Tag Archives: Metabolism

Blood Tests: What Is A ‘Basic Metabolic Panel’?

1. Glucose

Glucose is the type of sugar that your body uses for energy. 

What’s normal: 70 to 99 mg/dL (after 8 to 12 hours of not eating).

  •  What’s normal: 70 to 99 mg/dL (after 8 to 12 hours of not eating).
  •  What abnormal results can mean: If there’s too much, then it can mean diabetes or prediabetes. If there’s too little, it could mean hypoglycemia.

2. Calcium

Calcium is needed for many body functions, including building bones, heart function, muscle contraction and nerve signaling. 

  • What’s normal: 8.5 to 10.2 mg/dL.
  • What abnormal results can mean: Kidney/liver problems, bone disease, thyroid disease, cancer and malnutrition

3. Electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals that maintain fluid levels and chemical balance in your body. 

  • What’s normal: Bicarbonate (total) 18 to 30 mEq/L; Chloride: 98 to 106 mEq/L; Magnesium: 1.8 to 3.6 mg/dL or 1.5 to 3.0 mEq/L; Phosphorus: 3 to 4.5 mg/dL or 1.8 to 2.3 mEq/L; Potassium: 3.5 to 5.5 mEq/L; Sodium: 135 to 147 mEq/L.
  • What abnormal results can mean: Dehydration, kidney disease, liver disease, heart failure and high blood pressure.

4. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)

Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) is a waste product that kidneys filter out of your body.

  • What’s normal: 6 to 20 mg/dL.
  • What abnormal results can mean: If there’s too much, then it can mean kidney disease, heart failure or dehydration. If there’s too little, it could mean liver failure or malnutrition.

5. Creatinine

Creatinine is a waste product that kidneys filter out of your body.

  • What’s normal: For men, 0.7 to 1.3 mg/dL. For women, 0.6 to 1.1 mg/dL.
  • What abnormal results can mean:  If there’s too much, then it can mean kidney disease, muscle breakdown or dehydration. If there’s too little, it could mean malnutrition or low muscle mass.

“Metabolism involves any way your body converts or uses energy,” says Dr. Allan. “That includes digestion, breathing, circulation, and functioning of your organs, muscles and nervous system.”

RESEARCH: ‘THE SCIENCE OF HEALTHY AGING’ (SCRIPPS)

Although growing older comes with a number of major life changes, science can help inform the things we do in the here in and now to forestall the most serious features of the aging self, promoting healthspan and not just lifespan.

Summer 2021
  • Build Muscle – Muscle mass is one the best predictors of health and longevity. Muscle tissue is known to release its own chemicals called myokines, which can have benefits that span cognition, immunity and anti-cancer activity. By performing regular, resistance-based exercise that prioritizes strength, we can delay the loss of bone density and risk of physical injuries.
  • Vitamin D – Commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is in fact a critical hormone that helps maintain healthy bones, boost our immune system and improve our cardiovascular function. With age, the production of vitamin D in the skin can become less efficient, so if we don’t spend enough time outdoors, our risk of vitamin D deficiency may increase.
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases – One of the most unsettling aspects of aging is the potential for neurodegenerative disease. These conditions are increasingly prevalent in those with diabetes, suggesting that the brain’s blood flow and energy supply may be compromised. Research indicates that regular physical exercise, a healthy whole foods diet and staying intellectually active could at least slow the rate of decline.
  • Mindfulness – As we get older, major arteries can become thicker and less flexible, leading to increased blood pressure and undue strain on the heart. A regular mindfulness practice such as yoga or meditation has been shown to stem the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. By freeing us from this “fight-or-flight” state, this habit can improve blood flow and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Stay Social – As social animals, maintaining a strong sense of community and close personal relationships into old age are underestimated contributors to longevity. While social isolation in seniors can result in significant physical and mental decline, research suggests that close loved ones offer important emotional support and behavioral modifications that can overcome periods of high stress.
  • Metabolism – “My metabolism is slowing down!” That’s what we often hear, as the aging body becomes less effective at using energy, placing us at risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. By maintaining our muscle mass and reducing sugar consumption, we can support hormonal health, preserve our metabolism and keep our vitality into those advanced years. As scientists continue to find ways to extend our lives, paying attention to these keys to healthy aging can help increase the quality of those extra years.

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DR. C’S JOURNAL: TIMING IN HEALTH AND MEDICINE

Timing is important in everything we do, and of course is important to health and how our bodies function.  It is a vast subject, and the only thing I can do here is to give you some ideas that might be helpful.

Your body will perform best for you if you have a daily routine; waking up at the same time every morning, and going to bed at the same time every evening keeps your circadian rhythm from getting confused. Of course, getting a good nights sleep is excessively important to your health. If you have trouble going to sleep at night or staying asleep, you can get all kinds of information over the Internet on “sleep hygiene”.

If you are an international traveler, jet lag is very important because the circadian rhythm is disrupted when you change time zones. The Internet is a rich source of information on how you might or rapidly get back into your routines. Timing of bright light and melatonin are involved.

Your metabolism also has a routine, and drugs work by targeting certain receptors, which cycle, depending on when their function is needed. “ Chronopharmacology” is a slowly developing science that will someday-if doctors, perhaps with electronic help, can ever get enough time to properly take care of the patients- be very important. As an example, certain cancer therapies vary significantly in their effects, depending upon the time of day they are given.

When I was a practicing Allergist, I took care of many Asthma patients. In the 60s and 70s there were few drugs to treat asthma, which is predominantly a nighttime disease. Giving medications, such as Theophylline, at the right time was therefore very important.

Finally, if you have any choice, you might arrange for your surgery during the first half of the day. Surgeons make less errors in the morning, when their minds are well rested.

—Dr. C.

THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS And CONDITIONS #23: OLD AGE / GROWING OLD

Old age is an inevitable condition if you are lucky enough to live a long life. Middle aged people say it begins at 70 years of age. According to an Elysium survey of people 40 and older, the average American FEELS old for the first time at age 47 years.

In the distant past, 50 was CONSIDERED to be old. The generally better conditions and Medicine of modern times keeps extending LIFESPAN, if not always HEALTHSPAN. Old age is certainly a Condition, and it is for sure Chronic, thereby qualifying for inclusion, but is it a Disease?

It is not considered a disease by the authorities, and so it doesn’t gather research funds like it should. What exactly IS old age? Being 88 Years old, and a physician, I feel qualified to comment. Old age is a collection of past accidents and sports injuries plus complications of past illnesses engrafted on a gradually deteriorating body.

Where does Obesity and Metabolic syndrome fit in this rubric? The Plague of our time fits in the disease category. It is definitely preventable, although with difficulty. Please search past postings for more information on this topic.

In what way does the body gradually deteriorate? Any organized, non-random high information structure gradually becomes more disordered, and “worn away” with the passage of TIME, the destroyer. Entropy (disorder) gradually increases, in the absence of corrective energy input.

Even rocks and mountains eventually erode, given enough time. One of the most interesting characteristics of life is that it maintains its integrity for an inordinate amount of time, given its complexity and furious dynamism.

Every day our DNA sustains thousands of molecular ruptures from high energy radiation and other stressors. Proofreading and repair mechanisms are employed, at high energy cost, to repair these breaks. This corrective is especially efficient when we are young and vigorous; In our youth, our reproductive years, growth and repair predominate. Gradually, growth ceases, repair mechanisms age, and we become old.

Our Darwinian “warranty” expires. We are left with an aging body, unimportant to evolution. We are long on experience and short on future. But we still have a marvelous metabolism at our disposal, depending on our lifestyle. There are a number of metabolic pathways which affect aging, 2 of which have been more studied.

The mTOR pathway is most attuned to youth, senses nutrients and gears up for ANABOLISM, or growth. If you have not been careful to tailor your food intake to suit your decreasing requirements, your efficient metabolism stores it away for a rainy day, around your belly and in your arteries, a bad effect from an essential mechanism. Antagonistic Pleiotropy is the name for a body mechanism that can be good for one function (or age) and bad for another.

The Sirtuin system is also important in aging, and has a variety of housekeeping functions, including mitochondrial maintenance. It is activated by exercise. The cells of our bodies change with aging. In old tissues, there are less stem cells and other young, functional units. There are more damaged, dysfunctional “zombie” cells that don’t do much but promote inflammation, and hence more inflammatory cells accumulate.

Controlling the mTOR System and promoting the sirtuins help increase apoptosis and get rid of dysfunctional cells, including cancer. DOCTORS SHOULD PRESCRIBE EXERCISE, as well as SLEEP AND DIET, like they do medicine, and maybe we wouldn’t need so many pills. We might also feel better into old age.

–Dr. C.

Disease, Metabolic syndrome, Entropy, DNA, Metabolism, Apoptosis, Zombie cells

DIET STUDIES: HIGH-SUGAR DIETS SUPPRESS DOPAMINE, LEADING TO OVEREATING

From Phys.org/Univ. of Michigan (June 9, 2020):

High-Sugar Diet Dampens Release of Dopamine Causing Overeating - Univ of Michigan - Credit Christina May and Monica Dus

“On a high-sugar diet, we find that the fruit flies’ dopaminergic neurons are less active, because the high sugar intake decreases the intensity of the sweetness signal that comes from the mouth,” Dus said. “Animals use this feedback from dopamine to make predictions about how rewarding or filling a food will be. In the high-sugar diet flies, this process is broken—they get less dopamine neuron activation and so end up eating more than they need, which over time makes them gain weight.”

It is well known that consuming food and drink high in sugar is not great for us, but scientists are continuing to unravel the intricacies of how the sweet stuff drives negative health outcomes. The latest finding comes from researchers at the University of Michigan, who through studies in fruit flies have found that excess amounts of sugar can shut down crucial neural circuits linked to regulating satiety, possibly leading to overeating in humans.

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COMMENTARY

SUGAR IS A POISON.

A novel illustration of sugars’ lethality was the Georgia sugar refinery explosion in 2008, which killed 14 people. Finely ground sugar is flammable.

Sugar appeared early in civilization, but it was expensive, sparing all but the wealthy of its’ depredations, mainly tooth decay.  Only with the post WWII expansion of wealth was it consumed excessively to produce the diseases of overeating. The developed world now consumes over 70 pounds of sugar per person, amounting to over 250 CALORIES PER DAY!

This  article shows how SUGAR acts like a DRUG In its INTERFERENCE with the DOPAMINERGIC Reward system. The neurons send less signal, so you need MORE SUGAR to satisfy.

The metabolic systems through which overeating and sugar causes the OBESITY, DIABETES, VASCULAR DISEASE and Early DEMENTIA are convoluted.The best detailed explication is in the NEJM article in intermittent fasting, a healthful practice that is the polar opposite of overeating.

Two very important metabolic mechanisms are discussed, the mTOR system and the Sirtuin system. These systems are important for NUTRIENT SENSING and repair, and conserved in all animals. They worked just fine in our early ancestors.

It seems that primitive man was not blessed (or is it cursed) with easy overabundance or food, and actually spent hours or days in Hunger. When times were good, his body put on muscle, and stored fat against the hard times to come. This is called ANABOLISM. When times were bad, his body went into repair mode, and used the fat for energy. This is called CATABOLISM.

Anabolism has evolved expressly for Young Animals, where extra food is welcome for Growth. After the growing and Reproductive years, our Bodies’ evolutionary “warrant” expires, since the genes it carries have already been spread. Our older bodies are left to deal with machinery more suited to an earlier vibrancy. Our metabolism didn’t evolve to deal with the calories we shove into our aging Bodies. Many mechanisms beneficial in the young prove harmful later on. This divergence has been called “ antagonistic pleiotropy”.

Whatever the explanation, the observation remains: if adults eat more than they can use, they gain weight. With insufficient exercise, this weight is fat. With excessive fat, the joints, blood vessels, liver, heart and brain suffer,  and lifespan is shortened.

RETHINK YOUR LIFESTYLE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. AVOIDING SUGAR, and ALL THINGS CONTAINING SUGAR is as good a place as any to start. You will be rewarded by being able to fully taste and enjoy the natural sweetness of many REAL FOODS, and afforded a longer life to partake in this pleasure.

—Dr. C.

DR. C’S MEDICINE CABINET: “OVERVIEW OF METABOLISM”

“Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest”.

Albert Szent-Gyorgy

Overview of Metabolism – Seeing an Essence of Nanosystems in the Hum of a Vibrant City; the Skyscraper as Catalyst, and Thought as Electron

What did it take to bring the world to its’ knees? SARS-CoV2? We will never know, because we instituted DISTANCING to control the virus because the projected number of deaths were unacceptable.

The distancing and isolation did hold the number of deaths, still large, below projection. However, it DEVASTATED our Economy.

OUR WORLD is a  massive, cooperative, interdependent system, with hubs, factories, supply chains and a myriad of products. It is a COMPLEX SYSTEM.

I would like to use the world as an analogy, and compare it to another Complex System, the HUMAN BODY.

Our bodies are essentially a large pile of chemicals (mostly proteins) in a sack, our skin. These chemicals are constantly interacting with each other. If they grow to larger, more complex chemicals in a process we call anabolism, we take in more chemicals and energy by eating, and get bigger. If our chemicals get less numerous and complex in a process we call catabolism, we lose weight and get smaller.

Some of the proteins in our bodies are ENZYMES, and bring other proteins CLOSER TOGETHER, so that they can LINK TOGETHER  become more complex and PRODUCE things. Enzymes are a sine qua non of life. Without enzymes, life would slow so much as to be impossible. 

Let’s go back to our Society, Before Covid. 

Vast numbers of people are cooperating in close proximity, working together with machines, often supplied by other people far away, making things. This process takes place most efficiently in CITIES, where people are in closest proximity, doing things together.

Enter Covid. This interdependent process stops. What things that are produced are made to fight Covid. It is just like one of our cells infected by Covid: we have been HIJACKED  by the virus!

Lets’ GO BACK TO OUR CELLS. Our METABOLISM is like our teeming, cooperative CITIES, with SUPPLY CHAINS, factories and products. Our PROTEINS NEED PROXIMITY to function.

Some Proteins are at a critical HUB, and comprise a RATE-LIMITING step in the production line.

Many Vitamins and nutrients are COENZYMES, and act to ACCELERATE critical supply lines.

If the Hubs are OUT OF BALANCE and OVERACTIVE, many MEDICATIONS act to BLOCK THE ACTION of an enzyme to bring the system closer to balance.

Thus coordination, cooperation and careful monitoring to PREVENT A PROBLEM is superior to letting it break down and correcting the imbalance.

I hope that this Overview will be helpful. I will go through my MEDICINE CABINET to discuss a few of the 20,000 or so Medications approved by the FDA. I will also VIEW THE TEST RESULTS from my LABORATORY TESTS. NORMAL results show a SYSTEM IN BALANCE. Abnormal results show inefficiencies in the metabolism (supply chains, hubs), which need correction to restore balance.   

— Dr. C