One of the most common concerns I hear from my patients is difficulty losing weight. Weight loss is a multi-billion-dollar industry with products and services ranging from diet books to exercise classes to diet foods, and many other income-generating devices.
Almost everyone seems to be concerned with weight loss at some point. It is probably the number one New Year’s Resolution!
I believe weight loss for most people becomes more difficult with age. Many people report that weight gain seems to just “creep up” slowly with age.
Why is that?
I think the most significant factor (other than the diet) contributing to weight gain with age is METABOLISM. So, what does metabolism have to do with it, you may ask.
The definition of metabolism is the organic and chemical processes inside of organisms that are necessary to maintain life, or how quickly you burn calories or fat.
As we age our metabolism slows down. In other words, the speed at which we burn calories or fat for production of cellular energy slows with age.
Mitochondria – Turning on the Powerhouse
So how does this affect weight? Well, its actually quite complicated as it goes all the way down into the sub-cellular chemical pathways inside of each cell in our body where the mitochondria reside. The mitochondria produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy bundle.
To understand this complicated process, you would need to take an extended course in microbiology. But, so as not to bore you to death, we can boil it down into one phrase: Mitochondria – Turning on the Powerhouse.
Mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of the cell. They are organelles (structures within a cell that perform a specific function) that act like a digestive system. The mitochondria take in nutrients, break them down, and create energy rich molecules for the cell.
The biochemical processes of the cell are known as “cellular respiration”. There are almost innumerable agents that can affect cellular metabolism in both positive and negative ways.
The bottom line is that anything that will slow down cellular respiration will result in weight gain, and likewise anything that speeds it up results in weight loss.
A quick GOOGLE search for metabolic boosters reveals 8 easy ways to increase your metabolism.
- Eat plenty of protein at every meal. Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours.
- Drink more cold water.
- Do a high-intensity workout.
- Lift heavy things.
- Stand up more.
- Drink green tea or oolong tea.
- Eat spicy foods.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
Experts agree that the best way to boost metabolism and prevent excess weight gain with age is to be active. Most adults are far less active than they were when they were younger. And for many people this activity level continues to decline with age.
Diets and supplements will accomplish only a limited effect in terms of weight loss.
Unsurprisingly, the most important calorie-burning activity we engage in is just that — activity. Whether we’re taking the stairs, stepping away from our desks for a coffee, or sweating it out in a hot yoga class, we’re expending energy. Researchers call this second phase physical-activity expenditure.
The more energy we expend in the course of a day, the better our metabolic rate is maintained and therefore the more calories we burn off.
Some form of prolonged aerobic exercise needs to be performed repeatedly, daily and regularly. The post exercise energy expenditure is markedly overblown. Metabolic stimulation after exercise is short-lived. The biggest boost to metabolism and therefore energy expenditure happens during the actual exercise activity. So, if you walk only 20 minutes a day, that will be all the energy stimulation you will get.
It is necessary to be more active all day, EVERY day. It is well known that we sit too much as we get older, and that is directly related to an increase in every disease risk parameter. It is important to walk more, do more physical work and reduce our calorie consumption as we age. Adults tend to require less caloric intake as we age. At the same time, our perception of how much food we eat seems to deteriorate.
According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) a simple and critical rule of thumb to prevent age-related weight gain is to eat smaller portions and to remain more physically active.
I discourage my patients from embarking on “fad diets”, weight loss supplements or trendy diet manipulations such as fasting, as they all have adverse side effects in one form or another.
Hormones and Metabolism
Hormone balancing, and especially optimal thyroid hormone levels, plays a major role in age-related decline in metabolism. It is commonly known that an estimated 80% of adults will have a clinically significant decline in their thyroid hormone during their life, necessitating thyroid hormone supplementation.
It is important to maintain optimum hormone levels as we age, in addition to eating less and remaining more physically active.
There are many other factors that have an effect on mitochondrial function both in a negative and positive way. Known detractors are toxic metals, environmental toxins, smoking, alcohol, caffeine, sugar and poor air quality.
Toxicity and Metabolism
Avoiding toxic exposure, checking for toxic levels of heavy metals in the body, avoiding smoking and alcohol can all help maintain healthy metabolism.
I treated a young college-age woman who was so exhausted she would go to class and then go back to her room and get back in bed. She was 20 pounds overweight and couldn’t lose it no matter what diet she followed. I performed a toxic metal test on her and found her mercury level to be extremely high. I treated the toxicity with chelation therapy, after which she effortlessly lost the excess weight and returned to her normal energetic self. It was a minor miracle to see her bounce back. I believe that the toxic mercury load she was carrying had “poisoned” her metabolism.
Enhanced Mitochondrial Function with Ozone Therapy
For some of my patients, in addition to exercise and eating smaller portions, we need to check toxic metals, balance hormones, and even administer Ozone Therapy. Ozone therapy enriches the body with life-giving oxygen and has been shown to enhance mitochondrial function with increased production of ATP.
Weight Loss Isn’t Easy
Weight loss is not easy as we age. And it takes a strong commitment to changing diet and lifestyle habits, as well as some blood testing. But for my patients who are willing to make the commitment to their health, the reward is having a lean healthy body to support their passion throughout their life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with weight loss issues, call us at 310-393-2333 or book online to make an appointment with Dr. Liebowitz for a full hormone and toxicity assessment, in addition to some Ozone therapy sessions.