Fixing your Metabolism with HTMA: The Nervous System and Oxidation Rate
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The HTMA shows us a bit of an idea on what state your nervous system is in. Slow oxidation (underactive thyroid and adrenal glands) point to a parasympathetic dominance and a sluggish metabolism. Fast oxidation (over-active adrenals and thyroid) points to a sympathetic dominance and a fast metabolism. But what exactly does this mean and how can we fix it?
This system prepares us for stressful situations, and it helps prepare the body for action. Think “fight or flight”! The sympathetic system tends to effect the whole body and it is most associated with epinephrine and nor-epinephrine. It is catabolic.
The sympathetic system:
- Increases rate and strength of contraction of the heart
- dilates bronchial tubes
- Dilates pupils
- Stimulates Sweating
- Stimulates conversion of glycogen to glucose in the liver
- Stimulates a thick, viscous saliva
- Stimulates epinephrine and nor-epinephrine in the adrenals
- Lowers calcium and magnesium, higher sodium and potassium
- Overactive adrenals and thyroid
- Sympathetic activity is considered to be stimulatory, therefore resulting in increased cellular metabolic activity.
- Hyperparathyroidism, hyperglycemia, hyperadrenia, nervousness, insomnia, anxiety, tendency to accumulate belly fat
- Children are supposed to be fast oxidizers
- Catabolic dominance- excessive protein breakdown
- Symptoms include compulsiveness, running around excessively, overworking, excessive thinking, fearfulness, anxiety, worry or anger- this all leads to burnout
The Parasympathetic System
This helps the body return to resting conditions as it is anabolic. It is most active when you are calm and resting- and it helps to conserve and restore energy! Think “rest and digest”. The vague nerve is the biggest nerve associated with the parasympathetic nervous system because 75% of all parasympathetic fibers are in the vague nerve! The vagus nerve effects the heart, stomach, larynx, small intestine, esophagus, and other organs.
The parasympathetic system:
- Decreases heart rate
- constricts pupils
- constricts bronchial tubes
- No effect on sweating, liver, or adrenals
- Stimulates profuse and watery saliva
- Increases digestive activity
- High calcium and magnesium, low phosphorus, sodium and potassium
- Anabolic dominance-poor protein digestion and utilization
- Recurring infections, yeast, or fungi; EBV; chronic stress
- Excess magnesium is known to decrease adrenal activity in slow oxidizers
- Fatigue, Hypotension, Insomnia, cold sensitivity, constipation, hypothyroid, hypoglycemia, depression
- “give up mode”- they survive but they don’t thrive
Our goal is to have balance between the 2 symptoms. We should be able to activate the fight-or-flight when it is needed in true emergency situations, and we should be able to restore ourselves when we are resting. When the body is imbalanced, it is hard for it to truly rest and digest.
An imbalance in the nervous system can be caused by nutritional issues (whether from birth or acquired), poor diet, overuse of stimulants like coffee, constant negative thinking, physical/emotional traumas as well as toxic metal build-up and chemicals that harm the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Constant stress like a physically demanding job can also cause an imbalance because the person is nearly always in a “fight-or-flight” situation.
The Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio
This is the ratio that shows us oxidation rate, nervous system health, and whether you are catabolic or anabolic when it comes to protein digestion. Calcium is our “structure” and phosphorus is our flowing energy. Most people have a high calcium/phosphorus ratio which is slow oxidation/parasympathetic dominance.
Fixing a calcium/phosphorus ratio will be different for people depending on their HTMA results. For slow oxidizers, we have to focus on increasing stomach acid in order to digest and assimilate protein more efficiently. Slow oxidizers generally need more protein than fast oxidizers who will need more fats.
Whether a fast or slow oxidizer, the main plan is to replenish minerals, eliminate stress, support the glandular system (whether with adaptogens or glandulars), and supporting detoxification.
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