More facts: Genetic forms of obesity, including diabetes, have defective mitochondrial activity. This defect leads to a higher ratio of weight gain to food intake. Sound familiar? Anybody ever heard this? You don’t eat that much and you gain more weight. This is absolutely true. This is described in the literature, and it is due to mitochondrial defects. This is a diagram of oxygen utilization. This is the cell; that’s one of the mitochondria. How many mitochondria in your cell? About half that cell is mitochondria. I’m just showing one.
These are your three big players: glucose (which is sugar), fat, and oxygen. Again, energy comes as two flavors: heat, and it’s harnessed as energy, so you can generate all the other things that the cell does.
The cell does tons of things. It makes things. It contracts muscles. It makes brain neurotransmitters. It makes proteins. It runs your immune system. It regulates everything. The cell does all that stuff, but it needs energy to do that. If it doesn’t get an adequate amount of energy, it is sort of like a car that’s not getting the right amount of gas. It’s just not going to do it that well. That’s the process.
So, where can things go wrong? First of all, maybe we’re not getting oxygen in. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe we’re smoking. Do we live in a room like this where the oxygen concentration is going to be lower? Maybe we don’t have good lungs. Maybe we don’t breathe well. When you’re stressed out, you tend to not breathe well. Did you know that? I’ve taken people and measured their oxygen utilization and then taught them how to breathe from their diaphragm. One hour later, I measured their oxygen utilization again, and it went up by 20% just by teaching them how to breathe – a simple little thing that normally you don’t think about.
Watch yourself when you’re under stress, when you’re really concentrating. Are you breathing? You’re focusing on it and you’re not breathing. So, take a look at what you’re doing with breathing. I have a whole chapter on this in the “Bursting with Energy” book. That could be a problem – stress and not breathing correctly.
Or, you could have asthma. There’s a lot of variation in lung capacity, a lot of variation. I saw a lady the other day. She is 55 years old and she has 45% more lung capacity than the average woman her size. It’s like she has a third lung. This is not that unusual. There’s a tremendous difference in lung capacity. Some of you have really huge lung capacity and some of you were born with not such great lung capacity. So, that will make a difference.
Usually, the big problem here is circulation. The older you get the more jammed up your circulation becomes. Like Dr. Edwards was explaining; it just doesn’t work so well. The arteries get hard, you don’t have high enough nitrous oxide levels, and you can’t actually get the oxygen in. That would be one of the issues. Let’s assume all that’s doing okay. Now, we’ve got one of the players in the cell. Now, all we’ve got to do is get the other two into the cell. The next would be fat. When you eat something, you’re not designed to live off what you’re eating. Did you know that? If that were the case, you’d be a cow. You’re designed to eat something, store that, then feed off your storage until the next time you kill the deer or go to Safeway. You eat, it gets put on as fat, and then you live off that fat.
You break down that fat to get energy (unless you don’t). This ability to break down fat is not automatic by any means. You can put it on. But there are a whole bunch of processes that have to go on to take it off and break it down. There are a lot of enzymes involved. There’s a lot of transport; your liver is involved, there are certain hormones involved, and certain nutrients.
Just getting it into the mitochondria is a whole other game. There are a lot of things that can go wrong in getting fat down into the mitochondria. We don’t see the same problem with glucose. Glucose can pretty much get in there automatically. Fats can be a problem. For a lot of people, it just doesn’t get down into the mitochondria very easily at all.