In this article, we'll delve into the concept of metabolic health and how it relates to the body's ability to maintain optimal levels of blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides, along with other essential health factors. Maintaining good metabolic health is crucial for reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. In this article, we will discuss what defines good metabolic health, the risks of poor metabolic health, and how to track it with the help of a CGM and the kahla app.
What is Metabolic Health?
Metabolism is a complex set of cellular processes that enable the body to produce energy from food and the environment to power every process in the human body. Metabolic health is a term used to describe how efficiently we generate and process this energy. It is clinically defined by optimal levels of five markers, including blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference, without the use of medication.
When metabolic function is compromised, it can lead to imbalances in these markers, which can contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Alternatively, when a person exhibits three or more of the following traits: a waistline of 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men, fasting glucose above 100 mg/dL, HDL cholesterol less than 40 mg/dL, triglycerides above 150 mg/dL, and high blood pressure (130/85 or higher), they can be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
What Defines Good Metabolic Health?
Good metabolic health is a cornerstone of overall health and longevity and it is essential for maintaining optimal physical and mental performance. Aside from optimal levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference, good metabolic health is also reflected in stable and sustained energy level throughout the day, improved cognitive function and memory retention, increased endurance during physical exercise, efficient fat burning, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, improved mood with decreased anxiety and depression, and optimal fertility.
Good metabolic health also contributes to a high functioning immune system, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, fatty liver disease, and more.
Lifestyle interventions play a crucial role in achieving metabolic health. Regular exercise, a diet rich in whole foods, good sleep habits and stress management techniques can help maintain good metabolic health. Engaging in physical activity - both cardiovascular exercise and resistance training - improves insulin sensitivity, which can lead to better glucose control and reduced risk of metabolic disorders. A diet rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods, such as fiber-rich vegetables, low-glycemic fruit, quality proteins, and healthy fats, can provide the body with essential nutrients while reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Additionally, stress management techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and yoga, can help reduce the harmful effects of chronic stress on the body, which can contribute to poor metabolic health.
How Poor Metabolic Health Affects Women Disproportionately
From the reproductive years to menopause and beyond, metabolic dysfunction increases women’s risk for a number of health conditions. In the US 6% to 12% of women suffer from PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) - a leading cause for infertility; more than half of these women will also develop Type 2 diabetes by age 40. Women with diabetes have a twofold increased risk of heart disease compared to men, and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in postmenopausal women. Worldwide, women with dementia outnumber men 2 to 1 and high blood sugar is associated with a greater risk of cognitive dysfunction.
How Tracking with a CGM and the kahla App Can Help You Stay on Top of Your Metabolic Health
Blood sugar regulation is one of the most important contributing factors to metabolic health in the prevention of cardiovascular disease risk, insulin resistance and diabetes. The standard of care for testing blood sugar includes biomarkers such as fasting glucose, fasting insulin and hemoglobin A1C. But even though these blood tests are essential to establishing a baseline, they don’t address short-term glycemic variability or provide any information about individual food triggers.
According to a study conducted by Stanford, using a CGM can help detect up to 15% more prediabetic and 2% more diabetic cases than single-time-point measurements such as fasting glucose or fasting insulin. Some of the benefits of using a CGM include real-time feedback of blood glucose levels every few minutes as well as valuable insights into your individual response to food, exercise or stress.
The kahla app can be paired with a CGM device to provide even deeper insights into metabolic health. The app analyzes blood sugar in the larger context of a woman’s unique health data by taking into account other health metrics such as stress levels, sleep, menstrual cycle, lifestyle factors, and health symptoms.
General dietary guidelines and one-size-fits-all diets fail to account for the genetic makeup, microbiome composition and all the lifestyle factors that affect a woman’s metabolic health. Rather than suggesting a specific diet, the kahla protocol takes women’s data and makes personalized recommendations to address specific needs.
Pairing a CGM with the kahla app can be particularly beneficial for women with conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can affect insulin sensitivity and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By monitoring blood glucose levels and making adjustments to lifestyle habits, such as diet and exercise, women with PCOS can improve their metabolic health and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.
Good metabolic health involves maintaining optimal levels of blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as a healthy weight, blood pressure, and inflammation levels. Improved memory and exercise endurance, sustained energy throughout the day, stable mood, decreased anxiety and depression, clear skin, improved fertility, a high-functioning immune system, and a healthy weight are all associated with good metabolic health. Additionally, good metabolic health can lower the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity, Alzheimer's disease, fatty liver disease, and more.
Poor metabolic health can lead to various chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It can manifest as a range of daily discomforts that hinder us from reaching our full potential and goals, including weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, chronic pain, acne, anxiety, depression, erectile dysfunction, infertility, and reduced exercise endurance.
Women may be at a higher risk of poor metabolic health due to hormonal changes throughout their lives, including menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. These hormonal changes can affect insulin sensitivity, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels.
Lifestyle interventions, including regular exercise, a healthy diet, stress management, and adequate sleep, can improve metabolic health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Tracking metabolic health using a CGM and the kahla app can help you make informed decisions about your lifestyle habits and improve your metabolic health.