In our interview, Lisa-Maria Müllner, MSc (dietary therapist), a member of the RINGANA Research Team, shares all of the important facts about the metabolism and how we can influence it positively.

Lisa-Maria Müllner, MSc (dietary therapist)

Lisa-Maria Müllner, MSc (dietary therapist)

What exactly is the metabolism? How does it work?

The term metabolism refers to the transport and conversion of substances in the body. The metabolism is of vital importance. For instance, nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc.) that we consume with our food are metabolised and converted into energy. Our bodies need this energy to breathe, think, move and so many other things. When this happens, calories are burnt.

Metabolic products that are no longer needed or are harmful are eliminated from the body (e.g. via urine or faeces). Enzymes play a key role here. These are proteins that control and accelerate metabolic processes. For these enzymes to work properly, certain vitamins and minerals are important.

What role does the liver play in the metabolism?

The liver is the biggest metabolic organ in the body: it plays a crucial role in maintaining metabolic health. This organ is responsible for processing nutritional components and absorbs substances via the blood, processing and/or storing them and then releasing them back into the bloodstream when required. In addition, the liver is important with regard to the formation of metabolic enzymes.

Starting from the liver, metabolic waste products are removed, for instance via the kidneys or bile. This means that the liver is the body’s most important detoxification organ and it is responsible for detoxifying both the body’s own substances (e.g. conversion of ammonia into urea) and substances that enter the body (medication, toxins, herbicides, heavy metals, pesticides, metabolic products from cigarette smoke, alcohol, batteries, etc.)

Since substances are constantly being “filtered” by the liver, there is a high risk that the liver itself will suffer damage. Which is why we need to take care of our liver.

Why is the metabolism so important?

We couldn’t live without the metabolism. Without our metabolism, we’d have no energy to breathe, to maintain a balanced body temperature, to regulate our hormones, to move, or perform so many other functions. 

If our metabolic pathways are disrupted, this causes metabolic disorders. You’ve probably heard of fat, carbohydrate, protein or mineral metabolisation disorders? Diabetes mellitus, for example, is a well-known metabolic disease where sugar cannot be properly metabolised.  Lots of us are also familiar with lactose intolerance. In this case, the sugar in milk (= lactose) cannot be properly broken down because of an enzyme defect, leading to physical complaints.

Are genetics responsible for our metabolism?

The metabolism is influenced both by genetic predisposition and by lifestyle factors such as diet and movement. The human microbiome (microorganisms in our body) also has an important influence on our metabolic activity.

Do men and women have different metabolisms?

Yes. There are building-up and breaking-down metabolic processes. Gender-specific differences exist, for instance, with regard to building muscle mass. Women build less muscle mass compared with men, having more fatty tissue instead. This in turn influences calorie and nutrient requirements (muscles consume more energy). So men usually burn more calories than women, even when at rest. There are also gender-specific differences when it comes to breaking down alcohol or medication.

Does our metabolism change over the course of our lives?

Yes, over the course of our lives, the metabolism becomes “slower”. For instance, because we lose muscle mass (= metabolically active tissue) as we age. This loss starts between the ages of 30 and 50. Muscles are made of proteins. That’s why it is particularly important to ensure adequate protein intake as we get older, to combat the loss of muscle mass.

How can I find out if my metabolism is good or bad?

A lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, immune system weakness, and unexplained weight gains or losses can be signs that the metabolism is not working properly. A doctor can diagnose metabolic disease.

What influence does our weight have on the metabolism?

Those with a slow metabolism burn fewer calories in the same time as people with a fast metabolism. It is said that this is why people with a fast metabolism can eat more, but put on less weight. However, the metabolism itself only plays a minor role in weight control. The main factors here are diet and calorie intake in relation to energy consumption (e.g. by doing sport).

What is the benefit of a well-functioning metabolism?

Everything works the way it should. We feel energetic and fit, and our digestion and energy utilisation are in top form.

What can we do ourselves to influence our metabolism?

Sport boosts the metabolism and increases metabolically active muscle mass.

Drink a lot of fluid so that metabolic waste products can be eliminated. Tea and coffee can also boost the metabolism.

Make sure that you maintain a healthy, balanced diet and eat regularly. Also ensure that you consume enough proteins (vegan sources of protein: soya products such as tofu, lentils, beans, etc.) and fibre (in fruit, vegetables and grains).

What other products can help?

RINGANA dea is an innovative food supplement drink that gives the metabolism a boost with zinc and Vitamin C. This refreshing drink combines rose hip, hibiscus and quince with effective extracts. These include extracts from green coffee beans, blood orange, prickly pear, and the leaves of honey bush and energising mate.   The zinc it contains supports nutrient metabolisation, while Vitamin C boosts energy metabolisation. In addition, Vitamin C from acerola is a natural stimulant.

Does your digestion need a kick-start? RINGANA CAPS d-gest contain zinc bisglycinate which helps with the metabolisation of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins, while choline contributes to liver function. CAPS d-gest also contain a complex of digestive enzymes that break down proteins, carbohydrates, fats, lactose and fibre; artichoke leaf and inflorescence extract, papain-rich papaya extract, milk thistle-phospholipid complex and herbal extracts from dandelion leaves and root, and yellow gentian root.

And what about sport? We can offer you MOTIVATION in capsule form. RINGANA SPORT push delivers the drive you need with effective energy metabolisation products, stimulating plant extracts such as pine bark extract and SOD from melon, as well as minerals to boost the metabolism. Caffeine from coffee beans, and a clinically-tested galangal root extract work in synergy, delivering a long-lasting and, most importantly, noticeable, push effect.

RINGANA SPORT protein tops up our diet with additional vegan, bioavailable proteins. Suitable for athletes, vegans, older people and all adults who want to add proteins to their diet.

If I (also) want to lose weight, what products would you recommend?

Are you aiming to reduce your weight? In that case, we recommend RINGANA COMPLETE d-eat. This is a balanced, protein-rich meal replacement in shake form that can verifiably contribute to weight loss. Handy! The shake contains all of the essential nutrients for a meal, but with few calories.

Have you ever heard that you can also adjust your gut microbiome for weight control? RINGANA BEYOND biotic is a unique combination of functional microorganisms. Over 21 billion live, study-tested microorganisms work together synergistically per daily dose. These active little helpers support our overall physical and mental well-being. The microbial combination for the metabolism that they contain is award-winning. The positive effect on weight management and metabolic health has been investigated as part of a placebo-controlled study.

If I want to increase my well-being, what products would you recommend?

I would recommend CAPS BEYOND biotic and CAPS moodoo.

 Lisa-Maria Müllner is an expert in Sustainable Food Management and Nutritional Therapy

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