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AMP-ACTIVATED PROTEIN KINASE (AMPK): How to activate lasting energy

We’ve all learned of the importance of exercise to maintain a healthy body. Have you ever wondered why it’s so important, or considered what happens at the cellular level when you move your body? A very special enzyme with a four-letter acronym is behind it all!

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First, a little background biology

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is the primary energy source of all living organisms. Energy is captured from the food you eat and is stored in the form of ATP. It is then broken down and the energy is released into the mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of the cell (remember high school biology class). The mitochondria then convert the energy into a form that cells can use. Simply put, the end product is called adenosine monophosphate (AMP).

Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) – our above-referenced, four-letter acronym – is an enzyme that is biochemically activated in the presence of increasing levels of AMP (thus, the name) and decreasing levels of ATP. In my book, The Longevity Equation, I reveal, “If you want a bottomless supply of energy, activating AMPK is the #1 thing you need to do. AMPK is the body’s ultimate energy enzyme. This enzyme plays a huge role in the homeostatic control of energy balance. In other words, it helps regulate energy inflow [ATP] and energy outflow [AMP].” (p. 123)

What else does AMPK do in my body?

 Jeffrey Bland, PhD, calls AMPK the Chief Executive Housekeeper of the body:

When you cut calories or exercise, AMPK coordinates glucose and fat catabolism [breakdown] and anabolism [synthesis] to keep you going, and when you fast or lose weight, AMPK directs the sorting of cellular components for recycling or disposal in your metabolic waste bin. It oversees short-term energy usage as well as long-term energy regulation. In basic terms, cellular AMPK monitors levels of the energy molecules AMP and ATP . . . and communicates throughout the body to optimize their balance, exerting major influence over metabolic plasticity and cellular housekeeping functions.

I summarize in The Longevity Equation: “Along with controlling energy levels, AMPK also increases your metabolism, helps you melt away fat, cleans out old cells, acts as an antioxidant, and increases your overall blood flow. Most of all, it promotes longevity. In fact, research shows that AMPK activation can increase your lifespan by up to 15%! That could mean an extra 11.7 years.” (p. 123)

Activate AMPK with another four-letter acronym for exercise

Exercise builds muscle strength and flexibility, promotes cardiovascular health and encourages healthy lung capacity. But at the cellular level, exercise does so much more.

“If you have trouble finding energy during the day or you just can’t seem to get rid of that extra weight, chances are, you just haven’t figured out how to activate AMPK yet. But you’re in luck – activating [AMPK] is actually pretty simple. There’s one thing you can do today that will help “turn on” this enzyme almost instantly: exercise . . . This is because AMPK is stimulated by your muscle contractions. All forms of exercise will help activate this enzyme. However, research shows that high-intensity workouts produce the most significant results . . . The best way to do this is with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT uses short bursts of intense exercise, followed by a resting period . . . If you want more energy, you have to get your body moving and your muscles working.” (The Longevity Equation, p. 123-124)

“A lack of time might be the #1 reason why people don’t work out. But what if instead of spending 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes working out each day, you could get amazing results in WAY less time? Well, [the training coach of a Japanese speed skating team], named Izumi Tabata, developed a 4-minute workout (after warmup) that completely shatters the idea that workouts have to be time-consuming to be effective. In fact, one study showed that this workout method is even more effective than cycling for a full hour. If you want to build muscle, burn fat, and increase your endurance quickly and without lifting a single weight, you can’t go wrong with this workout.” (The Longevity Equation, p. 135)

The Tabata Protocol:

Step 1: Warm up the body for 5-10 minutes.

Step 2: Complete 8 sets of the following:

·         20 seconds of high-intensity action (sprinting, cycling, rowing, burpees, etc.)

·         10 seconds of rest

Step 3: Cool down.

Expanding on cellular housekeeping

In our blog on Cellular Senescence, we talked about autophagy [aw-tofuh-jee], your body’s built-in cellular recycling program. AMPK is involved in a selective form of autophagy called mitophagy. Dr. Jeffrey Bland continues to expand on this:

One of AMPK’s most important missions is responding to mitochondrial stress and injury caused by redox imbalance, oxygen tension, and mitochondrial toxins such as pesticides and microbicides. Upon these kinds of challenges, AMPK determines when to enact mitophagy to “part out” usable portions of damaged mitochondria and/or order production of new ones. This housekeeping role [is] a crucial aspect of healthy cell life cycles . . . Many of AMPK’s activities take place through an impressively broad communications network with many well-known signaling systems linked to biological aging . . . AMPK regulates glucose uptake, insulin sensitivity, fatty acid oxidation, protein and muscle synthesis, exercise capacity, and the inflammatory response.

In addition to exercise, evidence shows that caloric restriction/intermittent fasting increases lifespan and longevity by activating AMPK’s ability to initiate mitophagy. Research demonstrates that “among the effects of [caloric restriction/intermittent fasting], modulation of mitochondrial activity and a decrease in oxidative damage are two of the hallmarks.”

One more easy way to activate your AMPK

I have developed a potent blend of phytonutrients that can help stimulate autophagy and mitophagy by activating your body’s own AMPK. It’s the only supplement of its kind that works on a cellular level to help flush toxic cells out of your body and pave the way for fresh, new, rejuvenating cells to take their place.

It’s called Restori-Cell, and it gives you a way to rewrite the script and change the way you think about aging. It boosts mental clarity, promotes youthful, all-day energy, and supports a natural, healthy weight. Restori-Cell meets the highest standards of quality and features five highly specialized nutrients in scientifically-supported doses:

  • BERBERINE HCL (Berberis aristata) (root): Research suggests that “berberine displays beneficial effects in the treatment of diabetes and obesity at least in part via stimulation of AMPK activity.” South Korean researchers published a study that demonstrated how berberine activates AMPK. In fact, a study published in the journal Aging Cell found that it could extend the lifespan of mice by 16%! Berberine is such a potent cell-restoring nutrient that many people report that they can almost feel it working its magic.
  • HESPERIDIN (Citrus aurantium) (Citrus peel): Hesperidin is a special flavonoid extracted from the peel of bitter orange that has been shown to activate AMPK resulting in cellular regulation. A study was also published that “rigorously demonstrated [that] daily oral consumption of hesperidin . . . improved endothelial function, reduced circulating biomarkers of inflammation, and favorably altered lipid profiles in subjects with the metabolic syndrome.”
  • GYNOSTEMMA (Pentaphyllum) (leaf extract 20): Gynostemma is distantly related to the cucumber and native to Japan, China, and Korea, where it’s long been called the ‘little herb of immortality.’ That’s because inside its leaves are powerful plant flavonoids called gypenosides that activate AMPK and help supercharge your natural autophagy. There is evidence that shows gynostemma could have powerful effects on mediating weight gain. Another study indicated that gynostemma and activated AMPK can have beneficial effects on glucose and lipid metabolism.
  • QUERCETIN: A 2018 study implies that quercetin may be a therapeutic intervention for the treatment of cardiovascular disorders such as atherosclerosis and hypertension.” While another study suggests that, “AMPK activated by quercetin may be a potential target to enhance the resistance of neurons to age-related diseases.” Researchers have also suggested “the importance of [using quercetin to] modulat[e] AMPK pathway for improved therapeutic approaches to type 2 diabetes and associated disorders.”
  • FISETIN: There’s truth in the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Fisetin is a natural plant compound found in fruits like apples and strawberries. Fisetin is one of the most exciting anti-aging discoveries of all time. One profound study revealed that fisetin inhibits cancer cell growth and “activates AMPK to induce apoptosis [cell death] in multiple myeloma cells . . . inhibits . . . non-small cell lung cancer . . . and induces autophagy-mediated cell death by activating AMPK . . . in prostate cancer cells”

How can The Institute for Human Optimization assist me?

At The Institute for Human Optimization, my team and I leverage the most cutting-edge advances in genetic testing, nutritional, and functional medicine to help our patients treat the root biological imbalances that cause aging. I believe that a long healthspan – not just a long lifespan – is the most important thing you can cultivate. A long healthspan means you don’t miss out on life as you get older. It means remaining independent and having the vitality to travel and see the world.  A long healthspan means that you can be there – in full body and mind – for the people who need you the most and that every day will feel like a gift.

The Institute for Human Optimization provides the most comprehensive, data-driven, personalized approach to wellness. It is:

  • Predictive – We use genomics and advanced biomarker testing to risk stratification and empowerment.
  • Personalized – We use data-driven health information to curate actionable change for disease mitigation and prevention.
  • Preventive – We utilize highly individualized programs tailored to your unique genomic blueprint.
  • Participatory – We empower engagement in personal choices, which allows for improved outcomes and enhanced results.

Let’s create longevity and lasting energy together!

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