How can this affect weight?
AMPK is an enzyme that exists inside every cell of our body. Its activity affects the fat composition of the body and it is this that make it interesting when considering weight loss.
AMPK regulates cellular energy by increasing the burning of fat and improving the uptake of glucose, therefore lowering blood sugar when cellular energy is low.
Age sees a reduction in the activity of AMPK in our cells, causing weight gain. This helps explain why weight becomes harder to lose as we age. The reduction in activity of AMPK subjects us to an increased risk of age associated diseases.
Eating excessive amounts of calories also decreases the activation of AMPK, resulting in the maintenance function of our cells decreasing, causing cellular waste and damaged proteins to build up leading to inflammation as a result of inflammatory genes taking over the body.
Boosting AMPK can improve our metabolism, reduce the production of fat and increase our energy. Below are suggestions as to how we may do this:
Omega 3 fish oils can increase the hormone adiponectin which activates AMPK, therefore eating two portions of oily fish per week, such as salmon, mackerel, pilchards, sardines, trout or herring will ensure that we are receiving sufficient omega 3.
Vegans can find omega 3 oils in: chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, brussels sprouts and walnuts.
Although getting nutrients from our food is ideal, this may sometimes be difficult for a variety of reasons, so taking a good quality omega 3 supplement may be helpful.
Polyphenols, found in non-starchy vegetables such as: broccoli, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, aubergine, mung bean sprouts, kale, turnip, leeks, onions, peas, peppers, watercress, lettuce and mushrooms, also help to activate AMPK. Eating plenty of vegetables not only provides essential vitamins, minerals and fiber and is necessary for vital processes in the body, including activating AMPK.
Vitally, reducing the number of calories we consume is an effective way to boost AMPK. Concentrating on smaller portions, more vegetables and small amounts of complex carbohydrate such as wholemeal bread, whole grain rice and oats and good quality protein such as chicken, fish, beans and tofu, provides the body with all it needs to function optimally.
Gynostemma pentaphyllum or Jiaogulan is an herbaceous climbing vine from the gourd family and has been shown to boost AMPK activity. Drinking Gynostem Tea on a regular basis is another way to help boost your energy and burn fat.
Hesperiden found in citrus peels, green tea and bilberry extract is also known to boost the activity of AMPK. Drinking green tea may be an easy way to obtain this.