthmatic and you know that you react to cat hair. They're what tell your brain that story when you walk into a house and a kitty rubs up against your leg. They’re what tell your story that you may be attack your own tissue in an auto-immune environment, whether it's rheumatoid arthritis, food allergies, inhalant allergies, lupus, MS, it’s the hormones that tell that go around the body as these messengers and tell yourself to grow hair or have hair fall out because you don't have the appropriate nutrients and enzymes available to continue that production of hair. They travel from far away.

Let's say for example, you secrete a hormone in the ovaries, in the lower quadrant to the body, that hormone like estrogen travels upward towards the breast looking for receptor sites or cells that can understand their message. Sometimes that message gets either distorted and that's when we don't metabolize our hormones efficiently and we have an odd, shaped hormone like reverse T3. I talk a lot about that in the fast metabolism diet. Maybe the thyroid produces this lovely T4, this lovely thyroid molecule, and when our body cleaves or starts to break down so that it can fit into the receptor sites. Remember, enzymes are what break it down so that you can put that plug into the light socket, but it cleaves it in a weird angle, therefore you have a three prong plug and only a two-hole socket. Sometimes that happens. Other times, things like toxins can block hormone receptor sites.


When we look at hormones, we look at lipids, fats, our body manufactures all of our hormones from lipids or fats. For example, the cholesterol molecule, we make estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, pregnenolone, DHEA, vitamin D, metabolism's responsible on metabolizing fats. You'll notice I have a lot of different programs to support and nurture the complexity of the hormone and hormone pathways. We have labs that you can suggest your practitioner run in our Food RX book, as well as in The Fast Metabolism Diet. The biggest thing that I want you to think about with hormones is that they are the messengers and they're what tells the story to all of the cells. If we're going to start changing our reality from a health perspective, whether that's weight loss, anti-inflammatory, reversing diabetes or fixing cholesterol, we have to get the message out. The messenger’s the pathway, the message is the secretion of the hormones, and the realization of the message and the rate of message delivery are those enzymes.


That’s why I call this metabolism essentials because it's important in this process that I get your buy-in to your body, that you grasp the gravity and the complexity of what's going on. Even when it feels like it's out of control or in a total state of dysfunction, that you're still in awe of what all you are pulling off each and every day. As we talk about messengers and the hormones and things that allow you to realize the message, the enzymes, I want to talk about the down and dirty, the organs, glands and systems that do all this work. I lead with the liver. It is the most nutrient dependent organ. It is the organ that's going to flourish the most and quickly when we flood the body with targeted micronutrients. The liver is the chemical processing plant to the body.

When I talk about the body not being able to realize the positive message of a hormone, there being gum in the light socket, the liver makes sure it's the gum cleaner, it's the janitor of the body. It makes sure that there is nothing blocking those hormone receptor sites. It helps process alcohol, chemicals, toxins every single day. Every moment, it is a lifesaving vehicle in the body. As I talk about different foods that feed different things, I want you to know when I say we're going to focus to the liver and how it converts fat into that master hormone pregnenolones so that we can create all of the other hormones. Remember those messengers, we're going to talk about that organ. There's a particular phase of liver detoxification. It's called Phase 2 of liver detoxification, there's a group of enzymes, cytochrome P450, where the body takes fat soluble toxins and converts them to things that we can eliminate.

PYP 26 | Regulating The Metabolism


When we have fat-soluble toxins, think of those as garbage. If there is not a way to bag that garbage and take it away, we bag it and we store it somewhere, maybe in our garage, maybe in the basement until it's time to take out the trash. That garbage bag is adipocytes or fat cells. When the liver is converting toxins, it's not something that we flushed down the toilet or rinse down the sink, it's not safe to do that, and it's something that we have to bag to be later taken away, it does that by proliferating fat cells. Think of the liver as it is what makes hormones bioavailable. It's got a lot of enzyme secretion, but it is the powerhouse for making sure that the body doesn't call on fat or signal fat to proliferate in order to deal with toxins.


I want to talk about the thyroid. A lot of people talk about the thyroid and metabolism regulation. It’s so true. In The Fast Metabolism Diet, there are labs to run. I've got a million blog posts on the thyroid. The one thing that I want you to think about is that it is the most sensitive gland to toxins and stress. It's one of the reasons why, if there's a nuclear spill, they have people take iodine. The tissue has a strong receptor sites for iodine, so it goes in and it takes the place, it blocks all the ability for the body to the thyroid to absorb that radioactive material so iodine acts as a shield and it protects the thyroid. It's why when you have X-rays, you should always ask for a thyroid shield to protect that gland. It produces thyroid hormones.


It's connected to the next thing we're going to talk about, which is the pituitary. As I talk about hormones being the messengers, telling your body story, the pituitary is that conductor of that messenger. It is the one that makes sure that everything is playing in harmony in your hormone symphony. When we talk about foods that are pituitary specific, or a program that helps the pituitary, it's helping that conductor have those fine skills to look at the entire orchestra and say, “It sounds like the base needs to be a quarter note different or faster or slower, or it sounds like the violin, we need four there instead of five.” That conductor is important. The pancreas, I want you to know this because there's so much information and data out there and they say, “This is hard on the pancreas. This is good for the pancreas.” I want you to know what the heck these things do.


The pancreas is both an organ and a gland, but anytime you think of digestive enzymes or you think of diabetes, insulin resistant, anything associated with blood sugar, I want you to be giving that pancreas lots and lots of love. The pancreas produces insulin. It works a little hand-in-hand with the liver to create the production of alkaline ash so to help maintain the pH. Digestive reserves like lipase, amylase, things to break down foods, complex carbohydrate breaking down shows pancreatic-based enzymes metabolizing those efficiently. The pancreas both produces enzymes, but it also produces hormones, specifically insulin, which remember, insulin goes around, and it gives sugar a big, huge hug in the bloodstream. As long as it has the right enzymes, this hormone will take that hugged up sugar right to yourself and then release it into the cell so that it can be broken down for energy.

PYP 26 | Regulating The Metabolism

If we're insulin resistant or we don't possess the proper enzymes for that hormone to plug into that wall, if we accidentally have a three prong plug and a two-hole socket, we can't get that sugar up into the cell to be metabolized. It's either stored as fat, it causes nerve issues in diabetes, neuropathy, or it's loved up and balanced well and taken up into self for energy. I want to talk a little bit about our substance in the body, our bone, our collagen, our elastin, this substance is a resource when our metabolism is not providing or realizing or recognizing nutrients in a healthy way when metabolic pathways have become altered or when the metabolism of a hormone or a neurochemical has become dysfunctional. We start to leach, first usually from collagen and elastin, we get creepy skin, we get loose skin where we get cellulite bulging out of the connective tissue. It then also pulls significantly from the bone where we start to see osteopenia, osteoporosis.

Think of this structure that we have as our crisis savings account. We don't want to dip into those reserves, but if you're noticing, if you're starting to get labs back or you're noticing a change in the structure of the body, that's a big signal that your body is wisely using that crisis reserve in order to maintain the best possible health that it can. We're looking at these top things that regulate the metabolism in structure and in function. When we go on and we talk about programs, I want you to constantly refer back to these and go, “I know why it's important that I put power on my plate in a specific way to evoke the changes that I desire.”

Genetic Expression

The final factor that I want to talk about affecting your metabolism is genetic expression. I don't say your genes, but I use the term genetic expression because you have to have the propensity in your genes, but something has to happen to allow those dysfunctional pathways to be turned on. We know, for sure, that things like free radical damage or toxins or stress can turn on a genetic predisposition. It can be anything like elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, auto-immunity, there can be that stage that set for the body to express some chronic disease or dysfunction. I'm here to tell you that you can change whether those genes are expressed, or the dysfunction is expressed in your metabolism. Remember that the hormones tell the story, and the enzymes allow the realization of that story. The organs, the glands and the structure are what create all of those.

All of this is nutrient dependent. When we get exposed to stress and toxins, that's when things go awry. If you already have the genetic predisposition, it's almost as if it's your family historical story or pattern or a pathway that's entrenched in the road, it's easy for your tire in your car to go into that divot. If you have family history of things, you want to be aware of nurturing the metabolic pathways so that you realize positive health and you don't realize metabolic dysfunction. For example, the National Institute of Health is now saying that, “Diabetes is a disorder of the metabolism, that MS is a disorder of the metabolism.” What they mean by that is when the hormone secretion is not, either efficient or it's not metabolized in a balanced way or the enzymatic production is not efficient so that we can realize a positive metabolic pathway, that if you have the genetic propensity towards that disease, that an out of balanced metabolism will allow you to recognize the negative aspect of it.

PYP 26 | Regulating The Metabolism

There is a genetic disorder. Sometimes when we see a family that has a long history of unexplained obesity, it's called Melanocortin-4 Receptors we're looking for, MC4R. It's a genetic deficiency. It can be scaled, it can be worse for some people and not so bad for other people, but what this is, is a neurotransmitter, a brain receptor. Remember how I told you the hormone tells you the story. Let's say your story by what you're eating is that I should be a lean fit individual with good hormone production and nice, smooth muscle development. That's the story that's being secreted, but you're either lacking an enzyme, and that's what this genetic expression seems to be, to allow that story to be plugged in to a socket that lets you realize that physiological manifestation in your body.

Let's say your story is that your thin, fit, healthy, have tons of energy, you sleep like a baby and you wake like a raging bull. That's your story, but there can be genetic expressions where you're lacking the enzyme for that story to be able to be told to your physiology. All of this comes together when we look at healing the metabolism. We need to look at, first and foremost, the enzymatic production so you can realize a positive story. We need to repattern that story, whatever you're dealing with now, we need to repattern that through hormone balancing so that that story is one full of health. We need to nurture and rebuild, remember the metabolism is about burning, but also rebuilding, we need to rebuild those organ systems and glands so that they can secrete the healthy enzymes and the healthy hormones. We need to make sure that we're paving the road in a nice, smooth way so that there's not divots in your genetic expression or divots in the road so that your tire doesn't get pulled into those divots and you go off the road of positive health.


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