The HEALTHEXCEL concept of Metabolic Typing® and the determination of individual metabolic classification, involves the primary evaluation of the interrelationship between the body's three major energy systems: the Autonomic Nervous System, the Oxidative System and the Endocrine System, in conjunction with the Constitutional Elements. Additional factors are also taken into account, e.g., ABO Blood Type, the Dominance Factor and Sex. Each of these factors has an impact on how the body reacts to and utilizes nutrients and is in turn impacted in specific ways by nutrition.
Thus, the mathematical possibility for the combinations of primary metabolic influences looks like this:
Autonomic x Oxidative x Endocrine x Constitutional
= # Of Possible Metabolic Type® Combinations
3 x 3 x 4 x 3 = 108 Combinations of Metabolic Type Influences
When the Blood Type, Autonomic/Oxidative Dominance and Male/Female factors are added to the equation to yield the actual number of Metabolic Types® , the equation now becomes:
3 x 3 x 4 x 3 x 4 x 2 x 2 = 1,728 Basic Metabolic Type Patterns
More accurately, the "10" Constitutional Type/SubType combinations possible with vata, pitta and kapha, should realistically be substituted for "3" used in the equation above. The results would then be as follows:
3 x 3 x 4 x 10 x 4 x 2 x 2 = 5,760 Basic Metabolic Type® Patterns
But, these are just basic Metabolic Type® patterns. In actuality, even within the same type there is tremendous variation and individuality. This infinite diversity is expressed as various strengths and weaknesses of each of the above influences in relation to each other, in conjunction with various levels of balance and efficiency. Suffice it to say that each human being is as biochemically/metabolically/physiologically unique as his/her fingerprints!
There are two other basic parameters involved in the process of Metabolic Typing® : balance and efficiency. The basic metabolic categories represent the possibilities within the parameters of balance - specifically, balance between the autonomic, oxidative and endocrine systems. Efficiency is a factor which is to be considered within the design limits of each of the Metabolic Types® . It may be viewed in terms of each of the three systems -- autonomic, oxidative and endocrine; or it may be considered from the standpoint of the individual metabolic type as a whole.
Balance and efficiency are intimately interrelated; equally connected are imbalance and inefficiency. For example, an imbalance in the nervous system may give rise to inefficiency in the function of an organ; restoring balance to the nervous system may result in the improvement of efficiency in the disturbed organ. However, it is also true that an inefficiency in a gland, e.g., the adrenal glands, may give rise to an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system.
Balance, i.e., balance within the Metabolic Type® design limits, must be present for the existence of efficiency; but efficiency may be present in specific areas without an overall metabolic balance. For example, the stomach is innervated by the parasympathetic system. It is possible for someone to have an efficient stomach, even though classified as a strong sympathetic dominant (imbalance).
It is important to also understand that balance is a relative term. Balance is necessary for good health, but there can be many different types of balance -- within each of the Metabolic Types® -- all resulting in good health. As long as homeostasis is maintained, a balance may be struck through innumerable possibilities.
Balance may be actual in the sense of that the various organs and systems have equal strength or innervation from the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. In such a case, the predominance of the characteristics fall "in the middle," i.e., they may not be properly classified as sympathetic or parasympathetic. Or, a relative balance may occur, which is a kind of "off-setting" of opposites or extremes. This may occur within the autonomic nervous system where there are strong characteristics present from both systems, but which are relatively equal in overall effect. Both types would be considered and treated as BALANCED METABOLIZERS.
Another consideration concerning balance, is the relationship between the autonomic and oxidative systems. To illustrate, a specific example -- the SYMPATHETIC SLOW Metabolic Type® , may be considered. The influence of the sympathetic system is toward acidity and hyperactivity; the influence of slow oxidation is toward alkalinity and hypoactivity. When there is a relative equality of strength between these systems, balance and good health are possible, even in the case of a strong autonomic imbalance. Although a strong sympathetic dominant may not have access to many of the desirable attributes of the parasympathetic, if the strength of slow oxidation is equal to that of the sympathetic influence, then balance between acid and alkaline, and between hyper- and hypo-activity may be maintained. Conversely, if the sympathetic strength far outmatches that of slow oxidation, hyperactivity and acidosis tendencies may result. Or, if slow oxidation greatly overshadows the sympathetic influence, hypoactivity and alkalosis tendencies may occur.
Optimal balance and efficiency within the autonomic, oxidative and endocrine systems provides the basis for optimal health and the potential for the unfoldment of one's full potential. In such a case, there would be present a predominance of "good," i.e., positive and desirable characteristics. Imbalance and inefficiency on the other hand, form the basis for lack of health, as well as a predominance of "bad," i.e., negative or undesirable characteristics.
It is important to realize that both good and bad qualities may arise from the influence of all the systems. Each system may potentially serve as the basis for both desirable and undesirable characteristics. In fact, any adverse characteristic that may occur is not in and of itself "bad." Rather, it is a normal function which is inappropriate to the present circumstance, an otherwise desirable quality which has become out of time with need!
For example, two "normal" and desirable attributes of sympathetic influence are "good concentration" and "quick mental processes." However, should an imbalance occur which results in severe sympathetic dominance, one may find that such desirable characteristics may become a contributing factor in chronic insomnia, characterized by an inability to "shut the mind off" in order to sleep.
Another example is that of tachycardia, an abnormally rapid heart beat which may occur from a sympathetic influence that is too strong. The heart rate is regulated by the autonomic nervous system -- the sympathetic influence increases the heart rate, the parasympathetic influence decreases the heart rate. If an imbalance occurs that favors sympathetic over parasympathetic influence, the heart rate may become too fast. But, the sympathetic influence which increases the heart rate is not negative, nor is it anything "new" in the system, nor is it different from what it usually is in that function. It is a perfectly normal function which has become out of time with the need of the situation, which results in a failure of the system to properly adapt to the environment.
Therefore, it is not correct to assign good attributes to one system and bad attributes to another. All systems may result in good as well as bad characteristics, depending on the metabolic circumstances. To distinguish between these situations, the terms high (meaning high efficiency) and low (meaning low efficiency) are often used in conjunction with the metabolic type for clarity of meaning. Thus, "good concentration" is considered a sympathetic high characteristic; "insomnia" (of the type mentioned above) is considered a sympathetic low characteristic. Whether characteristics expressed in a metabolic type are considered high or low, desirable or undesirable, is a matter of balance or imbalance, and efficiency or inefficiency! It is NOT a question of being sympathetic or parasympathetic, fast or slow, or a pituitary, adrenal, thyroid or gonad type.
Each of the Metabolic Types® have their potential for good, as well as bad traits. Each of the types defines a specific, yet still general metabolic pattern. Within each of the types, the autonomic tendency (imbalance) may be from slight, average or extreme sympathetic or parasympathetic influence; the oxidation rate may be slight, average or extreme fast oxidation or slow oxidation; the dominant endocrine influence may be slight, average or extreme. Furthermore, metabolic efficiency may be poor, average or excellent. It is the manifestation of seemingly infinite variations of balance and efficiency within the autonomic, oxidative and endocrine systems, between the types as well as within the metabolic design limits of each, which is responsible for the unique biochemical and biological wonder that is each individual.
All of the Metabolic Types® have specific tendencies which are related to their biochemistries and which are basic to the expression of physical, diet-related and psychological characteristics. The vision of possibilities offered by The Healthexcel System Of Metabolic Typing is a capacity for understanding not only what each person needs to help maximize health and well-being, but also for understanding much of the basis for why we are the way we are!
Theoretical concepts are necessary for the sake of communicating ideas. Sometimes theories remain relegated to the realm of philosophy, devoid of any utilitarian function. The theoretical concepts which comprise the philosophy of Metabolic Typing® are not of this genre. Quite the contrary, they have a most practical application in the determination of the proper biochemical constituents required for individual health and well-being.
Concurrently, the correct identification of an individual's metabolic type has an added aspect which is not only of considerable interest, but is also of significant practical value -- it provides considerable insight into the basis for the manifestation of many individual characteristics. These claims may best be understood through the consideration of a specific example: e.g., the broad metabolic category of the SYMPATHETIC autonomic type. The Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing® , through the evaluation of the autonomic and oxidative and endocrine systems, provides answers to questions which were previously confounding and perplexing.
The fact that a person is categorized as sympathetic dominant in terms of the autonomic nervous system explains much about external characteristics and personality. But, knowing that one is sympathetic is not enough to explain the numerous variations within that category. The Healthexcel system in fact, identifies 72 distinct sympathetic types (sympathetic x oxidative x endocrine x constitutional x dominance), each having specific metabolic patterns and characteristics. The variations relate to the possible combinations of the influences of the sympathetic type complexed with oxidative, endocrine and constitutional factors, relative to dominance. For simplicity of discussion, we'll just consider the influences of the first three: autonomic, oxidative and endocrine.
Knowing that one is sympathetic tells much. But, that is not enough to explain why one sympathetic does best on a high protein and fat diet, while another needs just the opposite to help balance body chemistry -- a low fat, low protein diet. These differences may be explained in terms of the influence of the oxidation rate (the rate at which nutrients are burned in the cells) in relation to the autonomic influence. If a sympathetic happened to be a fast oxidizer dominant (denoted by the shorthand SFF-), the high protein and fat diet would be required. If on the other hand, the sympathetic were a slow oxidizer dominant (Sss-), just the opposite would be needed. Another possibility is that the sympathetic system is the dominant system in the type (SSs- or SSF-). In this case, regardless of other factors, the low fat and protein diet would be necessary.
Whether autonomic or oxidative dominance is present also has a major influence on personality and behavior. A sympathetic autonomic dominant tends to be a "class A" type personality -- aggressive, hyperactive, competitive, acidic in nature. If a sympathetic is a slow oxidizer dominant (Sss-), the usual sympathetic personality may be totally altered: hyperactive characteristics may be replaced by hypoactive tendencies; and acid nature by a more alkaline one; aggression may be replaced with apathy, and so on. This serves to explain how a sympathetic could experience depression, when in fact the lack of the experience of depression is usually a hallmark of sympathetic influence.
On the other hand, a sympathetic who happens to be a fast oxidative dominant (SFF-) would tend to have an ultra class A personality. Such behavior could easily be mistaken for sympathetic dominance, and vice versa. This exemplifies beautifully the danger of the "symptom treatment" approach to nutrition. Plain and simple, all class A personalities are not alike. Treating them all the same may help some people; but it can also make others worse than before! For example, fruit tends to calm a sympathetic autonomic dominant, but tends to increase excitability in the fast oxidative dominant.
The autonomic vs. oxidative influence may explain much regarding external physical characteristics, personality and reactions to diet . . . . much, but not all, particularly as concerns external physical characteristics in relation to dietary selections. Generally, the sympathetic type tends to be tall and lean, and tends to lose weight easily. But, some people remain sympathetic dominant, yet become overweight. Part of the explanation of how this may occur relates to the oxidation rate. If one does not acquire food which supplies the proper "fuel mixture" for one's type, the nutrients can end up being stored as fat, rather than oxidized as fuel!
But, why would one sympathetic put on weight mainly around the middle, another in a "pot belly," and a third sympathetic tend to put weight on all over? Much of the reason for these distinctions relates to the endocrine system. The dominance of different endocrine glands is correlated to the manner in which weight is distributed over the body. Consequently, the diet of the overweight sympathetic requires special modifications which relate to the influence of various foods on the endocrine system.
These differences in the endocrine type are indicated by the last letter in the abbreviation for the Metabolic Type® . Thus, the thyroid endocrine type, who tends to put weight on around the middle, would be indicated in the above types as follows: SssT, for sympathetic slow (oxidative) dominant thyroid type; and SFFT, for sympathetic fast (oxidative) dominant thyroid type. A sympathetic (autonomic) dominant fast thyroid type is indicated by SSFT.
Hopefully it is clear that without the evaluation of the interrelationship of all three systems -- Autonomic, Oxidative and Endocrine -- accurate metabolic classification and subsequent recommendation would be difficult, to say the least. The Healthexcel System, through its unique philosophy and approach to Metabolic Typing® , holds promise of an exciting and most interesting journey into self-discovery and well-being.