New research is showing that a tiny enzyme within our cells promotes big results, when activated, in weight loss, optimal health and longevity success. This enzyme, AMPK (Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase) is found inside every cell in the body and serves as your body’s “master regulating switch” – our master metabolic molecule that influences how cells process energy. Overall, this enzyme plays a major role in determining our body fat composition.
When our cells lose energy, the cell degrades and so does our health. AMPK determines body fat composition, optimal health and how long you’ll live. When AMPK is activated, cells do not make or store fat, burning-up only stored fat. Our cells are less toxic, healthier and live longer when AMPK gets re-activated. When the garbage can (our cell) is emptied of junk, optimal health, longevity and weight loss can occur.
Why We Need AMPK To Make Us Leaner And Healthier
AMPK is crucial to our health by promoting insulin sensitivity – perhaps the greatest marker for optimal health. This enzyme also increases the production of our mitochondria – little organs in every cell that turn oxygen and food into energy. Our ‘Mighty Mitochondria’ are crucial to our optimal health and longevity. These mitochondria are the powerhouses within each cell in our body and when we lose them or they lose their ability to power-up, we age. Mitochondria are one of, if not the most important component of your cells. They supply over 90 percent of your body’s energy needs by converting the food you eat and the air you breathe into usable energy.
The SIRT1 enzyme is boosted and required by AMPK as well. Until only recently has it become apparent that they have similar effects on cellular metabolism, inflammation, and mitochondrial function – they work hand in hand. The SIRT1 molecule has the very important role of silencing the genes that promote poor health effect and boost resilience to stress, promotion of mitochondrial function, protection from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduction of inflammation.
Why AMPK Levels Decline
Excess food intake, poor nutrition and the resulting excess of cellular metabolic debris within our cells, promotes inflammation and impairs our longevity genes. When there is too much of an energy onslaught to our cells, AMPK activity diminishes and so does our health. This can result in weight gain, degenerative conditions, diabetes and a shortened life. AMPK is the controller, the link between metabolic disease, inflammation, and longevity. This AMPK control tells our cells when to create, store or release fat for energy. Without this crucial vital enzyme, we are at risk for weight gain, faster-aging and poor health.
Signs of AMPK Deficiency
- Difficulty Losing Weight
- Increased Belly Fat
- Elevated Blood Glucose
- Insulin Resistance
- High Total Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
- Decrease in Mitochondrial Function
How To Activate AMPK
When you begin to activate AMPK to healthful levels, inflammatory belly fat diminishes, due to increased fat burning that is being utilized for energy as opposed to being stored as fat only – promoting even further inflammation within the fat cell. Certain dietary strategies and food components greatly influence AMPK activity.
Natural Nutrients That Activate AMPK
- Resveratrol – This antioxidant activates SIRT1 but AMPK activates it more directly.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid – can activate AMPK in tissues, particularly muscle tissue. Additionally, this beneficial nutrient can also help reduce food intake through the suppression of AMPK in the hypothalamus. EGCG plant phytochemical from green tea. Curcumin the active component in the spice turmeric.
- Fish Oil – the EPA and DHA in fish oil activates AMPK.
- Quercetin – found in many plants including fruits, vegetables and grains, increases AMPK in fat, muscle and liver.
Dietary Fiber: Fiber is a key player in activating AMPK. A special form of soluble fiber called glucomannan that is many times more effective than any other fiber in improving insulin sensitivity and activating AMPK. I write more about it in my book ‘How To Fight FATflammation!’ Other excellent sources of water-soluble, viscous fiber are beans, oat bran, nuts, seeds, psyllium seed husks, pears, apples, and vegetables.
Calorie Restriction (CR): Dietary restriction without malnourishment can effectively increase AMPK, improve cardiac risk factors, protect against cancer, improve insulin sensitivity and longevity.
Exercise: AMPK is stimulated by muscle contraction. Most notably and well researched, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is powerfully effective in activating AMPK. This is simply 8 brief bouts of, for example, 30-second all-out intervals with 90 second slow-down to a moderate pace. There are many varieties of HIIT and are all short and excellent for promoting weight loss and optimized health.
The Drug Metformin: Metformin is a drug widely used to treat those with Type-2 diabetes and has a powerful effect on activating AMPK and increasing insulin sensitivity.
Eating a healthful diet and exercising the right way will help to promote weight loss, optimal health and longevity.