What is Your Metabolic Age?
How many times after disclosing your age to someone have you been told; “ahh you look so much younger than your age!” Or, does anyone say that to you? Is that even a good thing for someone to say? What does looking younger than you are have to do with your health?
It Doesn’t. Last week here at Cornerstone Health so many of you were discussing the fountain of youth and the difference between your inside age and your outside age. And that is exactly what metabolic age is. The age of your insides. You may look 25, be 40, and metabolically be 50! Isn’t that a mind twist??
Modern society is a great example of this. How many fit-looking 40-year old’s are there, who seem to live this amazing life on social media that you could only dream of? But then five years later that person develops cancer or has a cardiovascular event that ‘no-one’ saw coming because that person was the epitome of “healthy” in our backwards society.
You should ask yourself, “did that person ever know what was going on inside of them? Were there life determining systems working as optimally as their appearance made it seem like they should be?” The obvious answer is no.
So you have to realize in the context of health, your bodies age is different than the chronological age that you currently are. In other words, how the gears of your insides work get to be different based on the choices you make in your life.
Your health is much better understood when it is expressed as a function of what is going on inside you, rather than how healthy you ‘appear’ (which is infinitely subjective anyway when you think about it) on the outside.
How is your Metabolic Age Measured?
Many of you may have noticed the brand-new body analysis scanner that we have out next to the rehab area in our office. This is replacing the older Tanita scanner. Our new Evolt body analysis tool is the most advanced Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) machine on the market today, and has a lot of amazing data points and user integration features that make it ideal for you to test your metabolic health with.
Two of the more useful and ‘complete’ metrics values this evaluation gives is your metabolic age and your Body Wellness Index (BWI) Score. So, let’s break down what these values mean and why they are so important to you and your health.
The way any BIA device works is by sending a very weak current of electricity through your body from one node to another. The time and resistance of the signal is measured as it moves from one node to another. These values are put into various computed statistical models, and then applied to various normative data sets, to give the various health metric values that govern this test.
The major advantage of the Evolt scanner is that it compartmentalizes the currents to five distinct body zones; each of your four extremities and your axial core (thorax and abdomen). This allows the device to compute not only your subcutaneous fat, but your visceral fat as well. Visceral fat is adipose tissue that surrounds your internal organs. There is a balance to this type of fat; you need some to even live, but an excessive amount will certainly lead to dis-ease.
So your metabolic (Bio) age and BWI is calculated using a variety of the other Evolt numbers and scores. The metabolic age will be lower if your lean muscle mass to fat mass is in a great ratio. The amount of protein and overall mineral content in your extracellular fluid is factored in too.
The BWI score is a bit more complicated. In essence, it looks at the ratio of subcutaneous fat to visceral fat, while also factoring in age and gender. The purpose of the BWI is to replace the antiquated BMI (weight/height-squared) measurement that does a poor job at predicting most health situations unless you are severely overweight. The closer your BWI is to 10, the healthier your predicted health outcomes will be!
The major benefit of following your BWI over time is that the score also factors in your weight changes from test to test; so, if you continue to take action to improve your health, and the base values improve, your overall BWI score will markedly improve as well!
One thing to note is that every value outside of your weight given in this analysis is considered a really good guess. It is accurate, but not perfect. If you are interested in being precisely accurate with your bone, muscle, fat, or organ density and mass, a DEXA scan must be performed on you.
If you want to dive into some more empirical and statistical research looking at the meaning and value of the Evolt scan metrics, take a look at this article: BIA Methodology & Research
Know Your Metabolic Age!
Why do you need to know your metabolic age? To know what you have going on within your insides. Is your body heading in a direction of sustainable health, or towards one of impending dis-ease? Your metabolic age and BWI are great indicators of this.
Further, after reading last week’s newsletter on why it is important know your results from re-exams, it should be clear to you that the relative change of your results from re-exam to re-exam are what truly correlates to your health.
If you want to be getting metabolically younger, you need to know that number, see how it changes over time, and then determine if your action steps in life should stay the same or change to help continue the path you have towards your health goal. This is the only true way for you to find your Fountain of Youth!