Beware When Rousing The Bear With Aspirin
Although in one sense as humans we don’t exactly hibernate, from another perspective chronic stress – provoked by inadequate fuel – can encourage a state biologically similar to torpor, as a kind of defensive strategy for damage control.
When conditions are trying – with glycogen stores running low and enough fuel not available – metabolic systems can slow to prevent rapid catabolization and self destruction.
If, under chronically stressful circumstances energy needs were not at some point reduced, cortisol – converting muscle and other valuable tissue as a secondary means to providing fuel – might have the chance to eat through a large portion of the body, causing organ damage or even death.
Even though from an evolutionary perspective this is an important mechanism for protection against hardship and starvation, from the point of view of metabolism, it isn’t optimal. When metabolic performance is chronically suppressed, cellular regenerative capacity and immune function can be compromised.
Many of the symptoms associated with the onset of conditions like diabetes – including insulin resistance, reduced glucose oxidation capability, increased amounts of free fatty acids in the blood and inflammation – are closely associated with this stress induced, metabolically suppressed, hibernation like state.
“Stress responses include activation of the sympathetic nervous system and stimulation of epinephrine and cortisol release. These hormones may over the long term reduce insulin sensitivity. Cortisol may also favour the development of central obesity.”
Free fatty acids are significantly more harmful as they become increasingly polyunsaturated in nature. As well as being powerfully metabolism and thyroid suppressing, the polyunsaturated fats have been shown to be a cause of inflammation, insulin ineffectiveness or insufficiency and eventually, a chronic inability for cells to utilise available blood sugar supplies.
“HFDs [high fat diets] in…insulin-sensitive humans…were associated with reduction in…oxidative capacity…These studies implicate increased dietary fat in diabetes and the prediabetic/insulin-resistant state.”
Aspirin has proven to be useful in the reduction of many of the above issues of inflammation and blood sugar regulation, including helping improve insulin function. In terms of thyroid metabolism and health in general, this can all have the potential to be quite positive, increasing protective capacity and regenerative capability.
Aspirin not only moves cells away from using fat as a fuel source and towards the oxidation of glucose, it can also protect against the release of the highly inflammatory and thyroid interfering polyunsaturated fats as free fatty acids into circulation.
“…a 2-week trial of high-dose aspirin treatment was accompanied by significant decreases in hepatic glucose production (22%), fasting plasma glucose (24%), fatty acids (50%), and triglycerides (48%) and a 19% increase in peripheral glucose disposal.”
Taken together, these as well as other redirections, can lead to a significantly higher functioning metabolism with the potential for improvements in all biological systems.
“ASA [aspirin] treatment effectively attenuated MCT-induced pulmonary hypertension, right ventricular hypertrophy, and occlusion of the pulmonary arteries. The effects of ASA was associated with a reduction of 5-HT [serotonin].”
Rising levels of serotonin, estrogen and nitric oxide due to stress and inflammation interfere with oxidative metabolism (promoting the hibernation reaction in some animals) and their reduction with aspirin use can have a significant impact on metabolic performance and subsequent requirements.
“Frequency of use of…aspirin…was inversely associated with concentrations of estradiol…free estradiol…estrone sulfate…and the ratio of estradiol to testosterone…Among postmenopausal women, regular users of aspirin…may have lower estrogen levels than non-users…”
“…stress exposure…caused brain expression of iNOS, an increase in plasma glutamate and brain TNF-alpha, induction of oxidative indicators in brain and a fall in brain ATP levels….aspirin…inhibited all these effects caused by stress…”
It’s important to remember that with this can come not only an escalating demand for a variety of nutrients, but also the possibility of a significantly increased need for the provision of sugar, if more is being used to maintain enhanced cellular performance.
“Glucose oxidation rates improved significantly following 2 weeks of aspirin therapy…high-dose aspirin may…have an insulin-sensitizing effect or a direct antilipolytic effect on adipocytes, leading to reduced rates of lipolysis and lower plasma fatty acid levels…”
When you wake the Bear, you want to make sure there is plenty of fuel available.
If fuel isn’t provided, the response can end up being an increase in stress, which may then instigate reactions which are counter-productive.
Speeding up energy metabolism via any means without sufficient supply of sugar for fuel can lead to the depletion of glycogen stores and can eventually cause levels of cortisol and adrenalin to rise.
“…elevated concentrations of glucocorticoids such as cortisol stimulate catabolism to ensure fuel…results provide…evidence in humans for a physiological link between sugar consumption and cortisol reactivity to stress.”
Some things other than aspirin that are known to be able to have a similar effect on metabolism – increasing sugar requirements – include thyroid hormone, caffeine, red light, salt, protein, pregnenolone, even sugar itself.
In a roundabout way, promoting metabolic function without meeting the needs which increase as a result, can potentially eventuate in a worsening of metabolic performance.
Wastage of valuable tissue due to high cortisol, an increase in inflammatory substances such as serotonin and estrogen, free fatty acid release and other potentially problematic effects of stress, can end up being heightened, even though they are what aspirin can be used to protect against.
Of course this is a matter of context, not a black and white thing. Reactions vary and many benefit from aspirin use regardless of whether they have an understanding of the intricacies of metabolic fueling.
Improvements in overall performance from the use of aspirin can also mean some requirements are reduced because of rising efficiency and effectiveness of metabolic function. For instance, improving thyroid metabolism can promote the ability to store glycogen in the liver and use it more economically.
Appropriate fueling possibly becomes a more immediate issue when the dose of aspirin being taken is high. Regardless, underestimating fuel needs – and ignoring factors which can be interfering with the use of sugar – can have a big effect on results.
One feasible approach to providing nutritional and fuel requirements for an improving metabolism is a diet with enough protein from milk, cheese and gelatin and plenty of sugar from sweet ripe juicy fruits, fruit juice, honey and white sugar.
As always, tracking before and after pulse and temperature readings can be very instructive and can help remove much confusion.
By all means wake the Bear, but don’t be left standing there with nothing but yourself to offer. Because sometimes you feed the Bear, and sometimes the Bear feeds on you.
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