Thomas L. Petty, M.D.
Professor of Medicine,
Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)
When energy is insufficient, potentially every cell in the body takes the rap. The organs begin to conserve energy by shutting down some of their functions. Organs, such as the body's muscles, the heart, and even the brain shrink and lose power. This is called atrophy. Improving organ system function by restoring food balance and the oxygen supply, often results in a restoration of organ function. Thus, the muscles, heart, and brain may recover.
How does this translate into daily life? The answer is to eat enough food and calories and to take enough of the so-called micronutrients, (vitamins and minerals). We derive calories from carbohydrates (starches), fats, and protein. A normal amount of all three food sources is required. Carbohydrates are the most available energy source. Some fat is needed because of the body's requirement of "essential fatty acids". Protein is needed to sustain the integrity of all organ systems. It contains essential amino acids. Micronutrients assist in metabolism by being catalysts in the energy process, and by reducing the impact of toxic oxygen products of metabolism, called free radicals. An excess of free radicals hastens damage to multiple organs, including the lungs, heart, and brain. It promotes aging. We need a balance.
Both overweight and underweight are bad. Underweight means
Complicated? Sure, but we know a lot about bioenergetics, and we are gaining knowledge with each day. If we maintain our energy balance, we can live and thrive. If not, we age and die. Bioenergetics everyone?
I will be in touch next month.
| Index of Letters | PERF Home |
Published: Jan 31 2002