What Type Are You?

The modern science of metabolic typing utilizes various methods for identifying peoples' biochemical individuality and determining their dietary needs. A primary method is the interpretation of "body language," or the evaluation of any number of the hundreds of different traits and characteristics that make one person distinct from another in terms of:

*physical appearance

*anatomical or structural traits

*psychological characteristics

*personality and behavioral traits

*food reactions and dietary preferences

Believe it or not, all your highly individualized characteristics have biochemical correlates. In other words, they are a direct result of the unique way in which your regulatory (or homeostatic) control systems are designed.

We all have genetically inherited strengths or weaknesses (or imbalances) in our:

*autonomic nervous system

*carbo-oxidative system

*lipo-oxidative system

*endocrine system

These are the key homeostatic systems that determine your metabolic type. For example, your autonomic nervous system manages all the involuntary activity in your body -- your heartbeat, your breathing, your digestion, reproductive functions, immune activity, etc.

The carbo-oxidative and lipo-oxidative systems control the way in which your cells convert nutrients into energy, and your endocrine system exerts all kinds of influences on your metabolism through the secretion of hormones, the chemical messengers that manage the activity of tissues and cells.

There are countless readily observable clues that help reveal how these systems function for you. For example, if you're tall and have good concentration but weak digestion, these are traits that suggest something about the way your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is designed, i.e., that your body may be more influenced by the sympathetic branch of the ANS, relative to the parasympathetic branch.

Or if you have a poor appetite and have low energy but function well on sugar or starches, you might be a slow oxidizer rather than a fast oxidizer.

The endless possible variations in your traits indicate the nature of the "imbalances" within your regulatory systems and, in turn, define your metabolic individuality. These traits or clues tell us a great deal about the efficiency with which all your organs and glands function, the kinds of health disorders you're subject to, and the effect that different foods and nutrients have on your health.

Remember though, "body language" is never absolutely clear cut. In other words, there are no "pure types" -- people who have traits that reflect only specific imbalances, such as sympathetic dominance versus parasympathetic dominance or fast oxidation versus slow oxidation, and so on. You're more complex than that -- like an extraordinarily complex mosaic comprised of countless facets arranged in a highly unique configuration.

So what we need to do is look for patterns among your traits and characteristics that can tell us something about your dominant tendencies.

Think of it this way: If you're lost in the wilderness at night and want to find your way home, you have a good chance of doing so if it's a cloudless night and you have some understanding of astronomy. If you can locate the Big Dipper, you can find the North Star and identify the four directions. Using that as your reference point, you can determine the proper direction to find your way home.

Metabolic types are like constellations. They're patterns that organize the infinite minutiae of your physiological and biochemical makeup, enabling you to know what nutritional path to follow in order to balance your body chemistry -- and in turn optimize your health and fitness.