What is Oxidation Rate?
Oxidation rate is the speed at which your body releases energy from food. This is similar to what is commonly known as metabolism. There are two main metabolic types: slow oxidation and fast oxidation. One can have varying degrees of slow or fast oxidation.
The History of Oxidation Rate
A man named Dr. George Watson, PhD originated the term oxidation rate. By using odor tests, and then later, by using blood tests, Dr. Watson found two main metabolic types. He found that the blood pH of fast oxidizers was more acidic than slow oxidation. From his discovery he studied how different foods and nutrients benefited each metabolic type. By using diet and supplementary nutrients he was able to correct the oxidation rate. Once the oxidation rate was balanced, often physical and even emotional health improved in his clients.
Years later, Dr. Paul Eck discovered that the oxidation rate could be seen in a hair mineral analysis test. He took it one step further: by linking the oxidation rate to the stress theory of disease. The stress theory of disease, originated from Dr. Hans Selye, states that all living organisms pass through three stages of stress before they die: the alarm stage, the resistance stage, and the exhaustion stage. By studying both Dr. Selye’s and Dr. Watson’s work, Dr. Eck found that fast oxidation is correlated with an alarm state of stress (fight or flight) and a slow oxidation rate is correlated with a resistance or exhaustion state of stress (chronic stress). This stress can come from external sources or from within (such as nutritional deficiencies).
Are You a Fast or Slow Oxidizer?
Slow Oxidation occurs when the body is in the resistance or exhaustion stage of stress (chronic stress). The adrenal and thyroid effects have diminished, resulting in low energy. An analogy to this would be driving on the highway at 20 mph while everyone else is going 60, because you simply don’t have enough power in the engine to keep up. The ratios on a hair test that reveal slow oxidation are:
- Calcium/Potassium (Ca/K) ratio that is >4
- Sodium/Magnesium (Na/Mg) ratio that is <4.17
A slow oxidizer releases energy from foods too slowly. To help a slow oxidizer get more energy we have to speed up the oxidation rate (bring it to a more balanced place). Common characteristics of slow oxidation include:
Body type: Slow oxidizers tend to accumulate fat in the hips and thighs, that can result in a ‘pear’ shape, especially later in life. This is often due to a sluggish adrenal/thyroid.
Physical characteristics: They tend to have dryer hair and skin, and perhaps even brittle nails or hair. Can be pale due to less circulation. A yellowish complexion is possible due to liver/bowel toxicity. There can be a tendency to sweat very little.
Energy level: Often very LOW ENERGY. Sometimes however, a person can be using stimulants like energy drinks or a busy lifestyle to force them to keep going, so not every slow oxidizer will feel their low energy levels.
Symptoms: Depression, fatigue, low blood sugar, brain fog, confusion, cold hands and feet, fungal infections, and constipation are all common symptoms for slow oxidizers. They can even have lower blood pressure/sugar unless arteriosclerosis or diabetes have set in.
Cravings: Sweets and starches are common cravings for slow oxidizers because of their low blood sugar. Cravings for salt can be due to having a hard time retaining sodium and potassium. There is a great need for protein. Fatty foods give slow oxidizers a hard time due to sluggish digestion.
Fast Oxidation occurs when there is excessive adrenal and thyroid glandular effects on the body. It is in the alarm stage of stress, also known as the fight or flight reaction. An analogy to this is when a car is running too fast or “over revving” the engine. The ratios that show fast oxidation on a hair test are:
- Calcium/Potassium (Ca/K) ratio that is <4
- Sodium/Magnesium (Na/Mg) ratio that is >4.17
A fast oxidizer releases energy from food too quickly. To help give a fast oxidizer more long lasting energy we have to slow down the oxidation rate (bring it to a more balanced place). Characteristics of fast oxidation include:
Body type: If a fast oxidizer gains weight, it tends to be in the stomach area, with thinner arms and legs, resulting in an ‘apple’ like shape. The weight in the belly area is due to the higher levels or stress hormones: cortisol and cortisone.
Physical characteristics: They tend to sweat more easily, are warmer, tendency to have oily hair and skin, loose bowels, and a ruddy complexion often due to better circulation or even inflammation.
Energy level: Fast oxidizers often have higher energy. Sometimes though, they can suffer from low energy like a slow oxidizer. This happens because they are “over revving the engine” and burning out too quickly.
Symptoms: Nervousness, irritability, anxiety, paranoia, aggressiveness, viral and bacterial infections, and diarrhea are common symptoms of fast oxidizers. They can also have higher blood sugar and blood pressure.
Cravings: Fats and oils, especially red meat, cream and butter are what many fast oxidizers crave. Fat slows their oxidation rate a little, helping them to burn fuel at a more efficient rate.
These characteristics can give you a guideline in guessing what your oxidation rate is. However, guessing is not good enough! A hair test is a tool that will tell you what your oxidation rate is. When I sent my hair sample in for my first test, I thought for sure I was a fast oxidizer. I craved tons of fat, and my constant running around and caffeine drinking made me believe that my energy was better than it was. Turns out, as my practitioner went over my hair test and healing program with me, that I was in slow oxidation! So use these characteristics as guidelines only. The hair tissue mineral test will tell you what is really going on!