Understanding Your Metabolism by Dr. Lynn August
Metabolism – Imagine what it would feel like to release more air every out-breath than you presently release, without taking in any more air each in-breath. Imagine the repercussions to all life forms if the days never shortened again following a summer solstice. Imagine the tide coming in and never going out. Life processes would indeed be disrupted, and ultimately come to a standstill. However, nothing stands still. Everything moves. There is only change. There is the day and there is the night. There is the in-breath and there is the out-breath.
So it is with the metabolism. Metabolism is the interplay between body processes that build up and break down. The building up process is called anabolism. The breaking down process is called catabolism. Both processes are necessary to sustain and renew life.
The continuous creation and destruction of cells in the body is an example of how anabolic and catabolic processes sustain and renew life. Consider the red blood cell. The life span of a red blood cell is 90 days. Ninety days from now all of your red blood cells will have been destroyed through catabolism, and will have been replaced with new cells through anabolism.
You tear a muscle. Inflammation ensues. Inflammation is a catabolic process. This inflammation destroys the damaged muscle. Anabolic processes build new fibers or scar tissue to replace lost fibers. Pregnancy is an example of anabolism. A fetus grows in the womb. Similarly, the growth of a child is anabolism. So is weight gain. Aging and weight loss, on the other hand, are examples of catabolism.
What is the significance of the anabolic and catabolic processes in health and disease? The right balance between anabolic and catabolic processes is necessary to have the right number of red blood cells at any one time. Excesses or deficiencies in anabolism or catabolism, relative to each other, would either result in too many or too few red blood cells. One could gain or lose too much weight if these processes are not in healthy proportion. Or if inflammation exceeds that necessary to remove damaged tissue, chronic inflammation might result.
Dr. Emanuel Revici, a Rumanian born physician, whose work spanned two continents, began researching anabolic and catabolic fats early last century. Dr. Revici’s research documents that all fats in the body, including all hormones, are either catabolic or anabolic. Both anabolic and catabolic fats are always present in the metabolism. It is the amounts and ratios of these fats that determine the direction of the metabolism.
Dr. Revici found that the anabolic and catabolic fats are not only necessary to maintain life, these fats are also a crucial part of the body’s defense system. The common cold or flu are excellent examples here. When exposed to viruses or bacteria, the catabolic fats are necessary to destroy the viruses or bacteria. Subsequently the anabolic fats neutralize the catabolic fats and symptoms resolve. However, if either the anabolic or catabolic fats persist beyond what is necessary, chronic symptoms and eventually chronic disease develop. Or, if either the anabolic or catabolic defense is insufficient, symptoms and disease will follow.
The example of the common cold illustrates that the catabolic fats- the defense mechanism-actually cause the symptoms, and not the virus or bacteria. Fever, chills, aches, mucus, diarrhea and appetite loss are all symptoms caused by the catabolic defense. This is, in fact, true for all symptoms and disease. Excesses or deficiencies of either anabolic or catabolic processes result in symptoms and eventually chronic disease. Dr. Revici documented this in a wide range of conditions, from allergies, pain, nausea and depression to high blood pressure, cancer, psychoses and arthritis.
Understanding catabolic and anabolic processes, and the role of catabolic and anabolic fats in the body’s defense, opens a whole new approach to symptoms and disease. Do you have too many colds or flus because your immune system is weak or because you have excess catabolic fats or a deficiency in anabolic fats? The answer is most likely the latter. If your blood pressure is high it is often possible to lower it by decreasing the anabolic processes and fats without medications. If you have cancer and have excess catabolic processes and fats, a cancer treatment that promotes anabolism will be far more effective than a cancer treatment that increases catabolism. The same holds true for arthritis.
Dr. Lynne August, of Greenfield NH, is the founder and director of Health Equations. She received her Medical Degree from Washington University School of Medicine in 1973. She combined conventional and holistic medicines in private practice for ten years and soon after, founded Health Equations. For almost thirty years, Dr. August has been researching significant influences on health… diet, soil, water, agriculture, food processing and environmental exposures. The inspiration in Lynne’s clinical practice and research comes largely from her experience as a Clinical Researcher at the Institute of Applied Biology in New York. There, Dr. August assisted Scientific Director Emanuel Revici M.D. in research on non-toxic therapeutic lipids. She also draws upon her training and practice in Ayurveda. Prior to her work at the Institute of Applied Biology, Lynne served on the board of the American Holistic Medical Association, researched hyperinsulinism and diabetes and served as the staff physician at a multi-disciplinary research center for children with developmental needs. Dr. August has been widely published. She lectures at physician seminars throughout North America and Europe and hosts seminars for clinical health professionals.