By Lawrence Wilson, MD
Introduction To Metabolic Typing. Metabolic typing is a very central concept in nutritional balancing science. However, metabolic typing is not familiar to most people because modern allopathic medicine does not focus on it. Many ancient healing systems embraced it, however.
The idea behind of metabolic typing is that often people display symptoms, illnesses, and hundreds of body traits in specific groupings or patterns. By identifying the metabolic types, one can immediately know a lot about a person in many, though not all cases. Astute physicians have observed this for centuries. Here are some well-known examples of metabolic typing:
Hippocrates four types:
1. Choleric, or irritable.
2. Sanguine, or content.
3. Phlegmatic, or sluggish.
4. Melancholic, or depressed.
The Taoist idea of yin and yang:
1. Yang is warm or hot, more constricted at times, more reddish in color, more masculine, more active, and, at time, high-strung or irritable.
2. Yin is colder, more expanded, more feminine and often depressed and sluggish.
In terms of modern biochemistry and nutritional balancing science, here are some of the correlations with yin and yang:
- Fast oxidation (more yang) and slow oxidation (more yin).
- Sodium (more yang) and potassium (more yin).
- Zinc (more yang) and copper (more yin).
- Calcium (more yang) and magnesium (more yin).
- High Na/K (more yang) and low Na/K (more yin).
- Sauna therapy and coffee enemas (more yang) and distilled water (more yin).
- Warm, cooked meats and cooked vegetables (more yang) and raw food, fruit, sugar, alcohol and most drugs (more yin).
The Ayurvedic or ancient Indian qualities of bodies:
- Vatta. This means air, ether or perhaps mind and emotions. This is the source of the other two imbalances. Western science is just beginning to appreciate the power of the mind and emotions on health.
- Pitta. This means fiery energy, will and a more yang approach to life. This correlates perfectly with fast oxidation in nutritional balancing science. However, pitta and the others are qualities of bodies, not metabolic types.
- Kapha. This means earth or watery energy. It corresponds more to slow oxidation in nutritional balancing. However, once again, kapha is a quality, not a metabolic type.
The three qualities of nature (called gunas in Sanskrit) also from Ayurveda:
- Sattva or balance is associated with balanced and flexible oxidation.
- Rajas or hot or burning is more yang and more associated with an alarm stage of stress and fast oxidation.
- Tamas or passive is more yin and most associated with an exhaustion stage of stress and slow oxidation.
Another well-known system of metabolic typing is the Chinese 5-element theory. This does not correlate as well with nutritional balancing science, at least not obviously so.
Other typing systems include using one’s blood type, one’s genetics, and Dr. Sheldon’s system based on body shape and other qualities. I have also seen metabolic typing done by glandular type, such as an adrenal type and a thyroid type.
One can also classify people by which chakra is most active. This is a sophisticated and complex system, but a good one. All of these systems have value because human beings are very complex systems and any method that helps to simplify the complexity can be helpful in certain cases.
THE OXIDATION TYPES AND STAGES OF STRESS
This article focuses on a very modern biochemical classification of bodies. It is somewhat similar to the ancient concepts of yin and yang, but it is determined mathematically, which is a great advantage. As a result, one can easily determine not only the oxidation type, but also the oxidation rate with precision. Older systems that do not use modern biochemical analysis methods cannot be as precise, and can often be vague.
WARNING: Before proceeding, I wish to clarify that some physicians determine the oxidation rate using blood tests, questionnaires and perhaps other means. They may also suggest different foods and nutrients for the oxidation types. This can be confusing, incorrect and even dangerous.
Everything written in this article and others on this website regarding the oxidation rate and oxidation types pertains to Dr. Paul Eck’s method of assessment of the oxidation types using hair mineral analysis when the hair has not been washed at the laboratory. This is the only method and system of metabolic typing that I trust and use, as it has proven reliable and consistent in almost all cases.
One cannot use another method of determining the oxidation rate and expect that the information here will apply. Indeed, several of my clients were tested by other methods of oxidation assessment and were found to have very different oxidation types using these methods.
Simplicity, Not Perfection. Also before proceeding, I wish to explain that the metabolic typing system referred to in this article appears quite simple. That is its virtue. It is also fairly accurate in most cases, but certainly not perfect. All metabolic typing systems suffer from this problem, however, because the body is basically not a ”type”, but rather each person is an individual.
Metabolic typing, however, has value because it appears to be a whole system behavior of the body. Whole system behaviors provide a tremendous amount of information at once, thus simplifying our assessment procedure and greatly assisting the recommending of diets, nutritional supplements and other procedures at times.
Also, balancing the oxidation rate, in our experience, appears to greatly enhance the healing of hundreds of symptoms at once, both physical and emotional ones. This most likely occurs because balancing the oxidation rate increases energy production or energy efficiency of the body. It is like pedaling a bicycle at the right speed, which greatly enhances one’s power and endurance.
In the body, it may have to do with specific requirements of thousands of enzymes that need an optimum physical and chemical environment in which to function best. If we can provide this, the body simply functions better with less stress, and, as a result, many symptoms improve easily without the need for remedies of any kind. This is really quite amazing to see, and is one reason we do not need remedies in most cases to correct even the most difficult health conditions. This is the exact opposite of allopathic medicine in many cases, which depends upon remedies for various disease entities. In fact, it is very different from even holistic medicine, naturopathy and homeopathy, all of which depend upon the use of hundreds or more remedies for healing.
In contrast, the nutritional balancing method is to correct the whole system behaviors, of which the metabolic type is the main one. (Others are the diet, lifestyle, drinking water, several mineral ratios on a hair analysis, and a few simple nutritional deficiencies.) Then the ‘details’ of the body, or most symptoms, go away on their own without our needing to do anything at all.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE OXIDATION TYPES
Dr. George Watson. The term ‘oxidation types’ was coined by George Watson, PhD, a researcher at UCLA. He wrote about his work in two fascinating small books entitled Nutrition and Your Mind (1972), and . These are out of print but available through used book outlets including Amazon.com. They are extremely readable and must reading for anyone interested in the oxidation types.
Dr. Watson discovered two major metabolic types, first by using odor tests and later by using blood tests. He found that the blood pH of fast oxidizers was slightly more acidic than that of slow oxidizers. He also found other differences in standard blood tests, such as the CO2 levels.
He also found that certain foods and nutrients benefited each metabolic type. He was able to correct the oxidation rate using diet and supplementary nutrients. This simple treatment often caused dramatic improvements in both his client’s physical and emotional symptoms. This is as far as Dr. Watson went in his research, to the best of my knowledge. At least, he did not write other books.
Terminology. I use the term oxidation types and oxidation rate to honor Dr. Watson, even though the terms are not ideal. Some physicians call them fast and slow metabolizers, for example, but this is not much better, in my view. The oxidation types are extremely complex, so there is no simple term that can describe them adequately. The ancient Chinese terms yang and yin are probably best, but these terms are not used much in the West and are confusing as well.
Dr. Paul C. Eck. Dr. Eck was a physician and brilliant researcher and clinician who lived in Phoenix, Arizona most of his life. He was also my teacher and good friend. Dr. Eck did not write books, and was primarily a clinician and founder of Analytical Research Laboratories in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. I wrote about his work in Nutritional Balancing And Hair Mineral Analysis (1991, 1992, 1998, 2005, 2010). In addition, several sections of the articles on this website pertain to his work very directly, as he is the inspiration for this website.
Dr. Eck could always be found reading quite esoteric medical books, almost endlessly. He also decided to research the then new technique of hair mineral analysis as his major clinical research tool. The reasons for this are described in many other articles on the Center for Development website (drlwilson.com). Dr. Eck developed the science of hair mineral analysis interpretation far beyond anyone else I am aware of. This website is dedicated to his work, and to its expansion since his death in 1996.
Dr. Eck was thrilled to discover Dr. Watson’s oxidation concepts. It helped him make sense of hair mineral tests and opened the way for a scientific method of interpretation of this test and much more. Dr. Eck extended Dr. Watson’s work by making a startling correlation between the oxidation types and the stages of stress, as elucidated by Dr. Hans Selye, MD.
Dr. Hans Selye, MD. A Canadian physician, Dr. Selye is credited with the stress theory of disease, an amazing understanding of health and disease. Dr. Selye wrote The Stress of Life and about 1200 medical articles, as well as technical books such as Calciphylaxis.
His work on stress is monumental, but largely ignored. In part this is because it was very hard to apply clinically. Dr. Eck, however, found that the stage of stress, or at least an aspect of body chemistry related to it, could be assessed easily and rapidly with a hair tissue mineral analysis.
Dr. Selye also coined words we use commonly today such as homeostasis and elaborated what he called the General Adaptation Syndrome. This is ground-breaking work about how organisms always respond to stress. It involves the sympathetic nervous system, the role of the adrenal and thyroid glands in the stress response, and much more.
He theorized that all living organisms pass through three stages of stress before they die. He called these the alarm, resistance and exhaustion stages of stress. Dr. Selye further elaborated some of the biochemistry of each stage of stress.
Dr. Eck was able to see the intricate connections between Dr. Selye’s stages of stress and Dr. Watson’s oxidation types. He was able to figure out why Dr. Watson was able to help people with simple dietary suggestions and supplementary nutrients because he was addressing deep stress patterns in the organism. Dr. Watson was addressing the individual needs of his patients in terms of their stage of stress and the condition specifically of the adrenal and thyroid glands and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, also called the HPAaxis.
CORRELATING STAGES OF STRESS WITH OXIDATION TYPES
Essentially, fast and slow oxidation are homeostatic states and ways that the body responds to stress. The stress may be from within, such as nutrient deficiencies or fatigue.
Stress may also arise from a multitude of external sources. Basically, slow oxidation correlates with a resistance or exhaustion stage of stress. Fast oxidation corresponds to an alarm stage of stress. In the ancient Chinese and macrobiotic typing systems, fast oxidation corresponds to a more yang condition, while slow oxidation is a more yin condition of the body.
There is also a sub-oxidation state, so called by Dr. Watson, that most likely corresponds to Dr. Eck’s four lows hair analysis pattern, when the hair has not been washed at the laboratory. This is a collapsed or “spinning the wheels” state of body chemistry that may be fast or slow oxidation, but has its own qualities as well.
DEFINITIONS OF THE OXIDATION TYPE AND THE OXIDATION RATE
Fast oxidation is defined on a properly performed hair mineral analysis when the calcium/potassium ratio less than about 4 AND when the sodium/magnesium ratio greater than about 4.17. The lower the calcium/potassium ratio or the higher the sodium/magnesium ratio, the faster the oxidation rate.
Slow oxidation is defined as a calcium/potassium ratio greater than about 4 and a sodium/magnesium ratio less than about 4.17. The higher the calcium/potassium ratio or the lower the sodium/magnesium ratio, the slower the oxidation rate.
The hair must not be washed at the laboratory in order to make an accurate determination of the oxidation type or stage of stress. This is a vital point, since most hair mineral laboratories in the United States and most around the world wash the hair in powerful detergents, alcohol, water or solvents. Only two laboratories do not wash the hair, Analytical Research Laboratories that Dr. Eck founded, and Trace Elements, Inc., founded by a student of Dr. Eck’s.
FACTORS THAT CAN SKEW THE READINGS
Hair tissue mineral tests can unfortunately be affected by many factors. These are important in some cases, though not that important in most cases. These factors include the presence of excessive toxic metals, nutritional deficiencies, infections, illnesses or stress from any source. Emotional and lifestyle factors such as lack of rest and sleep, stimulant use and the use of prescription or over-the-counter medications.
Importance of Lifestyle. For this reason, the first few hair analyses may yield temporary or even superficial patterns related to the condition of body chemistry. After several months to more than a year of nutritional balancing, the hair mineral patterns often change dramatically.
We always wish to get through the superficial patterns in the fastest possible manner. To do this, one must address all aspects of a person’s body chemistry, diet, eating habits and other lifestyle factors as well.
Otherwise, these factors usually stand in the way of understanding the deeper layers of body chemistry. This is why I emphasize the importance of correcting the diet, eating habits, rest habits and other lifestyle factors when beginning a nutritional balancing program.
Now we will address the specific changes in body chemistry that occur with each of the major oxidation types or stages of stress.
FAST OXIDATION OR THE ALARM STAGE OF STRESS
Fast oxidation or an alarm stage of stress is characterized by excessive activity of the thyroid and adrenal glands. More adrenal activity and thus a higher level of aldosterone raises the hair or soft tissue sodium and potassium levels.
One result of this excessive adrenal and thyroid activity are lower hair tissue levels of calcium and magnesium. Essentially, increased solubility of calcium and magnesium occur when the sodium and potassium levels rise. Sodium and potassium are highly water-soluble and antagonistic to calcium and magnesium.
Blood serum mineral levels may, but usually do not correspond to the levels of these minerals in the hair. This is because the serum mineral levels are very sensitive to any variations, so the body often keeps them extremely stable. Much greater variation is seen in the hair levels, however. Also, hair is a storage and excretory tissue. Minerals that the body is deficient in are “stolen” or not permitted into the hair. Minerals that are in excess in the blood are often pushed off or stored in non-essential soft tissues such as the hair.
On a hair mineral analysis, the pattern of fast oxidation is one of lowered calcium and magnesium levels, along with elevated levels of sodium and potassium. This is very easy to read on a test from Analytical Research Laboratories, which has calibrated scales and simple vertical graphs. The pattern often looks like two low numbers followed by two high numbers.
Types of fast oxidizers. More recently, I have learned that fast oxidation occurs only in specific situations. These are:
1. Babies and young children up to the age of between 3 and about 11. All babies are born in mild fast oxidation. Usually, before they leave the hospital the oxidation rate speeds up tremendously due to stress, pure and simple. Babies and young children should all be fast oxidizers through the age of about 3, at least, and really until much later. However, today most babies and children “burn out” of fast oxidation quickly. Many, in fact, are in a four lows pattern, which is a severe adrenal burnout pattern, as children!
Babies and young children are the only ones who are in a natural fast oxidation pattern these days. Fewer and fewer of them are staying in fast oxidation, but it is their natural state. Adults, by contrast, should be slow oxidizers. The reasons for this are complex, and include psychological factors, vitality levels, and perhaps hormonal factors as well. Most adults are also very burned out of vital minerals, which slows their metabolic and oxidation rates.
2. Stress fast oxidizers. These are adults or some older children who are only in fast oxidation because they are under tremendous stress of a type that forces their bodies into faster oxidation. The stress may be of different types depending on the person. Common ones include:
a) Stimulant fast oxidizers. A common type of stress is the use of stimulants. These can include caffeine, sugar, cigarettes, alcohol in some cases, irritant substances such as hot spices, medical drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, ecstacy, and other stimlants.
Other common stimulants are lack of rest, too much work, fears, anger, hatred, working in noisy environments, domestic arguments, financial stress and others.
When the stress, which is often biochemical, is relieved, they immediately slow down into slow oxidation. If it happens quickly, it is called a crash landing, which is somewhat unpleasant, although it can be taken care of easily with the proper diet and nutritional supplements.
b) Infection fast oxidizers. These individuals have an infection of a type that speeds up the oxidation rate. These are often bacterial infections that cause high fevers, for example.
c) Excitement fast oxidizers. These are people who are in fast oxidation because they are extremely excited. This happens quite often during nutritional balancing programs as a person begins to get well, often after years of trying different programs and going to doctors with little or no success. The person is so excited to be healing and feeling well for the first time in years, in many cases. An excitement fast oxidizer may be said to be in a positive stress situation.
3. Vampire fast oxidizers. Some, but certainly not all adult fast oxidizers, are energy vampires. This means they have mastered methods to steal a subtle energy from others. The hair mineral analysis often reveals a fast oxidation rate with a normal or even elevated sodium/potassium ratio. Interestingly, the person often reports very few symptoms, and more women than men tend to fall into this category.
Some energy vampires are very subtle, while others are obvious parasites who rape or mug others. Others even crave male sexual fluid, which seems to have a speeding up effect on the oxidation rate, at least temporarily.
4. Dietary fast oxidizers. These are people who stay in fast oxidation because they refuse or simply do not like to eat enough fats and oils – foods that slow the oxidation rate. Many are vegetarians, or semi-vegetarians who do not eat meat, eggs or cheese that all contain fats. Many eat fruits and other high-carbohydrate foods that may help keep them in fast oxidation.
Some do this unconsciously, while others know exactly what they are doing, and just want to stay in fast oxidation by avoiding foods and other things that may slow their oxidation rate.
5. Toxic fast oxidizers. This is a very common type of fast oxidizer due to the accumulation of certain toxic metals. They may be in the kidneys, in particular, but also at times elsewhere in the body such as in the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, nervous system, brain or elsewhere. Toxic metals that definitely tend to cause fast oxidation include cadmium, and to some extent the ‘amigos’.
The amigos are toxic, usually oxide forms of aluminum, iron, manganese, and at times chromium, selenium, copper, cobalt, and other minerals as well – even calcium and magnesium. They are powerful oxidants and irritants to the body and can cause a faster oxidation rate as a byproduct or secondary effect of their irritating presence. Most older people have some of them.
Toxic fast oxidation is one of the easiest types to correct, though it may take months or several years of following a nutritional balancing program. When the toxic metals are removed, the oxidation rate promptly slows down.
6. Running away fast. Some fast oxidizers are simply “running away”, biochemically speaking, in a way that causes a fast oxidation rate. The situation can be rather mild and might be termed an avoidance of life pattern.
However, some are in a step up pattern, a dangerous, and quite egotistical mineral pattern that is associated with cancer, heart attacks, strokes and other fatal health catastrophes. These people are running away from life, or stepping out of life.
7. Beam me up Scottie pattern. Consuming a lot of fruit, interestingly enough, causes a type of fast oxidation mineral pattern that I call Beam Me Up, Scottie pattern which is discussed in more detail on the Center for Development website. It is actually a fascinating pattern caused by fruit-eating.
8. Farmer fast oxidation. Many farmers are in a state of fast oxidation. This may be due to a few possible factors, including handling farm chemicals, especially superphosphate fertilizers, handling toxic metals used in farm implements such as nickel-plated machinery, cadmium or lead. It may be due, however, to picking up a lot of energy from the earth because the person works in the dirt all day.
9. A toxic potassium fast oxidizer. This is a temporary fast oxidation rate caused by the presence of large amounts of a toxic form of potassium in the body. It can overlap with several of the other types. Common sources of toxic potassium are eating a lot of fruit, using krill oil, eating vegetables containing toxic potassium from superphosphate fertilizers, and others.
10. A fast oxidizer personality. This is a type of personality that may love thrills, is often somewhat superficial, is often somewhat emotionally immature, and is definitely in denial to some degree. This combination can easily help keep a person in fast oxidation, or the person will unconsciously seek out stressors, stimulants and other ways to remain in fast oxidation for years.
SYMPATHETIC TONE AND FAST OXIDATION
Fast oxidizers have significant sympathetic nervous system tone. This, in part, accounts for their increased adrenal and thyroid glandular activity. Sympathetic nervous activity stimulates the activity of these two sets of glands. Understanding the relationship of the sympathetic nervous system with the glandular system is essential for a correct interpretation of the hair tissue test and for understanding many health conditions.
Fast oxidizers are in an early stage of stress in which their sympathetic nervous system is responding excessively. They are in a fight-or-flight mode too much of the time, which uses up many nutrients and leads to a set of symptoms and illnesses associated with this metabolic type.
INTRODUCTION TO SLOW OXIDATION
In slow oxidation, the activity of the adrenal and thyroid glands decreases. The glands themselves and at times the sympathetic nervous system are both basically depleted of nutrients and do not function well. It is more of an exhaustion stage of stress.
In part for this reason, slow oxidation is related to a parasympathetic state of body chemistry with less fight-or-flight activity. In almost all cases, the sympathetic nervous system is exhausted and the person moves into a parasympathetic state by default.
There is a common situation, however, which we call sympathetic dominance. In this common condition, the person is still attempting to use the sympathetic nervous system all the time. However, the body is exhausted and can no longer respond strongly. As a result, the person stays tired and often ill, because excessive sympathetic stimulation blocks or inhibits the activity of the immune system, digestive system, elimination system and other vital organs and systems needed for recovery of health.
This is a very important distinction that I have added to Dr. Eck’s wealth of knowledge regarding hair analysis interpretation. It is displayed on a properly performed hair tissue mineral test that has not been washed at the laboratory as a potassium levels greater than 1 and less than about 5 mg%. When the potassium is 1 mg% (10 parts per million) or below, the situation is quite critical.
Slow oxidation, especially when the rate is very slow, is an exhaustion stage of stress, according to Dr.Selye’s stress theory of disease.
Tissue sodium, you will recall, correlates well with the activity of aldosterone, an adrenal hormone. Thus, on a hair mineral analysis, slow oxidizers have low levels of sodium and potassium. Calcium and magnesium rise in the hair as the tissue sodium level decreases. This occurs, in part, due to reduced solubility of calcium that results when the tissue sodium level is low.
Mixed oxidation is said to be present when:
- The calcium/potassium ratio is greater than 4 and the sodium/magnesium ratio is greater than 4.17, OR
- The calcium/potassium ratio is less than 4 and the sodium/magnesium ratio is less than 4.17.
Dr. Eck further classified mixed oxidation as fast mixed or slow mixed oxidation. This calculation is necessary in order to decide whether to give a fast oxidizer program or a slow oxidizer program to these individuals.
Dr. Eck defined fast-mixed oxidation as follows: The ratio that indicates fast oxidation (whether it be the Ca/K or the Na/Mg) is more extreme or out of balance than the ratio indicating slow oxidation.
He defined slow-mixed oxidation as follows: The ratio indicating slow oxidation is more extreme or more out of balance than that indicating fast oxidation.
For example, let us imagine that a hair analysis indicates a Ca/K ratio of 10 and a Na/K ratio of 6. First of all, this is a mixed oxidizer because the Ca/K is greater than 4 and the Na/Mg is greater than 4.17.
The next step is to figure out if it is a fast-mixed oxidizer or a slow-mixed oxidizer. To do this, one would check to see which of the two ratios is most extreme or most out of balance. Since both ratios should be about 4:1, the one that is most out of balance is the Ca/K, since it is the furthest away from a ratio of 4. The number 10 is further away from the ideal of 4 than is the number 6. Therefore, for our determination, we will focus on the more imbalanced Ca/K ratio.
The next step is to ask, is the Ca/K ratio, when it is 10 as in this case, an indicator or fast oxidation or slow oxidation? The answer is slow oxidation, by the definition given in one of the earlier paragraphs in this article.
Since the ratio that indicates slow oxidation is more extreme, the hair analysis is said to be showing a slow-mixed oxidation pattern.
A mathematical short cut method. Mixed oxidation can be the hardest pattern to read and understand at first glance. With practice, however, it becomes easier and clearer to see these major patterns. A simple and fairly accurate mathematical way to figure it out is to simply subtract the Na/Mg from the Ca/K number. If the answer is positive, it is a slow mixed oxidizer. If the answer is a negative number, it is a fast mixed oxidizer.
For instance, in the example above in which the Ca/K is 10 and the Na/Mg is 6, if one takes 10 minus 6 = 4. Since 4 is a positive number, it is a slow mixed oxidizer.
Two other mixed oxidation variants. If the sodium/magnesium ratio or adrenal ratio is fast (greater than 4.17), but the calcium/potassium ratio indicates slow oxidation, this is more associated with acute stress, usually in a slow oxidizer.
If it the other way around, with a fast calcium/potassium ratio and a slow oxidizer sodium/magnesium ratio, this is more likely associated with:
– thyroid stress
– failure of an adrenal response to stress for some reason
– an efforting situation
HOW THE OXIDATION TYPES AFFECT THE BODY
1. Frequency of Bowel Movements. Increased metabolic activity is associated with increased peristaltic activity and hence more frequent bowel movements in the fast oxidizer. Fast oxidizers may have more than one bowel movement per day. One or fewer movements per day is commonly associated with slow oxidation.
2. Dry or Oily Skin and Hair. Increased metabolic activity is associated with increased activity of the sebaceous and oil glands of the skin and scalp. This tends to cause more a greater tendency for oily skin and hair in the fast oxidizer. Slow oxidizers are more prone to dry skin and dry hair.
Also fast oxidizers tend to have a more watery appearance of their skin, and poorer muscle definition for this reason. Slow oxidizers may have better muscle definition and dryer appearance to their skin.
Also, fast oxidizers often have a more ruddy complexion. This may be due to higher blood pressure, use of alcohol or better circulation in the skin. This is true even though the sympathetic nervous system tends to move blood inward, away from the periphery of the body. However, many slow oxidizers are still in a sympathetic dominant condition described elsewhere, in which their sympathetic system is in fact even more active than in many fast oxidizers. This causes poor circulation to the extremities.
3. Blood Circulation. An increased rate of metabolism in the fast oxidizer is associated with enhanced blood circulation, and correlates with a tendency to warmer hands and feet, even in cold weather. Slow oxidation is commonly associated with impaired circulation and a tendency for cold hands and feet.
4. Food Cravings. Food cravings can express the body’s desire to balance chemistry. Fast oxidizers tend to crave fats, butter and red meat, foods which slow the metabolic rate. They may also crave sweets or carbohydrates if they do not eat enough fats and oils. Slow oxidation is associated with chronic low blood sugar. There is a tendency for sweet cravings and at times salt cravings, as the body does not retain sodium and potassium as well in slow oxidation, due to impaired adrenal glandular activity. (low aldosterone).
5. Blood Pressure. Fast oxidation is associated with increased vascular (sympathetic) tone, and sodium retention due to elevated aldosterone levels. These frequently result in a blood pressure of 120/80 or greater. Fast oxidizers are also more prone to labile or changing high blood pressure. This is because greater sympathetic nervous system activity will cause momentary constriction of the arteries due to fatigue, emotional upset or other stressors. Healthy slow oxidizers tend to have blood pressures of 120/80 or lower. This is due to weaker vascular tone, and/or low sodium levels which cause a reduced blood volume and blood pressure. However, slow oxidizers are prone to hardening of the arteries, as are fast oxidizers. This can cause high blood pressure later in life, in particular.
6. Sweating. Enhanced metabolic activity increases the generation of heat in body tissues. This is associated with increased sweating in the fast oxidizer. Slow oxidizers generally sweat less, and many hardly sweat at all.
7. Mood. In fast oxidation, all metabolic processes speed up, including mental functioning. This can result in a tendency to anxiety, irritability, nervousness, or jitteriness. Slower mental activity in the slow oxidizer, on the other hand, causes a tendency for sluggishness, lethargy, apathy, and depression. Very slow oxidation is associated with despair, brain fog and confusion.
8. Energy level. A fast metabolic rate, within certain limits, is associated with higher energy levels than is a slow oxidation rate. Fatigue and lethargy can be experienced by both types, but is more common with slow oxidation.
9. Animal Protein Preference. Fast oxidizers require more fat, and tend to prefer red meats to other meats, as they contain a higher percentage of fat. Fast oxidizers may also prefer the high-purine proteins such as sardines, anchovies and organ meats. Slow oxidizers tend to prefer chicken, fish, or vegetarian proteins because these low-fat sources of protein speed up and normalize the slow oxidizers’ metabolic rate. They are also easier to digest as they contain less fat. They also contain somewhat less etheric energy and thus have a lower dynamic action than the red meats.
10. Body Shape. Classically, the fast oxidizer corresponds to a more ‘Cushinoid’ body shape, so named after an illness called Cushing’s disease. The person is not as tall, and is broad in the middle.
This is sometimes called the apple-shaped body. The legs and arms are thinner. There may be a “buffalo hump” in the back if the case is extreme, though most of the time this is not present. There is often a bulge in the belly. This is due to high cortisol, which in turn causes high insulin, which deposits fat in the belly area.
The classic slow oxidizer has a pear-shaped body, especially later in life. This is due to sluggish thyroid gland activity, which is more associated with fat deposition on the hips and legs. The upper body is often thinner.
However, combinations of these two are very common, because people pass through various stages of stress at different times of their lives. Also, one can be a mixed type, which also gives rise to combinations of body shapes.
One final note regarding body shapes is in order. The sympathetic dominant person often has a very angular body. That is, there is little fat deposition. This is basically good, though if the sympathetic dominance persists, serious health problems including heart disease, cancer and others develop in these individuals as well.
This is seen in women, particularly, who are what is called progesterone dominant. Estrogen is responsible for fat deposition, especially in the hips and breast areas. Women with low estrogen tend to be more angular.
Women with higher estrogen levels tend to be more curvy, fleshy and at times one calls them more voluptuous shaped.
Caution: Beware of using body shape or other physical characteristics to assign a metabolic type to anyone or to recommend a nutrition program. Many times you are viewing a person as they were some years ago, in terms of their body chemistry. I tried this for several months and found the hair mineral analysis did not correlate with my guesswork based on symptoms and body characteristics.
I also found the hair test gave me more accurate information than just using the symptoms or signs described above. I learned through the experience to trust the hair tissue mineral analysis and began to get far better results with patients.
11. Cell membrane permeability. Fast oxidizers tend to have more permeable cell membranes than slow oxidizers. This may be because calcium that builds up in the tissues of slow oxidizers tends to stabilize cell membrane potentials. This fact is very important for hormone imbalances, in particular, and perhaps for blood sugar and other types of metabolic problems as well.
12. Acid or alkaline. Fast oxidizers tend to be more alkaline at the cellular level, while slow oxidizers tend to be more acidic at the cellular level. Blood, urine and saliva pH levels do not correlate well with the cellular level and are often useless for determining the true cellular acidity.
The reasons for the differences between fast and slow oxidizers is that fast oxidizers have less toxic metals, in general, which are very acidic. They also have far better alkaline mineral reserves, in general, than slow oxidizers. This is likely the major factor.
Slow oxidizers also have more biounavailable calcium that does not seem to neutralize acids as well in the body. In addition, slow oxidizers tend to have more infections, which tend to be more acidic.
13. Yang and yin. Fast oxidizers are usually much more yang, while slow oxidizers are more yin. This may sound esoteric, but it affects every area of human functioning. Yang is warmer, more contracted, more masculine, more ruddy or reddish with better circulation and in terms of psychology more aggressive and sexual.
Yin is colder, more ill, more expanded and tired, less aggressive, less sexual, and more pale or white with poorer circulation. This is a very brief description of yin and yang.
SYMPTOMS OF FAST OXIDATION
True fast oxidizers tend to be anxious, irritable and aggressive if their oxidation rate is very fast. Their blood sugar and blood pressure tend to be on the high side of normal. They are often warm and sweat easily. They usually have oily skin, and a tendency for frequent or loose bowel movements. They may gain weight in the area of the abdomen due to high levels of cortisol and cortisone.
Temporary Fast Oxidizers or slow Oxidizers Under Stress. Most people whose hair analysis indicates fast oxidation, however, are not true fast oxidizers. Instead, they are what we call tired or temporary fast oxidizers, or slow oxidizers under stress. Hair analysis indicators for this condition are:
- A sodium/potassium ratio less than about 2.5. This is the major indicator. Other less reliable indicators are:
- A hair calcium level greater than about 40 mg%, OR a magnesium level greater than about 6 mg%.
- A zinc level greater than 14 mg% or a phosphorus level less than 14 mg% in some cases.
SYMPTOMS OF SLOW AND MIXED OXIDATION
Slow oxidizers often suffer from fatigue, sweet cravings and low blood sugar. As their oxidation rate slows further, they often become apathetic and depressed.
Their blood pressure and blood sugar may be low unless arteriosclerosis or diabetes have set in. Their skin and hair are often dry, and their hair may become brittle or thin. Many experience constipation and other symptoms associated with reduced adrenal and thyroid glandular activity. Slow oxidizers may gain weight on the hips and the legs due to their metabolic imbalances.
Mixed oxidizers often display a mixture of symptoms of both fast and slow oxidation. One may need to wait until the mixed oxidation pattern resolves into slow or fast oxidation to gain a clear picture of underlying metabolic patterns.
Mixed oxidizers tend either toward fast oxidation or toward slow oxidation. This will determine many of their symptoms. Most mixed oxidation is quite mild and simple to resolve. At times, however, it represents more complex glandular imbalances that take more time to unravel and correct using our methods of balancing the body chemistry.
Symptomatic Programs. In the case of mixed oxidation, however, at times we use symptoms to help assess whether to give a fast or a slow oxidizer program to the patient.
For example, a patient may present with fatigue, depression, constipation and copper toxicity and have a mixed oxidizer hair analysis. This patient most likely requires a slow oxidizer supplement and dietary program.
If, in contrast, the patient complained of anxiety, nervousness, muscle tension and anger, one might readily assume that although the hair test indicates mixed oxidation this person requires a fast oxidizer diet and nutrient program.
DIET FOR THE OXIDATION TYPES
Fast oxidizer diet. Dr. Watson found that fast oxidizers require more fats and oils in their diet in order to feel their best. They burn their food quickly and their caloric needs are greater.
Fats provide more calories and longer-lasting energy. In contrast, sugars burn too fast, provide fewer calories and often further enhance the oxidation rate.
For this reason, fast oxidizers should avoid all sugars, including most fruit and all juices. Even complex carbohydrates are recommended only in small amounts.
True fast oxidizers require heavier, fattier foods such as lamb and even beef in limited amounts if it is grass fed or naturally raised. They may handle sour cream, butter, eggs and other fatty foods well.
To lose weight, they may do well on an Atkins-style diet, although I feel it does not include enough cooked vegetables, at times. Also, the quality is not as good as our standards. However, one could try it for a limited period of time. We suggest, however, that one eat only the highest quality animal fats, along with flax oil, fish oil, cod liver oil, olive oil and a small amount of refined vegetable oils such as in blue corn chips are fine as well. Some coconut oil, palm oil and others are okay in moderation only.
Slow Oxidizer Diet. Slow oxidizers require more protein and less fat in their diets. Protein with every meal is most important to maintain their blood sugar level and support adequate adrenal and thyroid gland activity.
In fact, if there are blood sugar issues, as there often are, then five meals a day with some protein and possibly a little fat as well is an excellent regimen.
Animal protein of some kind is helpful for most slow oxidizers to eat at least once every day, as the bodies are depleted of many nutrients found in meats. These include zinc, alpha lipoic acid, sulfur-containing amino acids and L-carnitine. Meats also provide other less-known nutrients the slow oxidizer requires.
Protein digestion is weak in slow oxidizers. As a result, many tend toward vegetarian diets. However, this slows or prevents their complete healing. Instead, they require digestive enzymes to obtain all the nutrition from their food.
BASIC SUPPLEMENTS FOR FAST AND SLOW OXIDIZERS
Dr. Watson and Dr. Eck found that fast oxidizers need more of nutrients such as copper, zinc,choline, inositol, calcium and magnesium. They also do well on more of vitamins A and D. Vitamins B-complex and C are less beneficial and tend make fast oxidation worse in many cases.
Slow oxidizers need more of the B-complex and vitamins C and E. They usually do not need much copper. They do, however, need zinc and most often calcium and magnesium.
Both types benefit from a digestive aid. We find that they both also need extra chromium, selenium and perhaps even a general mineral supplement.
When one combines the extensive research of Dr. Hans Selye, Dr. George Watson and Dr. Paul Eck, one begins to develop a very clear picture of the physiology and biochemistry of fast and slow oxidation.
By identifying these states quickly with a hair mineral analysis, one knows at a glance how a person is responding to stress biochemically. Then one can recommend the correct foods, nutrients, lifestyle changes and detoxification protocol to bring the body to balance and harmony. Balancing body chemistry in this manner results in a significant increase in cellular energy production. This allows healing to occur at a greatly increased rate.
We always seek to move a person from a lower energy and less optimum homeostatic state to a healthier state with higher energy. Slow oxidation, for example, is a lower energy state than fast oxidation. A balanced state, neither too fast nor too slow, is considered optimum. It is a condition in which the metabolism can speed up when needed, and yet at other times remain peacefully at rest.
The specific chemistry of the oxidation types is discussed in more detail on the Six-CD Series on Nutritional Balancing offered on the Center for Development website and in articles by Dr. Paul Eck and myself. Another source of information is Nutritional Balancing And Hair Mineral Analysis, a book by this author.