Our Functional Medicine Toronto Clinic Discusses AMPK and its Pro-longevity Effects

functional medicine clinic in toronto explains ampk

Our functional medicine Toronto patients are usually surprised to learn that AMPK could contribute to longevity and fighting inflammation.

In fact, according to the journal Experimental & Molecular Medicine, a lack of this enzyme in the body could be a contributing factor in diabetes, obesity, and even cancer.

AMPK stands for adenosine monophosphate activated protein kinase, and it’s an enzyme required for metabolizing carbohydrates and fats. So how does it work? Our clinical practice, the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre, explains: 

  • It manages metabolic energy. It is stimulated to re-balance cellular energy when energy dwindles from stress, fasting, hunger, or physical activities. Think of it this way: it is activated when your body says, “Give me more energy!”
  • “Consistent with AMPK’s demonstrated role in energy metabolism, AMPK has been reported to increase lipid oxidation and inhibit lipid synthesis [thereby decreasing liver and body fat content],” explains a report from Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome.
  • Activating the enzyme could boost metabolism and longevity, and reduce inflammation. Unfortunately, scientists suspect that it declines as we mature. This enzymatic reduction could lead to unexpected changes in weight, hunger, and energy levels as we age.
  • The levels decrease when there’s insulin resistance and excessive amounts of calories and glucose. In sum, research suggests that overeating can suppress adenosine monophosphate activated protein kinase ideal levels.

Additionally, it is linked to low fat production; this is because it already helps control your metabolism. However, when functions are lowered, body fat production can increase. So what’s the bottom line? Healthy weight loss and optimal health could result when you frequently activate AMPK.

6 Benefits of AMPK: The Functional Medicine Approach

Activating the enzyme for your wellness might encourage these beneficial effects:

  1. Could suppress your appetite: it naturally reduces hunger because it controls metabolism when it’s activated. This might help to prevent overeating.
  2. Could lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease: activation could reduce your chances of having strokes or heart attacks.
  3. Supports antioxidant activity: might contribute to reducing oxidative stress, which could help delay or prevent age-related disease conditions.
  4. Supports type II diabetes management: “it is signaling decreases apoptosis, inflammation and oxidative stress” and it also inhibits insulin resistance, states a Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy article. It could also help patients with diabetes in managing blood sugar levels.
  5. Might alleviate chronic pain: In a study on animals, it had an analgesic effect towards pain, especially with inflammation.
  6. Could increase your blood flow: it might promote blood circulation via vasodilation – when blood vessels expand – by triggering the blood vessels to release nitric oxide). This helps nourish your cells with nutrition and oxygen.
  7. It might improve your brain health by delaying or preventing neurodegenerative conditions:  According to a Current Drug Targets piece, “recent evidences suggest that AMPK deregulation might participate in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and ischemic stroke. Therefore, AMPK is emerging as a potential therapeutic target for these neurodegenerative diseases.”

How Do You Activate AMPK?

If you want to activate this enzyme, consider these strategies:

Get moving: “Exercise is perhaps the most powerful physiological activator and a unique model for studying its many physiological roles,” explains an article from Biochemical Journal.

Reduce inflammation: Try relieving inflammation with the help of resveratrol supplement. Resveratrol is a natural polyphenolic compound in edible fruits (i.e. berries, pomegranates, grape skin, etc.). It contains beneficial biological functions due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic, hypolipidemic, anti-platelet, and antioxidant properties. Resveratrol could also incite a hormone called adiponectin, which activates the enzyme.

Watch your diet: Extreme amounts of carbohydrates could spike your insulin levels. This could trigger insulin resistance, which inevitably hinders activation.  

Use supplements: Healthcare providers that practice functional medicine could recommend supplements for activating AMPK. For instance, the flavonoid hesperidin has been shown to increase the activation. (Hesperidin could also help with inflammation, while helping manage blood pressure issues. Hesperidin has also shown to inhibit obesity, reduce high blood sugar and lipids, and reduce insulin resistance concerns.) Dosages are individualistic as they might depend on age and previous health issues.

Can this enzyme support have the potential to help you achieve  your  longevity  goals ? Our integrative and functional medicine healthcare providers could bring a personalized approach to your health. Transform your wellness today with clinical nutrition and functional medicine.

Contact Us for Integrative and Functional Medicine Sessions

At the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre, we empower patients to take control of their health by understanding the scientific evidence behind their treatments. We also offer functional medicine testing and compassionate care for patients. 

Moreover, we encourage patients to build a comprehensive treatment plan alongside their functional medicine provider. In turn, this can empower people to reach optimal health for the long run.

Our integrative care allows you to embrace your uniqueness and explore a wide variety of therapies. Allopathic treatments, Traditional Chinese Medicine, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, herbal medicine, IV therapy, and other modalities are available at our private practice. It’s time to experience a unique clinical experience!

Functional medicine from our Toronto clinic is available for in-person and virtual sessions. New patients are welcome, including you! Please call (416) 968-6961 to learn about our consultation fees. 

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.

 

References:

Burkewitz K, Zhang Y, Mair WB. AMPK at the nexus of energetics and aging. Cell Metab. 2014 Jul 1;20(1):10-25. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2014.03.002. Epub 2014 Apr 10. PMID: 24726383; PMCID: PMC4287273.

Chapnik, N., Genzer, Y., Ben-Shimon, A., Niv, M. Y., & Froy, O. (2014). AMPK-derived peptides reduce blood glucose levels but lead to fat retention in the liver of obese mice, Journal of Endocrinology, 221(1), 89-99. Retrieved Aug 22, 2022, from https://joe.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/joe/221/1/89.xml

Coughlan KA, Valentine RJ, Ruderman NB, Saha AK. AMPK activation: a therapeutic target for type 2 diabetes? Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2014 Jun 24;7:241-53. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S43731. PMID: 25018645; PMCID: PMC4075959.

Entezari, Maliheh, et al. “AMPK signaling in diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance and diabetic complications: A pre-clinical and clinical investigation.” Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 146 (2022): 112563.

Harun-Or-Rashid, M., Inman, D.M. Reduced AMPK activation and increased HCAR activation drive anti-inflammatory response and neuroprotection in glaucoma. J Neuroinflammation 15, 313 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12974-018-1346-7

Henriksen BS, Curtis ME, Fillmore N, Cardon BR, Thomson DM, Hancock CR. The effects of chronic AMPK activation on hepatic triglyceride accumulation and glycerol 3-phosphate acyltransferase activity with high fat feeding. Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2013 May 31;5:29. doi: 10.1186/1758-5996-5-29. PMID: 23725555; PMCID: PMC3679947.

Kim J, Yang G, Kim Y, Kim J, Ha J. AMPK activators: mechanisms of action and physiological activities. Exp Mol Med. 2016 Apr 1;48(4):e224. doi: 10.1038/emm.2016.16. PMID: 27034026; PMCID: PMC4855276.

Kubota, Naoto & Yano, Wataru & Kubota, Tetsuya & Yamauchi, Toshimasa & Itoh, Shinsuke & Kumagai, Hiroki & Kozono, Hideki & Takamoto, Iseki & Okamoto, Shiki & Shiuchi, Tetsuya & Suzuki, Ryo & Satoh, Hidemi & Tsuchida, Atsushi & Moroi, Masao & Sugi, Kaoru & Noda, Tetsuo & Ebinuma, Hiroyuki & Ueta, Yoichi & Kondo, Tatsuya & Kadowaki, Takashi. (2007). Adiponectin Stimulates AMP-Activated Protein Kinase in the Hypothalamus and Increases Food Intake. Cell metabolism. 6. 55-68. 10.1016/j.cmet.2007.06.003.

Jeon SM. Regulation and function of AMPK in physiology and diseases. Exp Mol Med. 2016 Jul 15;48(7):e245. doi: 10.1038/emm.2016.81. PMID: 27416781; PMCID: PMC4973318.

Marinangeli, Claudia et al. “AMPK in Neurodegenerative Diseases: Implications and Therapeutic Perspectives.” Current drug targets 17 8 (2016): 890-907 .

Richter EA, Ruderman NB. AMPK and the biochemistry of exercise: implications for human health and disease. Biochem J. 2009 Mar 1;418(2):261-75. doi: 10.1042/BJ20082055. PMID: 19196246; PMCID: PMC2779044.

Xiang, HC., Lin, LX., Hu, XF. et al. AMPK activation attenuates inflammatory pain through inhibiting NF-κB activation and IL-1β expression. J Neuroinflammation 16, 34 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12974-019-1411-x