How Body Fat Percentage Can Influence Energy Levels

Calories are units of energy that the body uses as fuel. Food and beverages (apart from water, black coffee and tea, and diet drinks) contain calories. The human body burns a certain amount of calories through physical activity and also simply by being alive – the beating of the heart, activity of the brain and nervous system, and general body processes all require energy.

When we take in more calories than we burn, our body stores the excess calories in fat cells. Essentially, body fat is stored energy. But how exactly do body fat and energy levels relate to one another? Does having more body fat mean more energy? Read on to learn more about how body fat percentage can influence energy levels.

What Is Body Fat Percentage?

Body fat percentage is the percentage of a person’s body mass that is composed of fat. There are six types of body fat:

  1. Essential fat is, as the name suggests, essential for life. It plays a crucial role in regulating body temperature, hormone levels, vitamin absorption, and cell structure.
  2. White fat cells are the main type of fat cell in the body. White fat is the body’s largest energy reserve. People who are overweight have an overabundance of white fat.
  3. Brown fat cells are packed with mitochondria, which burn fatty acids to generate heat and keep the body warm.
  4. Beige fat cells function somewhere between white and brown fat cells.
  5. Subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat located underneath our skin. It’s made up of white, brown, and beige fat cells.
  6. Visceral fat is white fat that is stored around our internal organs.
person with low body fat
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What Is A Healthy Body Fat Percentage?

A healthy body fat percentage for females younger than 50 is between 14% and 20%. For females over aged 50, a healthy body fat percentage is between 8% and 27%.

A healthy body fat percentage for males younger than 50 is between 8% and 18%. For males aged over 50, a healthy body fat percentage is between 8% and 22%.

Why Is It Important To Have A Healthy Body Fat Percentage?

Having a healthy body fat percentage means you have a better chance of being in good physical and psychological health.

If your body fat percentage is too high, you will have an increased risk of:

  • Clinical obesity
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

If your body fat percentage is too low, you will have an increased risk of:

  • Dangerously low heart rate
  • Decreased thyroid hormone production
  • Loss of reproductive function
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of muscle tissue
  • Fragile bones

What Factors Affect Energy Levels?

There are myriad different factors that affect energy levels. Some of the main ones include:

  • Body fat percentage
  • Your level of aerobic fitness
  • The amount of muscle mass on your body
  • Whether you have gotten enough good-quality sleep
  • How hydrated you are
  • Time of day (some people are more energetic in the morning; others are more energetic later in the day)
  • Whether you are in a fasted or fed state
  • The quality of your diet
  • Hormone levels
  • Whether your body has all of the vitamins and nutrients it requires

How Body Fat Percentage Can Influence Energy Levels

Research suggests that energy expenditure is higher in people with a higher body fat percentage. This is because individuals with a high body fat percentage tend to spend more energy performing activities as a consequence of higher weight burden. Further research suggests that people with a high body fat percentage “experience fatigue and decreased physical endurance that indicates diminished energy supply in the body”.

This shows that people with a higher body fat percentage require more energy to power their bodies, while at the same time also having a diminished energy supply. In turn, this indicates that people with a higher body fat percentage may feel less energetic than people with a lower body fat percentage.

Why Does Body Fat Percentage Influence Energy Levels?

Research suggests that people can have a high body fat percentage for various reasons, including metabolic events that disturb energy metabolism. These metabolic events cause diminished energy supply and result in people having lower energy levels as the body attempts to save energy to sustain metabolic functioning.

How Does Body Weight Affect Energy Requirements?

A person with a higher body weight will have higher energy requirements because more energy is required to perform activities as a consequence of the higher weight burden.

Does More Body Fat Mean More Energy?

More body fat means that a person is literally carrying around a source of energy in the form of body fat. However, carrying this extra weight will tend to make a person tired because they must expend more energy to move their body, and because their excess body fat is caused, in part, by metabolic events that cause the body to overeat and to have a diminished energy supply.

woman exercising
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Does Low Body Fat Affect Energy?

Having an unhealthily low amount of body fat can adversely affect energy levels. Research on bodybuilders who were in contest preparation and whose body fat percentage had dipped below 5% showed that they experienced a decrease in strength and decreased testosterone levels while at these low body fat percentages. Both decreased strength and decreased testosterone levels can have a negative effect on energy levels.

Healthy Body Fat Percentage = Optimal Energy Levels

As we’ve seen, people with an unhealthily high or an unhealthily low level of body fat are likely to experience reduced levels of energy. We can conclude that to give yourself the best chance of having high energy levels, you should strive to maintain a healthy body fat percentage.

How To Optimize Body Fat Percentage

You can optimize body fat percentage through the following methods:

  • Caloric restriction
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Exercise
  • Weight training
  • Getting enough good-quality sleep

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How Body Fat Percentage Can Influence Immune Function

A well-functioning immune system is essential for your overall health and wellbeing. An optimally operational immune system will defend the body against foreign pathogens and disease. It will also not attack the body or cause unnecessary and harmful chronic inflammation (the way it does in the case of autoimmune disease).

Many factors affect how well your immune system operates, and it’s important to make lifestyle choices that are likely to lead to your immune system working well. Let’s talk about how body fat percentage can influence immune function.

What Is Body Fat Percentage?

A person’s body fat percentage is their total mass of fat divided by their total body mass and multiplied by 100. It is the percentage of their entire body that is made of fat. Body fat percentage is seen as a good indicator of a person’s overall health and fitness status. Studies suggest that body fat percentage can have an effect on immune function.

How Is Body Fat Percentage Measured?

The main methods of measuring body fat percentage are:

  • Skinfold measurements
  • Body fat scales
  • Circumference measurements
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan
  • Air displacement plethysmography
  • 3D body scanner
  • Hydrodensitometry (underwater weighing)
measuring body fat
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The Different Types Of Body Fat

Body fat comes in six types. These are:

  • Essential fat: Essential fat helps to regulate body temperature, vitamin absorption, cell structure, and hormones, and is essential for optimal health.
  • White fat: White fat cells store fat in the form of triglycerides and are the main form of fat cell in the body. White fat is the body’s largest energy reserve, and it provides cushioning for the organs and external body structure. When people are overweight, the majority of their excess weight will be in the form of white fat.
  • Brown fat: Brown fat cells burn energy. Brown fat is packed with mitochondria, which burn fatty acids to generate heat and keep the body warm. Brown fat is especially prevalent in babies.
  • Beige fat: Beige fat cells function somewhere between white and brown fat cells. They help burn fat rather than store it.
  • Subcutaneous fat: Subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat directly underneath our skin. Subcutaneous fat is made up of a combination of white, brown, and beige fat, and makes up about 90% of fat in our body.
  • Visceral fat: Visceral fat is white fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity around organs such as the heart, liver, and pancreas.

What Does Body Fat Percentage Indicate?

Body fat percentage can indicate whether you are a healthy weight, overweight, or underweight. However, body fat percentage is not a foolproof indicator of general health or of a healthy lifestyle.

Body fat percentage depends on multiple genetic factors that vary between individuals, such as metabolism, activity levels, and musculature. Also, where body fat is stored has a large impact on health outcomes. For example, if you have a healthy body fat percentage but an unhealthy amount of your fat is visceral fat around your waist, you may be at increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

What Is A Healthy Body Fat Percentage?

A healthy body fat percentage for males is generally between 8% and 18%. When men get to age 50 and over, a body fat percentage of between 8% and 22% is considered healthy.

A healthy body fat percentage for females is generally between 14% and 20%. From age 50 and over, a body fat percentage of between 8% and 27% is considered healthy.

Risks Of An Unhealthy Body Fat Percentage

If you have an unhealthy body fat percentage, you increase the risk of various negative health outcomes. These include:

  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Fatigue
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Autoimmune diseases

If your body fat percentage is too low, you risk:

  • Hormone imbalances
  • Loss of reproductive function
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of muscle tissue
  • Dry, fragile bones

What Is The Immune System And What Does It Do?

The immune system is the network of organs, tissues, and cells that prevents invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites from taking hold in the body and causing disease. When germs get into the body, the immune system triggers the release of special cells that attack them. So how does body fat affect the immune system?

thin body
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How Body Fat Percentage Can Influence Immune Function

Studies suggest that excess visceral fat, particularly around the stomach, can trigger the immune system to release proinflammatory immune cells. By circulating in the blood and causing inflammation, these cells can damage the body rather than protect it.

Can Excessive Body Fat Lead To Immune Disorders?

Studies suggest that excessive body fat can lead to immune disorders that cause inflammatory diseases, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.

Can Low Body Fat Affect The Immune System?

Studies suggest that lowering body fat can change immune system activity quickly and positively and reverse some of the adverse inflammatory changes seen in obese people with diabetes.

Lowered body fat percentage causes the immune system to reduce the amount of proinflammatory cells circulating in the blood. This reduces chronic inflammation throughout the body and can improve prediabetes and type-2 diabetes.

How To Reduce Body Fat Percentage

You can reduce body fat percentage through:

  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting more sleep
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Weight training

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How Body Fat Percentage Can Influence Liver Function

The liver is a vital organ. As well as being the largest solid organ found within the body, it performs a lot of crucial tasks. It removes any toxins that happen to get into the blood, helps to regulate and maintain proper sugar levels, and ensures that the blood clots as it should. While these are among the most important functions of the liver, it also plays a role in hundreds of other functions that the body needs to perform to stay alive, such as producing bile.

When the liver isn’t working as it should, every other system can be compromised. Toxins can build up, causing illness; inadequate bile production can lead to digestive issues; and a lack of sugar regulation can cause lowered energy levels. To say the liver is important would be a vast understatement!

There are several things that can compromise liver health. One example is a high body fat percentage. But what does body fat percentage mean, and how does fat affect the liver? Read on to learn all you need to know about how body fat percentage can influence liver function.

What is body fat percentage?

Every person has to have some level of body fat to survive. Typically, men need less than women, but both require it because fat on the body is used for a variety of functions.

Body fat percentage is essentially the way levels of fat on the body are measured against everything else such as lean tissue, muscle mass, organs, and body water. Many people use body fat percentage as a way to gauge their overall health, and the measurement is often used to determine a person’s fitness level.

person measuring body fat
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Body fat percentage is also more important than total weight. For example, if a person is overweight according to the Body Mass Index (BMI) but has a healthy body fat percentage, their overall level of health is better than someone who falls into the category of healthy on the BMI scale but has a significant amount of body fat.

As a general rule, calculating body fat percentage is a better indicator of overall health because it shows a better picture of fatty tissue. People with higher levels of fatty tissue are often at risk of having obesity-related disease, so even if a person fits into the normal weight category, they could be in trouble if they have a lot of body fat and little lean muscle mass.

How does fat affect liver function?

The liver is supposed to have a small amount of fat in it. However, when those levels increase because a person eats more sugar or fat than their body can process, it can lead to a buildup of fat within the organ. In turn, this can lead to various health issues – most notably, fatty liver.

Fatty liver is a broad term used to describe too much fat in the liver. There are various types of the condition, all of which can lead to the organ becoming damaged or scarred. Scarring, in more severe cases, can lead to liver failure, which is when the liver cannot perform its functions.

There are two types of common fatty liver disease: non-alcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver disease. The former is caused when fat builds up within the liver without the presence of excess alcohol use, while the latter is closely associated with excessive consumption of alcohol. The cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease isn’t as clear as its alcoholic counterpart; however, some factors that can play a role in its development can include other health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome.

liver health
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Body fat and liver function

There is a clear connection between body fat percentage and liver function because of how fat can affect the way the liver works. However, it’s worth mentioning here that not all types of body fat are the same.

The human body can hold two types of fat. The first is subcutaneous fat, which is stored in the layer located right beneath the skin. Typically, people hold most of their fat in that layer, and roughly 90% of body fat is thought to be subcutaneous. While subcutaneous fat is associated with a higher degree of fat in the liver and has been shown to contribute to fatty liver disease, it’s actually the second type of fat that people need to pay more attention to when thinking about liver health.

Visceral fat is often referred to as “hidden fat” because of the way it sits on, or in, the body. Unlike subcutaneous fat that sits on the outside of the body, visceral fat is stored inside the belly and ends up wrapping itself around vital organs, including the liver. Research shows that visceral fat is strongly associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and that those who have more visceral fat on their bodies are at a higher risk of experiencing liver dysfunction.

The association between fat and liver health is strong, and it’s thought that body fat percentage can be a good measurement to use when determining a person’s overall risk of developing fatty liver disease. Basically, the more fat a person has on their body, the more likely they are to have a buildup of fatty tissue within the liver, and to suffer the subsequent health problems.

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What Does “Fat Release” Mean?

There is an entire facet of the health industry focused on fat loss. There are many reasons why people would want to shed fat, from overall health to cosmetic reasons and even to improve mental health.

While many people understand the ins and outs of weight loss when it comes to burning more calories and eating less food, there is less understanding about where exactly fat goes when we lose weight, and how the body gets rid of it. The term “fat release” is sometimes used to define the body’s way of releasing fat – but what does “fat release” mean, exactly, and what bodily processes are involved in losing weight?

What is fat?

Body fat is made up of a grouping of cells known as adipocytes. These create connective tissue that is an important part of the endocrine system. In fact, adipose tissue is now hailed an organ of its own. Fat is stored in adipocytes and can be used to supply energy to the body if needed.

Fat, while often characterized as “bad,” actually has several valuable purposes when it comes to human health. For example, it helps to cushion the body as well as insulate it. There are two main types of body fat, otherwise known as adipose tissue: white and brown. Both types help to create certain hormones and encourage immune system response by helping in the production of cytokines – immune cells that aid in the growth and function of other types of immune cells within the body.

An adequate amount of fat on the body can be helpful. Too much, however, can negatively affect other organs and lead to chronic disease.

doctor helping patient with fat loss
Image by mohamed_hassan on Pixabay: Fat cells cannot actually be eliminated from the body.

The physiology behind fat loss

When fat becomes deposited in the body, it is referred to as lipogenesis. This process occurs when there is more fat than needed for energy, leading to the fat being stored within the adipocytes and accumulating in excess.

When a person decides to lose weight, they change their lifestyle habits, usually to decrease an excess of foods that may be transformed into unused fats within the body. During this time, the body begins to use its fat stores instead of other energy sources, with the fat in the adipocytes being expelled into the bloodstream.

This fat-burning process is actually quite complicated. Fat that is stored in the cell cannot be burned from within the cell. It first has to be expelled as an energy source, as mentioned above.

Where do fat cells go when losing weight?

Fat cells hold excess fat, but when that fat exits the cell, it is transformed into a free fatty acid within the bloodstream and sent to the body’s tissues. This fat can then be used as an energy source for muscles and tissues. The cell that contained the fat, however, doesn’t move from its original spot – it remains exactly where it is.

Instead of the cell itself being removed from the body entirely, it shrinks. So essentially, when losing fat, you aren’t getting rid of fat cells, but rather the buildup of fat within the cells. As they’re emptied of fat, they become smaller, and thus less fat appears on the body externally.

Each fat cell can continuously grow or shrink. It’s all a matter of how much fat is either deposited into or expelled from the cell.

anatomical model of lungs
Image by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash: How does fat leave the body? Surprisingly, mostly through the lungs.

How does fat release from your body?

The process in which fat is expelled from fat cells involves several different reactions. As mentioned above, these reactions cause the fat to be removed from the cell and sent out into the bloodstream to reach muscles or other tissues that need to use it for energy so they can perform their basic functions.

That energy, however, it still within the body until it can be released. When used, it gets broken down into water and carbon dioxide, which in turn become waste products that need to be excreted from the body. Carbon dioxide is expelled through the respiratory system, meaning that it is eventually breathed out of the body. Water can be expelled through urine, sweat, and exhaling breath. Because of this process, the respiratory system is widely considered an integral part of fat metabolism. In fact, research has found that the majority (84%) of fat release from the body occurs through exhaling carbon dioxide, and only 16% is expelled from the body as water.

This might be hard to wrap your mind around – fat doesn’t seem to have much to do with water or breath! But the above chemical processes are how fat loss occurs. Losing weight can be a challenging process for many people, but when you do go about getting rid of excess pounds, it can be helpful to appreciate exactly what your body is doing to help you achieve this. 

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How To Lose Weight Safely

There is no shortage of weight loss tips, pills, concoctions, and programs out there. There is an entire multi-billion-dollar industry dedicated to helping people shed unwanted pounds. But while some of these products or tips work wonders, many others make bold miracle promises – and may not be healthy or even safe at all.

In some cases, people want to lose weight for their health, whereas other scenarios revolve around conforming to traditional “beauty standards.” Whatever a person’s motivation, losing weight can be a convoluted process simply because of the sheer number of possible ways out there. So, considering the dangerous side of weight loss, what’s the best way to shed extra pounds in a healthy manner? Read on to learn how to lose weight safely.

Can losing weight be dangerous?

While losing weight in and of itself isn’t typically dangerous and can be beneficial to one’s health, the way you go about it can be dangerous. For example, if a person decides that they want to lose weight fast and begins eating too little or not eating the right things, they may end up hindering their health rather than improving it.

Rapid weight loss is possibly the most detrimental and dangerous kind, as it can lead to health issues such as:

Because rapid weight loss is typically everyone’s goal, people who aim to lose weight the fastest are the most at risk.

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What is the safest and healthiest way to lose weight?

The timeline for losing weight should always be slow and steady. Studies have found that losing weight at a pace of one to two pounds per week is the best way to not only maintain your health, but also be sure that the weight is kept off long-term. This is for a couple of reasons: people who lose weight slowly are less likely to gain it back, and during slow weight loss, many people adopt new, healthier lifestyle habits that they can take with them throughout the rest of their lives.

What you eat also matters. While being in a calorie deficit is vital to ensure that you’re burning more than you’re taking in, thus causing your body to lose weight, it’s not the entire picture. The foods you eat while losing weight are important, too.

Eating nutrient-dense wholefoods such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and wholegrain products will give your body what you need while keeping you in a calorie deficit. If you continue to eat poorly while in a calorie deficit, not only will your body become deprived of nutrients, you will also be forced to eat much less throughout the day.

Safe weight loss tips

There are many aspects involved in safe weight loss. The best way to lose weight safely and effectively is by following these tips:

1. Talk to your doctor first

Prior to beginning any diet plan, you should speak to your doctor about your current health situation and what your body can handle when it comes to losing weight. Your doctor knows you and your medical history, and will be able to supervise your weight loss so that it works effectively and doesn’t cause negative health repercussions.

2. Avoid overly processed foods

Processed foods are always high in things that can hinder weight loss, such as added sugar, fat, sodium, and calories. They have little to no nutritional value, too. Studies have also found that in some cases, processed foods can lead to addictive behaviors that cause a person to binge-eat, which can obviously hinder your weight loss efforts. Instead of processed foods, eat wholefoods that are as nutrient-dense as possible.

3. Practice mindful and slow eating

When you sit down for a meal, your body is hungry. As you eat, the body receives the food and will eventually send you a signal that it has had enough. The problem with this signal is that in some cases, people do not receive it fast enough, because they are eating too fast or eating mindlessly while doing something else.

When you focus on your food and eat more slowly, you will be better equipped to receive that signal when you’re actually full, as opposed to when you’ve already eaten too much. 

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4. Be kind to yourself

Since losing weight slowly is the healthiest way to go about it, it’s possible to get discouraged when you don’t see immediate results. But it’s important to be patient with your body and kind to yourself, regardless of the results you see. As long as you maintain your efforts, the results you want will come.

5. Chill out

High levels of stress can actually cause a person to stop losing weight because the stress hormone, cortisol, gets released in high amounts, leading to cravings and the slowing of your metabolism. Stress can also invoke unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as binging on food or eating foods that will not aid in weight loss. 

6. Prioritize exercise

Movement is an important aspect for weight loss because it can lead to more calories burned throughout the day. Cardio is great for burning a lot of calories, and weightlifting or bodyweight exercises are great for building muscle, which will lead to a higher calorie burn while you’re at rest.

Weight loss isn’t easy (no matter what any weight loss company or product says!). The good news is that safe weight loss, while it takes time and hard work, is one of the best things you can do for your health, now and into the future.

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4 Peptides That Aid Fat Loss

Obesity has been linked to the onset of (and higher risk of developing) many different chronic illnesses and diseases. Many people talk about weight loss as if it is an easy process – but that is not always the case. There are so many factors that go into losing weight, and all of them need to be taken into consideration – age, activity level, diet and exercise, health status, genetics; the list goes on.

While there is no cure-all miracle pill for losing weight, there are things people can do if they are struggling to shed unwanted pounds. Aside from the obvious “eat less, move more” mentality, taking certain types of supplements that give the body a little push can be highly beneficial for those who have a difficult time losing weight.

One group of specific supplements that has shown promise in the area of weight management is peptides. But what are peptides, exactly? And how do they work for weight loss? Read on for all you need to know, including a list of specific peptides that aid fat loss.

What are peptides?

Peptides are naturally occurring substances made up of amino acids, which are considered to be the building blocks of protein. Within the body, peptides are similar to protein in the sense that they are made up of amino acids, though they have fewer than protein does.

Synthetic peptides (those made in a lab and used in supplements) are designed to mimic the peptides found in the body to help with certain processes and reactions. They have been used in many ways, such as to help with certain health conditions and aid in the overall health of skin and muscles. Peptides that help with skin health can act as collagen in the body, whereas creatine peptides can help with muscle growth.

weight loss
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Do peptides really work for weight loss?

As mentioned above, peptides are used to help mimic certain actions within the body that should already be taking place, but aren’t. These actions can include cell signaling, neurotransmission, and hormone production and release.

Research has been addressing the use of peptides for weight loss for decades now, and many studies have found that they can be helpful in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. However, no two peptides are alike, and people may respond differently to each type.

Peptides for fat loss and muscle gain

While not all peptides are designed to help manage weight, there are some that have been shown to be helpful when combined with a healthy lifestyle. They include:

1. AOD9604

AOD9604 is a type of peptide fragment that comes from the C-terminus of HGH (the human growth hormone). It is designed to have the same fat-burning action that HGH has, without any side effects.

Studies have examined the use of AOD9604 in people with obesity over the course of a 12-week study. During that time, the individuals aiming to lose weight were highly successful when using the AOD9604 peptide. The participants were put into groups and the group that lost the most weight did so while using a 1mg dose of AOD9604 over the course of the 12 weeks. 

2. 5-Amino-1MQ

The 5-Amino-1MQ peptide is relatively newer on the scene, but research surrounding its use for weight loss has shown it to be a viable contender. The way this peptide works addresses obesity on a cellular level by operating on mitochondria. When someone uses this peptide, they will experience an increase in energy.

Studies have shown that 5-Amino-1MQ not only works for weight loss, but also helps decrease other unhealthy consequences of obesity such as high cholesterol levels, slowed metabolism, increase in fat cell formation, and diet-induced obesity. This peptide works best when it is used alongside NAD+.

3. CJC-1295

This peptide is a type of growth hormone-releasing hormone analog that is designed to encourage the increased production of HGH and IGF-1. When these are increased, fat reduction, muscle growth, and better sleep can be more easily attainable.

fork and measuring tape
Image by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash: What peptide is best for fat loss?

4. Semaglutide

Semaglutide is used for obesity, but it has also been effective at helping people with illnesses that are often associated with obesity such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Semaglutide is a type of hormone that is tasked with insulin production and restriction of glucagon release. This results in an overall decrease of blood sugar levels. It is also one of the only FDA-approved drugs available when it comes to peptides for weight loss, and research has shown that it may be one of the most effective weight loss drugs available on the market.

One particular study looked at a group of people who wanted to lose weight and found that over the course of the 68-week study, over 50% of participants lost more than 15% of their overall body weight by simply using semaglutide.

While the above peptides have been shown to aid in weight loss, they should never be used in place of a healthy diet and exercise. Losing weight is a multi-faceted process that requires dedication and commitment to making healthier choices. Using products such as peptides for weight loss can help in your journey, but you should also consult a doctor prior to trying any new weight loss plan.

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5 Vitamins And Nutrients That Build Muscle & Burn Fat

Often, when people want to lose fat, they also want to build muscle to have a leaner and more defined appearance. This combined approach to fitness can be difficult, because it’s not always easy to burn fat and build muscle at the same time. In fact, when losing weight, muscle is often lost along with fat. This is called weight-loss-induced muscle loss, and it can increase the risk of developing a too-low muscle mass condition known as sarcopenia.

If you’re wondering which supplement is best for fat loss and muscle gain, unfortunately it can be hard to find one that works for both. That’s because many people typically suggest that you cannot lose fat while building muscle. But while that can be true in some instances, it’s not always the case. Losing fat while building muscle is entirely possible if you perform the right exercises, stick to your workout plan, and get enough of the right vitamins and nutrients in your diet.

What vitamins are best for muscle growth?

There are many supplements marketed towards gaining muscle or losing fat, but rarely are they targeted towards both. When it comes to tackling both these areas at the same time, the following five supplements can help to get you to the physique you’re working towards.

1. Creatine

The molecule creatine is naturally occurring in the body. This means it is created and used by the body to help provide energy to muscle and other tissues. People often take it as a dietary supplement because of these effects. As a supplement, it has been shown to help increase creatine content in the muscles by up to 40%. This increase can help to improve exercise performance and affect muscle cells in a way that promotes the gaining of muscle.

Research has also known that creatine can help to improve muscle strength. Having stronger muscles will increase exercise endurance, which in turn leads to even more muscle mass in the long term. Research has also found that creatine can also increase hormones that are tasked with helping to grow muscle, and decrease protein breakdown within the muscles.

woman lifting weights to build muscle
Image by Sergio Pedemonte on Unsplash: A question we get asked a lot is: “How do I build muscle and lose fat?”

2. Protein

Another nutrient that is vital to gaining muscle is protein. This is because muscles are largely made of proteins. They are also dynamic in the sense that they are constantly broken down and built back up again. If the body doesn’t get enough protein, when the muscles break down, they won’t have the nutrients they need to rebuild, leading to loss of muscle mass. To help gain muscle, you’ll need to be able to consume more protein than is broken down. There is a myriad of different supplementation to try in this area, all of which come with their own type of protein (whey, casein, soy) and other ingredients that can help give them flavor or a particular consistency.

Protein has also been shown to help people lose fat. This is because it can help regulate hormones that help lead to fat loss, boost the metabolism, and reduce appetite to help you eat less calories throughout the day.

3. Beta-alanine

Beta-alanine is an amino acid the body uses to help increase stamina when it comes to exercise.Research has shown that by taking beta-alanine while on an exercise regimen, you can increase your lean muscle mass by about one pound over the course of a six-week period.

Although there is nothing in beta-alanine that will specifically target fat loss and muscle building, the way it affects a person’s ability to train and perform during exercise can ultimately lead to both fat loss and muscle gain.

4. Branched-chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs are a group of three different amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are typically found in protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, and eggs and are vital when it comes to building muscle.Studies have shown that taking BCAAs as a daily supplement can help to both improve muscle gain and reduce the amount of muscle lost during weight loss.

BCAAs may also help to burn fat while keeping muscle mass in check. Research has shown that when people take BCAAs, they are shown to lose more weight than those who are taking protein supplements.

BCAAs can also help with muscle soreness.  

assortment of healthy food dishes
Image by Shayda Torabi on Unsplash: Should I build muscle or lose fat first? Truth is, you can do both at the same time with the right diet and nutrients.

5. Vitamin D

Many people might not consider vitamin D to be an integral part of a fat loss/muscle building plan. However, research has shown that the nutrient plays a vital role in protecting muscle mass while eating in a calorie deficit. This is especially true when it is combined with protein and leucine.

Having adequate levels of vitamin D in the body has also been correlated with a deduction of body fat. On particular study tested out this theory on two groups of women. By the end of the study, the women who were in the vitamin D group had lost an average of seven pounds more than those who did not take vitamin D during the course of their weight loss regimen.

Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time may seem like a difficult task, but that’s only if you don’t know how to approach it. Some people like to cut and then bulk, whereas others want to do everything at the same time. The good news is that both options are fine! However, if you fall into the latter category, getting enough of one of the above nutrients or vitamins in your diet will surely help you reach your fitness goals. 

Featured image by Anastase Maragos on Unsplash

Nature’s Scrubbing Brush: Why Dietary Fiber Is Essential To Fat Loss & Overall Health

Dietary fiber is an important part of overall health. It refers to the parts of plant foods that the body isn’t able to digest or absorb, which are passed through the body relatively intact. Fiber goes through the stomach, the small intestine, and the colon before it is passed out of the body, and on its journey, it doesn’t break down the same way that other nutrients like fats, proteins, and carbohydrates do.

There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and turns into a gel-like substance. It is typically found in foods such as oats, peas, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, and psyllium. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and is designed to help other material move through the digestive tract. It is found in foods like whole-wheat flour, nuts, cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes. But why is dietary fiber so important, exactly? Read on to find out why dietary fiber is essential to fat loss and overall health.

Why is dietary fiber important for the body?

There are many health benefits of getting enough fiber in your diet. Fiber can act as “nature’s scrubbing brush” in the sense that it helps the body to clean out any waste that may be stuck within the digestive tract, smoothing everything along.

loaf of whole wheat bread
Image by Sergio Arze on Unsplash: A high-fiber diet for weight loss should consist of whole-wheat bread.

Some specific health benefits of having dietary fiber in the body include:

Maintaining bowel health

By increasing the amount of fiber in the diet, you can effectively help to lower the risk of developing certain health conditions such as hemorrhoids and diverticular disease. Fiber may also lower the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Since it acts as a bulking agent, it can help to increase the size and weight of the stool so that it passes more easily through your body.

Can help to lower cholesterol

Soluble fiber is a particularly helpful aid when it comes to your cholesterol. The type that is found in beans and oat bran can help to lower levels of lipoprotein – a type of bad cholesterol. As well as lowering cholesterol levels, fiber can also help with heart health, and studies have also shown that it can help reduce blood pressure and inflammation.

Can help to control blood sugar

Eating enough dietary fiber has been shown to help the body digest other foods more slowly, which can decrease the absorption rate of sugar. In people with diabetes, this is especially important because it can help maintain proper blood sugar levels. Studies have also shown that it may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

What happens if you don’t eat enough dietary fiber?

The health benefits of dietary fiber are clear, but not getting enough fiber can also be detrimental to overall health. Certain health repercussions can happen if your diet is lacking in fiber. They include:

Constant bloating

Since fiber is great for digestion and helps move things along, without enough of it in the system, the digestive tract will suffer. Certain foods that cause bloating and gas can include alcohol and processed foods. If you eat too much of these and don’t get enough fiber, you may deal with a constant bloated feeling.

Irregular bowel movements

Having a healthy bowel routine is important, and not getting enough fiber will significantly decrease the chances of this. If your system lacks fiber, your body will be unable to eliminate stools in the way that it should.

Blood sugar spikes or drops

Since fiber helps to regulate blood sugar, a lack of it can lead to unhealthy spikes or drops.

Low energy and foggy brain

Having too little fiber in the diet can lead to fatigue, because the balancing act that fiber contributes to becomes out of whack with other nutrients you’re consuming. Fiber also helps the body feel full, and if there isn’t enough of it, you may start to crave sweet foods to help you feel more full after eating. This high intake of sweets affects blood sugar, which in turn leads to a lowered ability to concentrate and think clearly.

cauliflower as a source of dietary fiber
Image by Jennifer Schmidt on Unsplash: Cauliflower is a great source of insoluble fiber.

Does fiber help with fat loss?

Fiber has been shown to help aid in fat loss; however, soluble fiber is the one you’ll want to get more of if you’re looking to shed a few pounds. It helps with this in a few ways. The first is by aiding your gut bacteria. Fiber helps to feed the trillions of bacteria within your gut that are designed to keep your digestion on track. Certain species of these bacteria help to play roles in weight management. When they are fed properly with soluble fiber, they can contribute to a healthy weight.

Fiber can also act as an appetite regulator, meaning that it can help to decrease cravings or overeating by helping the body feel satiated for longer. Studies have shown that viscous fiber specifically is good for helping to reduce cravings and increase feelings of fullness, which will lead to weight loss over time. Pectins, psyllium, guar gum, and glucomannan all contain viscous fiber.

Studies have also suggested that the fat loss that is most common in those who increase their fiber intake is belly fat. This type of fat is often the most dangerous kind, as it can lead to the onset of disease and a heightened risk for developing chronic illness.

Eating more high-fiber foods can help to reduce overall weight. However, there are so many more health benefits than just fat loss. Upping your fiber intake will help to keep your digestive tract running smoothly and lead to an overall healthier you.

Featured image by Melissa Di Rocco on Unsplash

What Is Metabolic Rate & What Is Its Role In Fat Loss/Retention?

The human body requires a specific amount of energy to get through each day. This energy comes from food in the form of calories. Even if you were to lie in bed all day doing nothing, your body would still need a set amount of calories to perform basic vital functions such as breathing and blood circulation. This set number of calories is what is referred to as metabolic rate.

There are two different types of metabolic rate: the basal metabolic rate (BMR) and the resting metabolic rate (RMR). Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, they are slightly different. The BMR is used to measure how many calories a person needs to perform the most basic of tasks. The RMR is used to measure how many calories the body burns while it is at rest.

To calculate a truly accurate BMR, a person must be in a lab setting and under very restrictive conditions whereas they can be measured in the morning before eating or exercising. There are, however, calculators you can use to measure your BMR if you plan to use it to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Why is metabolic rate important?

Knowing your BMR can be a great tool on the road to healthy weight management. This is because it allows you to see just how many calories your body is burning while at rest and how much energy your body needs daily to function. The BMR will be different for anyone, so sometimes, counting calories based on an average isn’t always enough to determine if you’re getting the right amount of energy per day.

For example, if your BMR is 1600 calories per day, that means that you will need to consume 1600 calories just to sustain yourself. This doesn’t account for activity levels. If you are more active, you will need to consume more to help balance the energy in versus energy out levels.

woman after fat loss
Image by Mojzagrebinfo on Pixabay: What is meant by your metabolic rate and why is it important for fat loss? 

A popular equation used to calculate BMR is the Harris-Benedict BMR. It calculates for men and women separately. The equations are:

  • BMR for men: 88.362 + (13.397 x your weight in kg) + (4.799 x your height in cm) – (5.677 x your age in years)
  • BMR for women: 447.593 + (9.247 x your weight in kg) + (3.098 x your height in cm) – (4.330 x your age in years)

These equations are able to tell you exactly what your BMR is, which will give you the information you need to determine how many calories you need to consume or burn for weight loss or gain. Be aware that this equation does not take into account your activity level; however, there are Harris-Benedict BMR calculators online that can incorporate that factor for a more accurate measurement.

Does resting metabolic rate decrease with weight loss?

When someone loses weight, they may require less energy to get them through the day. This is because with less body weight, the body doesn’t have to work as hard to perform basic functions and thus less energy is expended throughout the day.

On the opposite side of things, when a person gains weight, their RMR is likely to increase. It also depends on the kind of weight a person gains. For example, muscle gain is more likely to increase RMR to a greater extent than fat gain would. This is because the energy used by fat is lower than the energy used by muscle.

Factors that can affect the RMR include:

  • Age. As a person ages, they RMR decreases. This is because of typical age-related changes in weight and body composition caused by hormone changes, the body’s decreased ability to synthesize protein, and cell death.
  • Eating less. When a person partakes in caloric restriction, their body lowers the RMR in an effort to conserve the energy it has reserved.
  • Medications. Both antidepressants and stimulants can have an effect on RMR. Antidepressants tend to increase it because they are typically associated with weight gain, and stimulants tend to lower it because they are associated with weight loss.

Other than those factors, a person’s RMR is typically unchangeable because it is determined largely by their unique way of expending energy for basic life-sustaining functions. 

spicy red chillis
Image by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash: Spicy food can help to speed up metabolism.

How do I speed up my metabolism for fat loss?

Although it can be difficult to manipulate your resting metabolic rate, there are things you can do to slightly speed up your metabolism and increase fat loss after you’ve calculated just how many calories your body needs.

One such thing is utilizing the thermic effect of food. Research has shown that the thermic effect helps to increase metabolism for a few hours after eating. The nutrient that offers the highest thermic effect is protein. By eating more protein, you can help to rev up your calorie burning after every meal.

You can also incorporate more exercise, since exercise is proven to help boost the calorie-burning powers of the metabolism. High-intensity workouts, specifically, are great for helping to boost the metabolism. Other ways you can help speed up your metabolism and thus speed up weight loss include drinking more cold water, drinking green or oolong tea, and eating spicy foods.

While you’re pretty much set with your RMR and BMR, you can use it to help you lose fat and get to a healthy overall weight.

Featured image by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

What Organ Systems Are Affected By Excess Body Fat?

Being overweight or obese can be dangerous for a variety of different reasons. When many people focus on losing weight, a big part of their motivation comes from cosmetic reasons – but many people aren’t privy to the real health risks of carrying around excess weight.

How does obesity affect the body?

On a cellular level, the process of gaining weight occurs when new fat cells are formed, and along with old fat cells, begin to grow. Every person has a set number of fat cells; when weight loss occurs, those fat cells begin to shrink, not disappear. This could be why some people are more likely to be overweight or obese than others.

Obesity puts a strain on every system of the body. To put it into perspective, think about your body as a vehicle. When the trunk is completely empty, the car will run smoother and faster, and waste less gas. As the trunk begins to fill up, its performance continues to decrease. In terms of the body, as weight continues to build upon the frame, the body’s systems begin to lose their ability to do what they’re supposed to do.

Vital RX - weight
Image by Siora Photography on Unsplash: How do you know if you have excess body fat if it’s not obvious?

How do you know if you have excess body fat?

Aside from visually seeing the weight on your body, knowing how much fat you have can be tricky. The Body Mass Index (BMI) has been used as an indicator since the 1800s, but recent research has found that it has no place in determining overall levels of health because of the factors it doesn’t take into consideration.

The best way to tell if you have excess fat but aren’t sure of it is to check your overall levels of health. If you get winded going upstairs or can’t do a single push-up, it could mean that your body isn’t carrying around as much muscle as you thought.

Risks associated with excess body fat

There are some serious health risks associated with being overweight. In comparison to those with healthy body weights, those who are obese have a higher risk for developing the following health conditions:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Stroke
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Breathing problems and sleep issues
  • Cancer
  • Mental illness
  • Chronic pain and inflammation
  • Early death

This list is not exhaustive, but it does paint a grim picture about how that excess body weight can be detrimental to one’s overall levels of a health.

Body systems affected by being overweight

When there is excess weight on the body, it doesn’t typically affect only one system, but rather the majority of them. The location of the highest levels of fat will be the deciding factor of what system is affected and how badly. Visceral fat is the type of fat that sits around the organs, and when it is found in high amounts, it can damage organ function.

Respiratory system

The respiratory system is the network of organs and tissues that help with breathing. When the body has too much fat, it can cause issues with this system by putting compression on the chest cavity, particularly the lungs and diaphragm. This leads to pulmonary damage. Excess fat can also decrease how well the respiratory functions by reducing muscle strength in the chest. The buildup of fat on the body can lead to asthma, airway hyperresponsiveness, and increased inflammation.

Digestive system

Obesity can lead to a variety of different digestive issues, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, erosive esophagitis, gallstones, pancreatitis, and digestive organ cancers.

Reproductive system

Studies have shown that women who are overweight or obese have a harder time becoming pregnant due to anovulation and menstrual dysfunction. They can also experience infertility at higher rates than those who have a healthy amount of fat on their body, as well as a heightened risk for miscarriage and pregnancy complications.

Endocrine system

Obesity affects the endocrine system by altering the way the hypothalamic-pituitary hormone axes functions. This leads to problems with hormone release, which can cause hypothyroidism, hypogonadism, growth hormone deficiency, and Cushing’s Disease.

Cardiovascular system

Since those with too much excess weight require more blood to circulate oxygen throughout the body, the cardiovascular system has to work extra hard. This leads to high blood pressure, which in turn significantly raises the risk of heart attack. It can also change the structure and function of the heart because of how hard it has to work to get the same tasks done, leading to heart failure.

Vital RX - excess weight
Image by Jarmoluk on Pixabay: Every bodily system is affected by excess weight on the body.

Mental health

Being obese can lead to a variety of different mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and eating disorders.


Being obese can also affect the liver because of buildup that can lead to inflammation and damage. When the liver can’t handle the input to output of fat, it begins to malfunction. This leads to fatty liver disease.  


When the body holds excess weight, the kidneys need to work harder to filter out waste. This can lead to an over-productive kidney function. As time goes on, this extra work causes strain on the kidneys and can lead to kidney disease.

Musculoskeletal system

Being obese can cause limited function in the way the muscles perform, hindering mobility, postural and dynamic balance, and strength over time. It also puts unnecessary pressure on the joints, which can deplete cartilage levels, leading to a variety of arthritic conditions.

Immune system

Since obesity can cause an inflammatory response in the body, it can lead to an impairment in the immune function. This leads the body to become more susceptible to infections and an increased rate of mortality when battling serious respiratory infections such as H1N1.  

Since being overweight or obese can negatively affect all bodily systems, it can be attributed to the onset of many different diseases. Losing weight can be tough, but it’s often a huge step in the right direction towards living healthily.

Featured image by mojzagrebinfo on Pixabay