If you clicked this video, then you probably already know about AMPK, but for those of you that don’t…it stands for Activated protein Kinase which is a fuel sensing enzyme in mammalian cells. For our bodies to survive, we need homeostasis which requires constant communication between the outside environment and internal environment in order to allow for optimal metabolism.
On the lines of metabolism, AMPK controls energy metabolism. How? Well it senses increased concentrations of AMP and ADP due to ATP depletion (energy breakdown). In other words, AMPK detects the number of ATP in cells and then regulates it when it gets too high or low. When low, it will burn through stored glycogen in the muscles and liver and initiate autophagy (programmed cell death) which helps provide alternative fuel in times when food is lacking. This results in weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, lowering inflammation, and strengthening the immune system (references in the description box). Increased levels of it also has been shown to increase lifespan by acting on antioxidant pathways like FOXO, NRF2, and SIRT1 which all improve stress resistance. AMPK also inhibits NF-kB signalling which suppresses the inflammatory process.
Now although these are all positives, it does have it’s negatives. For example it can inhibit muscle growth and repair by suppressing mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) which is good and bad. Bad because reduced muscle gain, but good because lower chances of cancer…in other words, you need a balance. Overall though, it’s generally best for most people to increase AMPK which can be done through various methods. You can take actions like intermittent fasting or increasing cold thermogenesis which has been shown to increase the production of it. You can also look at diet and incorporate things like green tea which contains EGCG which helps boost AMPK. Resveratrol in grapes, Psterostilbene in blueberries work the same way as EGCG. Quercerin in red onions, oleic acid in extra virgin olive oil work too. You can also use spices like curcumin, ginger, and cinnamon which have been shown to increase AMPK as well. Also, blood sugar regulator like berberine or bittermelon extract so a great job as well.
Like with all nutrition advice, you need to encompass all of these modalities to see the effects. You can’t eat potato chips but fast and think you will be good. Likewise, you can’t eat all the berries and spices but sit on the couch like a potato either. Through daily intermittent fasting, exercise, and restricting carbohydrates…you will increase AMPK, but more importantly make your body more efficient with its energy production and improve longevity.
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