Recognizing your goals for maintaining optimal weight levels can be thwarted by an overabundance of catabolic hormones in your body. Catabolism is a term that represents the entire set of metabolic avenues that are responsible for breaking down large molecules including lipids, nucleic acids, polysaccharides and proteins into smaller molecules such as amino acids, nucleotides, monosaccharides and fatty acids.
Catabolic wasting, also called cachexia, are clinical terms for describing a wasting syndrome characterized by unintentional, progressive losses of weight. Other symptoms include general weakness and both low body fat and low body muscle ratios. Further, catabolic wasting is characterized by a minimal loss of 5% of the overall body weight.
This weight loss is not intended. You see, your general metabolic state can be classified in one of two ways: anabolic or catabolic. In an anabolic state, your body is building up. And in a catabolic state, your body is breaking down. If your body is stuck in a catabolic state, then any amount of food that you take in will not allow you to gain weight.
What causes cachexia?
Catabolic wasting (cachexia) occurs because you have too many catabolic hormones in your system.
Almost all hormones are classified as either anabolic or catabolic. Since the beginning of the 20th century, scientists have classified hormones such as adrenaline, glucagon and cortisol as catabolic. More recently, hypocretin, orexin, melanin and cytokines have also been classified as being at least partially catabolic.
When you have too much of these hormones circulating through your system, waste products including acetic acid, ammonia, urea, carbon dioxide and lactic acid are created. These waste products are created through oxidation primarily to fuel the synthesis of ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
ATP enables your cells to direct the energies that are released in catabolism to fuel anabolic reactions. This in turn delivers the necessary chemical energies required for cell growth and maintenance. So, even in the catabolic state, your body is trying to do what is most beneficial for your overall health.
Some of the known catabolic processes include:
- Muscle protein breakdown for gluconeogenesis;
- Citric acid cycle;
- Breaking down adipose tissue fat stores into fatty acids;
Some fast facts about catabolic wasting (cachexia):
- More than 50% of all cancer and AIDS patients are prone to cachexia;
- Catabolic wasting is also prevalent amongst diseases that include bacterial and parasitic infections;
- Additionally, cases of various bowel diseases, liver diseases, lung diseases, heart diseases and rheumatoid arthritis also demonstrate symptoms of cachexia;
- Catabolic wasting decreases life’s quality and most often makes the underlying condition worse;
- Cachexia is a major cause for human mortality;
Both muscle protein and body fat stores are decreased significantly through catabolic wasting. And of course, this has a direct effect on maintaining an ideal body weight. To battle the affects of cachexia, doctors and researchers have traditionally experimented with interventions that include administering cytokine inhibitors, hormones, steroids, cannabinoids, thalidomide and various nutritional supplements. Additionally, chemotherapy drugs including gemcitabine have been shown to reverse or slow the symptoms of catabolic wasting.
More modern nutritional intervention therapies include supplementing the diet with Gamma-receptor agonists, different amino acid levels, myostatin inhibitors and megestrol acetate derivatives. Pathopsysiology differences caused by gender are also under investigation.
Without effective intervention, catabolic wasting can result in:
- The progression of the underlying conditions that are causing cachexia;
- The failure of various bodily organs;
- A consistent decline in the levels of serum albumin;
- Excessive unintentional weight loss;
If you are suffering from cachexia due to an overabundance of catabolic hormones in your system, then you are most likely experiencing substantial difficulties in maintaining your ideal weight. Effective medical intervention and immediate holistically-healthy lifestyle changes are profoundly necessary. In any case, seek advice from your doctor.